Providing effective assessment across an entire department or school is a stumbling block for a lot of educational institutions. To address this problem, the workshop aims to introduce teachers to item writing for classroom-based assessment. The workshop will provide practical suggestions on standardizing item writing for classroom assessment, so that the results of tests administered by different teachers or with different test versions are comparable. The focus is on designing productive skills tasks as these are notoriously susceptible to variation: standardizing speaking/writing task production will in less variation thus making assessment more reliable.
To that end, participants will be introduced to task specifications and discuss effective speaking/writing task characteristics. Practical activities will include reflection on what needs to be included in task specifications and comparison with existing samples. The processes involved in large-scale test production will be explained and suggestions on how such processes can be adapted for classroom use will be made, including peer review, task revision and task trialing. The characteristics of effective speaking/writing tasks will be analyzed, and participants will also work with examples of faulty tasks and suggest ways for their improvement. Finally, participants will engage in developing tasks from specifications by following suggested task production processes: creating a first draft, having it reviewed, and revising the task based upon reviewer comments.