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Scaffolding in Assessment Design

Scaffolding student responses

Thinking about the way your assessment questions or tasks are constructed, is it easy for the student to see all parts of the requirement that must be addressed?

Compare the two:

  • Q: Explain how you can use the methods of project work, self-reflection and short training courses to develop your own critical and creative thinking skills

  • A: ______________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________

  • Q: Use brief dot points to explain the following methods that you can use to develop your own critical and creative thinking skills:

    • Project work

    • Self-reflection

    • Short training courses

  • A:

While the wording of both questions is ok, the first is presented in such a way that relies on the student being able to unpack the question on their own, ensuring they pinpoint each component for which a response must be provided. The response field suggests a block of text is required for the answer (potentially as paragraphs) - which will then require the assessor to read through and tease out every part of the response that is addressing a requirement.

The advantage of the second version is that:

  • The student is given an expectation of the volume of response required ("..brief dot points.." - goes to fairness)

  • Each part of the question requiring a response is itemised and easy to see

  • The table provides a reminder of all parts of the question to be answered - much easier to see any blanks or gaps in the response

  • The assessor will be able to quickly and easily see the responses to all parts of the question

  • And, with the benchmark set out the same way, the assessor can quickly and easily determine whether the response given is satisfactory

A simple adjustment to the way questions and tasks are presented can increase robustness of the tools and save a lot of time when it comes to marking.

(The above question goes toward KE from BSBCRT311 Apply critical thinking skills in a team environment R1)

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