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2018 SEAB Assessment Seminar

 2018 SEAB Assessment Seminar
 Making Connections:
Principles and Good Practices in Assessment
 Wednesday, 18 April 2018
 Venue: MAX Atria@Singapore Expo, Garnet Hall, Level 2
1 Expo Drive, Singapore 486150
 Organised by: Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB)
Programme
0815 - 0900 Registration
0900 - 1000 Keynote Address: Making Connections: Principles and Good Practices in Assessment

By Ms Tan Lay Choo, Chief Executive, SEAB

1000 - 1030 Tea Break
1030 - 1130 Concurrent Session 1 *
1140 - 1240 Concurrent Session 2 *
1240 - 1330 Lunch
1330 - 1400 Plenary Session 1: Connecting Assessment and Learning
1400 - 1500 Plenary Session 2: Understanding Standards-Referenced Assessment
1500 - 1530 Tea Break
1530 - 1645 Panel Discussion
1645 - 1700 Evaluation
* Details and abstracts of the presentations are appended below.

Concurrent Session 1: 10.30 a.m. - 11.30 a.m.
Garnet Hall: English Language Garnet Room 212: Mother Tongue Languages Garnet Room 218: Science
  1. What to value in students’ writing at primary levels
  1. Understanding and assessing Mother Tongue Language Spoken Interaction skills at the upper primary level
  1. Use of constructed-response items for assessment in primary Science
  1. How to bridge students' gaps in Situational Writing
  1. A tool for assessing higher-order thinking skills for Mother Tongue Language reading comprehension
  1. SOLO - Identifying learning gaps through scaffolding questions in primary Science



Concurrent Session 2: 11.40 a.m. - 12.40 p.m.

Garnet Hall: English Language Garnet Room 212: Mathematics Garnet Room 218: Science
  1. Reducing construct-irrelevant variance in language achievement
  1. Students’ errors in Mathematics Problem Solving: What can they tell us?
  1. Assessment strategies that could surface misconceptions in primary Science for intervention
  1. Interpreting Visual Texts - Understanding and assessing the construct
  1. Unmasking gaps in students’ Mathematical Reasoning
  1. Language use in the learning and assessment of Science






 
Abstracts

Theme

Abstracts

Concurrent Session 1
English Language

Garnet Hall
 

What to value in students’ writing at primary levels
Adeline Teng, Assessment Specialist

Among language skillsets, writing skills require much more effort to acquire for many of our students. One challenge in classroom assessment of writing is mainly about how to provide useful feedback to students to help them improve their writing. POEMS, a framework grounded on the five elements that constitute good writing, was developed in alignment with the Learning Outcomes for Writing in the Primary English Language syllabus. POEMS aims to provide teachers with the structure for assessing writing. The presentation explicates each element of the POEMS framework, and how the framework could provide more focused feedback to guide students to develop each aspect of their writing. With a clear focus for writing, students would be able to develop good writing skills holistically.

How to bridge students’ gaps in Situational Writing

Adeline Teng, Assessment Specialist, and Alicia Yeow, Assessment Officer (Languages and Literature)

The task for Situational Writing is to assess students’ ability to write to communicate specific information with an intended audience to achieve a particular social function. It is not uncommon that students respond to the task without fulfilling the social function of the context presented to them: they write with an unclear purpose; and they do not contexualise information and use inappropriate register for their intended audience. A possible underlying cause for such traits could be due to a lack of social awareness surrounding Situational Writing. This presentation will introduce a framework which could provide a comprehensive scope for feedback to enhance students’ social awareness which is essential for effective communication in responding to Situational Writing tasks.

Mother Tongue Languages

Garnet Room 212


                     
Understanding and assessing Mother Tongue Language Spoken Interaction skills at the upper primary level

Too Jye Yuin, Senior Assessment Specialist (Chinese Language), & Chua Lay Keng, Senior Assessment Specialist (Chinese Language)

At the upper primary levels, the assessment of Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) Spoken Interaction skills is carried out through the e-Oral examination format. To elicit relevant responses from the students through this mode of delivery requires a mastery of the questioning technique, which is essential for assessing the range of speaking skills associated with the Spoken Interaction component. This presentation will discuss the key aspects of the questioning technique such as generating age-appropriate prompts that could better engage the students and also stimulate higher-order thinking to deepen the conversation. A pre-requisite for mastering this questioning technique is a clear understanding of the construct of Spoken Interaction which will also be established during the presentation.

A tool for assessing higher-order thinking skills for Mother Tongue Languages reading comprehension

Premalatha d/o Parasuraman, Assessment Specialist (Tamil Language)

Setting questions that assess factual and literal comprehension is the first step to item writing. The next step is to master the skill to assess higher-order thinking skills to ensure that the full range of reading comprehension skills is taught in the classroom. This presentation will share what constitutes higher-order thinking skills in reading comprehension and include a discussion on the suitability of reading comprehension texts and questions to assess the higher-order thinking skills.

Science


Garnet Room 218

            
           

Use of constructed-response items for assessment in primary Science
Sharon Tan, Assessment Specialist (Sciences)

Constructed-response items are commonly used to assess students’ ability to apply knowledge of Science concepts and skills in real-world contexts, and to analyse data and experimental set-ups in the assessment of primary Science. This presentation will discuss various considerations related to the use of constructed-response items for assessment in primary Science. The discussion includes benefits and challenges encountered with the use of constructed-response items.

SOLO - Identifying learning gaps through scaffolding questions in primary Science

Fong Yick Chee, Assessment Specialist (Sciences)

Students may find it challenging to apply their Science knowledge in new or unfamiliar contexts. Drawing learning points from the Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy, one useful strategy is to help students develop the skills to make connections between learnt concepts and the information presented in the tasks so that they can better understand the context presented and respond to the tasks more relevantly. This presentation will introduce one such approach that teachers could use to design scaffolding questions to surface learning gaps or deepen students’ understanding during Science lessons. By practising this approach, students may also acquire the skills for applying Science knowledge in novel situations.

Concurrent Session 2

English Language

Garnet Hall

Reducing construct-irrelevant variance in language achievement
Syed Mohamed s/o Abdul Gafoor, Senior Assessment Specialist (Languages and Literature)

A test that includes knowledge and skills that are not in the syllabus will neither be fair nor relevant. One common pitfall is related to the concept of “construct”, which is central to what is to be assessed. This presentation will discuss the concept of construct-irrelevant variance in language tests, the related notions of construct-irrelevant difficulty and construct-irrelevant easiness, and how these can be minimised to keep the level of demand of a test suitable for test takers.

English Language

Garnet Hall

 

Interpreting Visual Texts – Understanding and assessing the construct
Cheong Yin Yuen, Senior Assessment Specialist (Languages and Literature)

This presentation shares some ideas that would be useful in the assessment of visual text interpretation, which is a 21st Century skill. The ideas are built on Kress and van Leuwen’s (2006) concepts of the “Representational”, “Interpersonal” and “Compositional”. Representational questions centre on the content of the visual text, while Interpersonal questions are about engagement with the viewer. How and why a visual text is laid out the way it is forms the essence of Compositional questions. Students’ response to these questions can shed light on how well they interpret visual texts. Based on the evidence gathered, teachers would be in a better position to close learning gaps that have surfaced. With their learning needs identified and addressed, students are likely to achieve a more holistic interpretation of visual texts which are an embodiment of Representational, Interpersonal and Compositional meanings.

Mathematics

Garnet Room 212

Students’ errors in Mathematics Problem Solving: What can they tell us?
Chen-Theng Geak Seng, Senior Assessment Specialist (Mathematics)

This presentation will share the common errors made by students in solving mathematics problems with various examples for illustration. Analysing students’ errors based on knowledge competency will help to surface common misconceptions and other learning gaps. Such information could be helpful to teachers in determining the appropriate remediation for their students.

Unmasking gaps in students’ Mathematical Reasoning
Dr Alwyn Pang, Senior Assessment Specialist (Mathematics)

Assessment is integral to teaching and learning – it furnishes useful information on students’ learning that aid teachers in their instructional decision-making. However, research findings show that making such connections is not straightforward. For one, it is difficult in written assessments to judge if students had the right mathematical reasoning behind their correct answers. This presentation will provide examples on how probing questions help unmask mathematical reasoning gaps that are present even in students’ correctly-produced answers. Through these examples, we see the challenges that teachers face in making sense of students’ mathematical reasoning processes, yet laud the promise that probing questions can bring to teachers’ sensemaking of students’ mathematical reasoning.

Science

Garnet Room 218

Assessment strategies that could surface misconceptions in primary Science for intervention
Tan Lee Sze, Assessment Specialist (Sciences)

This presentation will share the assessment strategies which could be useful in identifying misconceptions for feedback to aid learning of Science at the primary levels. These strategies include the use of group interviews, open-ended tests, multiple-choice tests and multiple-tier tests. The presentation will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of these strategies, which could be helpful for identifying students’ misconceptions that hinder learning so that appropriate interventions can be planned to close the learning gaps.

Language use in the learning and assessment of Science
Dr Rajenthiran s/o Sellan, Senior Assessment Specialist (Languages and Literature)

Recent research studies on science education emphasise not only the learning of science through language but also the learning about the language of science. The findings of these studies recognise the linguistic features of a science text or a science test item at the lexical, grammatical and text levels as meaning-making tools. This paper discusses strategies at the lexical, grammatical and text levels. Through this discussion, the paper shows how giving explicit attention to the linguistic features in science texts and assessments provides important opportunities for students to learn and deepen their understanding of science.

Plenary Session 1

Plenary Session 1

Garnet Hall

Connecting Assessment and Learning

Dr Leong See Cheng, Lead Assessment Specialist

Should the assessment of skills be different from the assessment of knowledge? Is it true that in the assessment of skills, the assessment of knowledge is no longer important? How should we go about assessing skills? When you survey the range of assessment practices for the assessment of skills, have you wondered why assessment practitioners assess skills in the way they do? This presentation on “Assessment of Skills” will shed light on these questions and offer ideas on how skills may be taught in schools.