Okay, now this week’s blog is slightly more nerdy than most ?
I’m going to be getting into the nitty-gritty of official assessment tasks and exams and take you behind-the-scenes of creating them.
So if you’ve ever wondered how exams, coursework and assessments are actually put together, then this week’s blog is for you 🙂
I’ve recently been through the Curriculum Authority Training course for Assessments and it was- well – pretty full on!
More detailed and more rigorous than I was expecting – which is definitely a GOOD thing, and meant it was suuuuuper-interesting … (to me at least, as someone who totally geeks out on all things exams and assessment!).
So I thought I’d share some of the key points with you.
(Don’t worry, I really will just keep it to the key points that are actually useful to know for you and your teen! No ‘point 5, subsection a-part-ii’ type of stuff, I promise!!) 😉
Now, I started off planning to go over this in just one video, but as I started to go through things, even with plenty of summarising and simplifying, it started to get stupidly long and maybe a bit tough to digest. So I’m breaking it down over 3 weeks as blogs, so look out for parts 2 and 3 to come!
Soooo… after many hours of study and discussion with other teachers, examiners and curriculum representatives, here’s what forms the foundation for EVERY formal assessment –in EVERY state in Australia – whether this is internal (e.g. an assignment or task set in school that counts towards the teacher assessment component), or external (e.g. the final exams set and marked by the exam board).
The foundation is the 3 attributes:
- Accessibility and
These are what teachers, the writers of exam papers for exam boards and the assessment moderators and verifiers are all working to.
And this week I’ll explain the concept of VALIDITY.
A VALID task or exam Q means that it accurately measures what it is intended to measure or test in terms of subject content and the syllabus dot points.
So this is where subject knowledge and an excellent understanding of the concepts and case studies is required.
If you’ve heard me use the formula:
Knowledge + Application = Success
then you’ll see that this Validity attribute fits into the knowledge part.
(And if you haven’t heard me explain this formula before, then you definitely need to come along to a future webinar when I next run one!).
Therefore, here’s what I advise all students to do when studying and in particular, revising.
- Don’t just go through the lesson notes.
Instead go to the official syllabus (if your teen is a member of the Grade Transformation Zone then they’ll have direct links in there to the syllabus documents for their particular state and exam board – yay!) and plan their notes and revision around *those* key content lists and dot points.
Because teachers or examiners can test students on ANYTHING from within the syllabus. And different schools and teachers may put different emphasis or spend different amounts of time on different aspects, depending on the structure of the lessons or time available to cover everything in the term.
For example, I remember years ago, on a GCSE Geography paper in the UK, there was a 3 mark Q early in the paper that really expanded on something that we’d teach as a simple introductory 2 minute kinda fact. Eek… Yep, it caught quite a few students out unfortunately 🙁
So, quick recap:
Validity is one of the 3 essential attributes of any formal internal or external assessment.
This means that it is clearly tied to the syllabus content and accurately measures that skills or knowledge.
Therefore my advice is for all students to use the official syllabus dot points not just their notes or a term handout planner for their study notes and revision.
Look out for part 2 of these attributes and what they mean for your teen’s exams and assessments next week, and until then, let’s make this a fantastic week!