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R3C3 Dependability: Are assessment processes understood and accepted as being robust and reliable?

How much confidence can we place in different forms of assessment?  Technically speaking, high...

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Andrew Pollard
5 May 2010

How much confidence can we place in different forms of assessment?  Technically speaking, high dependability arises when an assessment is both valid and reliable – it measures what it is intended to measure and it does so with high consistency. 

Consistent reliability is not easy to achieve. As TLRP’s Commentary on assessment pointed out (Mansell and James, 2009), this can be undermined by unfair or biased marking and by variations in standards applied by different teachers. Other studies have shown how differences in testing situations or in pupil preparation can affect performance. Electronic marking may achieve consistency in that respect, but struggles on some tests of validity. On the other hand, teacher assessment is likely to strengthen the validity of judgements made, but remains vulnerable to inconsistency unless moderation processes are taken extremely seriously.

For all these reasons, the dependability of school assessments always has to be worked for.  

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