Assessment Resources

The most common question we get asked at Edbiz when it comes to assessment material is, “Where can I buy assessment resources written by qualified assessors that will pass external moderation by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority or Industry Training Organisations?”

To answer this question we need to begin with what we believe to be the critical success factor for all assessment and moderation activities.
It is vital that assessment guides or assessment material are developed by assessors who have completed an assessor training and assessment design course and that the material is pre assessment moderated by trained moderators who hold industry qualifications and experience. Your goal should be to ensure that your organisation meets your internal, industry and national quality assurance and best practice standards.

Everyone generally starts their search by looking for an instant solution when it comes to unit standard assessment resources and assessment material. An instant assessment solution is not always the best in the long run; however, we all tend to gravitate towards common assessment tasks as they are easier to use in the first instance.

Assessment and assessment resources need to be carefully considered and planned for to ensure each assessment is fit for purpose; caters for all parties; considers natural occurring evidence, the organisation context, the expectations of your industry; and, most importantly, be based on and integrated with the learning outcomes in your programme of study or learning plans.

We have put a few ideas together to help you plan for the assessments in your organisation. Before we do that, you may have a valuable resource already within your organisation. Your staff and existing assessors.

With some customised assessor and moderator training they can develop assessment resources for your organisation. Your assessors, when trained, can develop and write unit standard assessment tasks or guides and the required assessment schedules. Your assessors will understand your organisation context and your learners. It may be more effective to work within your organisation and plan some assessor and moderator training courses which can be designed to produce all of your assessment material.

Where do we get Assessment Resources?

There are several options for sourcing assessment material and assessment resources for use within your organisation. When considering your options, make sure that you have a sound Assessment Strategy for each of the areas of provision or subjects that you deliver or teach or at minimum for each of your programmes.

Your Learners will get introduced to, and become familiar with, the material that you do decide to use and it is important to have a consistent, manageable assessment process in place that uses assessment material that is designed to be used by Learners of a similar age group, background and cultural context, or by Learners who may have similar learning needs to those of your Learners.

Your Learners and Assessors will become comfortable with how you approach assessment and the Managers, Internal Moderators, Quality Assurance Coordinators, Principal’s Nominees, and any staff involved in the quality assurance of assessment will also appreciate a consistent and well thought out assessment strategy.

For a tertiary organisation or secondary school your assessment strategy may be as simple as making a commitment to using Common Assessment Tasks to:

* Collect written Learner responses to provide the evidence for any knowledge or theory based standards and/or outcomes, supported by Oral Assessment where required or requested.

* Record Assessor observations of Learner performance using observation checklists and recording Assessor and Learner comments for all performance based or practical standards and/or outcomes, supported by Oral Assessment, Attestations and the collection physical evidence as required.

* Ensure that all assessment material is ‘fit for purpose’ for your specific Learners, has well constructed tasks that make it easy for your Learners to understand what is required, and has well written Assessment Schedules to help manage the collection of sufficient evidence and that guides your assessor judgments.

* Provide assessment material that makes it as easy as possible for the Assessors to manage the number of assessments and Learners involved at your organisation.

If you are in an industry environment or assessing in the workplace you would have a different strategy that would be based on the collection of naturally occurring evidence, supported by Oral Assessment of knowledge based outcomes.

Generally, your strategy would be set by or at least reflect the assessment strategy adopted by your industry Training Organisation.

If you have the subject matter experts and qualified assessment designers on staff you can write your own assessment material and have it pre moderated by the relevant Standard Setting Body before use. This is not always the case and you may not have the time to develop your own assessment material ‘in-house’. In some cases the Standard Setting Body may have some assessment material, but in most cases for tertiary organisations and secondary schools it is practical to purchase a certain amount of assessment resources.

Edbiz works with several businesses and organisations that allow their assessment material they have developed for their own use, to be sold to accredited NZQA Providers and Secondary Schools.

Getting back to the question at the top of the page, “Where can I buy assessment resources written by qualified assessors that will pass external moderation by New Zealand Qualifications Authority or Industry Training Organisations?”

This is a subject that you need to take up with the supplier of your assessment materials, but it is widely accepted that no supplier can guarantee that the assessment will pass external moderation.

That is a decision made only by the local or national moderator involved, based on the submitted assessment material at the time. A lot of suppliers do provide a guarantee to support you to develop or amend the assessment material in the event that your assessment material does not ‘pass’ external moderation.

It is also important to point out that the internal and external pre assessment moderation processes are a critical part of upholding the integrity of the National Qualifications Framework and the Standards Based Assessment System in New Zealand.

It is through this process that you may identify issues, areas for improvements and can modify your assessment material to best suit your Learners. Good Assessment Practice combines pre assessment moderation with regular review by Assessors as they use the materials to continually improve your assessment material and ensure that it remain current and ‘live’.

Quite often it is not the assessment materials that ‘fail’ moderation, rather it is the way that someone in your organisation puts together the assessment materials for moderation that causes negative findings and results. So be sure to have someone who knows what they need to do to submit your external moderation samples.

Good Practice Moderation

The key to good practice here is to make sure that if you outsource any independent moderation services, ensure that the moderator feedback gets to the assessor involved along with positive comments, and a professional development plan or corrective actions if required. Moderation should be focused on the professional development of assessors, and the continual improvement of organisation capability and the assessment resources.

Let us not forget that assessment and moderation are parts of the learning process, not a separate system all on its own, and that all improvements and developments should be targeted at improving the recognition of learning. The overall goal is to provide people with the desired skills, knowledge and attitudes identified as desirable by industry and included in our courses or qualifications to serve their needs for the workforce.

Edbiz can plan and design your assessment material for you. We have experts who can write your teaching and assessment educational resources for you in an instant.