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Guide to Assessment

Publication date: November 2009 Publication code: AA4147

Published by the Scottish Qualifications Authority The Optima Building, 58 Robertson Street, Glasgow G2 8DQ Ironmills Road, Dalkeith, Midlothian EH22 1LE www.sqa.org.uk

The information in this publication may be reproduced in support of SQA qualifications. If it is reproduced, SQA should be clearly acknowledged as the source. If it is to be used for any other purpose, then written permission must be obtained from the Publishing Team at SQA. It must not be reproduced for trade or commercial purposes. © Scottish Qualifications Authority 2008

For an up-to-date list of prices visit the Publication Sales and Downloads section of SQA’s website. This document can be produced in alternative formats, including large type, Braille and community languages. For further details telephone SQA’s Customer Contact Centre on 0845 279 1000. SQA is committed to using plain English. We will try to make our publications as easy and straightforward to understand as we can, and will try to avoid all unnecessary jargon. If there is any language in this document that you feel is hard to understand, or could be improved, please write to Editor, Publishing Team, at the Glasgow address above or e-mail: editor@sqa.org.uk

Contents
About this Guide Information about SQA qualifications The purposes of assessment Planning learning and providing feedback — formative assessment Measuring an individual’s attainment — summative assessment Making future choices Awarding qualifications Monitoring and maintaining standards Evaluating performance levels Principles of assessment Valid assessment Reliable assessment The relationship between validity and reliability Practicable and cost-effective assessment Equitable and fair assessment Carrying out assessment Different types of assessment Observation Product evaluation Questioning Assessment instruments Assessing cognitive ability by selected or constructed response Alternative response questions (true/false) Assertion/reason questions Cloze questions Completion questions Grid questions Matching questions Multiple choice questions Multiple response questions Short answer questions Assessing cognitive ability by extended or free response Assignments Dissertations Extended response questions Oral questions Projects Professional discussions Restricted response questions Structured questions Question papers Assessing practical ability Aural tests 1 1 3 4 5 5 5 6 6 8 8 9 9 10 10 11 11 11 11 12 12 15 15 17 18 19 20 22 23 25 27 28 28 30 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 45

Case studies Expressive activities Oral tests Practical exercises Assessing SQA qualifications Internal assessment External assessment The assessment process for SQA Units Get to know the Units: content and standards Plan the assessment Select instruments of assessment and devise the assessment tasks Decide on the responses expected Check the assessment and assessment scheme Assess the candidate Judge the evidence Check the consistency of the judgement Record your assessment decisions Make opportunities for re-assessment Record the final result of assessment The assessment process for SQA Courses Preparation of an external assessment Best practice in assessment Giving feedback promptly Involving the learner in the assessment process Integrated assessment Literacy skills Checklist for best practice Assessment toolbox Malpractice Controlled access to online materials Personal logs Personal statements Peer reports Questioning Write-ups under supervised conditions Witness testimony Simulation Computer Assisted Assessment Specific requirements for types of qualification National Units National Courses Higher National Qualifications Scottish Vocational Qualifications External quality control Simulation in SVQs and NVQs

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