I am becoming concerned that the internal assessment tasks for HSC English are beginning to mimic the external HSC examination requirements. Speeches are becoming memorised essays based on past HSC questions, creative writing tasks are narratives based on past Belonging HSC questions, listening tasks require students to complete short answer questions styled on Section I of the AOS HSC paper, viewing/representing tasks have become essay-plans in the form of ‘graphic organisers’ …
The reality of Stage 6 English is the HSC examination and the demand for Band 6s.
When designing assessment tasks teachers are very conscious of the skills our students need to master in order to achieve top marks in the HSC. Yet with the reality of DER kids on the horizon, isn’t it time to bring back some creativity, choice and flexibility into our HSC assessments? The Stage 6 English syllabus provides English teachers with quite clear objectives and outcomes. We know the language modes that our students must be assessed on – these aren’t all ‘reading’ and ‘writing’. It’s not 1902 anymore.
I’m hoping my PLN can help me and my English-teacher/Language Arts colleagues out by posting a comment below with suggested alternative, authentic assessments (a real world audience would be a bonus too!) that would ensure our students are given the chance to demonstrate their understanding of course outcomes – this means understanding of certain concepts, the relationships between text, context & values, why some texts continue to have significance in a range of contexts, how composers shape meaning in and through texts AS WELL as their competency in the following skills:
* viewing/representing ( Representing: The language mode that involves composing images by means of visual or other texts. These images and their meaning are composed using codes and conventions. The term can include such activities as graphically presenting the structure of a novel, making a film, composing a web page, or enacting a dramatic text – Stage 6 English Syllabus pg. 99)
I would really love it if you could post a suggested task to meet one or more of the above criteria, tell me what text(s) you have used it for and any web tools you would use if the assessment is of a digital form.
We need to shake things up in English – especially HSC English. I am all for Project Based Learning and inquiry learning … can this work in the Stage 6 classroom when the time to cover our texts is limited and the stakes are so high for our students? I know there are some wonderfully creative teachers out there who do some wonderfully creative and meaningful assessments with their students. Please share any ideas you have.
NOTE: Language Arts teachers or teachers not from NSW, Australia – I really want to hear from you as well!