Sunday 16 August 2015

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Sunday, August 16th
2:00 PM

ACER Research Conference Proceedings (2015)


2:00 PM

It is indeed timely that Research Conference 2015 addresses the theme Learning Assessments: Designing the future. It is six years since our Research Conference considered issues in assessment, and the landscape is being significantly transformed. Not only is Australia’s school curriculum changing, but related issues of teaching quality and assessment practice are hot topics here and in many other countries. This transforming landscape includes changes in thinking about the fundamental purposes of assessment; growing demands for the assessment of a broader range of student skills and capabilities; and new technologies that allow us to gather and visualise information about student learning more efficiently and thoroughly than ever before. Whether we are teachers, researchers, leaders of schools or systems, we must not forget that improving learning is at the heart of assessment. As Dr Rukmini Banerji — a keynote speaker at this conference — says, assessment must be followed by action. Papers at Research Conference 2015 indicate that as we understand more about learning and pursue solutions to the issues we face, new challenges are emerging. ACER has listened to many educators through our Rolling Summit on Assessment Reform and Innovation. We recognise that schools and nations are looking for sound evidence to inform their actions, and trust that this conference will provide you with both information and inspiration to contribute to designing the future of assessment.

Registration opens

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

3:00 PM

Session A: Creating stealth assessments

Val Shute, Florida State University
Michael Timms, ACER

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

In this workshop, participants will learn how to create stealth assessments to measure student performance during interactions within computer-based learning environments, like digital games or intelligent tutoring systems. These measures are then used to estimate various competencies, including hard-to-measure constructs like creativity, persistence, problem-solving and systems thinking. First, we will explain how evidence-centred design can be used as a theoretical approach to designing such assessments. Next, we’ll illustrate how evidence-centred design was applied in the development of stealth assessment within a particular game (using the example of Plants vs. Zombies 2). Participants will have a chance to create their own evidence-centred design models (exploring competency, evidence and task), which can serve as an outline for an assessment related to any construct of interest. We’ll show how assessment of learning is implemented in the system using a particular method, Bayesian networks, or Bayes nets. Participants will learn how Bayes nets have been used to assess and support learning in different learning environments.

Session B: Assessing young children's literacy and mathematics understandings

Collette Taylor, University of Melbourne
Joanne Mulligan, Macquarie University
Maurice Walker, ACER
Prue Anderson, ACER
Marion Meiers, ACER

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Current research indicates that young children are capable of developing mathematical concepts and reasoning much earlier than previously considered. Moderated by Professor Collette Tayler, this symposium on assessing young children's literacy and mathematics understandings is in three parts. Firstly the authors explore the Pattern and Structure Assessment (PASA). PASA is an early mathematical assessment interview which focuses on a range of concepts and processes and is linked with mathematical attainment in the ACER Progressive Achievement Tests in Maths (PATMaths). Secondly, the authors report on the piloting of an early-years technology-based tool called the Digital Early Reading and Mathematics Assessment (DERMA). DERMA is an audio-based assessment of early reading and mathematics skills delivered on offline tablets fitted with headphones. Finally the authors discuss the Longitudinal Literacy and Numeracy Study (LLANS) Transition from Preschool to School. This study has investigated literacy development of preschool children from preschool to Year 1.

Session C: Improving assessment for Indigenous students

Alison Quin, Queensland University of Technology

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

This workshop will introduce a teaching scenario and existing unit of work built around Indigenous culturally inclusive practices. Participants will work in small groups to devise assessment items in a scaffolded process. The development of assessment tasks will be informed by clarifying Indigenous education, the process of building relationships between schools and Indigenous communities that contribute to co-developed units of work, and principles of Indigenous culturally inclusive practice such as place-based, community-grounded and group production practices.

Session D: New measures for an old friend: A learning progression for ICT literacy

Mark Wilson, University of California - Berkeley and University of Melbourne

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

This workshop will present new thinking and new results from the work of the Assessment and Teaching of 21st-Century Skills (ATC21S) project, on the learning progression for information and communications technology literacy — learning in digital networks. This project, initially sponsored by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft, aimed to help educators around the world enable students with the skills to succeed in future career and college goals. The workshop will be structured to show the how the development of the new ideas and measures for ICT literacy followed the logic of the assessment system developed by the Berkeley Evaluation and Assessment Research (BEAR) Center. The initial concepts behind the new measures are based on a recounting of the multiple changes in the conceptions of ICT literacy over the last 30 years, leading to the development of the new ICT literacy learning progression. This is followed by a discussion of the development of a set of interactive and group tasks that tap into the dimensions and levels of the learning progression, in the context of a web-based environment. A brief demonstration of two of the tasks will be a part of the workshop. Data were collected in this digital environment in four countries: Australia, Finland, Singapore and the United States, and these data will be used to explore the empirical underpinnings of the tasks and the learning progression. Ample opportunity for questions and discussion will be provided.

5:30 PM

Networking Drinks

Crown, Southbank, Melbourne

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM