Educational Assessment Australia

Change in categories

The new assessment framework does not change the current range of text types or questions in ICAS. Instead, it reorganises the skills into four categories instead of five. The new categories are as follows:

  • Text Comprehension
  • Writer’s Craft
  • Syntax and
  • Vocabulary.

In general, the questions in the previous categories of Reading – Literary, Reading – Factual and Textual Devices have been reorganised into the new categories Text Comprehension and Writer’s Craft.

The details of the new categories are given below:

Text Comprehension

The category focus is on comprehension of information provided in the text as well as interpreting the information and using it to make inferences and predictions. Removing the distinction between text comprehension in literary and factual texts allows better reporting on texts which have more than one text type.

Writer’s Craft

The category focus is on the techniques, devices and choices that writers make to create an effect on the reader. This category will require knowledge of literary techniques and devices (e.g. rhyme, simile, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, pun, irony, metonymy, oxymoron) and the way writers use them for effect. In addition, questions about tone, point of view, attitude, style, genre and audience—from the writer’s, not the character’s, perspective—will also be classified in this category. Questions which ask about the purpose or effect of tense or different font types will also be classified here.


The category focus will capture knowledge of correct syntax, connectives and tense; the uses of different types of punctuation such as parentheses; and pronoun referencing.


The category focus remains unchanged and will capture vocabulary knowledge, both in terms of providing the meaning of a word or phrase, and understanding synonyms and antonyms of a word or phrase.