Assessment

Developing Formative Assessments on Evidence for Pre-University History

"Pre-University History teachers often use A-Level History examination questions and general formative assessment strategies (e.g. questioning and student reflection) as formative assessments. Such approaches to formative assessment provide limited information about students’ understanding of historical concepts and skills to inform teaching and learning. This article outlines the process of developing a formative assessment that assess students’ understanding of historical evidence. It uses ideas from the Stanford History Education Group’s Historical Assessments of Thinking and the affordances of the Singapore Student Learning Space to expand the range of formative assessment tools available to teachers. The use of short assessments designed to make students’ thinking visible provides teachers with valuable and timely information on students’ learning to inform their teaching for deeper historical understanding."

Assessment for Learning in History: Maximizing Error Analysis to bridge students’ learning gaps in answering Source-Based Case Study Questions

"Source-Based Case Study (SBCS) is a compulsory part of the formal history assessment in the Singapore context. It falls under Assessment Objective 3 which requires students to “interpret and evaluate source material” (MOE, 2013). Since this is an important component in the current assessment, history teachers spend a significant amount of time helping students to master the skills associated with this aspect. In addition, they would mark SBCS assignments and some would give feedback to help students know where they stand and how they can improve. Teachers would normally include comments and some of them may write a copious amount of feedback. While teachers have the good intention of writing feedback to help students improve their performance, anecdotal evidence suggest that students skim over the feedback and concentrate mainly on the marks and grades awarded. This action, on the part of the students, negates the impact of Formative Assessment (FA) “as one that is specifically meant to provide feedback on performance to improve and accelerate learning” (Sadler, 1998). "

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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