Thank you to all who attended the forums. TASC has collated the questions raised during the sessions, these can be found by learning area below. Please note, TASC has published questions as provided.
Access the presentation material via this link.

2020 External assessment adjustments

Adjustments to External Assessment Specifications for 2020 have been made to ensure Tasmanian senior secondary students are provided with fair and equitable delivery and assessment of Years 11 and 12 courses.

Adjustments for 2020 have now been finalised.  Expert panels with representation from around the state, as well as a cross-sector External Assessment Working Group established by the Minister for Education and Training, have reviewed and verified that the necessary adjustments have been made to external assessment on a course-by-course basis, to ensure student wellbeing is supported and that students and the community can have confidence in their results, including the TCE and ATAR.

The Office of TASC recognises the impact of the current COVID-19 circumstances on learning for students and acknowledge the extraordinary situation faced by learners, teachers and school communities. TASC is working to ensure the smooth and safe delivery of external assessments, and that students are supported to do their best.

  • General questions

Where do teachers access the 2020 course considerations? For example English Applied?

2020 Course Considerations can be accessed on the TASC website from the COVID-19 Updates page, by searching for Continuity of Learning or by using the link below.

2020 Course Considerations

Can we ask questions at a later stage?

Yes, please contact TASC if you have any further questions.

  • EALD 3 (EAL315120)

No course specific questions raised

  • English (ENG315117)

What is the benefit of not being assessed on Criterion 4 for [Section B] Adaptation when they [students] still have to write in essay format?

A range of suggestions and scenarios were considered through both the 2020 Course Considerations and External Assessment Specifications processes. Through the 2020 Course Considerations process the removal of Module 4 – Negotiated Study was considered however due to differences in the sequence of delivery this consideration would have inadvertently disadvantaged some students. One of the TASC proposals considered during the 2020 External Assessment Specifications process was to adjust the response type for Section B of the examination to short answer responses. Consensus on this suggestion was not reached as it was felt that this adjustment would limit a student’s ability to demonstrate required knowledge and skills against Criterion 2, inadvertently disadvantaging some students.

TASC recognises there are a range of views in the teaching community, following a lengthy process a number of suggestions were tabled and discussed, consensus was reached that the removal of Criteria 4 and 6 from Section B (only) was the best solution for students. The adjustment made to the External Assessment Specifications, along with the 2020 course considerations, provide some recognition of the difficulties faced by students studying in 2020.

What would be the comparison between a student who wrote a complete essay for Section B in English 3 and a student who wrote the same information in dot points?

In Section B of the 2020 English ENG315117 exam each student will be assessed against the standard elements of Criterion 2 where differentiation across the ratings is recognised by the student’s ability to evaluate, analyse or explain. Students will be required to conduct a critical analysis in response to the question in Section B and it would be difficult for a student to engage in this without conducting a level of discussion. For a student to best demonstrate their understanding against the standard elements it is suggested that students create an extended response with sufficient evidences to highlight their knowledge and skills. 2020 is an exceptional year, however, in keeping with the requirements of the course students are required to attempt a critical analysis and this level of discussion can not be captured in dot-points rather through an extended response. Please also note that the 2020 External Assessment Specifications | Item Type | Section B prescribe ‘Response format’: Analytical Essay Response, Third Person.

Wouldn’t it [the decision to remove Cr 4 and 6 from the assessment of Section B] now disadvantage students who will have results for Criterion 4 and Criterion 6 averaged from 2 results instead of 3?

The decision to remove Criterion 4 and Criterion 6 from  the 2020 written examination will not disadvantage students as the intention is to provide more opportunity and time for students to craft responses in Section A and C of the examination.

  • English Literature (ENL315114)

No course specific questions raised

  • English Writing (ENW315114)

No course specific questions raised

  • General questions 

No general questions raised 

  • Outdoor Leadership (OXP315118)

When will the Outdoor Leadership sample questions be made available?

The Outdoor Leadership 2020 External Assessment advice was published on Monday 3 August.

  • Sport Science (SPT315118)

Will the reduction of 1 and 2 mark questions [in the 2020 written examination] make it more challenging for the “average” student? 

TASC is working with the Setting Examiner for Sports Science to ensure that the provided stimulus has enough direction to support students to access information for 3 and 4 mark questions. The reduction of 1 and 2 mark questions has been designed to support all students. Feedback provided in the 2019 Assessment Report – feedback for the Setting Examiner suggested that fewer 1 and 2 mark questions would support all students as greater time could be dedicated to more involved questions. This document, (along with other feedback) was one of the artefacts used to arrive at the final adjustments. Please note, however,  some 1 and 2 mark questions remain in the 2020 examination paper.


In the Cross Disciplinary Links (CDL’s) section, will candidates be able to suggest their own scenario, rather than having to read a larger worded question?

Scenarios will be provided in the written examination paper as in previous years. Please refer to the 2020 External Assessment Specifications where the advice is: ‘questions may use a brief statement or scenario as a a stimulus’.


Is there any data to support claims made on the page [2020 External Assessment Advice] about “Sport Science exams have traditionally been difficult to complete in full in the time period…”?

Assessment Reports (2018 and 2019) have made explicit mention of student time management required for adequate completion of the Sport Science exam, this coupled with feedback relating to the number of 1 and 2 mark questions has informed this understanding.

  • Health Studies (HLT315118)

No course specific questions raised

  • General questions

What is TASC doing to quality assure communications/materials prior to release?

The 2020 External Assessment Specifications were drafted with the External Assessment Advisory Panel, confirmed (in most cases) by the Setting Examiners and then reviewed and verified by the External Assessment Working Group.
TASC apologises for any inconvenience caused where there has been a version control issue on the uploading of documentation.

Can you please clarify why some subjects have had major adjustments made and others have had basically no adjustments? How can this be justified as equitable for students?

Each TASC accredited course has its own work requirements, sequencing requirements, number of modules/units and external assessment structure. In terms of 2020 external assessment adjustments, each course was considered individually through consultation with teachers, the External Assessment Advisory Panel and other TASC stakeholders. The cross sectoral External Assessment Working Group reviewed the adjustments across learning areas to ensure consistency, where possible. Due to the nature of courses and external assessment structures it was essential to assess each course individually rather than applying an overarching  adjustment across all TASC courses. However, in all instances all stakeholders involved worked to reach the best outcome within the requirements of course documents and external assessment specifications.

What precisely is TASC doing to support the 2020 cohort of students who have not enjoyed certainty of end of year exam formats that previous years cohorts have enjoyed? Previous cohorts have benefited from clear exam specs and midyear exams that mimic the end of year exam.

TASC responded immediately as the consequences of the pandemic on the 2020 Senior Secondary cohort became evident.
TASC addressed 2020 Course Considerations for courses directly affected by ‘learning from home’ directives and the temporary closure of community events, businesses and organisations. During this process TASC worked with Years 9-12 Learning, Department of Education to consult with the Tasmanian community of teachers, develop frequently asked questions for students and to develop and finalise the 2020 Course Considerations. TASC has also developed FAQs and information for students and schools, accessible from our website. The 2020 External Assessment Specifications are now finalised and TASC has provided advice for students and their teachers via 2020 sample questions and/or advice, where required.

  • Australia in Asia and the Pacific (APP315116)

No course specific questions raised

  • Accounting (ACC315116)

No course specific questions raised

  • Ancient History (ANH315117)

No course specific questions raised
Please note, due to a version control error the 2020 Ancient History External Assessment Specifications have been updated. All teachers of the course were provided with a direct link to this document on Friday 7 August 2020. 

  • Psychology (BHP315116)

The Psychology Sample [published Tuesday 21 July] was incorrect, will we receive a new updated version and will it be a full exam sample?

An updated version of the sample question has been published on the TASC website. The 2020 External Assessment sample questions/advice only provide a sample set for clarification, complete sample papers are not being developed. In the case of Psychology past exam papers can support student preparation for the 2020 examination. Please see External Assessment Sample 2020 Psychology for further information.

Why has Psychology not had as many adjustments and/or considerations as other TASC accredited courses?

Each TASC accredited course has its own work requirements, sequencing requirements, number of modules/units and the external assessment structure. In terms of 2020 external assessment adjustments, each course was considered individually through consultation with teachers, the External Assessment Advisory Panel and other TASC stakeholders. The cross sectoral External Assessment Working Group reviewed and verified the adjustments across learning areas to ensure consistency, where possible. Due to the nature of courses and external assessment structures it was important to assess each course individually rather than applying an overarching  adjustment across all TASC courses. However, in all instances all stakeholders involved worked to reach to the best outcome within the requirements of course documents and external assessment specifications.
In the case of 2020 external assessment adjustments for Psychology, teachers can be reassured that a number of scenarios and suggestions were considered by the External Assessment Advisory Panel, including removing the investigation project from the external assessment requirements. However, the 2020 external assessment adjustment, to provide two different types of stimulus and simplify the stimuli within the examination was agreed as the best solution. This adjustment offers students more time in the exams as there will there will less complexity in the stimuli for candidates to analyse. The 2020 sample questions/advice provides teachers and students with information about how the adjustment will be applied in the exam.

  • Sociology (BHS315116)

No course specific questions raised

  • Business Studies (BST315116)

No course specific questions raised

  • Geography (GGY315120)

No course specific questions raised

  • Modern History (HSM315117)

Will there be sample questions for Modern History?

In some cases the Setting Examiner felt the 2020 adjustments to the External Assessment Specifications were best explained through a statement of advice rather than as sample questions. Modern History 2020 advice has been published, no specific sample questions will be published for this course.

TASC has sought advice from the Marking Coordinators for Modern History and they advise that a short answer response for Section C should contain multiple paragraphs and can incorporate dot-points. An introduction or conclusion does not need to be included.

  • Students and teachers can be assured that students will not penalised if they include an introduction or conclusion.
  • Markers will be focused on rewarding students for their efforts and will not be penalising students for the particular structure in which students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.
  • As Criterion 4 is not being assessed, students will not be penalised if they do not include direct quotes from primary and secondary sources.
  • However, in order to address criterion 7 successfully it is typical for students to discuss the rationale and conclusions of different historians. In this context direct quotations are normally offered or at least paraphrased.
  • Although a structured essay is not required, the response is still being assessed against criterion 3. Therefore markers will still be assessing the composition and coherence of the responses.

 

  • Studies of Religion (REL315116)

The only modification to Studies of Religion is that the third essay (Ethics) is now a short answer [response]. Parameters are clear that it is now one issue and one approach religious or philosophical. There are some queries in the difference between short answer response and essay. Would September Moderation be an acceptable venue for the external Marking Co-coordinators to flesh out this nuance?

The 2020 adjustment to the response type for Section C was made with the intention of providing students with more time overall to complete all three sections in the three (3) hour examination.

For Studies of Religion (REL315116) a short answer response for Section C: contains multiple paragraphs, does not require an introduction or conclusion and if students are ‘pressed’ for time can incorporate dot-points.

  •  Students and teachers can be assured that students will not penalised if they include an introduction or conclusion
  • Markers will be focused on rewarding students for their efforts and will not be penalising students for the particular structure in which students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.

Moderation is managed by Years 9 -12 Learning, Department of Education. For further information or if you have any questions or suggestions about Moderation visit the Years 11 and 12 website.  TASC has passed this suggestion onto the Years 9 – 12 Learning team.

  • Philosophy (PHL315118)

No course specific questions raised

  • Legal Studies (LST315117)

When will teachers and students receive confirmation of additional Topical Legal Issues?

TASC notified teachers of Legal Studies, Principals and TLOs of the outcome of this suggestion via email on Tuesday 28 July.
TASC consulted teachers of the course in regards to this proposal and strong concern was raised over this additional change as there is a risk of disadvantage and inequity for students who have already begun their investigation based on the originally published Topical Legal Issues. Due to this feedback TASC will not be updating the Topical Legal Issues for 2020.

  • First Nations Studies (TAS315119

No course specific questions raised

  • General questions

In regards to the changes outlined in the external assessment specifications there is an indication of fewer listening and reading texts. Will there be a difference in the length of these individual texts as a consequence?

The intention of this 2020 external assessment adjustment is an overall reduction in content (i.e. fewer texts) to allow students additional time to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding, however, the traditional time allocation for the exam remains the same. There will not be a difference in individual length of the supplied texts from previous years.


Will the mark allocation for the reading and listening parts of the exam be reduced to align with the adjustments made to these sections of the exam?


The mark allocation for Part 1 and Part 2 of the written examination has been adjusted to reflect the adjustments made to the 2020 External Assessment Specifications. The mark allocation for these Parts has been adjusted from (Part 1) 60 to 45 marks and (part 2) 60 to 40 marks. Access course specific external assessment specifications on the individual course document page (TASC website) in the drop-down section within the course information – Supporting documents including external assessment material or via the links below.

  • Chinese (CHN315114)

No course specific questions raised

  • French (FRN315114)

No course specific questions raised

  • German (GRM315114)

No course specific questions raised

  • Italian (ITN315114)

No course specific questions raised

  • Japanese (JPN315114)

No course specific questions raised

  • General questions

A key guiding principle was for increased optionality (where possible) and a reduction in externally assessed content. Why has this not been followed through in developing the new exam specifications?

Optionality was explored as an approach for all external assessment specifications and advice was sought as to where this approach would be deemed most appropriate. Each TASC accredited course has its own work requirements, sequencing requirements, number of modules/units and the external assessment structure. In terms of 2020 external assessment adjustments, each course was considered individually through consultation with teachers, the External Assessment Advisory Panel and other TASC stakeholders. In some circumstances TASC was advised that optionality would not support students and, in some cases, would be detrimental. Given this feedback, question optionaity was only used where there was no risk of further disadvantaging students.

Who was approached to supply the Sample Exam Sections published on the 20th of July?  Was it the Exam Setter?

Yes, the Setting Examiners were asked to supply the external assessment sample questions and/or advice.

Will inconsistent application of optionality have implications on scaling?  How will these be resolved?

External assessment specifications are unique to a course and these differences do not have an effect on scaling. For information on scaling access TASC’s Understanding the ATAR resource.

Will the results of the student voice survey be made available to teachers and other stakeholders?

Yes, information and results from the Student Survey will be published on the TASC website. We will provide information about this in an upcoming TASC newsletter.

How does having fewer questions help students? With fewer marks, will a student be disadvantaged if they are unable to complete a question as it will be worth a greater percentage overall?

Where 2020 external assessment adjustments have reduced the number of questions, the intention is to reduce the overall content required to be assessed in the time provided. Questions are scaffolded and streamlined to support students to best demonstrate their understanding while allowing differentiation across the range of possible ratings.

Will the UTAS and other subject based experts’ names be provided?

TASC sought insight and support from a number of subject based experts in relation to 2020 external assessment adjustments. For reasons of confidentiality TASC will not be naming these individuals.

What is TASC doing to mitigate against the disadvantage the 2020 cohort are experiencing in that they have not had the benefit of a “predictable” end of year exam format as a basis for the setting and experience of a mid-year exam?

TASC has student wellbeing at the forefront and has published adjustments to the 2020 external assessment specifications as soon as it was practicable. Where there has been significant change to the External Assessment Specifications TASC has provided 2020 external assessment sample questions and/or advice for students and teachers. In this very challenging year TASC is working hard to provide advice, information and documentation as quickly as possible to support the 2020 cohort.

Was some consideration given to having the same volume of material examined but increasing the length of the paper?

Yes, consideration was given to increasing the time provided to students to complete the examinations. Providing an extra half an hour for each exam was one proposal that was considered. However concern was raised over the overall length of time students may need to sit in examination over a day. If a student was to have two (2) three hour exams in one day they would be required to sit and be examined for up to seven hours.  Concern was also raised regarding students who require a reasonable adjustment of extra time and the decision was reached that these students may face fatigue from such lengthy examination times.

What did year 12 students who were surveyed ask for in terms of exam specifications?

Students indicated they were keen for information and clear guidance on what was being examined as well as support from their teachers. Information from the survey will be published on the TASC website and notification will be provided in an upcoming newsletter.

  • Mathematics Methods (MTM415117)

No course specific questions raised

  • Mathematics Specialised (MTS415118)

Maths Specialised shows no reduction in content for the students. Extra time is not an advantage for most of our students. Not all content can be examined so some options within the sections would assist. Physics has been allowed optionality, why hasn’t Maths Specialised?

For come courses, stakeholders advised TASC that optionality in the external assessment would not support students and could be more detrimental. Therefore, it was not included in examinations where this approach may risk greater disadvantaged for students.

  • General Mathematics (MTG315120)

No course specific questions raised

  • Mathematics Methods – Foundation (MTM315117)

No course specific questions raised

  • General questions raised

No general questions raised

  • Student Directed Inquiry (SDI315117)

No course specific questions raised

  • General questions raised

Is it possible to place the compulsory questions first with the optional questions at the end of each section of the papers?

This suggestion will be provided to all Setting Examiners where optionality has been used.

Is it possible to have sample questions (and appropriate answers) for all externally assessed criteria?

Setting Examiners have provided sample questions/advice to support students and teachers if a 2020 adjustment creates significant change to the examination and/or question. In some cases past exam papers may be useful in preparing students for the examination period.

Why not more optional questions i.e. have many questions where students are able to choose which option to answer and thus show their strengths.

Optionality was explored as an approach for all external assessment specifications and advice was sought as to where this approach would be deemed most appropriate. Each TASC accredited course has its own work requirements, sequencing requirements, number of modules/units and the external assessment structure. In terms of 2020 external assessment adjustments, each course was considered individually through consultation with teachers, the External Assessment Advisory Panel and other TASC stakeholders. In some circumstances TASC was advised that optionality would not support students and would, in some cases, be more detrimental. Given this feedback optionaity was only used where there was no risk of further disadvantaging students.

Have all adjustments to exam specifications been made, can further changes be made?

Adjustments for 2020 have now been finalised.  Expert panels with representation from around the state, as well as a cross-sector External Assessment Working Group established by the Minister for Education and Training, have reviewed and verified that the necessary adjustments have been made to external assessment on a course-by-course basis. Students have indicated their desire for information and clear guidance on what is being examined in 2020 along with support from their teachers.

  • Chemistry (CHM415115)

Regarding Chemistry, have the adjustments made the answers more important, will students miss out on more marks?

The intention is to reduce the overall content required to be assessed in the time provided. Questions will be scaffolded and streamlined to support students to best demonstrate their understanding while allowing differentiation across the range of possible ratings.

  • Physics (PHY415115)

Where there is optionality [in the questions], what happens if the students answer every question? Out of the either/or questions, will the first question they answer be the one that is counted in the marks or will the best question they answer (out of the two questions) be the one that is counted in the marks.

TASC has sought advice from the Marking Coordinators and they advise that both questions, if attempted, will be marked, with the higher mark of the two being counted up to the maximum score of 34. However, this will be confirmed with Markers at the Marker training meeting when exams have been completed.

  • Biology (BIO315116)

What will be the impact of fewer questions?  If there are easy questions that will skew the results? 

The intention of fewer questions is to reduce the overall content required to be assessed in the time provided. Questions will be scaffolded and streamlined to support students to best demonstrate their understanding while allowing differentiation across the range of possible ratings.

  • Environmental Science (ESS315118)

Will the written examination paper be shorter with fewer questions or the same number of questions but worth less? If replicating an end of year exam, would we give students fewer questions?

The overall content in the paper has been reduced through streamlined questions and fewer marks per section. For further information please see the 2020 External Assessment Advice.

  • Physical Sciences (PSC315118)

No course specific questions raised

  • General questions

No general questions raised

  • Agricultural Systems (AGR315117)

No course specific questions raised

  • Electronics (ELT315114)

No course specific questions raised

  • Technical Graphics (TEG315120)

No course specific questions raised

  • Computer Graphics and Design (CGD315118)

No course specific questions raised

  • Housing and Design (HDS315118)

No course specific questions raised

  • Computer Science (ITC315118)

In Computer Science, was the feedback provided by last year’s exam markers provided to this year’s Exam Setter? Will we find out their response to their feedback?

TASC request feedback for all Setting Examiners following the marking of external assessments. This feedback is provided to all Setting Examiners. TASC does not request explicit feedback about advice however requests that this advice be considered during the development of the current examination. 

  • Food and Nutrition (FDN315118)

Why has Criterion 2 been added to the assessment of Section D of the Food and Nutrition External Assessment Specifications?

This amendment was made at the February External Assessment Specifications meeting and is not related to the extraordinary 2020 External Specifications meetings held in May. This amendment is required for robust assessment of the Reading and Writing standard and will stand beyond 2020.

Section D – Part 2  has to be an extended response, can students answer as previously with dot points, sentences.

Students will be best able to demonstrate their understanding through short paragraph responses.

Can we have clarification of the age group students need to be familiar with for Dietary Analysis – ADG? There are over 90 values they would need to remember for all age groups.

Students required to know the adult number of serves.

  • Information Systems and Digital Technologies (ITS315118)

No course specific questions raised

  • General questions

How will the Marking Team selection process be run this year?

Similar to last year, Marking Coordinators will be provided with approved applicants, required Marker numbers and the principles of selection. The time-frame will remain the same as previous years with TASC providing any additional  COVID-19 related advice to Marking Coordinators and Markers. 

  • Art Theory and Criticism (ARA315116)

No course specific questions raised

  • Art production (ART315117)

No course specific questions raised

  • Art Studio Practice (ART315117)

No course specific questions raised

  • Dance, Choreography and Performance (DNC315120)

No course specific questions raised

  • Media Production (MED315117)

No course specific questions raised

  • Music (MSM315120)

Are there any changes to the expectations in the performance examinations or the written paper?

The format and expectations for the performance examination remain the same, noting the change in reduced performance time. Students will continue to be assessed against the same standard elements and the written paper remains the same. See the 2020 External Assessment Specifications for further clarification.

  • Drama (SDD315120)

The Drama ‘Sample External Assessment document only provides an explanatory statement. Will sample questions be provided?

The question type, topics and content of the written external assessment remain the same as previous years. The only aspect that has changed is that students will be referencing their end of year performance not a mid-year one. Please note that costume and some others elements may not be referenced due to the differences in performance requirements.  Please see the 2020 Course Considerations document, the 2020 External Assessment Specifications and the past exam papers to support students.

The 2020 Course Considerations still reference two (2) Live Performances. As access to Live theatre is still not available in the Tasmanian community, will TASC be updating this document and associated EAS?

TASC will be reviewing this Course Consideration at the end of August and will provide advice directly to teachers of the course via email.

  • Theatre Performance (SDP315120)

The 2020 Course Considerations still reference two (2) Live Performances. As access to Live theatre is still not available in the Tasmanian community, will TASC be updating this document and associated EAS?

TASC will be reviewing this Course Consideration at the end of August and will provide advice directly to teachers of the course via email.

Where will the External Assessment – Monologues be held in 2020?

Due to COVID-19 the externally assessed Monologues will be held at the candidates’ school. TASC is currently liaising with schools before finalising the timetable. Please note this 2020 requirement may have an effect on the overall performance timetable and preferred dates and times may need to be adjusted.