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Advice to Teachers -
Physics

Suggested approaches to assessment tasks

Students’ achievement of each outcome for each area of study must be demonstrated through performance on a selection of assessment tasks. School-based assessment tasks should be selected to reflect the key knowledge and key skills being assessed and to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate performance in ways that may not be assessable through external examinations.

Assessment may be formative and/or summative and should be limited to 50 minutes per task or not exceeding 1000 words.

Assessment taskScope of task
Annotations of at least two practical activities from a practical logbookStudents should undertake practical activities relevant to the outcome prior to beginning the assessment task. The assessment task, to be completed in class, involves annotating at least two of these practical activities to illustrate particular physics principles, skills or other aspects of physics. Teachers should determine: which activities are undertaken for the outcome; how many of these activities should be annotated for the assessment task; whether the activities which are to be annotated for the assessment task are student-selected or teacher-selected; whether to provide a set of guiding questions to assist student annotations or whether to allow students to make their own annotations based on a general question related to a specific aspect of the relevant area of study; and when the annotations are to be completed, for example, immediately after each practical activity, after a series of activities, or in a block at the end of the area of study. Although the activities may have been completed either individually, in small groups or as a class, students must annotate the selected/relevant activities for the assessment task individually. The parameters of the assessment task should enable students to demonstrate the highest level of performance.
Data analysisPrimary and/or secondary data may be used in data analysis tasks. Teachers may use student-generated data from experiments or surveys or collated first-hand data from a class, across different classes within a school, or across different schools to devise assessment tasks. Secondary data may be accessed through a variety of print and electronic resources. The task may involve students analysing a set of raw data or analysing data presented within a physics context.
Design, building, testing and evaluation of a device or physical modelManagement of this task may involve breaking it down into four stages: design, building, testing and evaluation. Teachers should ensure that students do not undertake the building of a device or model that may contravene health or safety regulations. Initially students may be presented with a design brief related to the construction of a device or model. The brief may involve adaptation of a specified device or model or students may be able to construct a novel model or device for a particular purpose. Proposed designs should be approved by the teacher prior to students undertaking further work. Students may work individually or in groups, but the assessable elements of the task should be undertaken by students individually.
Explanation of the operation of a device or modelStudents should have real or virtual access to the operation of a device or model. Explanations should be directed to an audience of peers and should include appropriate physics terminology and conventions. The physics principles involved in the operation of the device or model should be clearly identified. The explanation may be oral, written or multimodal.
Media analysis/ response Teachers should access and select a contemporary (i.e. published in print and/or electronic media within the last calendar year) physics-based media item such as a press release, newspaper or journal article advertisement, interview excerpt, audiovisual program, artwork or performance item that reflects current research and/or thinking in physics. Students may then be asked to respond to selected physics principles or concepts that are demonstrated through the media item. If the media item is issues-based, then students may also be asked to provide a personal perspective as a demonstration of their scientific literacy. Altering the selected article from year to year assists with assessment authentication for teachers.
Proposed solution to a scientific or technological problem This task involves teachers setting or approving a problem of limited scope that requires students to develop a theoretical or practical solution using appropriate problem-solving strategies and to record progress towards developing the solution in their logbooks. Assessment should include performance during appropriate stages in the problem- solving process in addition to the quality of the final proposal or solution.
Reflective learning journal or blog related to selected activities or in response to an issue Students may post their thoughts about their own experiences, progress and thinking in relation to teacher-selected aspects of practical activities or a physics issue, in addition to providing comments on at least one peer’s posting at a frequency (for example, twice a week) and over a time period (for example, four weeks) as determined by the teacher. The subject of the blog may relate to practical skills and/or physics concepts. The blogs should show evidence of critical, analytical reflection.
Report of a physics phenomenon Teachers may present a class or virtual (for example, YouTube) demonstration related to an interesting physics phenomenon. Students may be required to provide an explanation of the phenomenon, or a teacher-selected aspect of the phenomenon, using appropriate physics terminology and conventions. The report may be oral, written or multimodal.
Report of a student investigation The investigation should arise from a student inquiry question and may be a practical activity, a simulation, a modelling activity or any scientific activity that can generate primary data or may involve manipulation of raw secondary data. The report should be preceded by a student investigation that has been fully and/or partially completed under supervision and that has been recorded in a student’s logbook. The investigation may be practically oriented or theoretically based and may include a simulation. The logbook can then be taken into class for reference by students in producing a report in a format designated by the teacher. Reports may be oral, written or multimodal and may range from simple tabulations of results with a student comment or a flowchart of progress to full reports, which include an abstract, an aim, a hypothesis, a method, results, discussion, a conclusion and references. Although investigations may be conducted individually, in small groups or as a class, reports must be completed individually.
Response to structured questions The teacher should develop a set of multi-part questions that target both key knowledge and key skills related to a physics theme. The questions should be scaffolded to enable demonstration of performance at the highest levels, while providing access at each part for students to be able to provide a response independent of prior responses. This task lends itself particularly to selecting material related to a contemporary issue in physics and/or to providing sets of questions that link theory and practice.
Scientific poster A VCAA or another appropriately configured template must be used to report student investigation findings for Unit 4 Area of Study 3.Students and teachers may add other headings and sub-headings as pertinent to the investigation question and to the assessment rubric issued to students by the teacher prior to the task. Assessment may be completed in investigation stages, for example, investigation design, undertaking of the investigation and writing of sections of the poster. The poster may be saved as an electronic file and/or printed as a hard copy poster.