Foundation Skills/Developing an assessment/Designing an assessment

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Designing an assessment

The method of assessment ( e.g. observation, written theory test, practical report), the types of questions (e.g. multiple choice, computational), and the level of questions (e.g. remembering, creating) that you pose in an assessment task for your students will depend on a number of factors:

  • the nature of the learning outcomes for your course (e.g. level according to Bloom's Taxonomy, theoretical or practical)
  • the level of your course according to the NZQA framework (e.g. Level 4, Level 7)
  • the abilities and experiences of your students at the time of assessment (e.g. basic, advanced)
  • the resources available (e.g. space, computers, supervisors, consumables)

Ask yourself the following questions when designing assessment tasks:

  • To what extent does the assessment task address graduate attributes as outlined in the graduate profile?
  • Does the assessment task match the learning outcome(s) of the course?
  • Are all learning outcomes covered by my assessment tasks?
  • Is the assessment task reliable, valid, fair, clear, transparent, authentic, sufficient, manageable?
  • Is the wording of the questions appropriate to the learning outcomes and the level of the students?
  • To what extent do my assessment tasks in the course cater for different learning styles?
  • Are students familiar with the method of assessment and the types/level of questions?
  • Have students been given opportunity to develop their competence and confidence?
  • To what extent do the assessment tasks support the scaffolding of knowledge and skills?
  • What evidence of learning is appropriate and sufficient?
  • Have students been made aware of your expectations? Do they understand these?
  • How will meaningful feedback be provided to students?
  • What level of moderation will be used?

Can you think of any additional factors to be aware of when designing assessment tasks? make a list if you can think of any.

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Web Resources

The NZQA website gives a brief overview of factors to consider when designing assessments, but if you want to gain a more in-depth knowledge of designing assessments, then the Western Australian Government document Designing assessment tools for quality outcomes in VET is a good resource.

If you are new to designing assessments, you might want ot see what your colleagues have done previously (although don't assume that their assessment tasks are perfect!) - ask questions for clarification. The Internet and published books of question banks are both also valuable sources of new assessment questions.