Parents and Students

See also: Primary and Lower Secondary School

Update 08/11/2013: The QSA changed ‘LASDs marking grids’ for Prep to Year 10, over to ‘SEs’ (Standards Elaborations). They are still harmful, time-consuming marking grids that pigeon-hole students’ grades acccording to maturity skills and so-called ‘higher-order thinking’ skills. This has been thrown out of several states in the U.S.A. To make matters worse, only Queensland has marking grids or rubrics that have no scored numbers. That means your child does not get marks but alphabet letters that cannot be added up.

It is fine to get a B as a final overall grade on a report card, but not on individual items of their assessment.  That means your child could get a maths or science question completely correct and yet be marked down to a C or D. This pedantic and flawed marking is completely unethical and demoralising. It has been criticised heavily in the Queensland parliamentary inquiry report on school assessment in senior years 11 and 12, that was published on 14th October, 2013. See the Parliamentary report at this website. Do read the submissions also by Professor Peter Ridd, number 98, Dr Matthew Dean at number 28, for further information.


Inquiry News:

In their final important years in school, it is only Queensland Year 11 & 12 students who have all these extremely unusual testing methods:

1. The teachers in Queensland (not other states) are banned from using numerical marks to add up the tests towards their final subject grade.
2. Teachers must mark all answers with letters (whether right or wrong) to match ‘higher-order’ thinking paragraphs. Letters cannot be added.
3. Teachers in Queensland can set and select an unreasonable number of assignments to go towards final grades, yet they can be cheated.
4. In the absence of any final school exams, the results are unfair. (There are no subject-specific exams in Queensland, unlike all other states).
Even though there is an Inquiry into the testing methods currently used for Senior students for Grade 11 & 12 Maths, Chemistry and Physics, it is relevant to us all. That is because these methods are being introduced into all schools, all grade-levels, and all subjects in Queensland.
It has nothing to do with the Australian Curriculum. The QSA – our assessment body in Queensland – has designed a radically different approach to every other state and has maintained these methods are the best. See the Parliamentary overview of this inquiry and click on ‘how to make a submission’.
Also, see the home page of this website.
Why does this matter to every parent with schoolchildren and every friend and relative? These same framework used in Senior sciences has recently been expanded and is currently being rolled out into the younger primary school grades. This means that even a Grade One child who gets his/her mathematics answers FULLY correct could be marked with a ‘D’ grading if he /she does not demonstrate so-called ‘higher-order’ thinking. An ‘A’ grading may only be awarded after the child has given a, QUOTE,  ”Considered explanation of choices made, the strategies chosen, conclusions reached and the reasonableness of (his/her) answers in mathematical investigations”.


 Our states have already agreed to adopt the Australian Curriculum (AC). Regardless of some disagreements, the AC has more rigour in the maths and science definitions than Queensland has ever had before. That is why it is publically acknowledged that it is challenging for teachers to implement it and current students are working very hard to catch up.  However, it should not be made even harder by our assessment board’s demands!
Our current assessment board, the QSA (Queensland Studies Authority) has designed a complicated template – a so-called ‘standards’ matrix,  with which teachers are expected to grade students. However, there is no law requiring the grading of students by this matrix. You may know it as the L.A.S.D. matrix  (or marking by ‘standards’) in public schools. Or, the ‘Standards Elaborations’ in Grade 10. Or, in private schools, a  more content-focused but still overly detailed QSA-inspired matrix is being impressed on to teachers. It is called ‘Progression Points’.

Either way, these unscored rubrics grade students with silly alphabet letters that cannot be added up to give you honest marks. That’s right: Teachers are strongly discouraged from using 40/ 50 marks or 80% even though this conventional numerical marking is absolutely essential for proper statistical analysis in wider class and school comparisons. Students, especially in maths and science calculations, need feedback on how much they got correct, so that they may know how to improve. This is not possible with the new so-called ‘standards’ marking. It is not ‘standards’ at all. It is based on a fad-education ‘higher-order thinking’ framework that has already been dumped in overseas U.S. states.

 By contrast, the Australian Curriculum (AC) already has its own basic, yearly achievement standards for maths and science from Years Prep – 10. It lists the ‘achievement standards’ in short paragraphs under the content, year by year, in a clear way for teachers to test. There is no need for these marking grids that the QSA has developed with our taxpayer money. However,  the QSA (Queensland Studies Authority) – our assessment board – is telling teachers ‘how’ to assess these standards, making the AC achievement standards less important and skewed towards more fuzzy thinking. If your child is not very verbal or good at elaborate English writing, their maths and science talents may not be recognised and they could be marked very unfairly. You may have noticed the changes in their report cards already.

Please email one short email submission to an important Qld Government education inquiry to provide your opinion if the current school assessment system is valid and reliable and whether it should be retained. It is important to state  -  if you agree – that the Senior methods for assessing maths, chemistry and physics are invalid and unreliable – because that is required in the terms of reference (number three).

See the home page of


CRITERIA & LASDs explanation  - Comparison showing how primary school marking grids are modelled on the flawed Senior Science marking grids, the subject of a parliamentary inquiry.
QSA LASD math yr1 marking grid – The second sheet is the draft primary school marking grid for a Prep or Year one child doing maths. Notice what the student has to do to get an A-equivalent in Grade One maths? (See the 1st column, 2nd row down).      They have to give a “Considered explanation of choices made, strategies used, conclusions reached and the reasonableness of answers in mathematical investigations. The QSA does not ask teachers to check if the answer is right or wrong. Even if they can add 450 + 450 = 900, it is not as important as explaining their ‘thinking’ processes. If they cannot elaborate that in the above terms, they will get a the failure equivalent of a D. (see column 4, 2nd row down.)

We invite parents and students to contribute their experiences to this website.
Anonymity will be preserved.


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