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About the Project

Improving teacher assessment capability using scaled annotated exemplars of achievement standards in online moderation

The overarching goal of this Australian Research Council Linkage project is to examine the potential of scaled work samples exemplifying A-E standards within a new online moderation method to support teachers’ assessment practices and comparability of judgements. This project develops an assessment framework bringing together standards (A-E), actual exemplars of student work, and related commentaries in a new on-line platform for moderation. The utility of the work samples combined with commentaries of how judgements of quality were formed will be studied through teachers’ use of these as the foundation for dependable judgements of students’ work. The project engages with geographically-distributed schools and over 350 teachers in Queensland and Western Australia across urban, rural, remote and very remote settings.

Expected outcomes of the project include the development of scaled work samples exemplifying A-E standards of achievement, refined methods for the consistency and comparability of assessment decisions, a new approach to moderating teacher judgements, a repository of A-E work samples illustrating the achievement standards in English, Science and Maths in Years 4, 6 and 8, along with related commentaries, on a new online platform for moderation. The framework is designed to support consistency of teacher judgement and to enable ongoing online moderation activities.

Teacher participation offers a unique professional learning opportunity whereby teachers will enhance their understanding of A-E judgements. Participants will also benefit from the opportunity to develop their skills in constructing commentaries of their judgement decisions.

Project stages

The project will be implemented in 5 stages beginning 2020 and concluding in 2022. During these stages participating teachers will:

Stage 1 Implement an assessment task with their class and grade the task as per normal practice, submitting the de-identified work to the Project Manager via post or uploading to secure online server.

Stage 2 Participate in pairwise comparison of student work for their chosen discipline and year level. This involves online comparison of approximately 40 pairs of student performances, making a judgement regarding which of each pair is of a higher standard.

Stage 3 Judge a subset of 10-15 performances from Stage 2 in a modified pairwise comparison method, comparing the performance against a standard descriptor to assign an A-E grade.

Stage 4 Write 2-3 cognitive commentaries for selected student performances, describing how the overall judgement was made. Participate in online meetings with other year level and discipline teachers to discuss and refine these commentaries, and provide the project team with insight as to how these judgements were made via online interviews. These online exemplars with associated cognitive commentaries will be used in Stage 5.

Stage 5: Implement an assessment task with same key features as the assessment tasks implemented in Stage 1. Moderate student performances using the online exemplars with associated cognitive commentaries to confirm/recommend adjusted grades.

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