How to interpret assessment data

Team tools for making sense of student data.

Analysis and interpretation of data

The analysis and interpretation of data should support the fundamental purpose of assessment: establishing and understanding where learners are in an aspect of their learning at the time of assessment.

This is the domain of teacher professional judgement, where teachers work together to make sense of data and other forms of assessment evidence to see what this reveals about where students are in their development.

  • Data, information and artefacts become evidence when used to determine the presence or absence of what students know, understand, can do and are becoming
  • Achievement standards provide the lens that guides the analysis process to make judgements about where students are in their development
  • Scope and sequence charts developed for each learning area of the Victorian Curriculum provide a guide for teacher judgements

Analysis and interpretation of data and evidence has several components, including teachers working individually and together to:

  • 'read' and understand what has been collected. Depending on the skills and experience of the teacher and the complexity of the data or evidence, this may require access to professional learning support
  • make sense of it in light of the intended learning and associated curriculum achievement standards. Sense making can be supported by structured learning conversations with colleagues and students to enable learning from and with each other
  • clarify what the evidence clearly indicates students know, understand and can do, what can be inferred from the evidence, and what needs further investigation in order to make a confident judgement based on a mix of data and evidence.

Structured discussions with colleagues can strengthen judgements that require inference from behaviours, including review of whether the assessment design accurately reveals a student’s development.

For team dialogue

  1. What aspects of learning development or progress do we want to better understand?
  2. What is the best evidence to look at to work out how our students are going?
  3. Which students do we want to focus on to anchor our analysis?


The following tools may offer guidance in leading dialogue in this area.

Collaborative assessment conference

A protocol supporting teams of teachers to look closely at a piece of student work, and examine what it reveals about the student's learning and development, and also their interests, strengths, and struggles. Collaborative assessment conference: overview

Data driven dialogue protocol

A protocol supporting teams of teachers to make predictions, observations and inferences about data. Data driven dialogue

Atlas - looking at data protocol

A protocol supporting teams of teachers to describe and interpret data, and identify implications for practice. Atlas - looking at data protocol