Tools to support assessment design

Making an argument for the validity of your design (inquiries 1 and 2) can be as simple as sharing your design thoughts with a peer, as the teachers in school A did: School A Argument for validity The reviewer was able to read it alongside the unit plan School A unit overview 11 Crucible unit overview.  The other approach was using track-change comments to show a peer reviewer what you would like them to notice, as the teachers in school B did School B The Crucible Unit plan with teacher comments . Reviewers were then able to give feedback School A Peer review from the university team and School B Peer review from the university team.

Checking the equitable summative design (inquiry 3): This was the validity checklist that the teachers in School A used to self assess their summative task design and seek peer feedback. You can download the word file here:  Construct validity checklist, and see how they filled it out here: Construct validity checklist 11 analytical, School A Construct validity checklist narrative short story exam.

Planning for feedback loops for intelligent accountability (inquiry 5): The big picture of the process can be planned in advance. The resource guidelines for schools explains each step.Supporting New Senior Assessment Resource for Schools version 1  

a system for local validity

Definitions for shared language


These can be read to complement the definitions from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Term Meaning Source
Accessibility ‘conditions of access’ dictate additional, implicit skills known as ‘criteria of access’ that students must apply to successfully complete the task. Burbules, Lord & Sherman (1982)
Agency to have opportunity to take action – drawing on past patterns and habits, practical judgement in the present and an imagined future. Emirbayer & Mische (2009).
Creative agency to create an innovative intervention in the world that draws on one’s interests, experiences and aspirations. Cope & Kalantzis (2009)
Critical agency to analyse oneself and others to interrogate and understand interests, motives and relationships of power. Cope & Kalantzis (2009)
Equity is evident in assessment when it is in the best interests of the student, it is non-discriminatory and enables full participation. Elwood & Lundy (2010)
Intelligent accountability occurs through processes of building trust and strengthening collective responsibility for students to achieve valued outcomes. Sahlberg (2010)
Learner agency is evident when students are active decision makers in their learning and assessment processes.
Reliability describes “the extent to which the results can be said to be of acceptable consistency or accuracy for a particular use”. Harlen, (2013, p. 9)
Validity is evident when assessment designs and decisions are trusted, and the assessment fits the purpose for which it was designed. Stobart (2009)
Validity – Content refers to the content that is the focus of the assessment and how aligned and representative the focus of the assessment task is with the required skills and knowledge. This can include whether it represents the big ideas of the discipline, the syllabus requirements, and the alignment with what has been taught to students.
Validity – Construct refers to the design of the task and whether it gathers evidence about what it was intended to assess, and enables students to create that evidence within the conditions of the task. This can include attending to the accessibility in the design, alignment of all of the elements, achievability of the scope of the task, and the mode being fit for purpose. It is closely linked to the principles of reliability and equity.
Validity – Consequential refers to extent to which the assessment achieves the purposes for which it was intended for all students. It is closely linked to principles of equity, as assessment can inadvertently have different consequences for different groups of students. The inquiry is whether the values and ideologies represented in the task, and the potential and social consequences are equitable (Messick, 1989 p. 20). Elwood & Lundy (2010)

Messick (1989)

Stobart (2009)


Discussion question flashcards



Short activities for professional learning

  • Shared language activity – HookED_SOLO_Hexagons: these hexagons were generated using Pam Hook’s hexagon generator. They can be used in conjunction with the SOLO taxonomy for reflecting on learning outcomes. Work in small groups in professional learning sessions to link the terms in the hexagons (cut the hexagons out first!), then use the SOLO taxonomy to self assess, compare and find points of consensus on your understanding of the connections.
  • Matt Pickersgill at Benowa State High School created this clip to coordinate a calibration meeting between his school and another school. Thanks for sharing your excellent work Matt: