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It also enables teachers to be confident in the accuracy of their judgements about each student. Assuming a subject has a number of goals (knowledge to learn, skills to acquire), each task should be appropriate to the specific goal or goals it is assessing.This means that a task assessing base knowledge will look different to one assessing creativity. In most disciplines, there are specific bodies of knowledge that students are expected to learn.These tasks develop several important higher-order thinking skills, such as analysis and decision-making. We want our future doctors to know of the entire human body.
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For example, history students might be asked to choose and research a historical character in depth.
Business studies students might be asked to design the pitch for a new business seeking venture capital. And this is exactly what we want: multiple, different tasks to maximise students’ opportunities to demonstrate what they know and can do. Where breadth of knowledge is important, we want assessment tasks that target this breadth.
Rod Lane does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Critics also often argue that exams promote a superficial understanding of topics, and that they are inauthentic: that is, they fail to represent the kinds of things students will be asked to do “in the real world”.
In recent weeks, students across high school and university classrooms have been breathing sighs of relief. However, this is taking a narrow view of the benefits of exams.
Good assessment programs aim to provide a balanced, fair evaluation of each student. First, they use of a variety of strategies and tasks.
This gives students multiple opportunities, in varying contexts, to demonstrate what they know and can do.