ICAS Writing

Assess school students’ narrative and persuasive writing skills with the ICAS Writing exam​

As our primary means of communication in academic, social and professional life, writing is one of the most fundamental skills to practise and master. 

In recognition of the subject’s educational and practical importance, ICAS Writing assessments are designed to provide an objective ranking of students’ performance based on the curricula for the relevant year. Writing skills such as thoughtful planning, creativity and critical and reflective thinking are not only the keys to success in English — they are critical to communicating your ideas clearly and effectively in all subjects and areas of life.

The ICAS assessments provide a challenging medium by which I can practise skills learnt in school from an external assessment, and compare my academic performance with my peers across a broader area.
Writing student, 2021

Skills tested for ICAS Writing Years 3 to 12

ICAS Writing tests two forms of writing, narrative and persuasive, over time. Examples of persuasive tasks include reviews, advertisements, letters to a council, formal arguments (essays), opinion pieces for a newspaper, or a campaign manifesto. Examples of narrative tasks include the beginning, complication or conclusion of a narrative, or a description of setting or character.

Writing in ICAS competitions is marked on a common, criterion-referenced scale — all scripts, regardless of year level, are marked using the same criteria. The strength of the common scale is increased with the use of common tasks across year levels, making the scores that students achieve comparable with each other. This ability to make such direct comparisons can inform whole-school teaching strategies and programs.

ICAS Writing assessments are marked against criteria specific to the task and every student’s work is assessed against the same marking scheme. Up to twelve marking criteria may be used. These may be divided into domains or sections, including:

Each marking criterion has a range of scores. Each score point describes the achievement of a skill level in that criterion. For example, at a score of 3, a student will have satisfied the standards described by scores 1, 2 and 3 but will not have demonstrated the standard described by score 4. In this sense, the scoring can be seen as cumulative. The fact that each score in each criterion describes a specific skill level enables students to assess their achievement and equips parents and teachers with diagnostic information to help develop students’ learning programs.

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Ready for the ICAS Challenge ?