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Taken from NZQA website “Only those students who meet the criteria for Merit or Excellence Level get those grades. Therefore proportions gaining Merit and Excellence grades change a little from year to year.” “This sets NCEA apart from qualifications systems that use a predetermined distribution of grades – where a limited number of high grades is allocated to candidates who do better than the rest, regardless of the standard of their work.”
“Regardless of whether an achievement standard is assessed internally or externally, the criteria for Achievement with Merit and Achievement with Excellence are set down in the standard.” “Only those students who meet the criteria for Merit or Excellence get those grades. There is no predetermined distribution of grades.”
Achievement Achievement with Merit Achievement with Excellence Identify or describe Give descriptions or Give concise aspects of explanations in terms explanations that phenomena, concepts of phenomena, show clear or principles. concepts, principles understanding, in and/or relationships. terms of phenomena, concepts, principles and/or relationships. Solve straightforward Solve problems. Solve complex problems. problems.
Real standard ◦ Finished task assessment Virtual standard ◦ Developmental assessment ◦ No difference from a syllabus
Enables recognition of a task Qualification is independently recognised Examples ◦ Driving licence ◦ Firearms licence ◦ Radio licence ◦ Athletic standards, cross country times All finished task assessment
Attempts to show development in a process Has no direct employment value Examples ◦ Level 1 physics ◦ What job could you get with Level 1 Physics? ◦ Level 2 physics ◦ Level 3 physics ◦ Physics degree (if it were NCEA) What does achieving mean in physics?
Standards ◦ Assess students by standards ◦ Graded against standards Process (percentage) ◦ Assess students on how much they get right ◦ Graded by norm referencing ◦ Cohort is the standard
Standards assessment ◦ Arbitrary since the standards have no real meaning ◦ Standard does not set the difficulty, question does Process (percentage) assessment ◦ Gives information on how much a student knows ◦ Can bench mark using norm referencing
Answer from NZQA “All national exam systems have tools to manage variation, ensuring consistency.” “PEPs are a tool for managing variation.” “PEPs consist of historical information and results within standards and subjects.” “Statistically, for cohorts of a reasonable size, candidate performance does not vary significantly from year to year.” So why choose standards based assessment?
“Examiners cannot tell in advance how well a cohort will do, on untrialled questions.” Elley “NZQA had no mechanism in place to prevent year-to-year and subject-to-subject variation and seemed not to believe that it was necessary to have such a mechanism.” Nash “A norm-referenced reality always underpins criterion referenced standards in the educational system.” Nash
“NCEA‟s supporters, including NZQA, the Ministry of Education, and the PPTA, are reluctant to concede that that re-marking to maintain expected „profiles‟ introduces a form of norm-referencing and, being concerned to defend the examination against criticism that threatens to undermine public confidence in it, have no interest in debating the point.” Nash “Remarking is not scaling, but the technique is used to generate a distribution of grades more or less consistent between subjects and years, and is thus simply an expensive way of accomplishing the same outcome.” Nash
Answer from NZQA “Markers must follow the assessment schedule (mark scheme) that has been finalised by the panel leader.“ “This occurs after a substantial sample of answer booklets have been marked by the panel leader and a senior marker, giving an idea of the spread of performance to be expected (referred to as setting the standard).” Why is this important in standards based assessment? “The published assessment schedules are the ones finalised by the panel leaders and applied by markers.” “Teachers use these to identify the answers allowable for that particular exam.”
Has NCEA ever been assessment based? ◦ PEPs ◦ GSM Are internals the same difficulty as externals? How does NCEA compare with Cambridge and IB? Why are schools implementing the above programs? Have universities noticed an improvement in pupils since the introduction of NCEA?
No real standards exist for physics Standards are used as a syllabus NCEA Ptolemaic Standards lead to the “right” answer (solve problems, no method marks) Right answer encourages spoon feeding Mark schemes procrustean NCEA via PEPs leads to arbitrary grades Arbitrary results demotivates able pupils Low level of achievement hides lack of skills and knowledge at bottom (about 16% to pass in maths) NCEA gets pupils to university, does it keep them there? NCEA pupils disadvantaged in competitive courses NZ university entry very low compared to rest of world (120 points; 4 AS levels at D grade)
A Change of Direction for NCEA: On Re-marking, Scaling and Norm-referencing Roy Nash Fixing the NCEA: Ongoing problems, current reforms and proposed changes http://www.maxim.org.nz/files/pdf/policy_paper_ncea_refor ms.pdf