Assessment in Digital Technologies

When approaching assessment in Digital Technologies where do you start?

Assessment is the process of gathering and interpreting evidence to make judgements about student learning, and is the link between learning outcomes, content, and teaching and learning activities.

When assessing students, it is important to focus on what they know and understand, and what they need to know and understand in order to progress. Assessment should align with the achievement standards and content descriptions in the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies, and with what is taught and learnt in the classroom.

If the curriculum authority in your state or territory has modified the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies, follow a similar process, however refer to the relevant guidelines.

The Digital Technologies Hub team and the Computer Science Research Education (CSER) Group, Adelaide University, have collaborated to help you develop a plan for assessment.

Gaining clarity around what to assess is a necessary starting point. Ask yourself:

What evidence of student learning do I need to collect to assess student achievement against the achievement standards?

The achievement standards provide a focus for educators in the initial planning and programming of teaching and learning activities (ACARA, 2010). They offer guidance on the expectations for each year/band, which educators can use at the end of a teaching period to make judgements about student learning; that is, whether a student has achieved below, at, or above the standard. To support these judgements, educators also draw on the assessment data they have collected as evidence over the teaching period.

On the Digital Technologies Hub we provide a view of the achievement standards for each year band. We have also organised a number of smaller elements of the achievement standards, within the two strands: Knowledge and understanding, and Processes and production skills. These elements can provide a starting point when designing assessment tasks. Remember an assessment task may cover more than one element of the achievement standard.

It is important to be clear on how to assess your students. Ask yourself:

Have I chosen an appropriate way to assess students?

The clue to this is in the achievement standards. Each element of the achievement standard includes at least one key active verb; for example, identify, describe, explain, design, create. These verbs can be linked to the revised Bloom’s taxonomy; for example, ‘explain’ aligns with Bloom’s ‘understanding’. The revised Bloom’s taxonomy is a resource that supports you to design assessment tasks relevant to your students’ needs.

Choose an assessment activity that requires students to undertake a task that uses the skills and knowledge related to the key active verb. Here are a few examples:

  • A student may be asked to ‘identify’ … which relates to Bloom’s ‘remembering’. A suitable type of assessment task would be for the student to label diagrams or images that would require them to recall or recognise information.
  • A student may be asked to ‘explain’ … which relates to Bloom’s ‘understanding’. A suitable type of assessment task would be for the student to share their understanding of a topic through oral, visual or written communication.
  • A student may be asked to ‘create’ … which relates to Bloom’s ‘creating’. A suitable type of assessment task would be for the student to create a digital artefact to which they can apply their skills and knowledge of programming.

We have developed a range of resources that demonstrate how to use the Digital Technologies achievement standards and content descriptors as a guide for breaking down and identifying the skills, behaviours and knowledge you wish students to demonstrate. The resources cover the use of checklists, student interviews (think alouds) and rubrics. Use the examples and advice in the Guides and templates to modify and create assessment tasks that suit your students’ needs and context.

Martin Richards
Content Manager | Digital Technologies Hub
Facebook: @DigitalTechnologiesHub
Twitter: @DigiTechHub

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