Reporting Achievement for Students for whom English is an Additional Language

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

For assessment purposes, the Department of Education and Training (DET) defines a student as EAL if they: 

  • come from a language background other than English
  • do not speak English as the main language at home
  • have been enrolled in an Australian school for less than seven years.

DET provides funding for EAL students for their first five years in an Australian school.

Reporting on an EAL student's progress

In general, the progress of EAL students in learning English should be reported against the stages of the EAL standards, also known as the stages of the EAL Developmental Continuum, rather than the levels of the English achievement standards. See: English as an Additional Language (EAL) Companion to the AusVELS

The length of time during which a student will be assessed against the EAL standards depends on many factors, such as the existing English language proficiency of the student, the number of years of schooling completed, level of literacy in their first language and background experiences.

If a teacher’s assessment of an EAL student against the English achievement standards places the student well below their peers, and the student still requires substantial support in learning English as an additional language, then teachers should continue to use the EAL standards.

It is not appropriate for an EAL student to be assessed against the English standards in one mode, such as Speaking and Listening, and the EAL standards in other modes. While the oral language proficiency of an EAL student may appear to correspond to that of their peers, as students progress through year levels, the demands of the curriculum become more complex, and these students can struggle to cope with the academic requirements of the English curriculum.

Once an EAL student has reached the ‘at standard’ level of their respective A, B or S Stage in all three modes of Speaking and Listening, Reading and Viewing and Writing, they can be transferred to the English AusVELS (or the Victorian Curriculum F-10 in 2017) for assessment and reporting purposes.

For other curriculum areas, the format of the student report for EAL students will be determined by the school, in partnership with students and parents. During this time, teachers should use a range of assessment data and strategies to inform their judgements regarding EAL students’ progress.

For more information about the assessment of EAL students, see: Tools for Enhancing Assessment Literacy for Teachers of English as an Additional Language (TEAL)

As the student begins to demonstrate appropriate knowledge and understanding of the curriculum content the format of the report can be modified to reflect the achievement of the student. Once students can express their understanding of ideas and information well enough in English, the same reporting format and approach as other students at the school should be used.

Explaining a report to parents if they do not speak English

To help parents understand where their child is on their learning pathway, how much progress their child has made in the last semester, and to conceptualise how their child will progress over time into the English achievement standards, teachers can show parents the stages diagram from the English as an Additional Language (EAL) Companion to the AusVELS.

Interpreting services are available for communicating with parents/carers who require assistance in understanding their child’s progress. See: Interpreting and Translating

For resources to illustrate approaches schools might take to report progress and achievement for EAL students, see: Resources for Student Reporting