Transcript of Multimodal tasks and assessment

Transcript of Multimodal tasks and assessment

Presenter: Jake Henzler

Alright. Well, welcome, everybody, who's arrived since last I said welcome. We might kick off since it's 3:30. As with the last few sessions, if you have any questions as I'm presenting, you can type them into the question and answer pod. Prue's with us today to help answer some of those questions as we go if there are any. I'll see if I can address them too. And then there are the files in the download pod in the corner here. So there is a copy of all of the slides of today's presentation and of the previous presentations, and there are a few other useful things in there. Another one that I'll talk about as we go. So today's presentation is on multimodal tasks and on assessment more broadly. There isn't really enough time in half an hour to unpack everything about it but I'm going to try to cover some of the important points from the new syllabus that I think teachers should probably be aware of as they're planning. So the first thing I wanted to do is look at this multimodal component.

In order to understand the multimodal assessment task that's... the multimodal presentation that is now a requirement in many of the courses, I thought it would be good to talk about what that term 'multimodal' means. So I've listed here the...the six language modes that our syllabus outlines and that's in the Stage...Stages 4 and 5 but also in the Stage 6 syllabus. So I put these into two parts here - composing and responding. So the language modes of composition are writing, speaking and representing. And then their partner modes of responding are reading, listening and viewing. Now, of course, if something's represented, it can also be listening and viewing, so there's a little bit of crossover. But essentially those are the modes matched to one another.

OK, the slide show, it's just the slides themselves and it's called English Stage 6 Multimodal in the download files pod. OK, so keeping in mind that those are the modes that means that multimodal texts are comprised of the three modes of composition - writing, up the top here, speaking and representing. What I've tried to do with this perhaps overcrowded Venn diagram is to demonstrate how, when we combine particular modes, one or...two or more of those modes, we...you start to see different sorts of texts occurring. So writing, for example, could constitute poetry or maybe prose and there are other examples that work there, more specific ones. But when we combine writing with, say, the mode of representing, we start to get texts like infographics and graphic novels, picture books, lots of advertisements. Advertisements, as in posters, are going to be writing and representing together. That's those two modes. Similarly, representing and speaking start... we start to get that audio visual sorts of texts occurring there. And then over with writing and speaking, probably the least common of the multimodal of only two, you have things like lectures.

Much like what I'm doing today except there's a little bit of visual representation going on. And then in the centre, it's when all three of those modes occur at once. And now some of these things might merge into different aspects, depending on how much of each mode they cover, but I'm just trying to represent the way in which the modes can work together to produce interesting combinations of texts. And just on the left here, I've provided the definition from the glossary in the new syllabus that explains what that word 'multimodal' means. And it says, "Comprising more than one mode," which is pretty evident. "A multimodal text uses a combination of two or more communication modes, for example print, image and spoken text as in film or computer presentations."

Are there any...any questions about that? That's all pretty clear. I...I feel like most people are probably quite aware of what multimodal texts are. It's not a new term in the syllabus but it's just helping to build towards our understanding of the multimodal presentation. Alright, I can see some typing going on, but I'll press on just for the moment.

So the multimodal presentation is a new required assessment mode. We haven't had this assessment mode as a requirement before, and so I've mapped here which courses it occurs in and when. So for the EAL/D course, Standard and Advanced, it occurs in both years 11 and 12. It is a requirement in each of those courses, and for Studies and Extension 1, it's a requirement only in Year 11. The only difference here is with EAL/D, the multimodal presentation assessment task must include a listening... It must include an assessment of students' listening abilities. And we're going to look at that in a little more detail throughout the presentation because that's a bit of a tricky idea to do a presentation that happens to include listening as one of its multimodes.

Yes. Yes. Is it, Khairul? That is true. Hopefully we'll unpack a little bit of that today and...and it might make a little bit more sense. OK, so, this is our...this is the assessment advice that comes from the syllabus again. And the key phrase in this one where they explain what the... they kind of rationalise what the multimodal presentation should be is, A multimodal presentation includes at least one mode other than reading and writing, such as listening, speaking, viewing and representing." And it also goes to... This last paragraph speaks to the importance of designing tasks that have an interesting combination of modes where possible so that we're designing rich assessment tasks that aren't limited by a requirement to assess particular weightings of modes.

OK, I wanted to speak a little bit about why the multimodal presentation is important, because I think it is important. It's...although it seems like a bit of a restriction, you know, it has to be done in particular courses, it is actually a pretty rich assessment task and so I just wanted to cover why I think that's... why I think it's been included and sort of preferenced so heavily by the assessment requirements.

So first, just that the presentations require students to represent their understanding in multiple ways and they encourage the students to reflect critically. So as they're building the presentation that they're going to make, they're reflecting on what it is they're saying because they know they're going to have to be saying it to a bunch of people sitting in a room. That is, if it's a live performance. And if they're editing their own work where they appear in the work, then they're going to be reflecting, "Does that sound right? Does it sound like I am actually communicating clearly?" So it's that critical reflection on their own expression. But they also encourage students to develop their own skills in constructing increasingly complex texts.

So it's possible to design this task of multimodal presentations to require students to produce quite a complex text and that...that could be a really useful way of approaching it. But also that this task is a big opportunity to do really meaningful assessment as learning. That's that...those assessment tasks that, in the completion of the task, the student is deliberately going out and seeking more things to learn and understand. And by delivering them to the rest of the class, it's also helping to teach content from the course. So students are kind of teaching one another and as we all know, as teachers when we're teaching, and students start teaching one another how to do things, that's probably when the...the most effective learning takes place.

Yeah, Keith, there's certainly room in the design of a task to leave the multimodes open-ended. You know, there's no reason that you can't design a task that allows students to complete it in different ways. But the only...the only kind of caveat on that is that the assessment marking criteria has to be broad enough to accept that students might complete the task in multiple ways. But absolutely. That would... I think that would be very much in the spirit of the... of the intention of this multimodal task. OK. I also wanted to get to the 'what a multimodal presentation requires'. That is, at its heart, what must you have to make it a presentation.

Now we've talked about the 'at least two modes' of or 'at least two modes'. But I'm going to go a little further and I think the intention is that there should be two modes of composition. For example, if you were...if you asked students to do a speech and then they...as a part of the task, students were going to write reflection statements after they'd done their speech reflecting on what they had said, I don't think that we could say that the presentation itself had been multimodal. And the task...the description in the syllabus says that it is a multimodal presentation. So the assessment task might have assessed multiple modes, but the presentation itself was not multimodal, so then the task wouldn't be a multimodal presentation. So I'm...I'm saying I think that the best way to do this is to approach it as two modes of composition are being assessed here, and those are the writing, speaking and representing.

And then the second component that I think is really important is the audio and/or visual presence of the student. Whether that's live, delivering to the class, or recorded, there needs to be the student needs to appear. That might seem very simplistic or, like, sensible. Of course they need to appear. But I want people to think as problematically as possible about this. How far away can you go from a student standing at the front of the classroom before a task stops being a presentation? So, for example, they could record their presentation as a film and that would still be a presentation. They could construct a kind of audiovisual vlog-style task, like a video blog, where they appear at particular moments or maybe they just speak over the top of visual content. That's still a form of presentation. And so I think that there are lots of different ways that this can be done but I think so long as the student appears in audio or visual form as a part of presenting the material, then...then it probably still counts. Are there any questions about that? Was that a clear explanation of what I'm getting at there?

OK. Great. I can see a few more people typing. I'll just keep going and then I'll come back to it. Alright, so what I'm posing here is a series of possibilities. These are not the only way to do it. These are just ways of getting you to think about the way that you could construct the...the multimodal presentation assessment task. So the first one I've suggested here is an analytical speech or vlog on the core text studied in the unit and related texts maybe, if it's for Texts and Human Experiences. And it could be accompanied by a visual aid. So then the two modes would be speaking - that is the speech delivered to the class - and the visual aid would be the representing. So this would be an analytical speech. The second might be an analytical speech but rather than it being presented on a text that students have found that somebody else wrote, they could also construct their own text and deliver their presentation on a text that they've constructed themselves. So this would be speaking and it could be the writing that they've done or maybe the text that they've created is a combination of writing and representing.

Yes. You could do, Sharyn. So long as the presentation itself was multimodal. So, Sharyn's just written down the bottom that you could complete a presentation and submit your reflection or analysis as writing. And that's... Absolutely that would work. The... I'll just...I'll get to one of the points on that in a minute because there's some issue with, like, the dates of submission and how many parts to a task are being completed, and the board has kind of made a point of - Sorry, I should say NESA - has made a point of talking about this but they haven't yet released anything in writing about it. So we'll...we'll get to that in a minute. But the third suggestion here I'm making is that it could be a film or a website or an interactive digital text. Now, I realise not all teachers are going to feel comfortable, talking their kids how to...through how to construct texts like that. I...I would feel pretty uncomfortable. I would have to do a fair bit of research about ways of doing it before I would feel comfortable helping students to do that themselves. But we all know too that many of our students have very keen skills in designing digital content and video editing that they...they might as well put to use if they can in this sort of assessment.

In lots of ways, we don't really need to understand all of the parts that go into the construction of that task if the student feels confident in pursuing that sort of thing themselves. Which I guess comes back to what Keith was saying before, which is if you leave the task open-ended in the...in the way that the students complete it, then it's possible that they'll come up with some really interesting combinations. OK, and so, in that case, you might end up with a task that actually covers multiple...so three modes of composition.

And then I wanted to talk a little bit about the way that EAL/D might incorporate the listening component. So you've got to have the multimodal but then, as a part of that, in addition you have to have the listening component. So all of the tasks that we've just listed would work. And then in addition, I would say a listening reflection on the presentation of somebody else in the class, would count as a way of assessing the listening component in the assessment. Now, I know that kind of goes against what I just said about all of the components being included in the presentation, but listening is one of the language modes that itself is not an act of composition. It's an act of response. So, if we're going to assess it, it has to be in response to something. The second example is perhaps a little bit more authentic in the sense that it includes it as a part of the presentation. So students could be provided with a listening stimulus text in advance of the due date of the task. So maybe it's provided online and they can access it as many times as they want and listen to it and analyse it in their own time, and then the speech that they present, the...the presentation, including a visual aid, must include analysis of that listening com... that listening text that was provided to them. Alright.

And then I wanted to talk a little bit about the way that marking criteria for this task can be set up to help teachers to assess students and to help students understand really clearly what they're doing well and what they need to improve on. So I've suggested that strong marking criteria for a multimodal assessment task, including the sort of presentation that we're talking about here have criteria points dedicated to describing students' achievement in each of the modes. So even if your entire task is only done of one marking grid, there will be multiple marking criteria points in each of the bands, and I'm suggesting that it would be a good idea for each of those criteria points to address or... for there to be at least one criteria point dedicated to assessing the mode that you know is being assessed. So if it's going to be speaking and representing, then one of the criteria points would be dedicated to the student's ability to speak to the class, and another would be dedicated to their ability to represent the ideas in the visual aid.

OK, the second point is that they should allow the marker to provide clear feedback to the student on each component. So if including the multiple parts of the task or the multiple modes of the task in the one criteria is only going to serve to confuse the student about how they've achieved in each way, then you probably are best not to make it in one...into one criteria. And I've given a couple of examples that we'll look at in a minute. And then the third point is just that they should give relative weight to each component or question within the task, so if you had one criteria about the way that the students had listened, but it was worth 20, and then the presentation itself was only worth 10 of the 30 marks, then it's not really weighted correctly. That's sort of just sensible. I think everybody would...would be able to determine that for themselves.

OK, so then some suggestions about what those criteria might look like if you were trying to be as clear as possible about how you... how each of the modes is being covered. So in the first example I gave before, an analytical speech on a related text or core text accompanied by a visual aid - let's say it's worth 30% in our overall assessment schedule - then you might have one criteria and in each band the... the marking criteria points cover the analysis of the text that the student's offering, their speaking ability, and then third is the use of the visual aid. So that's the representing. So we can clearly see that the top point is about their understanding of content and...and their ability to apply analysis to the text that they've found, the second is their ability to speak and the third is their ability to use... to represent those ideas in the visual aid. For the example that I gave before about EAL/D, where they were presenting on the listening texts that they'd heard in advance, in this case that's the same set-up. It's just that that first one is analysis of the listening text. It gets a bit more complex when you're going to include a reflection.

So this one's still an example for EAL/D. But when you're going to include a reflection task in addition to the presentation, it's very difficult to see how you would mark a reflection on the same criteria grid as you would mark the student's presentation because essentially you're marking two separate parts of the task. So I'm suggesting here that you would probably split up the mark value and have two separate assessment criteria grids. The first, again, analysis of the text, speaking, and then the visual aid, and then the reflection, you're probably going to assess the student's... There has to be some evidence of listening being assessed. So you have to...you have to describe the way in which the student demonstrates what they have heard from...or demonstrates evidence of what they've heard from the other students, and then probably also an evaluation of what they've heard. They have to make some judgements about how effectively presented it was or whether or not it was a useful assessment of that particular text.

Just getting back to that point about the multiple parts that... NESA is currently suggesting, um - in a couple of conversations we've had with them - that there should not be different submission dates for the task. So if students were doing this task and they gave their presentation on Monday, then the reflection shouldn't be sat on Wednesday, for example. Ideally, the reflection should be sat the same day as the presentations are given. So all students would find time in the...in the period of time that the presentations are delivered to...to complete the second component so that the whole task is completed on the one day.

OK, and then just another suggestion. This was about when students are deconstructing their own creative work as a part of the presentation, you might like to include that creative work as one of the components being assessed in the task. So it's multimodal in the sense that they're analysing the text, they're evaluating their own process of composition and there's probably also a visual aid in that in the first component. I haven't included that there - I should have - and their own speaking ability. And then the second component would be the creative work that they're presenting, which they might submit on the same day that they do the presentation. So then it would be two components that are marked, but they're automatically bound together.

OK, and now onto assessment a little bit more generally, and there are only a few points here but the first part is just to say that the new syllabus sets out very clearly that informal and formal assessment should work hand in hand to produce a really rigorous assessment schedule. So although your formal assessment schedule is only allowed to list three assessments in Year 11 and four in Year 12, informal assessment should play a really big role in making sure that students know what they're doing and feel supported and as if they're receiving regular feedback on how to achieve well. And so I've just put a couple of dot points there that I'll let people get to in their own time. And then underneath that, across informal and formal assessment, there are those three styles of assessment - the 'for', 'as', and 'of' learning. And that formal assessment isn't always just made up of summative demonstrations of learning. That sometimes, like the multimodal presentation, it can be a form of assessment as learning. The task is learning itself. Alright.

This is one of the slides I put up in the first presentation, and I just put it up again to show that there are few sort of restrictions or requirements on assessment schedules for a lot of the two-unit courses. And so I just want to talk through a couple of ways that that can be done and some of the problems with structuring it in different ways. So, if we look at the Advanced course... And it's essentially the same for Advanced and Standard. I'm using Advanced as an example here. And the three requirements I've highlighted. So the sample that's provided is actually from NESA. It's one of the samples that they've put up for the new syllabus. So what I'm demonstrating here is that they've got the multimodal presentation that's been created, that first one here. The assessment of related material that has to be done in the Texts and Human Experiences unit. And then here's the Craft of Writing being assessed at 25%, which is also currently a requirement in the syllabus.

In this example, they have included a trial examination because there's allowed to be one formal internal examination. But you'll see that Textual Conversations, which is Module A, has its own assessment. The Common Module has its own assessment and Module C - the Craft of Writing - has its own assessment, because it must, but Module B - Critical Study - is not formally assessed throughout the year, only in the trial examination. And this is going to be a puzzle for people because there are four units, there are four formal assessment tasks, but one of them, in many cases, is likely to be a trial examination. So if you decide to have a trial in lots of cases, you're...you're going to sacrifice the ability to have... to have an assessment attached to each of the units. So one of the samples that they've provided on the NESA site for Advanced, you'll see assesses each of the units and has no trial exam". Now, this would be a great way to prepare students across the year for each of those units, but it would leave out that opportunity for them to demonstrate their understanding in a trial exam.

But don't forget that you...it is quite possible to have a trial exam that is an informal examination. It would be very possible to run a trial exam that students still sat, they still got feedback on, it was still marked as if it were a real assessment task, but it wouldn't have to be... it doesn't have to count towards the student's final mark for the course. I understand there are probably a lot of very frightened faces out there right now because I know that in most schools, a trial exam is considered very sacred and it is... it's only likely to be taken seriously by students if it has an assessment weighting attached to it. And that's if you're lucky. So I'm...I'm just talking about the way in which we can think a little bit more broadly about, how we assess and what value is given to each of those assessment tasks.

Yes, Jake. In fact, there can only be one formal examination, one task that is formal examination. I'm going to present one more example for...for Advanced that I think works around this idea. Here, we actually get an assessment task in for each of the modules but there are a couple of difficulties with it. And I've run this by the people at NESA, so I feel confident in presenting it as a possibility but not necessarily the best solution. So in...in the one I'm presenting the Texts and Human Experiences module would be taught concurrent to the Craft of Writing module for the half of the year, so both of the units would be taught at once. And the final assessment task for this unit would be the...or a writing portfolio of students' work that they might have been working on throughout the unit and then they submit all at once at the end of that unit. Making it worth 30% of their mark means that 25% of that mark is going to be dedicated to the Craft of Writing, because students are going to be demonstrating the skills and understanding that they've picked up in that unit, but then five of those marks - notionally - are going to be dedicated to the ideas that they've been studying in Texts and Human Experiences, so they might have written an informal essay on the texts that they've studied here but as a part of doing the Craft of Writing across that whole unit as well and working on their ability to write, they're going to construct some interesting creative and perhaps analytical texts and submit those all as a portfolio of work, and then that portfolio is marked and it assesses both of the units.

Then there's a...an essay on Module A. The multimodal presentation I'm suggesting here could fall into Module B, and then in the trial exam, you would cover - as the exam intends to - the Common Module, Module A and Module B. And then you would include the assessment of related material in the Common Module. The only problem with that part is that in the external exam - and this is something that NESA raised with me as well - but in the external exam, there's no requirement for students to write about... Well, in fact, I don't think they can write about related material in the Common Module essay. So having them do it in the trial simply because you have to cover the requirement isn't a very authentic way of preparing them for the external exam. So it's possible but it doesn't necessarily make it the best use of the assessment. I'm just to trying to pre... I'm presenting this to try to get people to think a bit more problematically about how to arrange all of the requirements and components in a way that suits your school. So this might not but maybe if you rework it, you can come up with another really inventive way of...of getting through all of the checkpoints and still giving students a full experience of assessment across the year.

Just a couple more points and these are really on the English Studies course. There are fewer requirements here, of course, but the...the related material is still a requirement. So it can be student-selected or teacher-selected but it has to appear. So in one of the suggestions that they're making here on the website, they're leaving out the trial exam for Studies because, of course, Studies now have the option of sitting the exam, then a trial exam can be a part of the assessment schedule. And then the collection of classwork is the...is the required assessment type in Year 12 for English Studies. And then in another one of the samples provided - again they've got that related material, the collection of classwork appears - but they have a trial HSC examination suggested as the fourth assessment task.

Now I know that this is quite problematic because if not all students in your course intend on sitting the trial... for the actual HSC exams in your Studies class, and you include a trial HSC exam as a part of your assessment schedule, then those students sort of have a... not an unfair hurdle but they have a hurdle to pass that perhaps they...is unrealistically preparing them for something they won't in fact sit, which is quite strange. "If NESA decide the English..." That's a good question, David. I believe that the... that two exams... If NESA decide that we'll... that they will have two exams, then you hosting two exams as a part of your trial period counts as the one assessment task. That's...that's the way it's worked under the current syllabus and I can't see that they would change that. If they themselves, decide that there'll be two exams, I can't see why they would change that. And yeah, Gail, I agree. I don't necessarily think that it's the best solution, but I think that it's a good option. OK, and then the last thing here...

Sorry, I know it's 4 o'clock. Just the last thing here is a couple...or a few considerations that you might have in mind as you're planning your assessment schedules and the way that you're going to structure your courses, things that occurred to me as I was preparing the presentation that you would probably want to be thinking about - with your faculty - just ways of troubleshooting some of the requirements. So again, I'll let you look through those in your own time and I might...I might leave it there. If there are any other questions, I'll stick around for a few minutes to help answer them and if anybody has missed today and they want access to it, you can just direct them back to the room and the link to the recording will be there. Thanks, everyone.

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