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ASSESSMENT – 115753

Common assessment tasks

Common assessment tasks

There are many different assessment tasks you can use to assess your students. The following will help you choose the right assessment task. Remember that whatever assessment task you decide to use, it should be clearly aligned with the learning outcomes and teaching and learning activities in your course.

6.1 Short form test

Short form tests are also known as objective tests. They include multiple choice, completion (or cloze), true-false and matching types, of which multiple choice is the most commonly used. A multiple choice test item consists of a statement, called the stem, and several alternative statements, one of which is the correct answer, while the others are distracters.

For example:

Formative assessment refers to:
(a) a practice test;
(b) a test used to determine a grade;
(c) a test used to determine prior knowledge; or
(d) a test to monitor learning progress.

Table 6.1: Pros and cons of the Short Form Test

Pros

Cons

Measures wide sample of content Difficult to set items which assess more than recall
Easy and quick to score Time consuming to produce
Good for reviewing content Encourages guessing
Provides formative feedback Restricts creative students
Provides fast feedback Nourishes illiteracy
Items can be reused Poorly constructed questions can give clues to students
Marker reliability high Difficult to interpret wrong answers

Hints for writing multiple choice items:

  • The stem should consist of a single, clear idea. It should make sense independent of the rest of the question.
  • Avoid stems stated in negative terms as these are more difficult to understand and may cause confusion.
  • Make sure that all the alternatives are grammatically consistent with the stem and similar in form and length to one another.
  • Make the distracters plausible by using common misconceptions and typical student errors.
  • If you use the alternatives ‘none of the above’ and ‘all of the above’ include them as the incorrect answer about 75% of the time.
  • The correct answer should appear without pattern and equally often in each of the alternative positions.

6.2 Short answer test

Short answer questions require a brief answer consisting of a phrase, sentence or short paragraph.

For example: Write a brief definition of formative assessment.

Table 6.2: Pros and cons of the Short Answer Test

Pros

Cons

Measures relatively wide sample of content Relatively difficult to set compared to short form
Reasonably easy and quick to score Difficult to establish criteria
Encourages clear and concise expression Scoring may be subjective
Encourages literacy May encourage guessing
Good for reviewing content Little opportunity to display argument and originality
Items can be reused  

Hints for writing short answer questions:

  • Be clear about what you are asking.
  • Avoid using phrases straight from the text book.

6.3 Essay

Essays require students to select, organise and integrate material on a given topic. They also test writing skill and the ability to develop an argument and use evidence to support it. Essays may vary from a single page (about 300 typed words) to major assignments of ten pages (3000 words). Essays may be written under timed exam conditions or set as research assignments.

For example:

Compare summative and formative assessment with reference to assessing higher order learning as defined by Bloom’s taxonomy for the cognitive domain (Bloom, 1956).

Table 6.3: Pros and cons of the Essay

Pros

Cons

Helps students to develop writing skills May not sample a wide range of content
Can reveal errors in understanding or misconceptions Questions may not be well thought out
Takes less time to set than short form questions such as multiple choice Hand written responses may be graded on factors other than the content, such as legibility
Requiring students to write can improve understanding of a topic Time consuming to grade
Helps students to develop information literacy skills Consistency in assigning marks is difficult to maintain
  Subjectivity may affect fair grading

6.4 Performance test

Performance tests involve either a hands on activity, such as using microscope correctly or taking a patient history, or the development of products, such as developing a building design or software package.

Table 6.4: Pros and cons of a Performance Test

Pros

Cons

Encourages students to take ownership of the learning process May be time consuming to set, present and assess
Replicates real world conditions or contexts Can be difficult to determine assessment criteria
Students have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of what they have learned Can prompt performance anxiety in students
Can assess a range of skills or outcomes including generic skills May require additional resources
Allows for a variety of tasks Makes comparison between students difficult since the products may be very different
Encourages active learning Subjectivity may affect fair grading

Hints for using performance assessments:

  • Ensure that the task is clearly related to unit goals.
  • Choose tasks which can be completed within the time allowed.
  • Check that any special resources needed are available to all students.
  • Make sure that students have the knowledge and skills needed to carry out the task.
  • Describe the task and its requirements clearly in writing. Allow time in class for discussion and clarification.
  • Provide clear criteria for assessment when the task is set. Consider involving students in deciding on the criteria.
  • Require students to provide progress reports or to submit material at various intervals before the final submission date.
  • Check on student progress regularly and have contingency plans if something goes wrong.
  • If possible involve others in the assessment process (e.g. another instructor, peers or the participants themselves).

6.5 Written report

The report is a common way of presenting information and recommendations or conclusions related to a specific purpose. Reports are often used as assessment task because well developed report writing skills are important in many professional contexts. Reports are written based on gathering and analysing information using a discipline specific methodology and format. They can be used to assess laboratory, field work or case studies.

Table 6.5: Pros and cons of the Written Report

Pros

Cons

Replicates real world activity May encourage students to fabricate data to make the report ‘look good’
Marking for grading using a template is relatively fast Inconsistent marking between multiple markers can arise
Gives students practice in writing using a standard format Can prompt performance anxiety in students
Can assess generic skills such as information and computer literacy Marks allocated may not reflect time and effort needed to complete the task
Allows for a range topics and foci Producing a report as an assessment task may not align with the intended learning outcomes
May encourage reflection and problem solving Subjectivity may affect fair grading

Hints for using written reports:

  • Be clear about how marks are allocated to each section of the report.
  • Weight marks according to the learning objectives which the task is assessing.
  • State clearly what the report format is, include exemplars of good and poor reports.
  • Tell students whether and how language (grammar, spelling, punctuation) will be assessed.
  • Keep the number of reports required in a semester to a reasonable number and match the percentage of overall marks to the time and effort needed to produce a good quality report.
  • Explicitly teach students effective report writing skills before using the report as an assessment task.

6.6 Project

Projects are an extended piece of work involving inquiry based activities. Project may be small or large, undertaken by individuals or in groups and have outcomes such as a report, design, art work, working product.

Table 6.6: Pros and cons of the Project

Pros

Cons

Allows for greater student involvement in and responsibility for learning May be time consuming to develop and mark
Assesses in-context student learning Can be difficult to determine assessment criteria
Encourages initiative, independence and problem solving Subjectivity may affect fair grading
Can assess a wide range of skills or outcomes including generic skills particularly time and task management May require additional resources
Provides an opportunity to showcase skills and achievements Makes comparison between students difficult since the projects may be very different
Is comprehensive, multidimensional and flexible Allows students to explore a topic in depth

Hints for using projects:

  • Provide clear criteria for assessment when the task is set. Consider involving students in deciding on the criteria.
  • Require students to provide progress reports or to submit material at various intervals before the final submission date.
  • Check on student progress regularly and have contingency plans if something goes wrong.
  • If possible involve others in the assessment process (e.g. another instructor, peers or the participants themselves).

6.7 Presentation

Presentations are usually made orally to a class on a prepared topic and may include the use of presentation aids such as PowerPoint, handouts or audiovisuals. This assessment may be undertaken individually or as a group. Presentations may take different forms such as role plays, facilitating group activities, debating, presenting a product, question and answer time, and formal speeches.

Table 6.7: Pros and cons of the Presentation

Pros

Cons

Can assess a range of skills or outcomes including generic skills Can be very time consuming of limited class meetings
Marking using criteria is relatively fast and reliable Subjectivity may affect fair grading
Allows for immediate feedback to the student Can prompt performance anxiety in students
Allows for a variety of topics Provides an opportunity to display argument and originality

Hints for using presentation tasks:

  • Design and use an assessment pro-forma with weightings for each aspect of the presentation.
  • Inform students of the requirements and criteria.
  • Set minimum and maximum time limits for each presentation.
  • If group presentations are used work out beforehand what is expected from each member of the group and how marks will be distributed among group members.
  • With group presentations, include some assessment of the working of the group as well as of the presentation.
  • Provide students with opportunities to develop and practice oral skills.

6.8 Poster

A poster is a visual representation of a topic or the outcomes of learning activity. They can use different media, including online technology, and can be created individually or in groups.

Table 6.8: Pros and cons of the Poster

Pros

Cons

Provides an opportunity to display creativity and originality Can focus unduly on presentation rather than content or understanding
Can assess a range of skills or outcomes including generic skills May require additional resources
Marking using criteria is relatively fast and reliable Makes comparison between students difficult since the posters may be very different
Allows for a variety of topics Subjectivity may affect fair grading
Has potential for peer assessment  
Encourages active learning  

Hints for using poster presentations:

  • Ensure that the task is clearly related to unit goals.
  • Check that any special resources or materials needed are available to all students.
  • Make sure that students have the knowledge and skills needed to carry out the task.
  • Describe the task and its requirements clearly in writing. Allow time in class for discussion and clarification.
  • Provide clear criteria for assessment when the task is set. Consider involving students in deciding on the criteria.
  • If the task is large, require students to provide progress reports or to submit material at various intervals before the final submission date.
  • Check on student progress regularly and have contingency plans if something goes wrong.
  • If possible involve others in the assessment process (e.g. another instructor, peers or the participants themselves).

6.9 Journal

Journals (also called learning logs or learning diaries) are written by students over a period of time, such as a semester, in order to record and reflect on their personal learning experiences and outcomes. They provide an opportunity for students to express their feelings, thoughts and beliefs about the content and process of learning and themselves as learners using an informal writing style and structure.

Table 6.9: Pros and cons of the Journal

Pros

Cons

Allows for greater student involvement in and responsibility for learning May be time consuming to develop and assess
Encourages self-assessment and reflection Can be difficult to determine assessment criteria
Provides valuable insight into student feelings, thoughts and beliefs Subjectivity may affect fair grading
Is comprehensive, multidimensional and flexible Requires time to establish the required high-trust, low risk environment
Encourages regular and extended writing May raise issues of privacy and confidentiality
Students may resist undertaking regular writing and fabricate or sanitise journal entries  

Hints for using journals:

  • Describe the task and its requirements clearly in writing. Allow time in class for discussion and clarification.
  • Allow class time for journal writing.
  • Suggest areas for students to focus on, possibly using guide questions or statements.
  • Provide frequent feedback, especially in the early stages.
  • Consider keeping a journal yourself and share entries with your students.
  • Acknowledge the value of student comments by responding to journal items.
  • Take time to establish a high-trust low-risk learning environment.
  • Provide examples of journal entries.

6.10 Portfolio

A portfolio is “a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student’s efforts, progress and achievements in one or more areas. The collection must include student participation in selecting contents, the criteria for judging merit and evidence of student self-reflection” (Paulson, Paulson & Meyer, 1991, p60).

Table 6.10: Pros and cons of the Portfolio

Pros

Cons

Allows for greater student involvement in and responsibility for learning May be time consuming to develop and assess
Assesses in-context student learning Can be difficult to determine assessment criteria
Encourages self-assessment and reflection Subjectivity may affect fair grading
Can assess a range of skills or outcomes including generic skills May require additional resources
Provides an opportunity to showcase skills and achievements Makes comparison between students difficult since the portfolios may be very different
Comprehensive, multidimensional and flexible  

Hints for using portfolios:

  • Describe the task and its requirements clearly in writing. Allow time in class for discussion and clarification.
  • Provide examples of completed portfolios.
  • Involve students in selecting portfolio items.
  • Include compulsory items which show student learning activities, self-reflection and self-evaluation.
  • Use portfolios for different functions at different times of the year.
  • Ensure that the length of a portfolio is the equivalent of a written assignment you would normally set, such as an essay or report.
  • Provide clear criteria for assessment when the task is set. Consider involving students in deciding on the criteria.
  • Require students to provide progress reports or to submit material at various intervals before the final submission date.
  • Check on student progress regularly and have contingency plans if something goes wrong.
  • If possible involve others in the assessment process (e.g. another instructor, peers or the participants themselves).

 

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Originally posted 2013-10-03 23:14:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What is SETA-accredited Course?

What is SETA-accredited Course?

To offer nationally recognised training, all training providers and educational institutes need to be accredited by a relevant Education Training Quality Assurance Body (ETQA).

 

SETAs are one kind of Education Training Quality Assurance Bodies – ETQAs.

 

When an education or training provider is accredited by an ETQA (for example, SETAs), this ‘stamp of approval’ indicates that the provider gives valuable, portable, outcomes-based and relevant training and assessment. When an education provider is accredited by a SETA, they are then able to offer SETA-accredited courses.

 

By registering with an ETQA-accredited training provider (for example, with a College that offers SETA-accredited courses), you can be assured that you will gain valuable knowledge from these courses which you will be able to apply in your workplace.

 

What are the benefits of studying a SETA-accredited Course?

 

  • Most SETA-accredited courses are national qualifications registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
  • All students who successfully achieve the outcomes of Unit Standards and Qualifications that registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) will have their achievements officially listed on the National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD).
  • Most national qualifications are made up of a variety of individual Unit Standards. Each Unit Standards carries a certain number of Credits. A student will be given Credits for each Unit Standard that they successfully complete. A record of these Credits is kept on the National Learners’ Record Database.
  • Sometimes, the same Unit Standards are used in different qualifications. So, if a student successfully completes a specific Unit Standard as part of one qualification, then the student will not have to re-study that same Unit Standard if s/he registers for another qualification that also has exactly the same Unit Standard.
  • Many employers would consider paying for these qualifications as these qualifications are National Qualifications. Companies can claim money back from the relevant SETA for doing this.

Originally posted 2013-10-15 19:07:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter