Critical Reflection: Assessment

The primary role of the assessment/reporting process is to improve student learning and inform teaching ( Churchill, 2016). Therefore, the role of assessment can be defined as both ‘of’ learning and ‘for’ learning, becoming and integral part of the learning process. In Chapter 12 of Teaching: Making A Difference, Churchill provides two overarching theoretical frameworks for conceptualising learning achievement. The first of these frameworks include strategies that measure depth or complexity of learning at a given point. Blooms taxonomy, for example, provides a representation of depth of learning from the most basic knowledge to the deeper and more complex categories of learning outcomes (Bloom, 1956). Blooms Taxonomy accounts for behaviour, actions, knowledge and learning opportunities within assessment. The second framework includes strategies that measure development over time against the student’s previous work and/or some external representation of anticipated progress(Churchill, 2016) . This assessment of development is based in the structure of specific curriculum outcomes and standards frameworks, wherby teachers can identify and map student learning in relation to course requirements (Churchill, 2016). It is my belief that these two frameworks should be used synonymously to assess learning and shape strategy, pedagogy, process and feedback and in my own experience, I have tried to employ a range of approaches for assessment to incorperate both frameworks.  This works towards demonstrating standard 5.1 of the Australian Professional Standard for Teachers, which recommends an understanding of assessment strategies, educators must utilise a range approaches to assess student learning such as informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative, strategies which reflect the implementation of Churchills theoretical framework for assessment.


AITSL. (2017). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from

Bloom, BS, Englehart, MB, Furst, EJ, Hill, WH & Krathwohl, DR (eds.) 1956, Taxonomy of educational objectives. The classification of educational goals. Handbook 1: Cognitive domain, McKay, New York.

Churchill, R. (2016). Teaching: Making A Difference (3rd ed.). Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.




Peer Review 6

Hi Arthur,
A beautifully expressed argument you make here. I agree that there ‘needs to be a balance’. However, do you not think Baumer was being hypercritical? I support almost all of your statements but as humans shouldn’t we be mindful of the individual? Baumer gave a very direct opinion of the people he comes across but gives no mind to circumstance and individual preference. I think we should be wary of sweeping generalizations.

Peer Review 4

Hi Audrey,
Well done on your blog post, I agree with your opinion that May Wedderburn understood the nature of war and felt deeply passionate about expressing her experiences. Some of your sentence structures need revising as your language feels inconsistent. You give us information but I’d love to know more about the context, for example, an explanation of ‘VADS’ why were they important and how did they impact this statement? Working on the flow of your sentences and tying in each paragraph with the previous would be beneficial to you writing.

Creative Writing

Blue Mountains

Wind and sun hollowed the flesh until there was nothing left except bark and bone. A year later and there I was, a growing child, holding its flaking skull in my hands, my treasure. Cold damp air formed a mist that kept my parents out of view as I ran back to the house, placing the skull on the concrete step. This was a way out place. I don’t remember how we got there, or why, it wasn’t a house for a holiday but it was made for escape. I remember my hair tied in knots over my head, held in place with strips of fabric ripped from an old pillowcase. I remember the bat above my bed. I remember the kangaroo skull. I remember burning my fingers holding its tooth over a candle.

Mount Hay Road. Blue Mountains World Heritage National Park. New South Wales. Australia


Patrick White, Prodigal Son

To Patrick White

Did you find your roots?
You say Australian life ‘aquired a meaning’ in 1958, but the issues you describe are still present.  Most pockets of our society are infected by a tall poppy syndrome. We cherish the ‘bloke,’ ‘the underdog’ and cast aside the ‘intellectual’. As you believed  ‘in all directions stretched the Great Australian Emptiness,’ you were not talking about empty landscapes, but empty humans. As a writer of conflicted allegiances perhaps at this time, you did not think to scratch past the surface? Even I, an Australian born and bred, can see the ‘exaltation of average,’ but often I understand this to be humility or a surface value, and as you did say, we must strive to find the extraordinary behind the ordinary. You found the extraordinary in the world of plants and music and silence. But did you find the extraordinary in Australian society and in yourself?

Early 20th Century Poetry. Judith Wright

Recently I went on a weekend stay not far from Armidale. It was a long car trip in the ’65 Falcon, and as we hit the New England Highway, I thought of Judith Wrights poem “Niggers Leap, New England” and how close we would be to the location illustrated in the text. The following day we went to the lookout, the deep chasm was cool and windy in the dry heat.

Our view from the lookout


Judith Wright was once called “the conscience of the nation”. I believe her work was intrinsic to the formation of a modern Australian voice through her passionate engagement in the world of poetry, activism and reconciliation. Below you will find a digital kit that explores the life and work of Judith Wright

Biographies on Judith Wrights life and writing. Drawn from Wrights’ Autobiography.

Writing and Values
One in series of lectures from the wheeler Centre on Australian literature, Chris Wallace-Crabbe discusses the poetry of Judith Wright, her career, character, and consciousness.
Judith Wright found a modern Australian language.
A rare interview with Judith Wright. The discussion draws on Wright’s passion towards major themes that emerge in her work. Interestingly these are often issues we still grapple with in Australia today, such as environmental devastation and the loss of Indigenous culture and belonging.

Katie Noonan and the Brodsky Quartet reimagines the words of Judith’s Wrights poems through song and music. Judith wright once notably commented that she didn’t want her poetry taught in schools as she objected to “being turned into an instrument of torture for school children,” she went on to say that “everybody ought to be introduced to poetry… but I don’t think they should be penalised for not liking it.” This project which sets Judith Wrights poems to music invites everyone to access her writing, even those who aren’t partial to poetry.

Judith Wright, pictured in the Brisbane Times


Creative Writing

This week, I have been particularly influenced by iconic Australiana. I love the use of colloquial language in Australian literature and the description of landscapes and experiences that are purely unique to the Australian identity. This piece of creative writing titled “Thunderbolts Way” was inspired by a journey up the infamous road.

                                                      Thunderbolts Way

A bubbling rust grew on the side of the old Ford Falcon. Her idle finger picked at the paint on the passenger door. Every window was rolled down, but no blast of dry air could cool them. In the early morning, they had been in Freshwater, dunking themselves in the surf one last time before the journey west with sand still stuck to their bare-feet. But the sea-breeze was long behind them as they sped on into the still inland air. The sand now looked odd when they stopped at a servo for ice-blocks. They drove on through dappled afternoon sun, whizzing past parched land and historic hotels, the motor hummed and shook methodically. The car rounded another bend, but there, bursting onto the horizon, the ranges loomed before them. As they reached the base of the mountain, the Falcon slowed and the temperature began to rise. “Fuck, it’s hot!” blurted the driver nervously.
“Don’t push her, alright?” the girl said flatly, “We’re gonna make it this time, just don’t drive her too hard.”
The drivers knuckles whitened on the steering wheel as the incline began. This road had defeated him once before. Trees thickened and blocked out the sun darkening the road ahead, the old car started to shudder and hiss. A logging truck overtook them and yelled back “GOODLUCK TO YA!”
From here the road only got steeper and narrow. The driver could feel his heart in his throat as the falcon began to stutter, the engine grabbing at all the power it had left. It was a long way down if you went off the edge, and some did. “There it is, there’s the spot! This is the furthest we’ve ever made it up this mountain!” the girl puffed. But there was still a way to go. The ford falcon was giving it all it had, but it wasn’t enough, the engine rattled and wailed furiously “SHE’S GONNA BURST!” the driver roared as he sent her up the near vertical incline. He grabbed the gear stick in his fist, clunked it down into 1st.  The car crunched. Lurched. Then silence. The ford falcon started rolling backwards. The girl held tightly onto the seatbelt stiffened with sweat. The driver stomped the accelerator to the floor and with a thunderous rumble the gear kicked in and the car jumped back to life, thrusting itself up to the top of the mountain. As the road flattened out upon the summit, the temperature dropped.  A cool air filled the car and Dire Straits came on the radio. They turned up the volume.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 6.25.25 pm
Travelling in my partners ’65 Ford Falcon


Mid 19-Century Poetry

Australian literature in the mid 19th century often possessed a particularly British quality. Colloquial Australian language had not yet become a popularised form of expression in poetry.  This elevated language is present in the works of Charles Harpur’s “A Mid-Summer Noon in the Australian Forest” (1851) and Henry Kendall’s “Bell-Birds” (1869). Despite their similarities, these poets bring life to the landscape in distinct contrast to one another.

Both Harpur and Kendall manipulate rhythm to express their unique experiences of Australian nature. However, we can observe a contrast between the two poets. Harpur creates tension through stillness, then contrasts this with the intensity and energy of the beetle he concentrates the 3rd stanza on. Kendall, however, creates energy through song-like rhyming, which is notably different to the soberly paced language of Harpur’s poetry.

The contrast between the rhythm and energy of these two poems feels pivotal in understanding the poet’s experiences, as each poem affirms its own value. Kendall escapes into the fantasy of the landscape as he plays with dewy movement and glamorous imagery. Harpur, on the other hand, personifies the landscape, and though flirting with a little fantasy he values a more primal connection to the natural world.

While Harpur and Kendall share similarities in language, they differentiate in their appreciation and value of the Australian landscape. It is my opinion, however, that while both poems were written by Australian poets about Australian landscapes, neither one evokes a distinctly Australian image. The use of elevated British language in mid 19th-century Australian poetry appears to have an impact on expression. Which leaves us to question; how do we define Australian storytelling?

“A view of the artist’s house and garden, in Mills Plains, Van Diemen’s Land.” John Glover. (1835)

John Glovers depiction of an Australian landscape that has been rendered with a quintessential British romanticism.