Home Forums Curriculum matters Concerns with assessing Unit 2 options

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • Matthew Lay
    Post count: 1

    At my school, we have not offered any options in recent years and have instead chosen an option for the students.
    I’m at a stage now where I have advocated for change but am getting some pushback due to concern with providing equitable assessment to different groups of students doing different options.
    The concern is that we would find it difficult to justify equity if we were to be audited by VCAA.

    My view is that options are inherently different so there is only so much equivalence VCAA can expect. The best option we have come up with is for a presentation of results of sorts and I note this is supported by the guide in VicPhys resources and the fact that the new SD doesn’t allow for a test (other than some problem solving activity).

    The other teachers would be more confident in proceeding with providing options with more knowledge of what other schools are doing. If any of you would be able to let me know that’d be great. If you’d prefer to email directly please email me at Matthew.Lay@education.vic.gov.au

    Additionally, does anyone know if VicPhys or VCAA have any statistics on how options have been run or will be run? If not, I’d like to set up an anonymous survey for this purpose.

    Best regards

    Post count: 4

    Hi Matthew
    Some thoughts
    Re: VCAA audit. As far as I am aware, the VCAA audit is only concerned with Units 3 and 4 and whether the various requirements of the course as far as practical activities, assessment tasks, etc are addressed.

    What are schools doing with options: There is no hard data on how schools are offering the options. Anecdotal comments over a number of years suggest that teachers are fairly evenly divided. Some have their favourite option that they want to share with their students, while others value the students choosing topics they are interested in, with the side benefit that students are exposed to other areas of physics being explored in the classroom. As an experience of physics the latter has more to offer.

    At the Course Planning Day for Units 1 and 2 held at the end of last year, Jane Coyle presented a very useful session on ‘Multiple Options’ . Check details of her presentation on this website under ‘Events The webpage not only has her presentation, but many of the resources she has used, as well as a link to own website, which has even more. She has spoken on this topic many times over the years, so check out ‘Course Planning’ under ‘Teachers’ and the various Conference pages on this website.

    In regard to the comparability of different options, there are two issues: practical activities and assessment. For practical activities, it is enough that each option has a practical activity. Even with astronomy options, there are simulations and spreadsheet activities that could be done. For assessment, teachers commonly use an oral presentation supported by log book, etc. It could also be a group effort by two or three students who have been working on the same option. Some teachers involve other students in the class in the assessment. While other teachers arrange for their students to present to another class, say a Year 9 class, or possibly to parents and others at an evening event.
    Dan O’Keeffe

    Colin Hopkins
    Post count: 3

    Good morning Matthew,
    I share your thoughts. Many years ago when I was teaching at a high performing private school, I encountered a very similar problem, except for me, the antagonists were the parents. Some students choose their topics inappropriately, and as a result did poorly on the task. This resulted in some concerns from parents. The response was to go to just one topic, hence a basically level starting ground. The outcomes were the same, the good students rose above the pack, and the dis-organised students continued to struggle.
    For me as a teacher it was boring, and it just introduced more issues with plagiarism, and copied work, it solved one problem but introduced others. My understanding is that the VCAA only audits Unit 3 and 4 work, so Unit 2 is entirely up to the school to decide.
    I would strongly advocate for you to pursue students choosing their own topics, even if as a compromise (to start with) it is from a restricted field offered by you. I would provide the students with a general list of possible options, and negotiate the detail with each student. My experience is that the more autonomy the students have, the more committed they are to the task, and the better the outcome.
    Having a ‘standard’ format for the presentation allows for consistency in this aspect of the report. I always encouraged my students to take lots of photos of their investigation, and to use these as the basis of the report. I always used to value the students problem solving abilities, and they needed to demonstrate this clearly.
    I hope that this assists with your thinking. If you would like further clarification, please contact me on colinhop@bigpond.net.au
    Colin Hopkins

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.