GOOD ASSESSMENT PRACTICE

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1 GUIDELINES FOR GOOD ASSESSMENT PRACTICE REVISED EDITION 2011

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3 GUIDELINES FOR GOOD ASSESSMENT PRACTICES The first version of this document was compiled in 2007 by the University of Tasmania Assessment Working Group, the members of which were Pam Allen, Natalie Brown, Lisa Butler, Greg Hannan, Noel Myers, Heather Monkhouse, and Jo Osborne. Its purpose was to support the implementation of criterionreferenced assessment. It was revised in 2011 by Moira Cordiner, Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, University of Tasmania. Contents What is assessment?... 1 Principles of assessment at UTAS... 1 Assessment policy and procedures at UTAS... 2 The big picture: CRA and curriculum design... 4 Benefits... 5 Assessment terminology... 8 How to implement criterion-referenced assessment How to develop criteria and achievement standards Examples of criteria sheets (rubrics) Grading using a criterion-referenced assessment approach Moderating teacher judgments... 45

4 WHAT IS ASSESSMENT? Assessment is an integral component of learning and teaching. It refers to all processes employed by academic staff to make judgments about the achievement of students in units of study and over a course of study. These processes include making decisions about what is relevant evidence for a particular purpose, how to collect and interpret the evidence and how to communicate it to intended users (students, parents, university administrators, etc) (Harlen, 2005, p207) 1. Processes include: devising assessment tasks; writing criteria sheets (rubrics) based on learning outcomes; judging students achievement on those assessment tasks; providing feedback to students; and determining grades. Refer to authentic assessment for an explanation and examples. PRINCIPLES OF ASSESSMENT AT UTAS The University of Tasmania recognises the key roles assessment plays in the learning and teaching process. To articulate the importance of assessment in this process UTAS espouses three key principles that should form the foundation of good assessment practice at all levels of our learning and teaching endeavour. Principle 1 Assessment should be seen as an integral part of the learning and teaching cycle. This principle is achieved when: there is a clear alignment between stated learning outcomes (or objectives), the learning experiences provided for students, and the assessment tasks student understanding of the assessment process is facilitated by clear explanations of the assessment tasks, how the assessment tasks relate to the learning outcomes, and the criteria and standards against which students will be assessed assessment tasks are designed to assess relevant UTAS graduate attributes as well as subject-specific criteria there is a clear progression in the assessment requirements within a unit and through the progress of a course assessment tasks assess the capacity to analyse and synthesise information and concepts, not just recall the information previously presented. Principle 2 Assessment has five key purposes and these should be considered when developing assessment tasks and learning experiences for students in a unit of study. These purposes are to: guide students development of meaningful learning inform the students of their progress inform staff on the progress of students, and the effectiveness of their teaching provide data for Schools and Faculties to: arrive at final grades for students in a unit of study make decisions on the awarding of a degree or diploma rank students for awards or progress to another level of study ensure academic quality and standards are upheld and maintained at UTAS. 1 Harlen, W. (2005). Teachers summative practices and assessment for learning tensions and synergies. The Curriculum Journal, 16(2),

5 This principle is achieved when: assessment supports student learning and tests their achievement by providing clear opportunities to demonstrate their learning and skill development assessment provides students with descriptions of their progress against stated learning outcomes, criteria and achievement assessment feedback provided to students is both detailed and constructive, returned in a timely manner, and allows students to benefit in the preparation of future assessment tasks feedback from assessment tasks (and other sources) provides clear information for staff to make judgments about students progress against the criteria and standards, and enables them to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching assessment tasks are weighted to balance the developmental ( formative ) and judgmental ( summative ) roles of assessment. That is, early low-stakes, low-weight assessment should be used to provide students with constructive feedback to improve their achievement later assessment tasks of higher weight could be used for summative assessment plagiarism in various forms is minimised through careful task design, clear explanations and education about academic integrity, and monitoring of academic honesty by academic staff. Principle 3 Assessment practices and processes must be transparent and fair. This principle is achieved when: clear criteria and achievement standards for the assessment of student work are made available to students, with the task descriptions at the beginning of the semester assessment tasks are designed to ensure there are no inherent biases that may disadvantage any student groups the anonymity of students work is maintained in the assessment process where this is possible and practical at a year level within a School, scheduling and design of assessment tasks take into considerations student workloads penalties and adjustments, such as late penalties and moderation of grades, are made consistently, and according to clearly articulated policy readily available to students at a School and University level, there are clear and published processes available to students who request their results be reviewed. Overarching Principle Underpinning these three key principles is the view that assessment at every level should be based on clearly articulated criteria, and that decisions about the grades awarded to students for units of study and pieces of assessment should be based on the attainment (or otherwise) of those criteria at stated achievement standards. This assumes a system of grading student achievement against a set of criteria rather than against a group, and that assessment grades awarded should reflect this overarching principle. ASSESSMENT POLICY AND PROCEDURES AT UTAS The current version of the University of Tasmania s assessment policy is found at This policy is supported by the assessment procedures and Faculty or School guidelines. The policy and procedures undergo cyclic review in accordance with the University s Quality Management Framework. 2

6 What is criterion referenced assessment (CRA)? Criteria-referenced assessment is the process of evaluating (and grading) the learning of students against a set of pre-specified qualities or criteria, without reference to the achievement of others (adapted from Brown, 1998 & Harvey, 2004) The pre-specified qualities or criteria are what students have to do during assessment in order to demonstrate that they have achieved the learning outcomes. How well they do this is described at different levels these are standards. Thus criterion-referenced assessment is assessment that has standards that are referenced to criteria. When teachers award a grade for a unit (subject) they judge the extent to which the evidence of learning provided by the student (in response to assessment tasks) meets each of the criteria and the described standards at a particular level (such as Distinction, Pass, etc). Criteria and standards are set out in criteria sheets (rubrics) and given to students in advance of the assessment. When CRA is implemented well, teaching, learning and assessment is aligned and judgments about students achievements are more valid and reliable. Brown, S. (1998). Criterion-referenced assessment: what role for research. In Black, H. & Dockerell, W. New Developments in Educational Assessment. British Journal of Educational Psychology, Monograph Series No. 3, Harvey, L. (2004). Analytic Quality Glossary. Accessed 8 October, 2008 from 3

7 THE BIG PICTURE: CRA AND CURRICULUM DESIGN The common thread diagram is a way of visualising what CRA is about. It is much more than writing learning outcomes and criteria sheets. Implementing CRA involves a holistic approach to curriculum design (the big picture) so that all aspects are connected or aligned (as illustrated by the arrows). Note that central to this diagram are learning and teaching strategies and activities that help students achieve the learning outcomes. Note also that improving curriculum design results in improving the judgments made about student achievement. Refer to a narrated animation of this diagram. 4

8 BENEFITS Implementing criterion-referenced assessment achieves fundamental benefits for all students and staff. These include: evaluating students achievement against standards and criteria, in the absence of comparisons with other students, ensures we maintain standards within and between years ensuring that students earn grades for the quality of their work alone, without reference to the work of others (i.e. replacing normative referencing with criterion-referencing) or students past achievements clearly articulating the criteria and standards used to judge the quality of students work guiding and enhancing students focus on the task of learning providing detailed guidance on how and on what bases students will earn particular grades for their work providing students with enhanced opportunities to accept increasing levels of responsibility for their learning increasing transparency in assigning the grades that students earn for their work improving students learning outcomes enhancing alignment between the development of graduate attributes at the course (degree) level with unit learning outcomes. The benefits of improving assessment practices occur at several levels. Students Through clearly articulating our academic expectations, students will invest more time working towards achieving precisely the learning outcomes we design. 1. Expectations are clearer By designing tasks well, students will understand more clearly the things they need to do and the approaches they need to adopt to do the task. When these tasks are accompanied by well-constructed criteria sheets and students are taught how to use them to make judgments, you remove the mystique about assessment. Thus expectations are clear in both tasks and criteria sheets. You are feeding forward your expectations so when students receive a particular grade, they can understand the reasons for it because you can refer them to the criteria sheet. The sheet thus acts as a feedback mechanism. Through enhancing feedback on formative and summative assessment tasks we ensure students understanding aligns with expectations of the discipline. 2. Students have more control over own learning. When students are taught how to use criteria sheets to respond to assessment tasks and judge the quality of their own work, this helps them to become more self-evaluative. It also means that students can choose what standard to grades to aim for and how to improve or refine their subsequent work. 3. Students are more satisfied about assessment practices. If students are unsure what they are aiming for and how their work will be judged, they can become dissatisfied when their efforts seem unrewarded. CRA, when correctly implemented, reduces the incidence of student complaint and requests for clarification and/or re-marking/grading. 4. There is improved comparability within and across Faculties By aligning expectations within and across Faculties, and ensuring that markers have practice in making judgments of student work, comparability is improved. This reduces student dissatisfaction and feelings of unfairness and leads to degrees that are more cohesively organized. For students studying across Faculties, aligning expectations improves consistency in assessment approaches across the university. 5

9 Teaching staff Implementing CRA involves improving curriculum design to guide learners and learning more effectively. 1. It is an opportunity to improve assessment practices by: developing a shared language about assessment between students and teachers/assessors identifying what is valued in a curriculum and ensure it is reflected consistently through course outcomes to unit outcomes to criteria and standards making more explicit to students and to teachers/assessors what evidence of achievement is expected for each of five standards through well written criteria sheets (rubrics) (FEEDFORWARD) improving the reliability and validity of judgments about student work leading to: improved comparability between assessors and fewer moderation problems effective FEEDBACK to students about the quality of their work and what they need to do to improve future results fewer challenges about marks/grades from students because judgments are transparent and defensible evaluating how well the learning outcomes of units have been achieved by students and revealing practices in teaching, learning and assessment that may need review. 2. Share your own good teaching, learning and assessment practices within your schools/ faculties and the whole university via: running and co-facilitating workshops and seminars about CRA in your schools/faculties showcasing the work schools/faculties are doing during implementation via: websites (school/faculty and the CALT university CRA site) conference presentations publishing papers from your experiences about implementing CRA and being immersed in the scholarship of learning and teaching. 3. Your workloads may increase initially but this will taper off as your skills evolve. We acknowledge that workloads may increase because it takes time to perfect existing skills and perhaps learn new ones, such as revising learning outcomes, assessment tasks, writing criteria and standards. When implementing CRA, you can manage this addition to your workload by not writing wordy criteria sheets that have multiple elements per criterion and many that look like excessively long checklists. Your skills in identifying and writing criteria and standards will evolve over time, and thus your initial workload will taper off as you become proficient. Your students will appreciate not having to read and deconstruct excessively wordy criteria sheets, and being made aware of what they need to demonstrate to achieve a particular standard. Implementing CRA does not mean that the amount of feedback you provide students increases. Well-written provide feedback in contrast to only providing a mark/grade. You may also wish to supplement this feedback with additional written comments - this will depend on the assessment tasks and your own practices. 4. You may feel that your beliefs about assessment are confirmed, challenged or confronted by the notion of CRA. If you agree that CRA will improve teaching, learning and assessment then you will support its implementation in your faculty. If you feel challenged or confronted, you may feel uncomfortable about implementing it. While there is extensive research that says that using CRA improves students' understanding about and responses to tasks, this evidence is not necessarily going to change your own beliefs. In implementing CRA, you can operate as an action researcher and evaluate your own students' reactions. You will only know how it works when you experience it for yourself. 6

10 Student Services staff Improved understanding of learning outcomes and expectations in criteria sheets assists staff to mentor and guide the enhancement of students skills and approaches so that they may effectively meet assessment requirements. Reference Librarians Enhanced understandings of learning outcomes and assessment requirements improves reference librarians capacity to guide learners to identify, locate, synthesise and integrate more relevant information. Comments from teaching staff about implementing CRA Constructing rubrics (criteria sheets) is challenging in the sense that it really makes you rethink your criteria, assessment description and learning outcomes. As a result of the rubric we found we needed to make a few changes and revisions to our unit outline to improve transparency of information and to further facilitate constructive alignment. The advantage of the rubric is it provides clear and specific feedback to students. This has worked so well for us that this recent semester we have released marks/rubrics back to students and have received minimal communication from students questioning their result. John Cooper, School of Nursing & Midwifery, 27/6/11 Your criteria sheet probably should be revisited from semester to semester. It is not done and finished for years to come. You have to look at it in the light of student results. Susan Salter, Human Life Sciences, interview 3/6/09 Judging quality is not something that is easy to put into words, so people are suspicious about losing the ability to make a call on that. (Before criteria sheets), students would have absolutely no insight into why they got a result. Year 11 and 12 students have been using these (sheets) for years now. We are the ones who are unfamiliar with them. (I have found) that it is easier to give feedback with a well designed criteria sheet. I have found the whole process (of implementing CRA and helping staff) has been really good for my teaching. I am doing things in a more adventurous way because I could figure out ways to assess and manage a framework (CRA) for it to happen. Dr Bill Hart, School of Art, interview 31/3/10 We have to pay the graduate attributes far more attention and that has to flow on through the learning outcomes, the assessment tasks and the criteria sheets so it is all aligned. By doing that, you are reflecting on what it is the students are going to gain from doing your unit, and this makes you reflect upon your teaching practices, what it is that you are focussing on within the unit, and how you unit aligns with units in the years before or after. The criteria sheet formalises what we do anyway, so it is not a big jump into the unknown. It s just down on paper rather than being in our heads. The biggest drawback (using criteria sheets) is when they are too complicated and the language is unintelligible. Jane Pittaway, Human Life Sciences, interview 26/8/09 Derek Choi-Lundberg and I have been very pleased with the responses from students after introducing the criteria sheet for CAM102 CBL case task presentations. Dr Marianne Catchpole, Medicine, 14/1/11 7

11 ASSESSMENT TERMINOLOGY The literature and language of assessment in education is both expansive and confusing, with many terms used interchangeably and inconsistently. To assist the reader a glossary and description of key terminology is provided. Criterion-referenced assessment (CRA) Criterion-referenced assessment is the process of evaluating (and grading) the learning of students against a set of pre-specified qualities or criteria, without reference to the achievement of others in the cohort or group. For each of the criteria, standards are described for each level of achievement (UTAS has five: High Distinction, Distinction, Credit, Pass and Fail). When a grade is assigned, it is assigned on the basis of the standard the student has achieved on each of the criteria. Another term often used to mean the same as criterion-referenced assessment is criteria-based assessment, e.g. the Queensland system of assessment in secondary schools uses this term. In some literature however, this latter term is not synonymous with CRA. Competency-based Assessment (CBA) This vocational education term is where criteria and performance indicators are used to arrive at a judgment that the student has achieved competency at a specified skill, that is, they are either competent or not competent. Thus there is one standard (competent) not five (as at UTAS). However, some vocational institutions and accrediting authorities now define and describe achievement of levels of competency from basic to highly skilled (i.e. more than one standard). This process is similar to what CRA involves. Norm-referenced Assessment (NRA) Norm-referenced assessment determines student achievement (grades) based on a position within a cohort of students the norm group. Therefore, depending on the cohort a student is in, they may be awarded a higher or lower grade. Applying NRA usually involves use of standard scores or pre-set grade distributions. These are essentially formulas that set out the numbers of student that are allowed to be awarded each grade, so that a normal distribution results. This takes the form of a bell curve. While academic staff may use some criteria, against which to judge student achievement, NRA does not use explicitly described standards. In contrast, using a CRA approach is a major shift in thinking and a major change in how grading is conducted. It also means that the grade distribution (of students awarded each grade) each year is not fixed either in a unit or degree, because each cohort is not consistent in the variations of their abilities. There may be years when the cohort is not particularly capable, therefore few or no HD grades will be awarded because students did not meet the criteria and standards. This means that the standard of units and degrees is maintained only those students who meet the criteria and standards are awarded the grades. Formative Assessment (FA) The purpose of assessment tasks that are described as formative is to provide students with feedback to enable them to improve achievement on current or subsequent tasks. That is, formative assessment is a way of assessing students learning as it is forming or developing (Biggs, 2003), hence the word formative. This type of assessment serves a diagnostic purpose for both students and teachers. Students receive feedback that they can use to improve their achievement in tasks, or other aspects of their engagement in the unit such as study techniques or research strategies. When teaching staff receive feedback on the quality of students learning, they can modify their approaches to provide enrichment or remedial activities to more effectively guide learners. An assessment task that is formative may be given a grade that may contribute to the final grade in a unit of study. Many assessment tasks serve both formative and summative purposes (Harris et al., 2007) 2. Teachers can conduct formative assessment at any point in a unit of study. 2 Harris, K-L., Krause, K., Gleeson, D., Peat, M., Taylor, C. & Garnett, R. (2007). Enhancing Assessment in the Biological Sciences: ideas and resources for university educators. Accessed 16 December 2009 from 8

12 Summative Assessment (SA) The purpose of assessment tasks that are described as summative is to provide students with a grade for a task and this grade contributes to the final overall grade or level for the unit. This overall grade is the summary of their achievements (Harlen, 2005, p5), hence the use of the word summative. SA judges the quality of students learning and assigns a grade to that students work based on how effectively learners have met the criteria and achievement standards. A particular assessment task can be both formative and summative. For example, a student could complete Module 1 of their unit and complete an assessment task for which they earned a grade that counted towards the final grade for the unit. In this sense, the task is summative. They could also receive extensive feedback on their work. This feedback would guide learners to achieve higher levels of achievement in subsequent tasks. In this sense, the task is formative because it helps students to form different approaches and strategies to improve their achievement in the future. FA and SA are similar in that they both involve judging student achievement at a point in time based on what we expect it should be. The difference is that FA and SA have different purposes, and with SA, the judgment is final (Biggs, 2003, p142) 3. Learning Outcomes The term learning outcome has been adopted by UTAS to convey to students how the intentions of the unit will be realized in clear statements in unit outlines. In broad terms, learning outcomes are what students should know and be able to do, and/or value at the completion of a unit of study. Effective learning outcomes (or objectives) are important for staff because they: direct what content (knowledge and skills) should be taught and what students should learn determine what teaching strategies and learning experiences are needed to help students learn direct what needs to be assessed are used to develop criteria for assessment tasks to judge what students know and can do as a result of their learning contextualise selected University generic graduate attributes for the discipline and year level of the unit inform evaluation of the unit. Effective learning outcomes are important for students because they provide them with a: framework to guide and focus their studies discipline-specific set of statements that align with and contextualise the graduate attributes at course and/or university level. In this document the term achievement standards (see below) is used to describe the level at which students are expected to achieve the learning outcomes in order to attain certain grades. Learning outcomes are not simply statements that describe the content of the unit, nor are they statements of what the lecturer intends to do. For explanations with examples, see How to write learning outcomes- an introduction. Assessment criteria A criterion (singular; plural is criteria) is a property, dimension or characteristic by which a student s achievement is judged or appraised. It is what students have to do during assessment tasks in order to demonstrate that they have achieved the learning outcomes. Criteria should be clearly based on the learning outcomes in a unit outline. Achievement standards An achievement standard is a clearly written description of the level of achievement that acts as a stable reference point for the purposes of reaching a decision on the quality of a student s work. These standards indicate how well a student has to achieve in relation to a grading scale. They comprise standards matched to criteria. Refer to the diagram of the components of a criteria sheet. Some definitions use the term 3 Biggs, J. (2003). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. 2nd edition. The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press. Maidenhead, Berkshire 9

13 performance standards. The word performance is used to mean achievement but can be confusing to students as it has connotations of performance to an audience as in the Arts. Refer to How to set criteria and achievement standards in this document for examples of achievement standards in the form of criteria sheets, selected from the Assessment website. Standards or are individual statements describing the quality of the student's response to assessment tasks for each criterion that is, they describe how well a student has to achieve to meet the standard for a particular grade to be awarded. Several together form an achievement standard for each grade (or level of achievement) - see above. These descriptions outline what is typically expected for each standard, not the minimum standard. Descriptors are components of criteria sheets or rubrics. Refer to the diagram of the components of a criteria sheet. Level of achievement or grading scale Levels of achievement or grades may be labelled differently depending on the university, e.g. UTAS uses High Distinction, Distinction, Credit, Pass, Fail; University of Queensland uses 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Others use A, B, C, etc. or 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. UTAS has four passing standards and one failing standard. For each level, standards are described that are matched against assessment criteria in a criteria sheet (or rubric or matrix). Refer to the diagram of the components of a criteria sheet. Criteria sheets or rubrics A criteria sheet is a tool/device/mechanism for providing comprehensive feedforward in advance to students about expectations to meet particular standards, and feedback about student achievement on individual assessment tasks from an assessor. A criteria sheet is also referred to as a rubric or grading rubric, standards matrix or schema. It comprises criteria and matched to levels of achievement or grading scale (High Distinction, Distinction, Credit, Pass, Fail) presented in a format such as a table or matrix (see below). Not only can a criteria sheet be used to grade an individual assessment task, but it can be used as a decision tool for grades in a whole unit of study. Refer to the diagram of the components of a criteria sheet and to examples of criteria sheets or rubrics. 10

14 Components of a criteria sheet Five levels of achievement or grading scale criteria criterion 1 criterion 2 criterion 3 High Distinction (HD) Distinction (DN) Credit (CR) Pass (PP) Fail (NN) descriptor descriptor descriptor descriptor descriptor descriptor descriptor descriptor descriptor descriptor descriptor descriptor descriptor These together comprise the achievement standard required for a DN level of achievement or grade Criteria indicate qualities: what students have to do to demonstrate that they have achieved the learning outcomes, e.g. realise a design brief; analyse data; perform in an ensemble, work in a team; demonstrate laboratory skills; present to an audience; adhere to conventions A descriptor clearly describes the typical evidence required in the student s response for a criterion at a particular standard. For example, for the criterion demonstrate knowledge of models of nursing care, the descriptor for the Pass standard might be: you demonstrated partial knowledge of models of nursing care by: outlining aspects of the two models of nursing care identifying some differences between them 11

15 HOW TO IMPLEMENT CRITERION-REFERENCED ASSESSMENT For a brief overview of how to implement CRA from course (degree) to unit, refer to the Assessment website which goes into more detail about implementation of CRA principles at unit level (see also the previous section on The big picture: CRA and curriculum design ). Unit Design The process of constructively aligning teaching, learning and assessment (curriculum) relies on interactive feedback loops: feedback from the students to us in the form of their responses to our assessment tasks or evaluation instruments such as SETL; and our feedback to the students on how they could learn even more effectively. Each of these feedback loops is illustrated in Figure 1. Setting clear outcomes for learning is the first stage of this process. These outcomes will take into account the relevant generic graduate attributes as well as subject specific attributes. A B 1 C 2 D E 3 Figure 1: The learning environment featuring the factors that influence curriculum design decisions. 12

16 Creating the learning, teaching and assessment strategies for a unit comprises four distinct phases: 1. Identify the learning outcomes. 2. Design the assessment tasks. 3. Plan the learning experiences and teaching methods. 4. Choose the content. 1. Identify the learning outcomes. Where do we want the students to be at the end of the learning process? The learning outcomes take into consideration the graduate attributes at a university and discipline specific level. Once the outcomes have been identified, assessment tasks can be planned to ascertain how well students have achieved these outcomes. 2. Design the assessment tasks. How can we design assessment tasks to allow the students to demonstrate they have achieved (or are developing towards achieving) the learning outcomes? Design assessment tasks that take into consideration the graduate attributes at a university and discipline specific level and require students to demonstrate what they know and can do to achieve the learning outcomes. The pathway of developing assessment tasks typically involves the following steps: identify learning outcomes for the unit design assessment tasks based on learning outcomes create task-specific criteria that align with the selected learning outcomes* develop achievement standards for each criterion against which the students work will be assessed (in the form of a criteria sheet or rubric) construct overall achievement standards to arrive at a grade for the assessment task *Example of task-specific criteria developed from learning outcomes learning outcomes for 3 rd year Microbiology unit On completion of the unit, you should: 1. Demonstrate and apply: laboratory skills (detection, isolation, drawing and identification) for the diagnosis of these diseases knowledge of the fungal and parasitic disease processes in humans, their pathology, and implications for patient health 2. Analyse and interpret clinical situations to propose hypotheses that determine the strategy for data gathering. 3. Justify the diagnosis of fungal and parasitic diseases task specific criteria for written brochure To complete the task, you should: 1. Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the two selected medically-important fungal or parasitic organisms in humans (part of learning outcome 1) 2. Analyse, interpret and justify the use of particular diagnostic methods for the detection, isolation and identification of the two selected disease causing organisms (combines learning outcomes 2 and 3) 13

17 Timing of assessment tasks Consider also consider the timing of the assessment tasks. Setting a minor or low stakes (but required) assessment task early in the semester serves the dual purpose of early engagement of students with unit content, and the identification of those who require academic enrichment or additional assistance with their learning development 3. Plan the learning experiences and teaching methods. Plan ways to teach students that model and guide their thinking and developing understanding of the knowledge, processes and skills that are necessary to fulfil the requirements of the assessment tasks. Plan learning experiences that stimulate and engage students and help them achieve the learning outcomes. 4. Choose the content. Choose the disciplinary content necessary for students to construct, demonstrate and apply their knowledge required in the assessment tasks. Thinking about learning and learners Learning is a developmental process and we need to ensure there is opportunity for students to monitor and receive feedback on their learning. Learning and assessment tasks should increase in complexity to reflect developing understanding over the duration of the unit. Reviewing whether students actual learning outcomes match the intended learning outcomes provides valuable data that can be used to improve the unit. This data can be used to evaluate: the success or otherwise of the learning experiences whether the intended learning outcomes were achievable by students and were at the right level of challenge whether the assessment tasks gave students the opportunity to demonstrate what they know and can do. 14

18 HOW TO DEVELOP CRITERIA AND ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS Best practice in writing criteria sheets (rubrics) A criteria sheet describes the evidence you expect in students responses to assessment tasks at each standard or level. This evidence can be about the process that students use, the product they create/produce during the process or both the process and the product (note that process here can be singular or plural depending on the discipline and task). A well developed criteria sheet has the following characteristics: it has five standards - four passing grades and one failing grade the standards are HD, DN, CR, PP, NN. Not, for example, novice to expert, extremely competent to inept, A E or 100% - 0%. the standards are concise verbal descriptions not single words, such as excellent and are not excessively negative at the lower standards (see Write, step 5, part 4) the middle of each standard is what is described - that is, the typical HD, the typical NN not the minimum of each range it is about one to two pages in length the layout is in a readable font and uncluttered only the important expected features in the student response at each standard are described, not the minutiae. Developing and re-developing criteria sheets with well-written standards, is a part of professional reflective practice. Please be reassured that no criteria sheet is ever 'perfect' - there will always be assessors or students who interpret them differently despite your best efforts. With practice, you will improve the clarity of your criteria sheets and take less time to construct them. Students need practice using the sheets to grade examples of responses to assessment tasks so that can develop self evaluative expertise. For step by step practical advice, examples of, and a suggested template, refer to the following on the Assessment website: 1. How do I write criteria sheets?. 2. Examples of criteria sheets organised by assessment task types. A small selection has been provided in this document. 15

19 EXAMPLES OF CRITERIA SHEETS (RUBRICS) The examples provided are set out with a cover sheet that is written for academics who may be considering some of the ideas in the sheet as starting points and sources of ideas in developing their own criteria sheets. This page is not for students. The cover sheet provides a list of authors, some information about how the sheet was developed and a table showing how the criteria for the task are related to and developed from the learning outcomes. Ideally, the criteria should be explicitly related to the learning outcomes and share some wording. Note that not all outcomes need to be assessed in a task (see example 4), and that criteria can be developed from an amalgamation of learning outcomes (see example 5). Examples are: 1. First year units: Aboriginal Studies: generic argumentative essay 2. Third year Science unit LSB658 Clinical Physiology: exam (extended answer questions) 3. Graduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning unit: ELT502 Enhancing Professional Practice: reflective essay 4. First year unit: KRA161 Chemistry for Life Sciences: poster 5. Second year Theatre unit: FPB203 Devised performance: devising and performing a performance text 16

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21 Example 1 First year units: Aboriginal Studies: generic argumentative essay Developed by Dr Kristyn Harman, Moira Cordiner and Pauline Marsh This criteria sheet is a generic one for all year one units in Aboriginal studies. Synopsis of the task and its context Each student selects from a series of topics and prepares essays in these first year units, ranging from 1000 to 1500 words (weighting 35%). Each topic is usually a short statement, comment or observation from a cited source that requires interpretation based on application of knowledge. Students are required to take a position on their chosen topic by presenting an argument supported by evidence. The table below is an example of how the outcomes for one first year unit (HAB103 Colonised land: Indigenous Australian history) have been matched to the generic essay criteria. Match between learning outcomes and criteria for the task Learning outcomes (from HAB103) revised 1. Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the following: complexity and diversity of Australian Indigenous societies and cultures; key debates in the generation and interpretation of knowledge about Indigenous cultures and societies; and contact history since 1788, past government policies, and Aboriginal responses. 2. Take a position on straightforward topics, and defend the position by presenting an argument from one perspective, supported by evidence. 3. Communicate in academic writing: structure of essay adhere to conventions of written English (word choice, grammar, punctuation and spelling) acknowledge sources and adhere to referencing conventions as per Riawunna Style Guide adhere to presentation requirements & word limit Task specific criteria 1. Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the topic 2. Take a position on a given topic, and defend the position by presenting an argument from one perspective, supported by evidence. 3. Communicate in academic writing: structure of essay adhere to conventions of written English (word choice, grammar, punctuation and spelling) acknowledge sources and adhere to referencing conventions as per Riawunna Style Guide adhere to presentation requirements & word limit 18

22 HAB103 Assignment Two Criteria HD DN CR PP NN Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the topic In your essay you: In your essay you: In your essay you: In your essay you: You: demonstrated and astutely applied comprehensive knowledge of the topic by: demonstrated and applied comprehensive knowledge of the topic by: demonstrated and applied knowledge of the topic by: demonstrated and partially applied knowledge of the topic by: wrote generally about the topic rather than interpreting it correctly interpreting the question briefly introducing the topic by placing it in a relevant wider context (the big picture) identifying the key issues or implications identifying the key issues or implications identifying the key issues or implications briefly introducing the topic identifying some of the key issues or implications explaining these in detail to reveal that you: explaining these in some detail to reveal that you: explaining these to reveal that you: partly explaining these to reveal that you: read widely beyond the unit reader read beyond the unit reader read beyond the unit reader did some reading beyond the unit reader made a judicious selection of relevant material made a mostly judicious selection of relevant material selected relevant material selected some relevant material can apply relevant theories or debates to the topic are familiar with relevant theories or debates where applicable, taking into account different perspectives on the topic mentioned some relevant theories or debates Take a position on a topic, and defend the position by presenting an argument, supported by evidence from: your unit reader scholarly sources other relevant sources took a position on the topic and explicitly stated how you are going to argue it objectively and insightfully objectively defended the defended the position position through: through: presenting a compelling presenting a convincing argument by: argument by: integrating valid points linking them explicitly to features of the argument strongly supporting these points with a thorough analysis of a range of evidence from relevant sources integrating valid points and mostly linking them explicitly to features of the argument supporting these points with an analysis of a range of evidence from relevant sources took a position that had to be inferred by the reader, rather than stating it explicitly objectively defended the mostly objectively defended position through: your position through: presenting an argument by: making valid points and tenuously linking some of them to features of the argument supporting these points with some analysis of evidence from relevant sources presenting an argument by: making valid points mostly supporting these points with evidence from relevant sources presented material loosely related to the topic rather than taking a position, and relied heavily on unit reader and/or lecture notes highlighting interrelationships between these points 19

23 Criteria HD DN CR PP NN Communicate in academic writing: persuasively and effectively communicated by: effectively communicated by: communicated by: communicated by: communicated by: structure the essay adhere to conventions of written English (word choice, grammar, punctuation and spelling) acknowledge sources and adhere to referencing conventions as per Riawunna Style Guide adhere to presentation requirements & word limit logically structuring the content to create a concise and cohesive essay expressing your ideas clearly and fluently by skilful use of vocabulary expressing your ideas clearly and mostly with fluency presenting a balanced mostly presenting a proportion of argument, balanced proportion of analysis and evidence argument, analysis and evidence using formal academic language and dispassionate tone consistently adhering to the conventions of English with few or no errors structuring the content to create a mostly cohesive essay expressing most ideas clearly and with some fluency partially structuring the content into loosely-linked rudimentary paragraphs presenting most ideas clearly adhering to most of the conventions of English partially structuring the content used occasional informal and/or emotive language used some conventions of English such that meaning had to be inferred by the reader acknowledging all sources throughout the essay acknowledging most sources throughout the essay mentioning some sources accurately adhering to most of the required referencing conventions, in both the text and the reference list adhering to most of the required referencing conventions, in both the text and the reference list using own style of referencing or omitting references Comments and grade: adhering to the word limit and presentation requirements adhering to the word limit and most presentation requirements adhering to some presentation requirements 20

24 Example 2 Third year Science unit LSB658 Clinical Physiology: exam (extended answer questions) Developed by Moira Cordiner in consultation with Dr Catherine Dallemagne At QUT, this is a core unit for many health science degrees and is taken by students who are going to study medicine as a post-graduate degree. Synopsis of the task and its context In tutorials, students are given practice in interpreting and analysing specified clinical case histories. The case histories provide the symptoms and diagnosis of the patient s condition, together with other data and information such as clinical tests. In the exam, as in the tutorials, students apply their knowledge of clinical physiology to interpret and analyse different case histories. They then present arguments that account for given and alternative diagnoses. This requires integrating relevant knowledge of the interrelationships between structure, function and dysfunction with the significant aspects of the given data and information. This criteria sheet is for both the end semester and mid semester exams, with marking a little more lenient in the mid-semester exam. The sheet is not for the multiple choice questions in these two exams. Match between the learning outcomes/objectives and the criteria for the task Learning outcomes (revised) 1. demonstrate and apply knowledge of the interrelationships between anatomy (structure), physiology (function) and pathophysiological mechanisms (dysfunction) and their treatment Task-specific criteria 1. demonstrate and apply knowledge of the interrelationships between anatomy (structure), physiology (function) and pathophysiological mechanisms (dysfunction) and their treatment 2. interpret and analyse data and information about clinical case histories 2. interpret and analyse data and information about clinical case histories 3. present arguments that account for given and alternative diagnoses 3. present arguments that account for given and alternative diagnoses Interpreting the criteria sheet. Note that two are the same for the Distinction and Credit standards. This is because, in Catherine s extensive experience, there is little discernible difference between the achievement of the typical DN and CR students in these two areas. That is, in the demonstration and application of knowledge, and its integration with the significant aspects of the given data and information (in the questions). The other reveal the differentiation between the DN and CR students. 21

25 criteria HD (High Distinction) DN (Distinction) CR (Credit) PP (passing grade) NN (fail) demonstrate and apply knowledge of the interrelationships between anatomy (structure), physiology (function) and pathophysiological mechanisms (dysfunction) and their treatment you have: you have: you have: you have: you have: demonstrated and applied thorough and accurate knowledge of the interrelationships between anatomy, physiology and pathophysiological mechanisms and their treatment demonstrated and applied mostly accurate knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiological mechanisms and their treatment demonstrated and partially applied mostly accurate knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiological mechanisms and their treatment demonstrated fragmentary knowledge of anatomy and/or, physiology, and/or pathophysiological mechanisms and their treatment Weighting 1/3 interpret and analyse data and information about clinical case histories correctly interpreted and analysed all data and information given for clinical case histories correctly interpreted and analysed nearly all of the data and information given for clinical case histories correctly interpreted and analysed at least half of data and information given for clinical case histories for the most part, correctly interpreted and analysed at least half of data and information given for clinical case histories restated some data and information given for clinical case histories rather than interpreted and analysed it Weighting 1/3 present arguments that account for given and alternative diagnoses. presented clear and logical arguments to justify the given diagnosis of each case history by: presented clear and mostly logical arguments to justify the given diagnosis of each case history by: presented clear arguments to justify the given diagnosis of at least half of the case histories by: presented arguments to justify the given diagnosis of some of the case histories by: presented information much of which was extraneous and loosely linked to the diagnoses Weighting 1/3 integrating relevant knowledge with the significant aspects of the given data and information contrasting all alternative diagnoses integrating relevant knowledge with the significant aspects of the given data and information contrasting alternative diagnoses focused mainly on the given diagnoses occasionally integrating some relevant knowledge with most of the significant aspects of the given data and information, and perhaps with the addition of some extraneous information focused mainly on the given diagnoses 22

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27 Example 3 Graduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning unit: ELT502 Enhancing Professional Practice: reflective essay Developed by Dr Sharon Thomas and Moira Cordiner Synopsis of the task and its context This is the first task in the unit. It is a 3000 word reflective essay, written in the first person and weighted 50%. Students are required to engage in a process of peer observation with one or two of their peers, and document their personal experiences in a descriptive and reflective journal. These experiences are as a peer observer and as someone being observed. This journal forms a database of evidence that is used first to describe the process they undertook, and then to analyse and evaluate it to draw out themes and relationships between these themes. The journal is not submitted for assessment. Once the description and the analysis have been completed, students use these to critically reflect on the impact of the process on their thinking about learning and teaching. The purpose of this is to make them aware of their strengths and limitations, their openness (or otherwise) to having convictions challenged and hence help them devise a course of action for future learning and teaching practice. Research literature as well as the journal is to inform and be used as evidence to justify analyses, evaluations and reflections. Match between learning outcomes/objectives and criteria for the task Learning outcomes (revised) On completion of this unit, you should be able to: 2. engage in a process of peer observation to enhance your professional practice 3. design, implement and evaluate different assessment strategies 1. demonstrate the qualities of a reflective practitioner by critically reflecting on the assumptions that underpin professional practice new task-specific criteria To complete this task, you are to: 1. engage in a process of peer observation by: designing and implementing the process of peer observation from the perspectives of the: observer person being observed analysing and evaluating the data from your journal 2. demonstrate the qualities of a reflective practitioner by: critically reflecting on the impact of the peer observation process on your thinking about teaching and learning supporting your reflection with evidence (experiential and literature based) communicate in academic writing: expression and English conventions (spelling, punctuation, grammar) use of literature APA referencing of literature sources 24

28 Student name Task: A personal account of the peer observation process weighting 50 % criteria HD DN CR PP 1. engage in a process of peer observation by: designing and implementing the process of peer observation from the perspectives of the: observer person being observed analysing and evaluating the data from your journal Weighting 30% In your personal account, you: In your personal account, you: In your personal account, you: In your personal account, you: provided a detailed, and systematic description of the design process that: provided a detailed description of the design process that: included all the stages focussed on your context and perspective as well as being sensitive to and respectful of your peer s context and perspective thoroughly and insightfully analysed and evaluated a balanced selection of raw data from your journal to: identify emerging personal and professional themes explain the relationships between these themes support these themes and relationships with relevant and convincing evidence thoroughly analysed and evaluated a mostly balanced selection of raw data from your journal to: support these themes and relationships with relevant evidence provided a detailed description of the design process that: included most of the stages was primarily focussed on your context and perspective analysed and evaluated a selection of raw data from your journal to: identify emerging professional and some personal themes explain some of the relationships between these themes support these themes and relationships with mostly relevant evidence provided a brief description of the design process that: included some of the stages was focussed only on your context and perspective partially analysed and evaluated a selection of raw data from your journal to: identify some emerging professional themes make general statements about relationships between these themes support these themes with some relevant evidence 2. demonstrate the qualities of a reflective practitioner by: critically reflecting on the impact of the peer observation process on your thinking about teaching and learning supporting your reflection with evidence (experiential and literature- based) Weighting 60% critically reflected on the impact of the peer observation process by: recognising the strengths and limitations of your and others understanding of teaching and learning questioning your convictions with integrity and open-mindedness by: revealing how receptive you are to feedback or criticism and suggesting why this may be the case using relevant and convincing evidence to challenge your practice, habits, and beliefs questioning your convictions with open-mindedness by: revealing how receptive you are to feedback or criticism using relevant evidence to challenge your practice, habits, and beliefs recognising the strengths and limitations of your understanding of teaching and learning questioning your convictions by: revealing how reactive you are to feedback or criticism using relevant evidence to challenge your practice, habits, and beliefs reflected on the impact of the peer observation process by: stating whether it affirmed or challenged your current practice in teaching and learning confirming your convictions by: justifying your reaction to your peer s feedback or criticism reiterating why your practice, habits, and beliefs do not need to be challenged comprehensively explaining and illustrating how personal histories and institutional environment can affect professional practice explaining and illustrating how personal histories and institutional requirements can affect professional practice explaining how personal histories and institutional requirements can affect professional practice implying how personal histories and institutional requirements can affect professional practice by describing your context 25

29 Task: A personal account of the peer observation process weighting 50 % criteria HD DN CR PP In your personal account, you: In your personal account, you: In your personal account, you: In your personal account, you: proposing a realistic course of action for your future practice, by perceptively applying what you have learned from the peer observation process proposing a realistic course of action for your future practice, by applying what you have learned from the peer observation process making some suggestions about your future practice by applying aspects of what you have learned from the peer observation process outlining what you had learned from the peer observation process so that the reader had to infer your intentions for future practice supported your reflection with evidence by: stating and justifying a position on the peer observation process in general by: justifying a position on the peer observation process in general by: implying a position on the peer observation process in general by: referring in detail to the benefits, limitations and complexities of the peer observation process referring to the benefits, limitations and some of the complexities of the peer observation process referring to the benefits and limitations of the peer observation process mentioning either the benefits or the limitations of the peer observation process comparing your experience to the research literature (including discipline-specific) comparing your experience to the research literature comparing your experience to the research literature 3. communicate in academic writing: expression and English conventions (spelling, punctuation, grammar) use of literature APA referencing of literature sources Weighting 10% consistently communicated in fluent academic writing by: predominantly communicated in fluent academic writing by: using coherent, concise and cohesive expression by adhering to English conventions integrating a range of relevant, scholarly literature (generic and discipline-specific) to support justification of your views integrating a range of relevant, scholarly literature to support justification of your views communicated in fluent academic writing by: integrating relevant scholarly literature to support justification of your views communicated in academic writing by: using coherent and partly cohesive expression by adhering to English conventions used some scholarly literature to support justification of your views accurately referencing all sources using the APA convention accurately referencing most sources using the APA convention Comments: Grade: 26

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31 Example 4 First year unit: KRA161: Chemistry for Life Sciences: poster Developed by Susan Turland and Moira Cordiner This unit is for students with no previous knowledge of Chemistry who intend to study Science, particularly the Biological Sciences. The learning outcomes were revised so they would more easily translate into criteria for the task. Synopsis of the task and its context This task which is weighted 20% requires the development and presentation of a poster describing the chemistry within a topic from another completed unit or unit currently being studied. The poster size is: A2 (42 x 59.4 cm) and the oral presentation is 5-10 mins. Only the poster and its pre and post activities (excluding the oral) are assessed. In seven tutorials, students are prepared for this challenging task in a number of ways that sequentially build on each other. The challenge is to select and simplify content for a reader unfamiliar with it and present this as a visual story. This story comprises textual and visual components in a layout that the eye can follow and makes sense to the reader. To assist students in determining what makes a successful poster, they list what they think are the key attributes based on examples of research posters from the different Schools they are studying with. This list forms a draft High Distinction standard in a criteria sheet (later completed by the lecturer). Using this sheet, students design a small A4 practice poster on a given topic. Students then grade each others posters and justify their decisions. Student feedback about the criteria sheet is incorporated into the next version and another practice grading exercise conducted where they all judge the same example. Topics for their poster are submitted in the fourth tutorial and feedback by the lecturer is given on how feasible these are for a poster. The last three weeks of tutorial time are given to preparation of the poster which is subsequently presented in lecture time. Match between learning outcomes/objectives and criteria for the task Learning outcomes (revised) On completion of this unit, you should be able to: 1.apply knowledge of fundamental chemical principles and theories to: the chemical and physical properties of substances, their structure and interactions between them an area of life 2.demonstrate proficiency in the handling of common analytical laboratory apparatus task-specific criteria To complete this task, you are to: 1. apply knowledge of fundamental chemical principles and theories in the form of a poster participation content of poster appearance of poster not assessed in this task 3.make observations, measurements and perform calculations from experimental laboratory work. not assessed in this task 28

32 Student name Student number KRA161: Chemistry for Life Sciences: poster Weighting 20% Criterion HD DN CR PP NN apply knowledge of fundamental chemical principles and theories in the form of a poster participation in activities both before and after display of poster (20%) content of poster 50% topic and context (related to another unit or area of life) selected for the topic (re chemical and physical properties of substances, their structure and interactions between them) You applied comprehensive knowledge of fundamental chemical principles and theories to produce a creative academic poster: by consistently and productively participating and contributing useful and innovative ideas in activities and meeting timelines by modifying and simplifying a considered selection of chemistry content to suit the audience s level of understanding: You applied extensive knowledge of fundamental chemical principles and theories to produce a mostly creative academic poster: by consistently and productively participating and contributing useful and some innovative ideas in activities and meeting timelines You applied knowledge of fundamental chemical principles and theories to produce an academic poster with some creative features: by consistently participating in activities and contributing ideas in activities and meeting timelines by taking the responsibility of judging the quality of peers posters seriously, and grading them fairly by modifying and partly simplifying a considered selection of chemistry content to suit the audience s level of understanding: relevant to the topic accurately using terminology, concepts and principles from KRA161 by modifying a selection of chemistry content to suit the audience s level of understanding: is concisely expressed in your own words is expressed in your own words and the majority is concise is correctly cited and referenced using a recognised convention by logically structuring content to tell a cohesive story with: an introduction to the topic that simplifies it for a reader unfamiliar with the area a representation that explicitly illustrates obvious relationships between: chemistry content and the topic textual and visual components by logically structuring content to tell a mostly cohesive story with: an introduction to the topic that simplifies the majority of it for a reader unfamiliar with the area a representation that illustrates obvious relationships between: chemistry content and the topic textual and visual components by logically structuring some content to tell a story with: an introduction to the topic that partly simplifies it for a reader unfamiliar with the area a representation that illustrates relationships between: chemistry content and the topic textual and visual components You partially applied knowledge of fundamental chemical principles and theories to produce an academic poster: by consistently participating in activities and occasionally contributing ideas in activities and meeting timelines by making small modifications to some chemistry content but much of it remained complex and textbook-like : mostly accurately using terminology, concepts and principles from KRA161 is expressed in your own words structuring content with: an introduction to the topic a representation that illustrates some connections between: chemistry content and the topic textual and visual components You used some knowledge about fundamental chemical principles and theories to produce a poster: by attending activities by grading peers posters by providing complex and textbook-like chemistry content: using terminology, concepts and principles from KRA161 restates existing content mentions some sources presenting some content 29

33 Student name Student number KRA161: Chemistry for Life Sciences: poster Weighting 20% Criterion HD DN CR PP NN appearance of poster (30%) use of colour font layout references that was visually appealing and readable because it made astute use of: that was visually appealing and readable because it made use of: colour that draws the eye and enhances the story that was appealing and readable because it made use of: colour that draws the eye and complements the story that was readable because it made use of: colour that draws the eye to the content made use of: colour font that is clear and large enough to be easily read from a distance of 3 metres font that is clear and large enough to be easily read from a distance of 3 metres font that is large enough to be read from a distance of 3 metres font that is large enough to be read from a distance of 3 metres uncluttered layout with a balance between blank space, and quantity and placement of content components such that the eye follows the story mostly uncluttered layout with a balance between blank space, and quantity and placement of content components such that the eye follows the story a layout with a partial balance between blank space, and quantity and placement of content components such that the eye follows some of the story a layout with blank space and content components content components that included a list of references as part of the poster face that included a list of references on the poster Comments Grade 30

34 Second year Theatre unit: FPB203 Devised performance: devising and performing a performance text Developed by Peter Hammond, Robert Lewis, Helen Trenos and Moira Cordiner Synopsis of the task and its context This task, worth 80% of the unit, requires that students work in groups to devise and perform a performance text. The teacher facilitates and closely scaffolds all aspects of the task. The devising process involves students in researching and generating material to suit the space, audience, time, purpose, and the client s brief and/or theme. This material is then shaped to create a performance text through individual group discussions and editing. Each group of students then rehearses and performs their group s devised text to a variety of audiences in non-theatrical spaces. Match between learning outcomes and criteria learning outcomes (revised) task-specific criteria 1. demonstrate knowledge of models of devising preparation 2. research, devise and perform a theatrical event derived from specific stimuli adhering to accepted protocols (devising, rehearsal and touring) 3. monitor and adapt performance skills in response to various audiences and nontheatrical spaces (i) devising a performance text generating material shaping material (ii) rehearsal process working with the director, text and the production team creating and realising the role (developing technique) performance protocols role rehearsal vision connections to context 4. evaluate the success of the event and the effectiveness of the group devising not assessed in this task 31

35 Student name FPB203 Devised Performance: devising and performing a performance text weighting 80% criteria HD DN CR PP NN preparation i) devising a performance text Weighting 40% generating material to suit the space, audience, time, purpose, client s brief /theme shaping material In preparation, you solved problems cooperatively by: generating potentially rich material that: thoroughly considered all parameters and circumstances to insightfully select the most theatrical elements involved a flexible approach in which you continually critiqued and re- assessed the suitability of the material (i.e to jettison or retain) creatively and successfully shaping the material to produce the performance text by: using the most effective and efficient process to serve the material and form In preparation, you solved problems cooperatively by: generating some potentially rich material that: thoroughly considered nearly all parameters and circumstances to select the most theatrical elements involved continually critiquing and re- assessing the suitability of the material successfully shaping the material to produce the performance text by: using an effective process to serve the material and form In preparation, you solved problems cooperatively by: methodically generating material that: considered some parameters and circumstances to select the obvious theatrical elements involved critiquing the suitability of the material shaping the material to produce the performance text by: using a process to serve the material and form In preparation, you solved problems cooperatively by: generating material that: considered some parameters and circumstances partially shaping the material to produce the performance text by: putting some material together In preparation, you: found some material that: may have related to some parameters and circumstance (i) rehearsal process Weighting 30% judiciously editing and continuing to take into account all parameters and circumstances judiciously, for the most part, editing and continuing to take into account most parameters and circumstances respectfully and generously giving and taking during discussions and improvisations editing and taking into account some parameters and circumstances giving and taking during discussions and improvisations adhering to all Theatre rehearsal protocols working cooperatively with director, other actors and the production team taking into account some parameters and circumstances discussing during improvisations adhered to some rehearsal protocols working with the director, text and the production team contributing ideas that extended the director s vision and the text, and incorporating your interpretation of the role taking direction and fully incorporating this into action occasionally contributing ideas that complemented the director s vision and incorporating your interpretation of the role taking direction and, for the most part, incorporating this into action occasionally contributing ideas that complemented the director s vision taking direction and, at times, incorporating this into action contributing ideas that related to the director s vision taking direction 32

36 FPB203 Devised Performance: devising and performing a performance text weighting 80% criteria HD DN CR PP NN preparation creating and realising the role (developing technique) In preparation, you solved problems cooperatively by: creatively and methodically working on the floor to realise the role by: building scenes through considered and mostly spontaneous commitment to action and interaction, and a strong awareness of space, self and others and integrating and embodying technique, the style and gravitas of the production In preparation, you solved problems cooperatively by: methodically working on the floor to realise the role by: building scenes through commitment to action and interaction, and an awareness of space, self and others and correctly applying technique to suit the style of the production and demands of the role In preparation, you solved problems cooperatively by: working on the floor to partially realise the role by: maintaining scenes through demonstrating or walking through the action with some awareness of space, self and others and partially applying technique to approximate the style of the production and some of the demands of the role In preparation, you solved problems cooperatively by: intermittently working on the floor to partially realise the role by: mostly maintaining scenes through demonstrating or walking through the action and suggesting or hinting at the style of the production and some aspects of the role performance In performance, you: In performance, you: In performance, you: In performance, you: You: In preparation, you: merely attended rehearsal protocols role rehearsal vision connections to context Weighting 30% consistently: enacted the role over the season with well-developed technique, without compromising the integrity of the established vision strictly adhered to theatre performance protocols presented the role and demonstrated technique without compromising the integrity of the established vision presented the role and demonstrated partial technique without compromising the integrity of the established vision presented aspects of the role and demonstrated partially developed technique without compromising the integrity of the established vision (new) on occasions adhered to some theatre performance protocols merely appeared on the stage and compromised the integrity of the established vision worked towards an ensemble adapted to the conventions of live performance and its inherent variables adapted to the conventions of live performance mostly adapted to the conventions of live performance adapted to some conventions of live performance stayed in the moment and present by being: focussed and centred and sometimes open and vulnerable to stimuli (other actors, space, production elements, audience) mostly stayed in the moment and present by being: focussed and centred and sometimes open and vulnerable to stimuli (other actors, space, production elements, audience) mostly stayed in the moment and present by being focussed and centred occasionally stayed in the moment and present by being focussed and centred Comments Grade 33

37 Assessment Check List Assessment is an integral part of the learning and teaching cycle. Creating the learning, teaching and assessment strategies for a unit comprises four distinct phases: Identify the learning outcomes Design the assessment tasks Plan the learning experiences and teaching approaches Choose the content Phase One Identify the learning outcomes: Where do we want the students to be at the end of the learning process? Phase Two Design the assessment tasks based on learning outcomes The assessment task will consider graduate attributes and discipline specific needs Create specific assessment criteria that align to the designed learning outcomes for the task Develop achievement standards for each criterion against which the students work will be assessed: an assessment rubric Construct overall achievement standards to arrive at a grade for the assessment task Consider the timing of assessment tasks: early engagement; identification of the need for additional assistance with learning development; opportunity for feedback; increasing complexity as understanding is developed Provide direction to students as to how each grade level is awarded. Describe what students need to do to earn each standard Phase Three Plan the learning experiences and teaching methods: that will enable students to achieve the learning outcomes Phase Four Choose the disciplinary content: necessary for students to construct, demonstrate and apply their knowledge required in the assessment tasks Final review: Consider all assessment tasks within a unit to ensure they adhere to the Assessment Principles at UTAS Learning outcomes include selected generic graduate attributes as well as subject specific attributes Clear learning outcomes for learning have been created and communicated to students The assessment tasks fulfil the following five key purposes. They: guide students development of meaningful learning inform the learner of their progress inform staff of student progress and the effectiveness of their teaching provide data for Schools and Faculties to arrive at final grades and rank students ensure academic quality and standards are maintained at UTAS Assessment practices and processes are transparent and fair 34

38 GRADING USING A CRITERION-REFERENCED ASSESSMENT APPROACH Introduction Judgment When you award a grade for a student s response to an assessment task or for the whole unit, you use your professional judgment to make decisions. How you arrive at these final judgments must be as manageable for you as possible. These judgments also need to be valid and reliable. Your judgments are underpinned by the principle that assessment practices and processes must be transparent and fair by ensuring that students know in advance how you arrive at these grades (principle 3 of Assessment Policy, TLP ). At UTAS, criterion-referencing has been policy since Prerequisites There are a number of prerequisites that must be in place and which underpin the advice and examples given here about grading using CRA. 1. Unit learning outcomes have been well written (refer to How to write learning outcomes an introduction on the teaching and learning website: 2. These outcomes have been mapped to the assessment tasks (see table 1 below) so that students have at least two opportunities to demonstrate the outcomes. Otherwise if a student only has one opportunity to demonstrate an outcome in one task and fails to do so, they have no other chance to redeem themselves. The Unit Outline proforma (on the teaching and learning website: requires a table mapping the assessment tasks. 3. Not all learning outcomes have to be assessed in each task. This means that not all criteria (derived from these outcomes) need to be assessed in each task. 4. The tasks have been weighted in importance. See example 1 where task 3 is weighted the highest. Example 1 learning outcomes task 1 (20%) task 2 (30%) task 3 (50%) 1. Demonstrate and apply knowledge of: basic pharmacological concepts the mechanism of action of drugs the therapeutic application of drugs and their adverse affects the consequences of polypharmacy 2. Research published literature in pharmacological sciences for different topics 3. Communicate orally and in writing using professional/biomedical language and terminologies 5. Criteria for each task have been explicitly derived from the learning outcomes. Example 2 shows how the criteria derive from the learning outcomes for task 1. For advice and more examples on how to develop criteria, refer to Develop criteria (parts 1-3) and to examples of criteria sheets. 6. There is an odd number of criteria (e.g. 3 or 5) to avoid awkward and invalid trade offs (see Grading a task or unit for an explanation with example). Refer to example 8 when using an even number of criteria. 35

39 Example 2 learning outcomes On completion of this unit, you should be able to: 1. Demonstrate and apply knowledge of: basic pharmacological concepts the mechanism of action of drugs the therapeutic application of drugs and their adverse affects the consequences of polypharmacy 2. Research published literature in pharmacological sciences for different topics 3. Communicate orally and in writing using professional/biomedical language and terminologies task-specific criteria To complete this task, you should: 1. Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the following to the topic: mechanism of operation of agents aetiology therapeutic agents future means of treatment 2. Research published literature in pharmacological sciences in relation to the topic 3. Communicate in the form of an assignment about the topic academic writing (English conventions including punctuation, sentence structure, grammar) Vancouver referencing conventions professional/biomedical language and terminologies 7. Standards have been described for the criteria for each level of achievement in the form of a criteria sheet or rubric. Refer to the Assessment website for an explanation of terminology, how to write criteria sheets and examples. Grading a task or a unit The key principle to grading using criterion referenced assessment (CRA) is that students must meet the standard for each criterion to be awarded a grade. This means that your judgment about the student s response to assessment tasks is referenced to standards for each criterion. To decide on what grade the student achieves for a criterion, you match the quality of the student work to for different standards on the criteria sheet, and judge where the work MOSTLY fits. That is, you make a holistic judgment, e.g. Is it mostly a credit standard for this criterion? Is it a lower credit for this criterion? and so on. This matching exercise is not measuring students abilities. You are making a professional judgment about what they have demonstrated (i.e. evidence of their achievement). This is the process of judging, regardless of whether you use marks or not. Once you have decided that a student has achieved a particular standard for each criterion, then you have to have a way of coming up with an overall grade for the task and later the unit. Grading a task or a unit therefore requires a way of combining those standards across the criteria. Students need to be informed in unit outlines of the method of grading you use. No matter which approach you use, results must be moderated to ensure comparability of judgments. 4 Approaches to combining standards to grade a task or unit There are three common approaches which can be used individually or in combination. It is recommended that if you are having difficulty coming to an overall grade for a task or unit, confirm or change your judgments by re-examining the student s actual responses. 1. Profiling results This involves making an on-balance judgment that requires looking at the general pattern of achievement in the criteria across the task and then the unit. This is easiest when there are an odd number of criteria and they are equally weighted (see examples 3, 4 and 5 which also use marks). 4 The structure of this section and some of the ideas presented were partially informed by the following. The examples and explanations, however, are the work of the author, Moira Cordiner, UTAS: Report and recommendations of the QUT Teaching and Learning Committee working party on CRA, chaired by Wageeh Boles, November, 2004 A workshop on approaches to determining final grades by Jude Smith, QUT, March 2006 A workshop on approaches to determining final grades by Jude Smith, QUT, March

40 2. Predetermined rules This involves setting rules for how grades for each criterion are combined to reach an overall grade for a task (see example 6 and 7) or a unit (see examples 9 and 10). Rules can take account of differently weighted criteria (see example 7). These rules can be used in lookup tables in spreadsheets to make overall judgments faster especially for large cohorts. 3. Assigning marks This involves setting mark distributions either: (i) for each grade or each criterion (based on the university s prescribed percentage distribution for awarding of HD to NN grades) as in example 3 and 4. Example 5 uses task marks allocated on the basis of these ranges to save time converting; or (ii) for each descriptor that reflects the weighting of the criteria and of the task this is easy to do for simple criteria sheets (see example 6) but becomes tedious and time consuming for more complex sheets (and therefore not recommended). Judging a grade for a task 1. Using profiling and marks Examples 3, 4 and 5 use profiling and marks to come to a judgment about the grade for the task. Example 3 First year Nursing unit Task: essay weighting 30% criteria (equally weighted) HD DN CR PP NN 1.Demonstrate knowledge of models of nursing care 2.Apply the principles of culturally safe nursing care 3.Communicate in academic writing % Grading Overall grade HD in lower third of the HD range (ticks indicate middle of each band) hence 84% Task weighted 30% Therefore 84% of this is 25.2/30 marks if the total of all tasks is

41 Example 4 Fourth year subject Task: report weighting 60% criteria (equally weighted) HD DN CR PP NN 1. criterion 2. criterion 3. criterion 4. criterion 5. criterion % Grading Overall grade CR in the upper third of the CR range (position of ticks indicate top of each band) hence 67% Task weighted 60% Therefore 67% of this is 40.2/60 marks if the total of all tasks is 100. Example 5 This example is another way of showing where in the range the judgment sits by dividing each range into thirds. First year Nursing unit Task: essay weighting 30% criteria (equally weighted) HD DN CR PP NN 1. Demonstrate knowledge of models of nursing care Apply the principles of culturally safe nursing care 3. Communicate in academic writing Grading Overall grade HD in the lower third of the HD range (ticks indicate middle of each band) hence ( )/3 =25 marks 38

42 2. Using differently weighted criteria and marks Example 6 is a simple criteria sheet that was developed for workplace supervisors to use. Marks have been distributed across the sheet based on weightings of the criteria. Note that to make it easy to allocate marks to the, the weightings for each criterion were converted to marks and doubled. Students doing this fourth year unit have five supervisors during their last placement. Each supervisor has to make judgments of students work readiness and knowledge based on the criteria and standards. The example shows how an overall mark can be quickly determined by the supervisor and this was the case in practice. The example is one of five assessments of the hypothetical student that resulted in the following 42/60, 39/60, 32/60, 57/60, 58/60. The total 228/300 was converted to 22.8% (the weighting of the work placement was 30%). The coordinator could easily record supervisor marks in a spreadsheet. Example 6: A hypothetical supervisor s marked criteria sheet for laboratory work placement 3. Using predetermined rules, profiling and differently weighted criteria Example 7 (for a Geography and Environmental Studies Honour thesis) shows profiling and the use of predetermined rules to assign the overall grade. Note that the rules require a set number of to be met before a particular standard such as First Class can be awarded, especially in criterion 2 (the most challenging one). In this example, no fail standard is described because this is an honours level task. Note that the rule for a fail grade in this case is: failed to meet the standards for third class honours. 39

43 Example 7: two page marked Honours in Geography and Environmental Studies criteria sheet Criteria First class Second Uppers Second Lowers Third Class Design a research project links to theories and literature; methods of research and analysis scope, limitations and challenges Generate data and discuss results with reference to theories and the literature analyse results draw conclusions synthesise perspectives identify contribution of your work In your thesis, you: In your thesis, you: In your thesis, you: In your thesis, you: drew on a judicious selection of a wide range of relevant theories and research literature to situate your project within the research literature, and inform your research focus and design explicitly justified in detail your choice and use of research methods, methodology and analysis techniques (in terms of, e.g. relevance, rigour, replicability) explicitly identified and comprehensively considered the scope, limitations and challenges in conducting your research correctly and meticulously applied data analysis technique(s) to analyse results drew relevant and valid conclusions that contribute to the field(s) and were thoroughly substantiated with reference to the: evidence revealed in your research relationships between this evidence and the literature insightfully synthesised a new perspective by drawing out different relationships between features of your research and/or theory and the literature evaluated the contribution of your results to the research literature to pose valid questions, recommendations or directions for further research drew on a wide selection of relevant theories and research literature to inform your research focus and design justified in some detail your choice and use of your research methods, methodology and analysis techniques, (in terms of, e.g. relevance, rigour, replicability) identified and described most of the scope, limitations and challenges in conducting your research correctly applied data analysis technique(s) to analyse your results with only minor mistakes drew relevant and valid conclusions that were substantiated with reference to the: evidence revealed in your research evidence in the literature synthesised a new perspective by comparing features of your research and/or theory and the literature identified and described the contribution of your results to the research literature to pose questions, recommendations or directions for further research paraphrased a number of relevant theories and research literature and related these to your research focus and design described your choice and use of research methods, methodology and analysis techniques (in terms of, e.g. relevance, rigour, replicability) identified and described some of the scope, limitations and challenges in conducting your research applied data analysis technique(s) to your results with some mistakes drew some relevant conclusions that were substantiated based on: aspects of your research and aspects of the literature outlining a perspective by relating features of your research to theory and/or the literature broadly stated the contribution of your results to the field(s) of study, posing some questions or recommendations for further research mentioned some relevant theories and research literature and how these related to your research topic listed and partially described your research methods, methodology and analysis techniques listed a few of the scope, limitations and challenges in conducting your research partially applied basic data analysis to your results drew partially substantiated conclusions loosely based on: aspects of your research and tenuous links to the literature paraphrased the literature to describe your perspective listed some questions or recommendations for further research unrelated to the results of your research 40

44 Criteria First class Second Uppers Second Lowers Third Class In your thesis, you: In your thesis, you: In your thesis, you: In your thesis, you: Communicate in the form of a thesis, a scholarly work that adheres to: structure and format English conventions (grammar, syntax, spelling) referencing conventions standards of academic integrity* adhered to English conventions to: logically structure ideas throughout; and clearly and concisely express ideas in flowing and eloquent prose employed an extensive, correct and relevant discipline specific vocabulary used referencing to explore and provide additional or analogous ideas for the reader, while strictly adhering to a referencing convention presented a scholarly work that: was free from typographical errors incorporated correctly formatted, labelled and easily interpreted visual representations (eg. tables, graphs, plates, figures) that best suited, and complimented the data and results Overall grade is Second class lowers according to the rule below. adhered to English conventions to: logically structure ideas through most of thesis clearly and concisely express ideas throughout most of the work employed an extensive and relevant discipline specific vocabulary with only minor mistakes and/or inconsistencies strictly adhered to a referencing convention presented a scholarly work that: was mostly free from typographical errors incorporated correctly formatted, labelled and easily interpreted visual representations (eg. tables, graphs, plates, figures) with only minor mistakes mostly adhered to English conventions to, express ideas that were: logically structured in parts of the work clearly expressed in parts of the work employed discipline specific vocabulary with occasional misinterpretation of terms and/or inconsistent use of these followed a referencing system with some minor errors presented a mostly scholarly work that: contained typographical errors incorporated visual representations (eg. tables, graphs, plates, figures) that contained some formatting errors or oversights that impacted on the presentation of the thesis adhered to some English conventions to express ideas that partially conveyed meaning to the reader used some discipline-specific vocabulary and/or used this incorrectly, affecting the reader s interpretation of the document cited some sources using an inconsistent system of referencing presented a document that: contained a large number of typographical errors incorporated visual representations (eg. tables, graphs, plates, figures) that had significant flaws or oversights. Grading rules: To achieve First Class Honours you must obtain at least 8/11 first class standard marks with at least 3/4 first class standard marks in Criteria 2. To achieve Second Class Uppers you must obtain at least 8/11 marks in the Second Class Uppers standard or above, with at least 3/4 Second class uppers standard or above marks in Criteria 2. To achieve Second Class Lowers you must obtain at least 8/11 marks in the Second Class Lowers standard or above, with at least 3/4 Second class lowers standard or above marks in Criteria 2. To achieve Third Class Honours you must obtain at least 8/11 marks in the Third Class standard or above, with at least 3/4 Third Class standard or above marks in Criteria 2. FAIL: failed to meet the standards for a third class honours * evidence of plagiarism will override ALL other assessment criteria 41

45 Making judgments about a task that has an even number of criteria Example 8 illustrates one problem you may have if you use even numbers of equally weighted criteria. Is the grade for the task below HD or DN? If you want to use an even number of criteria then you need a rule that helps you make judgments that are valid for the task. For example, a rule could be, Rule 1: to achieve an HD for this task, you must have 2 HDs. A different rule might be, Rule 2: to achieve an HD for this task, you must have no less than a midrange HD and an upper range DN. Application of these rules leads to different grades. When there are only three or five criteria, the making of an overall judgment is reasonably straightforward. When there are more criteria, judgment rules become more complicated and unwieldy. Note example 7 for honours has three criteria (and these have subcriteria), yet this is a very manageable sheet to use (it has been successfully trialled by UTAS staff). Example 8 First year Nursing unit Task: essay weighting 30% criteria (equally weighted) HD DN CR PP NN 1.Demonstrate knowledge of models of nursing care 2.Apply the principles of culturally safe nursing care % Grading Overall grade is DN if using rule 1 OR HD if using rule 2. Note that allocating the marks for the task would differ a little depending on whether you used rule 1 or 2. Judging a grade for a unit 1. Using profiling In example 9, criteria A, B and C are equally weighted and explicitly derived from learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3 (for a hypothetical unit). You can use profiling by examining the pattern of achievement across the criteria, taking account of task weightings and decide that the overall grade for the unit is distinction (DN). Note that you will come to the same grade for the unit regardless of whether you judge the overall grade for each criterion first, or judge the overall grade for tasks first. Both do not involve calculations. In this example, you could also have had a predetermined rule that said to be awarded a distinction for the unit, you must achieve at least two distinctions and one credit and one of the distinctions must be for criterion A ; OR to be awarded a distinction for the unit, you must achieve at least two distinctions and one credit and one of the distinctions must be for task 3. You can of course add marks beside the grade categories. Spreadsheets can be used to come up with overall grades whether using marks or not. Example 9 Individual student profile assessment task & weighting criterion A criterion B criterion C grades for tasks task 1 (20%) HD DN DN DN task 2 (30%) CR DN CR CR task 3 (50%) DN DN CR DN overall grade for each criterion DN DN CR grade for unit DN 42

46 2. Using predetermined rules and/or marks Example 10 uses the same tasks as example 9. It shows how marks were determined for each of three tasks based on profiling and weighting, and then how the grade for the unit was worked out. This example illustrates that you can validly arrive at the same final grade by adding marks if you have initially made valid judgments about the grade for each task, based on the criteria and standards. The last table in example 10 is representing the last column and last row in example 9 (shaded above) but with the marks shown. Example 10 Task 1 weighting 20% (20 marks) criteria (equally weighted) HD DN CR PP NN 1. criterion A criterion B 3. criterion C Grading Overall grade DN in the lower third of the DN range hence 14 marks Task 2 weighting 30% (30 marks) criteria (equally weighted) HD DN CR PP NN 1. criterion A 2. criterion B criterion C Grading Overall grade CR in the upper third of the CR range and hence 20 marks 43

47 Task 3 weighting 50% (50 marks) criteria (equally weighted) HD DN CR PP NN 1. criterion A 2. criterion B 3. criterion C Grading Overall grade DN and in the upper third of the DN range hence 38 marks This table is a companion to the table in example 9 Unit tasks & weighting task 1 (20%) task 2 (30%) task 3 (50%) Grading Total marks for the unit 72/100 Overall grade for the unit DN overall grades and marks awarded for each task HD DN CR PP NN % 79-70% 69-60% 59-50% 49-0% 14 marks 38 marks 20 marks A variation on the previous example Example 11 shows how to grade a unit when each task does not assess all the criteria (as in example 1, where task 2 assesses the three criteria but tasks 1 and 2 assess two criteria) and one criterion is more heavily weighted than the others (in this case criterion A*). Thus example 11 is a variation of example 10 in which each task assesses all the criteria and the criteria were equally weighted. To grade the tasks in example 11, you need a rule because criterion A is weighted twice as heavily as each of the other criteria. For example, the rules might be: Task 1: to achieve an HD, you must have an HD in criterion A, and no less than a DN in criterion B (and so on for the other grades). Task 2: to achieve an HD, you must have 2HDs (one must be in criterion A), plus no less than a DN in the third criterion (and so on for the other grades). Task 3: to achieve an HD, you must have an HD in criterion A, and no less than a DN in criterion C (and so on for the other grades). To grade the unit, you need a rule such as: to be awarded an overall HD grade, you must have 2HDs for two tasks (and one must be for task 3) and no less than a DN for the other task (and so on). Marks can be used as explained in previous examples. Example 11 Unit tasks & weighting criterion A* criterion B criterion C task grade task 1 (20%) CR PP CR task 2 (30%) PP CR PP PP task 3 (50%) DN CR DN Using the above suggested rule for a unit grade, the overall unit grade is CR (student has at least 2CRs for tasks and one is for task 3, (even though it is DN) and no less than PP for the third task 44

48 Exams and CRA To grade an exam using a CRA approach is simple and straightforward if the exam has been designed well. This means an exam map has been used to map the questions to the criteria. An exam map allows you to: organise the questions for each content area of the unit so that you don t over-assess, for example, the same content, concept, principle or skill balance the types of questions so that you assess all the criteria that are relevant to the exam; these criteria are developed from the relevant learning outcomes. Otherwise you may, for example, inadvertently use too many recall or explain questions and not enough interpret and analyse questions (this depends on the year level of the exam of course) check that the weightings of the criteria are reflected by the marks this is important so that you can discriminate between students because they are given the opportunity to demonstrate their ability in the more challenging criteria. You can use one or more of the previously explained approaches to determining the grade for an exam just as you do with any task. For example, you can profile achievement for each criterion (using marks) in a spreadsheet and if necessary, have a rule that requires a stipulated level of achievement in a particular criterion to be awarded an HD (for example). Lookup tables about these rules are easy to create so the process of grading can be automated. Final advice re CRA and grading: For grading tasks or units, you can validly use any of the approaches explained in this document (or a combination), as long as you are consistent within a unit and inform students explicitly in unit outlines. MODERATING TEACHER JUDGMENTS Introduction The purpose of moderation is to ensure that teachers are making consistent judgments about standards. In order to do this, they have to have a shared understanding about the expectations for a particular standard so that when a student response is awarded a particular level of achievement (for example, a Credit), it has the same characteristics regardless of who marks/grades it. Moderation is improved when validity and reliability are improved. Validity Validity is about making sure that the task assesses what you intend it to assess. That is, there has to be 'truth in assessment'. For example, when a task ostensibly appears to be assessing knowledge of existing content, but is really assessing a student s synthesis of ideas, then it lacks validity. It is also not being transparent about expectations. Criteria sheets (rubrics) also have to be valid. For example, if a descriptor indicates that you are assessing a concept or idea for a project, but, in reality you are also (without stating it) assessing spelling and punctuation, then validity is reduced. This means that students cannot confidently rely on the criteria sheets to guide their efforts. Validity is therefore about fairness and transparency in the design of tasks and criteria sheets for students. Reliability Reliability means that different assessors, acting independently using the same task description, come to the same judgment about a given piece of work or student response. Reliability therefore, is about fairness to students based on comparability between assessors. Criteria sheets associated with tasks also have to have reliability. This is tested when assessors use them to make judgments about grades. Even though complete 45

49 objectivity between assessors is impossible to achieve, you should aim to make criteria sheets as reliable as you can hence the crucial role of well-written and unambiguous. Assessors also need to be trained to use criteria sheets to judge student work, so that they come to the same understanding of the as the writer of the sheet. Examples of some moderation processes include: involving teachers in the development of criteria and standards cross marking/grading with follow-up meetings for discussion and comparison using one teacher to mark/grade all responses to a particular part of an assessment task, e.g. a section of an examination paper, the first two scenes of a play holding moderation meetings to confirm consistency of marking/grading across teachers; these meetings could involve: discussing any difficulties they encountered when making judgments, for example, interpreting a standards descriptor. developing solutions to these difficulties, such as altering the marking scheme to account for unforseen and unintended student interpretation of wording. reviewing student responses and profiles of their results, in instances where there appears to be significant differences in marking/grading - this can assist teachers in fine-tuning their judgments so that they are in line with other teachers' judgments. Moderation of results A cornerstone of criterion referenced assessment is the practice of moderation. This practice, whilst not new to CRA, is very important in ensuring that assessment is fair, transparent, valid and reliable. It is also essential in ensuring that the complexity of learning outcomes is increasing through a degree course. At UTAS, moderation processes for assessment have three foci: assessment design (pre-assessment focus) making judgments (point of assessment focus) grading outputs (post-assessment focus) At a special meeting of University Learning and teaching Committee on the 22nd January, 2010 it endorsed the document Processes for Moderating Results (http://www.teachinglearning.utas.edu.au/assessment/moderating-teacher-judgments) which is based on existing UTAS policy and practice. 46

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