Learning Design and Management for Queensland Schools

Linked below is a  guide to Learning Design and Management, using Queensland Standards Elaborations as a starting point for Proficiency Scales and then auditing the learning sequence against the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities.

I have previously created a guide that I would describe as a qualitative approach to Learning Design and Management, because Proficiency Scales, in the guide, are designed to move up a Cognitive Taxonomy. In this guide, Proficiency Scales are adapted from QCAA Standards Elaborations and I would describe this as roughly a quantitative approach.



WALT and WILF the Easy and Rigorous Way

The QCAA has already developed the basis for WALT and WILF within the senior syllabus standards and P-10 Australian Curriculum elaborations; with cognitions and qualities for each standard A-E. Why not use them!

For example:

Cognitions are highlighted in yellow and discriminating qualities are highlighted in blue.

These standards can be used in formative assessment by modifying them to add quantity and content dimensions. In the example below, I have added the quantity of content that I am looking for.

I have students set goals and track their learning by highlighting these scales.

What about Higher Order Thinking Standards?


You probably could still add a content/quantity descriptor, for Analysis, as the standards are usually of the form:

Health Education

However, if you do want to provide more rigor, then I suggest aligning the skill of Analysis to Marzano’s Taxonomy. In this case Analysis increases in complexity from Matching at the bottom end to Specifying at the top.

[Adapted from The New Taxonomy (Marzano and Kendall, 2007) and Marzano Taxonomy – Thinking Processes with Design Verbs ]

So, using this, to be proficient with a score of 3 or at standard, students can Match or Classify. To score a 3.5, students could Generalize and Specifying could score a 4. Therefore, a student Proficiency scale for Health Education, becomes:


This is an example Proficiency Scale for the Learning Goal “I can EVALUATE..” Notice how it ‘climbs’ up Bloom’s taxonomy almost exactly.

This assessment criterion for English is not too bad as it too recognised that a poor evaluation is closer to an explanation or analysis. Most just use the qualifier discerning or thorough evaluation.

I would value add to your existing criteria by adding:

2 = explain/identify

3= evaluation

3.5 = justify decisions

4 = make recommendations


This thinking skill tends to be wide and deep and this is reflected in the range of standards across subjects:


Ancient History


So, leave these as is or use simpler language. You can then increase students’ familiarity and understanding of these by unpacking them and providing tangible examples.

How to use them

I develop these at the beginning of a topic and then just point to the place in the criteria sheet that relates to a lesson or learning activity. At the end of a unit, these also become my marking criteria (front-loaded assessment).

I have students set goals and track their learning by highlighting these scales (self feedback). I also use them when conferencing with students (feedback) and students can use them for peer feedback.

This is one I have used recently: WALT-WILF

Tracking Learning in a Blended Classroom using Journals

One of the reasons I can’t live without Digital Technology is that it actually makes my job of teaching easier. Without technology, I’m not sure how I would share the responsibility for learning with my students and have them track their learning, in a place that we both can access. I have seen star charts used in Primary settings, but I’m not sure these would work in the insecure world of teenagers. This is where technology comes to the rescue and enables a strategy modified by an online world.

The video below shows one way to track learning using the journal feature of Blackboard. This can only be viewed by individual students and their teacher. The journal is being used at the beginning and end of the video. I have left the Reading To Learn strategy (the middle) in for those that may be interested.


I have previously written about this here: http://www.throughtheclassroomdoor.com/an-easy-way-to-track-learning-in-a-contemporary-classroom/

But this video gives some more details about what it looks like in a Virtual Classroom.

An Easy Way to Track Learning in a Contemporary Classroom

“The three forms” by Christopher Michel is licensed under CC BY 2.0


1.Define Learning Goals in answer to the question: “What do we want students to learn?”

For this I create a Proficiency Scale, for a topic,  so that students and I can track learning within the topic’s learning sequence. This also provides both the cognitions and qualities required for success at each stage of mastery. In practice, it looks like this:

WALT/ WILF Scale Standard 4 Standard 3.5 Standard 3 Standard 2 Standard 1
Implementation and evaluation The student work has the following characteristics:

Use of a variety of complex technical skills and resources to present an efficient and effective solution:

  • Import files
  • Strokes, fills and vectors
  • Text
  • Shape tweens
  • Symbols
  • Motion tweens
  • Publishing
The student work has the following characteristics:

Use of a variety of technical skills and resources to present an efficient solution:

  • Import files
  • Strokes, fills and vectors
  • Text
  • Shape tweens
  • Symbols
The student work has the following characteristics:

Use of technical skills and resources to present a solution:

  • Import files
  • Strokes, fills and vectors
  • Text
The student work has the following characteristics:

Use of basic technical skills and resources to present a partial solution:

The student work has the following characteristics:

Use of isolated technical skills to produce an output:

The easy part is that this is lifted straight out of the syllabus and I have just added lists of content as a way of adding a quantity dimension to the descriptors. The P-10 equivalent of this are the Standards Elaborations provided by the QCAA. So, now my scale has cognition, quality and quantity. Instead of A-E, I use a 4-point scale, with a B being roughly 3.5. The reason for this is that I want to use this for formative assessment and not as a final summative grade.

2. Design Instructional Strategies in answer to the question: “How can we design learning to support student engagement and progression?”

Both engagement and progression can be achieved with Personalized Learning strategies. At the beginning of the topic I introduce students to the WALTS and WILFs and have them set goals (feedup) in their online Learning Journals (Blackboard). They do this by copying the scale and highlighting where they wish to end up. Then, as they master the skills at each level, they highlight in a different colour (feedback/feedforward), until they reach their goal. This is mostly a self-assessment, but I facilitate by conferencing with students about how they are going and give them feedback as well.

3. Assess Learning

This is the really easy part, because students have managed this for me.  Remember, differentiation is something a teacher does (monitor learning and re-design for different learner needs), while personalization is something a student does. Technology has also enabled this process of personalized formative assessment. Then, in a PLC meeting, it is easy to flip through student journals and collaboratively evaluate the effectiveness of instructional strategies and the progress of students.

Additional Strategies

The Single Point Rubric

These are useful for students to use in order to understand and demonstrate the level of mastery they have achieved and to decide if they have achieved their goal. This could also be incorporated into a portfolio reflection and could be annotated in student learning journals in the same post as their learning goal tracking process.

Single Point rubrics work by having students create three columns, with the goal in the middle and, the evidence that they have met the goal on the left and any concerns they have on the right. Remember, this is more a self-evaluation, rather than a reflection and students need to “argue their case” for mastery based on evidence from their work.