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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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The 10th Annual National Roundtable Conference on assessment and measurement

Sujatha Pannell
Conference Convenor. Email: pannell.sujatha.s@edumail.vic.gov.au

The 10th Annual National Roundtable Conference on assessment and measurement issues will be held in Melbourne on 24 and 25 October 2005. It is titled ‘ART – Assessment, Reporting + technology: System-wide Assessment and Reporting in the 21st Century’.

From small beginnings the Roundtable Conference has grown swiftly in the last ten years, covering themes such as ‘making data count’, ‘equating’ and ‘value-adding’, and ‘assessing assessment’. The first Roundtable was hosted by New South Wales in 1996. Just over 20 people attended. Since then it has been hosted by all Australian States and Territories in turn. Having grown each year, it returns to Victoria this year, for its tenth anniversary, as an international event with over 200 participants.

Rising interest in the Conference coincides with a heightened interest generally in the issue of large-scale assessment and reporting, both in Australia and internationally. Benchmarks are no longer local; they are national and international. It is still an area of knowledge and experience that is growing and developing. Issues are contested. Debate is lively.

The Roundtable provides an opportunity to enhance the professional knowledge of delegates by sharing information about assessment practices. It is also an occasion to review current assessment and measurement best practice and discuss critical issues, such as the large-scale assessment and reporting of student benchmark performance in literacy and numeracy.

This year’s Conference will provide opportunities for Victoria to highlight the developments in assessment and reporting in this state, and to hear about developments in other states and overseas. The Minister for Education in Victoria, the Hon Lynne Kosky, will open the Conference.

The keynote speakers include Dr Ken Boston AO, who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) in the United Kingdom. The use of technology in state-wide assessment and reporting is widespread in the UK, and the future plans for its implementation are both far-reaching and pervasive.

Dr Boston will give the delegates a picture of the British experience so far, and will talk about the benefits and pitfalls of taking a technological path. Dr Boston’s previous positions include Managing Director of Technical and Further Education, and Director-General of Education and Training, in New South Wales; Director-General of Education in South Australia; and General Manager of Educational Planning and Policy in Victoria.

Also from Britain, Ms Sylvia Green, Director of Research at Cambridge Assessment, will give an account of the use of technology in assessment from the perspective of a large examinations body.

It’s not all ‘technology’ at this year’s Roundtable Conference. Mr Ken Smith, Director General of the Department of Education and the Arts in Queensland and Chair of the Performance, Measurement and Reporting Taskforce (PMRT) of MCEETYA, will bring the delegates up to date with national developments on large-scale assessment and reporting issues. He will be joined by Peter Titmanis, Director of the Benchmark and Educational Measurement Unit of PMRT.

There will be five discrete sessions running over the two days, with four strands in each session running concurrently. The presentations will illustrate a variety of uses for technology in assessment, and will also cover issues such as the use of state-wide testing data, and the experience of international testing through the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

There are presentations from just about every State and Territory in Australia, from public institutions and private companies, from individuals and teams. There is also a sprinkling of presentations from the United Kingdom and the USA. The involvement of private companies in the discussion on large-scale assessment and reporting is relatively recent in this country, and illustrates their important and growing role in technological developments. This is most pronounced in the development of assessment software: for example, one of the presentations from the USA describes an automated essay marking system.

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) has taken a lead role in organising this year’s Roundtable Conference. The Conference organising committee also includes representatives from the Department of Education and Training, Victoria; the Catholic Education Office; and the Association of Independent Schools, Victoria.

The Conference is sponsored by the PMRT, the VCAA, the Catholic Education Office and Pearson Assessments and Testing.

The Conference will be held at the Eden on the Park hotel on Queen Street. For further information on the 10th Annual Roundtable Conference, please visit the Conference website or email Sujatha Pannell. 


Subject Headings

Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
Educational evaluation