Dates and Fees

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Aims of the Assessment

ICAS Writing aims to:

  • Provide an opportunity for all students to gain a measure of their own achievement in an external assessment situation assess students ability to write an extended response to a given task
  • Recognise and reward achievement at all levels
  • Provide students, parents, teachers and schools with a comprehensive analysis of student performance

Writing Task

Two forms of writing – narrative and persuasive – are assessed in alternating years. In 2017, ICAS Writing task will assess an aspect of persuasive.

For a narrative, the task requires students to write one or two of the following aspects or stages of a narrative. These include writing:

  • the beginning of the narrative
  • the complication or event in the narrative
  • a description of the setting
  • a description of the character
  • the conclusion of the narrative

For persuasive writing, the task requires students to write a text that persuades. These include writing:

  • a review
  • an advertisement
  • a letter to a council
  • a formal argument
  • an opinion piece for a newspaper
  • a campaign manifesto


Marking criteria in the domain of Genre assess the ways in which the text has been structured and specific stylistic and vocabulary choices that have been made to achieve the writer’s purpose and engagement of the reader. The best texts will demonstrate a creative and skilful integration of structure and language choices in order to do this.

Textual Grammar

The features of Textual Grammar which are assessed include the correct use of tense and the ways in which tense can be manipulated to strengthen the writing; the correct use of pronouns, conjunctions and connectives to assist the reader in following the text; and the ability to correctly structure a variety of different types of sentences, including complex sentences, for effect.


The skill area of Syntax/Punctuation includes marking criteria which assess correct use of sentence grammar – including subject-verb agreement and the correct use of prepositions; articles and plurals; and punctuation.


Spelling assesses a student’s demonstrated ability to correctly spell words of increasing levels of complexity.

Each marking criterion can have a range of up to five scores (0-4). A score of 0 will indicate that achievement of the criterion has not been attained. Score points 1 to 4 are each described by a statement of achievement. 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.

One of the benefits of a criterion-referenced approach to assessment is its potential to provide valuable diagnostic information about each student’s strengths and weaknesses. It gives clear indications for individual student requirements and can assist teachers with diagnostic information for planning their teaching programs. Having common marking criteria for all students from Std 3 to Upper 6 also allows their achievements to be placed on a common scale when the results are reported. A common scale allows parents and teachers to track a student’s progress from year to year as well as to make comparisons with the student’s cohort and the cohort(s) in the year level(s) above and below. A mean score (average) is calculated for each year level enabling legitimate comparisons to be drawn. In addition, the full range of scores achieved by each year level is also provided.

Who can enter?

The assessment is open to all school students from Std 3 to Upper 6.

All students should sit the paper for the year in which they are currently enrolled.

If you are unsure about the appropriate paper for your students, please check out our Paper to year level equivalent or contact us for assistance.

Assessment Strucuture

Year LevelPaperForm of WritingDuration
Std 3 A Persuasive or narrative 35 minutes
Std 4 B Persuasive or narrative 35 minutes
Std 5 C Persuasive or narrative 35 minutes
Std 6 D Persuasive or narrative 35 minutes
F1 E Persuasive or narrative 35 minutes
F2 F Persuasive or narrative 35 minutes
F3 G Persuasive or narrative 35 minutes
F4 H Persuasive or narrative 35 minutes