Question writing for effective assessment

Question writing for effective assessment woman attending webinar
Date: 23 May 2024 - 06 Jun 2024 Venue: Online
Type: Workshop series Fee: £265 (Members - £238.50)

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Bookings close 22 May 2024 at 11am (UK time)

 This workshop series is accredited for continuing professional development (6 CPD hours), with certification on successful completion.

This interactive series of three workshops will provide you with a practical approach for designing effective assessments and items for a range of educational purposes. Each session builds on the learning from the last, with a chance to implement and reflect on the content during the weeks in between. 

The workshops have been designed for anyone with responsibility for writing questions, developing assessments or managing the production of tests, examinations and other assessments. If you are new to question writing, or have limited experience, this series will give you everything you need to get going. If you are a more experienced setter and want to refresh your skills, or are involved in training others in question writing, this series will increase your understanding of the underpinning principles. 

Whether you are an assessment manager for an awarding organisation, a teacher, or higher education professional – this is the course for you.

Workshop dates

Week 1 23 May 2024 | 12:30 - 14:30 (UK time) Title:
Principles and design of assessment
Week 2 30 May 2024 | 12:30 - 14:30 (UK time) Title:
Writing and reviewing a range of accessible question types
Week 3 06 Jun 2024 | 12:30 - 14:30 (UK time) Title:
Designing reliable mark schemes

Course outline

These workshops will provide you with a comprehensive guide to developing assessments and individual items. You will learn about the principles of writing exam questions, be provided with practical information and guidance, and have opportunities to evaluate a range of questions and mark schemes.

By the end of the three weeks, you will be equipped with a framework for designing valid and reliable assessments:

  • Week 1 - Learn about the development and design of an assessment ‘blueprint’, by linking the principles of good assessment (e.g. validity, reliability and fairness) to key practical decisions you make in your own context
  • Week 2  - Explore the craft of writing and reviewing assessment items, utilising findings from research studies on key aspects of item writing such as accessibility 
  • Week 3  - Cover the principles of mark scheme design including how to write effective levels-based mark schemes that contribute to good reliability

In addition to the workshops, you will take away resources to support you in applying the learning to your own context and developing your future assessment design practice.

Key learning outcomes

By the end of the three sessions you will have:

  • Learned key principles for designing assessments and items and how these link to practical decision making
  • Developed strategies to improve each stage of assessment and item development
  • Explored methods for drafting and reviewing items, diagnosing issues and resolving them
  • Used good principles of design to create effective mark schemes and justify them

Course trainers

Nancy Sneddon

Nancy Sneddon has worked in the field of English language teaching and assessment since 1990. For ten years she worked as an EFL teacher, director of studies, and teacher trainer in various language schools in this country and abroad. She then worked for Cambridge Assessment English, part of Cambridge Assessment, for eight years, managing the production of a variety of ESOL examinations. Since 2008, she has been working in a freelance capacity as a consultant, materials writer, principal examiner, teacher and trainer. She has an MA in Applied Linguistics.

Brooke Wyatt

Brooke Wyatt is a Senior Assessment Advisor in the Assessment Projects Group in Cambridge Assessment International Education. Prior to this she was the Senior Assessment Training Manager at the Cambridge Assessment Network where she delivered a range of assessment courses, particularly in the principles of assessment and question writing. Brooke has a strong background in science teaching and learning with 15 years classroom experience from primary to advanced level.

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