A TIDE towards the Future for Chatham High

Recently, I had the opportunity to represent TIDE (Taree Indigenous Development and Employment Ltd) on an Authentic Assessment interview panel at Chatham High School.

The Authentic Assessment interviews provide an opportunity for students to present two major assessment tasks to a panel of three, comprising an industry representative, a staff member and a Year 9 student. The purpose of the interviews is for students to articulate what they have learnt in their major English Assessment task, and another major assessment task from a subject of their own choosing. The opportunity to present their learning, through a presentation and interview, gives added value to, and “authenticates”, what the students have leaned.

The panel members ask each participant a series of questions to help guide the interview process, and the students are provided with feedback at the end of the interviews, in order to assist them with future learning, as well as with interview techniques.

It is an opportunity for students to show what they have learned, and how they learned, including the enjoyable aspects as well as the difficulties they encountered in the process of producing each task. The students that my panel interviewed were honest and reflective, and it was obvious that they were well prepared for their interviews. The tasks varied in nature, and included a health and exercise plan, a manual of cultural stories from a proud Biripi man, and a visual representation of the Manning Valley on a picnic table.

The experience allowed the students to reflect on their work in Year 10, and to analyse what worked this time, and what they would do differently next time. This was a particularly useful experience at this time, as the students are about to enter senior school , in which both the workload and the rigour of the work start to increase exponentially.

Chatham was one of the first schools in NSW to run this very worthwhile initiative, which gives students the opportunity to reflect on their learning throughout Year 10, and to gain much needed interview skills. I was particularly impressed by what a supportive program it was for the students, and by how the staff were so very generous in their support of all the students but, in particular, those that were a little intimidated by the experience.

With part time and casual jobs being very competitive in the Manning, it was also a really useful exercise for the students to have to dress appropriately and present themselves to the panel. For many students, their first real interview is ‘on the job’, and they can be very apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. Whilst most of the students being interviewed were initially nervous, they relaxed as they started to speak, and realised that they were actually very proud of the effort they had put in to the tasks that they were presenting. This experience can only stand these students in good stead when they have to attend an interview in the workplace, as they will now know how to prepare, and conduct themselves in front of an interview panel.

Teachers do so much to prepare our students, not only for further education, but in giving them skills for life. This exercise was a wonderful example of the staff supporting the students to achieve these real-world skills.

Sheryn Symons,


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