Assessment

Historical Concepts and National Examinations: Have O-Level Structured-Essay Questions Encouraged the Teaching of Historical Concepts?

"The term ‘second-order historical concept’ pops up a lot these days in Singapore’s history education community. Concepts such as causation, significance, and evidence are increasingly being discussed in secondary schools across the island. These historical concepts “help students understand how historians work and how historical knowledge is constructed”, and they underpin history as a discipline (MOE, 2012). In this article I analyse Structured Essay Questions (SEQs) from past O-Level History Elective examinations to determine which historical concepts have traditionally been assessed in the summative national assessments. Based on this preliminary analysis, the article focuses on whether the examinations have encouraged the teaching of second-order historical concepts, and discusses possible ways forward for the assessment of these concepts."

Authentic Assessment in Social Studies

"A holistic assessment plan should address the full range of goals including attitudes, values, and dispositions along with knowledge and skills. Different assessment tools (provided as an attachment) might be more or less appropriate at different stages of learning. However, the unit’s assessment components should build toward authentic applications. Currently, teachers are faced with many obligations, responsibilities, new initiatives, and challenges. Many of these are prompted by changes in the curriculum and high stakes testing. It follows, however, that if the teacher’s assessment plan for students matches the curricular goals and is multi-faceted – and if the results are used to inform planning and modify instruction, student performance on standard measures will be positively affected and teacher accountability will no longer be in jeopardy."

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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