Designing and writing assessment tasks is complex. Here's some steps to consider.
Think about what the end product will be. It needs to be clear to students what their end result is and how it relates to their profession. You’ve probably already done this in design stages of constructive alignment.
What is the content area you what to assess and what sort of data or information will students need to access or research in order to achieve the end result? Think about how students will research the information and what obstacles might be in their way. If you’re going to ask students to do a research project, think about whether you need an ethics application. Do you need to provide case studies or advise students of publicly available information?
Use a descriptive title so that students are clear from the beginning what the end product of their task will be. If you use the term Assignment 1 but the assessment item number is 2 it can be confusing so it's best to avoid these nondescript titles. This section is limited to 50 characters including spaces.
When giving your assessment a title, think about how it will look in the summary table. The assessment item ‘type’ is set to assignment, so use a title that describes the assessment task to give students as much guidance as possible. Use familiar terms. For instance, if the task requires short answer responses, call it this; if it requires a blog post or discussion forum, then name the task to correspond with the format. This helps students to become familiar with university language and expectations, and they can access support on the different assessment types by searching for the appropriate term.
Titles must be unique: Titles may also be used by other CSU systems and processes, e.g. EASTS, grading, etc. To avoid errors, it is very important that all Assessment Items within an Outline have a unique Title, i.e. there cannot be 2 or more items entitled "Essay" or "Exam". A unique identifier must be added, e.g. Essay on Indigenous Health Issues or Mid-session Exam.
Assessment tasks can be marked using either a numerical value or a satisfactory (SY)/unsatisfactory (US) grading scale. If a numerical value (percentage) is selected, then standards of performance should be developed along the University’s grading system of HD-PS. SY/US should be used in cases when there is no numeric value ascribed to the assessment.
You will need to think carefully about the overall subject pass requirements for assessment tasks graded as SY/US. For example, if a student is marked as unsatisfactory can they pass the subject? If not, then the assessment task can be very ‘high-stakes’ compared with an assessment task valued at 10% where students can still pass the subject without passing that particular assessment task. You will need to include all pass requirements in the relevant section of the subject outline.
This information may also be used by other CSU systems, e.g. EASTS, grading, etc.
One of two (2) due date options must be selected for the assignment item to be deemed compliant. It is important to consider whether you need to include an early low-stakes assessment task in your subject. The assessment principles policy suggests that wherever possible, early low-stakes assessment tasks will be provided in first year undergraduate subjects. You should set the due date for these tasks before Week 4–5 (Census date) so there is plenty of time to provide feedback to students on their progress and achievement, and to identify those students in need of extra support. This page on designing first year assessment may help you.
This information may also be used by other CSU systems, e.g. EASTS.
The two (2) due date options are:
The Return Date which is auto-calculated fifteen (15) business days from the selected Due Date will apply unless the 'Not returned' checkbox is selected.
Provide the length requirement for the assignment item or state if the length of an assignment is not applicable, such as for laboratory reports.
Length of an assessment task is very important. It provides an indication of the depth of response required. Ensure that this is the overall word length of the assessment item and make some comment about whether you see this as a maximum, minimum or target for this assessment. Also include word length for separate parts if appropriate.
There are a number of options for submission. EASTS (online) is the default for Assignment items. Students may submit in a number of ways. Check out the following link and select Submission methods for more information.
This is a critical part of the subject outline, where you explain what is required of the student. You should aim to have all the details in the subject outline because it is important for students to be able to make decisions on their ability to complete the tasks in the subject when they first enrol.
When working on the design of the task here is a template document sourced from Claire Hughes (2009) Assessment as text production: drawing on systemic functional linguistics to frame the design and analysis of assessment tasks, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 34 (5), 553-563 DOI: 10.1080/0202930802187316
You should consider what type of task best suits the learning outcomes you want students to achieve.
Here are a number of important details that you should consider putting in the task description.
Include the referencing requirements for the task, or if referencing is not required it is still useful to say so. You may like to include your expectations on the sources of information that are appropriate (e.g. text books, or peer-reviewed scientific literature) as well as some guide as to the number of references to include. You will need to clearly state the style of referencing that students should adhere to (e.g. APA6 or a discipline specific style). You may also provide a link to the referencing guide. Alternatively, use either the Presentation or Requirements section of an Assignment Item to state the required referencing style and link to the detail of the method on the i2 subject site or other online source. For example: APA referencing style: https://apps.csu.edu.au/reftool/apa-6
Any variable dates should be detailed here or within another appropriate section within the Assignment Item.
Make sure that you link to learning outcomes and explain to students how the task relates to them.
The rationale is where you have the opportunity to show the links between the assessment task and the Learning Outcomes and describe the purpose of the task. Make sure that you are explicit in stating what Learning Outcomes the assessment task is assessing and then use these Learning Outcomes as your criteria in your marking guide. In outlining the purpose of the task, you can identify the skills and knowledge students will develop, how the task will help them in subsequent tasks (if applicable), or the application of the task to real world problems or professional work. You may wish to explain the relationship of the assessment task to modules, weekly topics, timing within the session, residential school, or other assessment tasks. If Graduate Learning Outcomes or Graduate Attributes are being assessed in this task, then include a description and purpose for those as well, such as for life-long learning.
Check out this page http://www.csu.edu.au/division/landt/interact/help/sot/index.html?search_for_an_outline.htm for examples of rationales that link outcomes and the task and explain to students why they are doing the task and how it helps them achieve outcomes.
When you develop your marking criteria, you need to include all of the elements for criterion-referenced, standards-based assessment. Here are the essential elements:
In this section refer to the marking criteria, not marking rubric or rubric as many students do not know the meaning of this term. Remember to include all of your expectations and requirements in the marking criteria in clear, unambiguous terminology, and outline the standard expected. Marking criteria should not only relate to whether the task has been answered correctly, but also how the response has been presented in terms of language and style. If you require fluent use of English and grammar, this should be included in the criteria.
Marking criteria and standards can be presented in different formats. A set of criteria and standards can be presented in either list and table formats or a combination.
The most common format is a table where criteria aligned to learning outcomes are defined in the first column and the standards related to the criteria are on the right for each passing grade. A fail grade column is not required but some lecturers like to add it and it can be very helpful for the student to know what constitutes a Fail. It may also be mandated by your School or Faculty.
|Criteria define aligned to learning outcome||Standard defined for HD related to the criteria||Standard defined for D related to the criteria||Standard defined for CR related to the criteria||standard defined for PS related to the criteria|
A list format can also be used where criteria are listed at the top and a set of standards grouped under the grade heading. The criteria are required to be defined and not just the standards under each heading. See the Assessment Principles Policy for further information in the Section 2 - GLOSSARY for a definition of criteria and standards.
each standard can be defined under the HD heading
standard 3 etc.
each standard can be defined under the D heading
standard 3 etc.
each standard can be defined under the CR heading
standard 3 etc.
each standard can be defined under the PS heading
standard 3 etc.
Table/List format combination
The list format can also be used in a combination list and table where the criteria are listed at the top and the grades and standards are in a table.
The page on developing quality assessment for your subject on the Division of Learning and Teaching’s Assessment website has more help and examples of rubrics. https://www.csu.edu.au/division/learning-and-teaching/home/assessment-and-moderation/assessment-resources-and-information/developing-quality-assessment-for-your-subject click on Criteria to assess tasks in the page for more information.
Include details not covered in the task description that specifically relate to presentation. For example document format (e.g. Word doc, PDF), cover sheets, font size, layout.
Use either the Task, Presentation or Requirements section of an Assignment Item to state the required referencing style and link to the detail of the method on the i2 subject site or other online source.
Please provide any other details regarding the requirements for the assignment. Include details such as submission requirements, pass requirements, or dress requirements for work placement or laboratory-based assessments.
Use either the Task, Presentation or Requirements section of an Assignment Item to state the required referencing style and link to the detail of the method on the i2 subject site or other online source. For example: APA referencing style: https://apps.csu.edu.au/reftool/apa-6.