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History - the nature and requirements of assessment schedules

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One of the biggest problems encountered in the moderation of History assessment materials continues to be the construction by assessors of an assessment schedule (or adaptation from another assessment schedule) that meets the national standard.

A Guide to Requirements:

The two components of an assessment schedule are:

  • Judgement statements
  • Evidence statements.

Judgement statements

A judgement statement is required for each achievement criterion of an Achievement Standard. The judgement statement is often based closely on the wording of the achievement criterion but will normally be adapted to include the context of the task. The judgement statement states the quality and, sometimes, quantity of evidence that is required in order to meet the expected level of performance for each level of achievement:

Quality:

Words that are used in the achievement criterion to describe the necessary quality are acceptable (for example 'are described', 'are explained', 'are analysed'). The assumption is always made that the quality that is suggested by such terms will have been taught to students as part of the teaching and learning programme. In the example below, students will have been taught how to record source details 'accurately'.

Example of a judgement statement which is based on 'quality':

"Details of sources of evidence have been recorded accurately".

Note that best assessment practice is to provide a 'quality' judgement. This enables judgements to be made by taking in the 'big picture' of all evidence that is relevant to a performance criterion and making a broad-impression judgement based on that big picture view. This allows the flexibility that is required in a subject such as History where the context of the assessment activity can be a strong determinant of what evidence is suitable. This may particularly be the case when a group of students is allowed to select individual contexts for study. It is appropriate in this case that there is flexibility that allows the assessor's professional judgement to operate.

Quantity:

When it is appropriate to the achievement criterion, the quantity of evidence that is required can be expressed as a specific number.

Example of a judgement statement which includes both a quality and a quantity statement:

"At least two significant and perceptive focusing questions are formulated".

Evidence statements

For each judgement statement an evidence statement is nearly always required. In cases where it is considered that requirements are unambiguous and expected student evidence does not need to be identified, it may be acceptable to omit an evidence statement. For example, for the judgement statement, 'At least four possible sources of information relevant to the topic are identified' it is accepted that an assessor is likely to know what to expect without identifying four examples of possible sources in an evidence statement. Better assessment practice, however, would be always to provide an evidence statement. For instance, with the possible sources example, an evidence statement could be: "Examples could include town library, History Department sources, internet, interviews." The number of items provided in an evidence statement should always be at least the number of items specified in the task instructions. This helps to ensure that requirements stated in the task instructions are feasible for students.

Further examples of judgement statements and supporting evidence statements:

Achievement Criterion Judgement statement Evidence statement
Identify possible sources (AS90209) At least four possible sources of information relevant to the topic are identified

Relevant possible sources could include

  • Internet sites
  • Library books
  • Interviews
  • History department
Plan the inquiry, in comprehensive detail (AS90465) The inquiry is planned in comprehensive detail e.g., could be with a full and clear explanation of the potential value of the identified sites, a comprehensive time and management plan, a full and clear understanding of methodologies.
    Note that this evidence statement describes an example of expected student evidence, rather than providing a specific example. Such evidence is currently acceptable when the alternative would be to provide a lengthy specific example. Better practice would be either to provide a small part of a specific example or to provide a full example as a document attached to the assessment schedule. Providing the latter type of evidence statement is likely to provide greater consistency between assessors.
Make appropriate and detailed evaluative comments (AS90209) Appropriate and detailed evaluative comments are made e.g. "My research process could have been improved by using more books rather than relying so much on the internet, as books tend to be more accurate and reliable. However, internet articles are shorter and more to the point so are easier to select relevant evidence from. I found my textbook 'Ourselves Alone' by Mark Sheehan the best source for answering the third focusing question as it covered lots of different perspectives about the Home Rule crisis and it had a really useful visual which showed Carson organising opposition to the Third Home Rule Bill."
    In this case, a specific example of an expected student response has been provided. Compared with the example above, a better guide for assessors is provided with this type of evidence statement.
 
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