Design Decisions for Quality Assessment Tasks

designing quality
assessment tasks
The broader context
 Education in Australia is currently constructed through
standards and accountability curriculum frameworks.
This approach means the system provides a framework
of knowledge and skills that students need and a set of
accompanying standards. The system implements largescale testing regimes (e.g., NAPLAN) to determine if the
curriculum is being delivered consistently (properly?)
across the state/country.
 The implications of this approach for teachers is greater
emphasis on classroom-based assessment that captures
evidence of deep knowledge and deep understanding
whilst ensuring your accountability to students, parents,
schools, communities and the system.
The broader context
 Recent research has provided much better
understanding of how students learn. This has
led to a shift in focus from how/what we teach to
how students learn and assessment is integral to
Assessment represents a statement of claim
about what learning is valued, it tells students
what we think is important enough to assess. We
can capitalise on this notion by using assessment
to drive our curriculum planning and our
teaching and ultimately student learning.
Authentic assessment
The move towards more ‘authentic’ assessment tasks is not just a
response to shifts in the broader educational context.
This approach is also a reaction to the problems associated
with more traditional assessment types, such as…
Testing is more about competing than learning
The lack of alignment between pedagogy and assessment
The detrimental effects of ‘failing’ on student motivation
Furthermore, the shift towards more authentic assessment
parallels the growth of knowledge around ‘assessment for
learning’. i.e. how assessment can be used not only to
improve student outcomes but also to develop students’
understanding of how they learn, or metacognitive skills.
See the Assessment Reform Group at
Authentic assessment
 Is connected to the curriculum and to students’ everyday
lives and real world contexts
 needs to tap into students interests and be
exciting/interesting for the teaching staff
 Promotes deep knowledge and deep understanding
needs to be intellectually challenging
 Should involve teacher, student and community
may have an audience beyond the classroom
Authentic assessment
 Has flexibility to cater for and motivate different
 must be ‘accessible’ to all students i.e. transparent
criteria; media-savvy task sheets
 Encourages student performance of their learning in
optimal conditions
negotiable end-products and learning pathways
 Is transdisciplinary
 even if it is implemented within a single KLA it will
still incorporate CLOs from other KLAs
Tools for designing/analysing
assessment tasks
Design Decisions for Quality Assessment Tasks
(aka “The Placemat”, see Matters, 2005, APPENDIX 5)
NSW Quality Teaching Framework (QTF)
(similar language to SA TfEL framework but describing
how pedagogical elements should ‘look’ in assessment tasks
Backward Mapping worksheet
you will be using this template today to get you started on
your curriculum plans. However you need to create the
assessment task you consider any other aspects of teaching
this unit/topic/theme.
Aligning curriculum with pedagogy
To ensure your summative assessment task aligns with the curriculum
you need to construct the task and the marking rubric before you
plan your teaching. Here’s where applying the model for backward
mapping comes into play:
What do you value?
What’s the big idea that you want students to have a deep
understanding of?
Your answer to this question will help you to clarify the learning
‘outcomes’ you want to assess and the criteria/features you will
How do you want students to demonstrate their learning?
i.e. what assessment task will give you the evidence of the
learning you desire?
Your answer to this question will help you determine the design
parameters of the task
Clarifying the big ideas
pinpointing what you really want students to learn and
what you want to assess them on
Ways of obtaining evidence
Once you have clarified what learning you
want to assess, you need to determine the
most appropriate tool for getting evidence of
that learning
Some Examples…
Assessing the quality of your questions
You need to ensure the questions/tasks you assign
students AND the marking tool/rubric are
demanding and discriminating enough so that the
assessment instrument is fair, transparent,
educative, valid and reliable.
Designing assessment collaboratively will benefit
but there are tools to enhance the cognitive
demands of your tasks/questions, such as
e.g. Bloom’s
Using Bloom’s for designing
Cognitive Process
What learners are required
to do
Verbs to use
Retrieve knowledge
Recall, recognise, list,
define, match, describe,
select, identify
Construct meaning from
information/stimuli and
Summarise, paraphrase,
classify, interpret, infer,
deduce, discuss, explain,
revise, compare.
Apply a technique or
procedure to a given
situation (may include
determining which
technique or procedure)
Change, demonstrate,
predict, relate, show how,
solve, determine.
Using Bloom’s for designing
Cognitive Process
What learners are required
to do
Verbs to use
Separate information into
parts and determine how
they relate to each other
and the overall (bigger)
Analyse, compare and
contrast, distinguish,
examine, point out, relation,
explain, differentiate,
organise, attribute.
Make judgements based on
criteria and/or standards.
Evaluate, assess, justify,
critique, interpret,
discriminate, judge,
comment on.
Put together elements to
form a coherent whole or
reorganise elements into a
different arrangement or
Design, combine, plan,
rearrange, generate, create,
construct, reconstruct,
Knowledge taxonomies
This is another taxonomy based on the type of knowledge
we are asking learner’s to work with
Factual: knowledge of terminology/metalanguage;
specific details/facts
Conceptual: knowledge of classifications/categories;
theories/ideas, models, structures
Procedural: knowledge of subject-specific skills and
algorithms; techniques and methods; criteria used for
determining particular techniques/methods
Metacognitive: strategic knowledge; knowledge about
thinking/learning processes/tasks; knowledge about
the self
Blending cognitive processes with the
knowledge dimension
Anderson and Krathwohl, 2001 as cited in Killen, R. (2006). Programming and
assessment for quality teaching and learning. Southbank, Vic.:Thomson
Designing your task
All of the information you have been provided plus
the worksheets and tools for analysis are meant to
prompt you to consider a broad range of factors
before you create the task sheet and marking
criteria. The more factors you take into account
when designing quality assessment tasks, the more
assurance you have that your task will enable
students to demonstrate the degree/quality of their
learning…essential to meet the requirements of
standards-based assessment.

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