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Pre-conference workshops start as part of IAEA 2019 conference

​Pre-conference workshops start as part of IAEA 2019 conference

Pre-conference workshops have kicked off as part of the 45th International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA) Annual Conference hosted by the State Examination Center of Azerbaijan. Held from September 22 to 27, this year’s conference is themed "Assessment and Decision-making: Individual and Institutional Solutions".

Report informs citing the State Examination Center that one of the pre-conference workshops is called "How to develop a tailor-made training course for sustainable transformation of education and assessment towards 21st century functional literacy”. It is conducted by Nico Dieteren of Cito, the Netherlands. The workshop will offer an introduction into a training course that helps teachers in secondary education to innovate their educational practice towards teaching and assessment in functional literacy in contexts for different educational domains: reading, mathematics and science. Participants will gain insight how to support students in developing their learning process in relation to: participation in assessments using functional contexts related to their own field of expertise / subject; special focus on why, when and how to assess higher order thinking skills; dealing with contextual tasks containing closed and open ended questions that assess functional literacy, related to the skills as for example defined by the PISA frameworks for functional literacy. In the comprehensive training program of several working days, as developed by Cito experts, the participating teachers were expected to become: able to integrate functional literacy into their own teaching; able to prepare items or tasks for the assessment of functional literacy; able to explain others how to solve items that assess functional literacy.

This pre-conference workshop will illustrate some elements, by showing best practice examples from PISA surveys and from national assessments in the Netherlands. It will encourage participants to do practical work in small groups, as this will also stimulate the learning by exchanging experiences, views and opinions with other experts. The workshop is aimed at those who want to learn more about the development of good test items that assess higher thinking skills in high-stakes tests.

Nico Dieteren is a senior consultant for international projects at Cito, the Netherlands. He is experienced as a professional test developer in economics, geography and social sciences. At Cito he was one of the leading test experts in first experiments with the use of computers in high-stakes final exams for secondary education. He is experienced as department manager for final examinations secondary education in social sciences and arts.

Nico Dieteren is also an experienced trainer of teachers and professionals, on all topics related to test development and item construction. He is specialized in assessment of higher order thinking skills and assessment of functional literacy (mathematics and sciences) in contexts. Mr Dieteren holds an MA in Economics and in Geography, with specialization in Economic Geography and holds first degree teacher licences in both subjects. Since 2014 he is accredited as Practitioner by the Association for educational Assessment Europe.

Called "Is Assessment Fair?", the second pre-conference workshop is conducted by Isabel Nisbet and Stuart D. Shaw of Cambridge Assessment. The workshop will focus on some of the findings that have emerged from a research on assessment fairness which has drawn upon important material from a variety of sources, different disciplines and disparate jurisdictions in order to illustrate concepts with concrete examples and case studies. The workshop will consist of an introductory overview followed by four sessions each separated by group discussion work. Part one opens with a conceptual preface and distinguishes six different uses of ‘fair’ which have relevance to assessment. It will also raise questions about several assumptions which are often made relating to, for example, Fairness to whom? And whether fairness applies to groups rather than individuals. Debate about fairness in assessment can involve a wide range of people, who bring their own expectations, conceptual apparatus and assumptions. Part two considers fairness through the lens of educational measurement and assessment. Fairness as viewed through this lens suggests, variants – such as the psychometric paradigms found in the authoritative US texts such as the Standards and the approach to public, award-based qualifications offered by UK awarding bodies, which is grounded on a curriculum-embedded paradigm. First, it explores the history of, and consensus on, fairness through a number of key publications focusing in particular on The Standards and Educational Measurement then critique some aspects of that consensus. Parts three, four and five extend the list to lenses that bring in concepts and assumptions from three other disciplines or traditions: Legal approaches, Philosophical approaches, Fairness as a contributor to social reform. The proposed structure and content of the workshop brings together a wide range of intellectual disciplines and experiences. From experience with groups of students, teachers and assessment practitioners, there is considerable interest in educational topics which bridge disciplinary divides and explicitly raise wider questions about social justice and public policy. The workshop is envisaged as a resource for postgraduate students in educational measurement and assessment, for key practitioners in assessment agencies who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the implications for (un)fair assessment, for those with an academic interest in fairness, for teachers and for the novice who should be able to benefit from attending the workshop.

Isabel Nisbet’s academic background is in philosophy, which she studied at the universities of Glasgow and Oxford. She then pursued a career in the UK Civil Service, serving in several Government departments and working close to Ministers. In 2005 she became Director of Regulation and Standards at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, and then set up Ofqual, the independent regulator of qualifications and examinations in England and was its first CEO. From 2011-2014, Isabel represented Cambridge International Examinations in SE Asia, based in Singapore. She now serves on the Boards of two universities in England and of Qualifications Wales, and on two committees advising the UK Government on ethical issues, notably on data and statistics. She is an Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, contributes to courses and events promoted by Cambridge Assessment and is currently working with Stuart Shaw on fairness in assessment.

Stuart D. Shaw has worked for Cambridge Assessment since January 2001 where he is particularly interested in demonstrating how Cambridge Assessment seeks to meet the demands of validity in its assessments. He has experience in the areas of researching and managing English second language writing assessment; developing, revising and introducing assessment procedures for new testing scenarios and disseminating good practice to others through mentoring, lecturing, informal advice; and the establishment of criteria for good practice in the type of public examination offered by Cambridge English and Cambridge International Examinations. Stuart has a wide range of publications in English second language assessment and educational research journals. Stuart is a Fellow of the Association for Educational Assessment in Europe and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors.

The third pre-conference workshop is called "RCEC review system for the quality of examination". It is conducted by Arnold Brouwer of RCEC, the Netherlands. The workshop will offer an introduction to the RCEC review system and the corresponding five-steps audit process. Participants will gain insight in: Quality standards to be used in constructing qualitative exam products; Evidence-based criteria to be used to review the quality of existing exam products; Substantive, organisational and psychometric aspects to be evaluated in selecting qualitative exam products. The workshop starts with an explanation of the nature and specific description of the RCEC review system, including its elaboration in criteria and underlying sub questions. Examples will be given to elucidate the function and method of the RCEC review system in practice. Participants will experience the different aspects of the RCEC review system. In small groups, they will evaluate the quality of the English testing materials of a real life exam product. The exercise is divided into two separate assignments. The first exercise focuses on reviewing the quality of the substantive and organisational aspects of the exam product. The second exercise is offered to assess the quality of its psychometric aspects. The assignments will be complemented with an overall and joint recap. Finally, the workshop will give recommendations for further learning and suggestions for implementing the review system in practice. This workshop is aimed at those who want to learn more about constructing, reviewing and selecting qualitative exam products. Those involved in examination can use the RCEC review system to construct their tests and exams according to the evidence-based RCEC quality standards. It can also be used to help the users of tests and exams such as teachers, schools, commercial/in-service training and examination committees to assess and select the best quality tests and exams.

Arnold Brouwer is assessment expert in educational measurement and psychological testing. He is director of RCEC, the Research Centre for Examinations and Certifications, in the Netherlands. In the past 15 years he became an all-round researcher, developer and consultant of methods and techniques for analysing, optimising and auditing reliable and valid assessments. He obtained his doctoral degree on the Systems-oriented Talent Management (STM) model, a method to align human talent with the business purpose from both a psychological and a managerial perspective.

The IAEA 2019 will officially open at Fairmont Hotel Baku on September 23, bringing together more than 300 delegates from 55 countries. It will feature a number of sessions, focusing on Policy-making, Higher education, Assessment systems, standards, methods and strategies, Diagnostic assessment, Psychological assessment, Classroom assessment, Language assessment, Assessment review systems, Assessment reforms, Teacher training and assessment, Testing in primary education, Validity, Quality assurance in testing, and other topics. On September 27, post-conference workshops will be held.

The conference will provide an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to share their understandings of current processes and findings, as well as to look at possibilities for setting-up new trends in assessment and decision-making.

In 2007, the State Examination Center hosted the 33rd International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA) Annual Conference. It was elected a member of the IAEA Executive Committee in 2008.

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