2000 Vol. 5 No. 4
 

PROVIDING MEANINGFUL FEEDBACK ON ASSESSMENT TASKS

Assessment: The story so far
Over the last three issues of CURRICULUM SUPPORT HSIE), articles have been presented on assessment to support teachers in the implementation of the new

HSC:
Designing an assessment program for the new HSC, Vol. 5, No. 1, page 15 Developing assessment tasks, Vol. 5, No. 2, page 9 Marking guidelines: Getting them right? Vol. 5, No. 3, page 9.

These articles have encouraged schools to develop an assessment program that is manageable and which conforms to Board of Studies requirements. In the advice provided, attention has been drawn to the problem of over-assessing, not in terms of the number of tasks, but in terms of the number of outcomes assessed in each task. Developing assessment tasks recommends that each assessment task be restrictedto 3-4 outcomes, except for the end-of-yearexaminations or trial HSC examinations, where most outcomes will be assessed.

With individual tasks the process of development is rarely linear but is subject to constant revision and reassessment. The components—selecting outcomes, designing the task, writing a rubric, developing marking guidelines—often require teachers to go back and adjust work which occurs in the early parts of this process when developing the marking guidelines.

Marking guidelines: Getting them right? traces the process of developing marking guidelines, from the selection of outcomes, through task development and rubric design, to the various forms of marking guidelines. An example is included to illustrate each part of the process and the possible types of marking guidelines.

There is no one right way to provide marking guidelines; it’s alright to experiment with different types. Teachers can expect to get better at this work with practice.

The importance of feedback
New HSC Assessment and Reporting Bulletin No 4: Establishing sound assessment practices – providing meaningful feedback has been issued to all schools in Term 4, 2000. The following comments are based on that issue.

Providing students with meaningful information prior to an assessment task gives them every opportunity to present their best possible response to a given task.
Teachers are their prime source of support. Students rely on their teachers to give them feedback about the things they are doing well and how they might improve in other areas.

The school assessment program provides a major source of information on how successfully students are performing in their courses. The information is valuable for both the student and the teacher.

Feedback can provide students with information about strengths and weaknesses of responses, the outcomes achieved and students’ performance in relation to standards and to other students. For students, effective feedback on responses to assessment tasks should include:

  • what was expected from the task
  • meaningful information about the quality of work
  • clear statements about how to improve
  • correction of misunderstandings
  • reinforcement of what has been done well.

For teachers, effective feedback enables them to evaluate:

  • teaching and learning programs
  • teaching strategies
  • assessment strategies
  • assessment task design
  • marking guidelines.

Some ways of providing feedback
Teachers can provide effective feedback in a variety of ways. Some of these include:

  • annotating the student’s work
  • writing summative comments about strengths and weaknesses • speaking to the class about the responses and the aspects that were well done and those that need further attention
  • providing a written summary to the class of the responses with some examples
  • with the permission of the student, providing the class with a copy of the best response
  • annotating separate marking guidelines sheets for each response so that students can see their strengths and weaknesses against the criteria.

The last dot point has a number of strengths. It provides explicit feedback in relation to the criteria,
illustrates the best answer, leaves students in no doubt about how their mark was derived and indicates clearly strengths and weaknesses.

This example of an assessment task was used in CURRICULUM SUPPORT, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 9-12. The example has been developed to include feedback. This is only one possible model and there is no suggestion that this model should be used with all tasks.

TASK:

1 Select one of the following people:
Asquith OR Poincaré OR Kaiser Wilhelm II OR Emperor Franz Josef OR Tsar Nicolas II.
2. Research and write an essay of 1000 words in answer to the following.
Explain the way in which the role of the selected person reflected three emerging forces in the world at the beginning of the twentieth century.
3. Attach a consistently formatted bibliography of the sources you used for your essay. Scale 1 Criterion 1 (Possible marks 10)
9-10 explains in detail the way in which the role of the selected leader reflected each of three emerging forces in the world at the beginning of the 20th century
7-8 explains in detail the way in which the role of the selected leader reflected three emerging forces in the world at the beginning of the 20th century but is unable to sustain the explanation
5-6 provides a descriptive narration of the way in which the role of the selected leader reflected each of three emerging forces in the world at the beginning of the 20th century
3-4 provides a descriptive narration of the way in which the role of the selected leader reflected some emerging forces in the world at the beginning of the 20th century
1-2 provides a limited or part narration of the way in which the role of the selected leader reflected emerging forces in the world at the beginning of the 20th century

Your explanation is of this standard for 2 of the three emerging forces.
Your explanation of your third force, political ideologies, was not of the same quality. 7

Scale 2 Criterion 2 (Possible marks 4)

4 includes appropriately a wide range of historical terms and concepts
3 includes appropriately a range of historical terms and concepts
2 includes appropriately a limited number of historical terms and concepts
1 includes, not always appropriately, a limited number of historical terms and concepts

Scale 3 Criterion 3 (Possible marks 6)

6 lists a range of primary and secondary sources and uses them to provide relevant information to support the explanation of the role of the selected leader in relation to all three emerging forces
5 lists a range of primary and secondary sources and uses them to provide relevant information to support the explanation of the role of the selected leader in relation to some of the emerging forces
4 lists some primary and secondary sources and uses them to provide information to explain the role of the selected leader in relation to some of the emerging forces
3 lists some primary and secondary sources and uses them to provide relevant information to support the descriptive narration of the role of the selected leader in relation to the three emerging forces
2 lists some primary and secondary sources and uses them to provide information to support the descriptive narration of the role of the selected leader in relation to some of the three emerging forces
1 uses a few sources, mainly secondary, to provide information to support the narration of the role of the selected leader in relation to some of the emerging forces

A wider selection of sources understanding of them would supported your explanations.

John Gore
CEO, HSIE