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 Teachers everywhere want to know more about the science behind student assessments

Teachers everywhere want to know more about the science behind student assessments

ACER news 4 minute read

With increased emphasis everywhere on the quality of school education, teachers are keen to learn about assessment methods that help them understand what their students have learnt and how to improve their learning.

On 11 June 2020, an online workshop on the ‘Principles of item writing’ was delivered by ACER India. Our partner, Samanvay Sahodya (a peer group of schools affiliated to the same examination board) invited more than 500 school leaders and teachers from 150 distinguished schools in India and some Indian schools in Kuwait.

The workshop addressed the following questions:

  • What is the role of assessment in supporting teaching and learning?
  • What are the differences between summative and formative assessment?
  • How can educators ensure validity, reliability and fairness in an assessment?
  • What are the underlying principles of test item development?

The workshop provided an opportunity to apply the principles of test item development to the creation of assessment items. Teachers also got an opportunity to investigate the use of external standardised assessments such as the International Benchmark Tests (IBT), an assessment offered by ACER that provides individual and school-level assessment, yielding evidence on learning levels of students and informing teaching strategies.

Dr Mee Young Han, Director, Research and Assessment, spoke about large-scale assessments and ACER’s contribution to the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Swarnima Luthra, President, Samanvay Sahodaya Complex, and Principal, ASN Senior Secondary School, delivered the inaugural speech. The workshop was moderated by Priyanka Gulati, Principal, Evergreen Public School, Delhi, and Vandana Kapoor, Principal, SLS D.A.V School, Delhi.

The participants asked several questions on different subjects – distractors, Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), difference in complexity of formative and summative assessment, testing creativity of students, etc. A question raised by one of the participants found several echoes in the discussion - ‘Now that schools are closed and we are teaching online, how can we test our students?’

In July 2020, ACER India will be conducting a series of workshops on classroom-based assessments. If you would like to know more about our professional learning courses or join our events, please use our form to sign up at

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