Soft Skills – Hard to Assess? An investigation into enhancing the reliability of practical assessment tasks

Soft Skills – Hard to Assess? An investigation into enhancing the reliability of practical assessment tasks

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Soft Skills - Hard to Assess? An investigation into enhancing the reliability of practical assessment tasks

Since 2002 a number of initiatives in Scottish education have led to an increased emphasis on soft or core skills which have often been considered difficult to assess reliably. This paper will describe some attempts to increase the reliability of practical assessment tasks in the context of the Scottish Survey of Achievement (SSA).The SSA was introduced in 2005 and is an annual sample survey. Its introduction was intended to separate national monitoring from classroom-based assessment and lessen the perceived negative wash-back effect on teaching and learning. The data gathered allows the Scottish Government to track standards of attainment at a national level –, and at local authority level for those authorities who choose to opt for this.The principle aim of the SSA is to produce national estimates of achievement for pupils across Scotland at different stages in their education. However, another objective is for the survey to play a role in demonstrating effective and innovative assessment approaches. The survey includes classroom-based tests, questionnaires and practical assessment tasks including Working with Others and Problem Solving. These are delivered and assessed by visiting ‘,field officers’, (teachers trained to carry out the assessments).This presentation will look at these innovative assessment tasks with a view to seeing whether soft skills are assessable in a valid and reliable way. This presentation will explore some of the different types of practical assessment2activities used in the survey and focus on the ways in which we attempt to maximise inter-rater reliability.

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