Evaluating the evidence in assessment

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Evaluating the evidence in assessment

What is our warrant for saying “,Student X deserves a Grade C”, ? It must be based on evidence, and the only evidence we see is what students produce during the exam. For valid assessment two criteria must be met: the examination must elicit proper evidence of the trait, and we must evaluate theevidence properly. This highlights the importance of ensuring quality in the mark schemes with which we evaluate theevidence as well as in the questions which elicit it.Our recent research shows that improving mark schemes can make more impact on validity than further work on improving questions.In this paper we will outline a procedural model for maximising construct validity: at its heart is the concept of Outcome Space, the range of evidence that students produce.The model aims to ensure that our mark schemes evaluate this evidence properly in terms of the achievement trait we want to assess. This model has been developed in consultation with senior examiners and exam board personnel. A key part of it is a taxonomy for classifying mark schemes and evaluating their suitability for different types of questions. We will present examples to illustrate the essential elements of an ideal mark scheme.

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