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General Assessment Information

This pack contains general assessment information for David Amarilis’ High School that is preparing
candidates for the assignment Component of Higher School Certificate Chemistry Course Assessment.

Introduction 2

Equality and inclusions 2

Outcomes being assessed 2

Student declaration 3

Assessment 4

Assessment criteria 6

Sample response 7

Part two of the assessment 9

Bibliography 12

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This is the general assessment information for the Higher School Certificate Chemistry

This assignment is worth 25 marks out of the total of 100 marks available for this Course.
Marks for all Course Components are added up to give a total Course assessment mark which
is then used as the basis grading decisions.

Equality and inclusion

This Course assessment has been designed to ensure that there are no unnecessary barriers to
assessment. Assessments have been designed to promote equal opportunities while
maintaining the integrity of the qualification.

Outcomes being assessed

Unit Overview and Key Competencies

Students work as individuals and as members of groups to conduct investigations and,

through this, the key competencies planning and organising activities and working
with others and in teams are developed. During investigations, students use
appropriate information technologies and so develop the key competency of using
technology. The exploration of issues and investigation of problems contributes towards
students’ development of the key competency solving problems. Finally when students
analyse statistical evidence, apply mathematical concepts to assist analysis of data and
information and construct table and graphs, they are developing the key competency
using mathematical ideas and techniques.

Assessment and Grading Criteria

Criterion Description Weighing

H11 Justifies the appropriateness of a particular investigation plan 4 / 20

H12 Evaluates ways in which accuracy and reliability could be 5 / 20

improved in investigations

H13 Uses terminology and reporting styles appropriately and 2 / 20

successfully to communicate information and understanding

H14 Assesses the validity of conclusions from gathered data and 5 / 20


H15 Explains why an investigation is best undertaken individually 4 / 20

or by a team

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Student Declaration

Student name: Teacher’s Name:


Task: HSC – Stage 6 Subject: Chemistry

School’s name: Amaryllis High School


Title: Chemistry Assignment 1

Length: Released: 17 October 2017 Due: 10 October 2018


I hold a copy of this assignment if the original is lost or damaged.

I hereby certify that no part of this assignment or product has been copied from any other student’s work or
from any other source except where due acknowledgement is made in the assignment.

I hereby certify that no part of this assignment or product has been submitted by me in another
(previous or current) assessment, except where appropriately referenced, and with prior permission
from the Teacher for this subject.

No part of the assignment/product has been written/produced for me by any other person except
where collaboration has been authorised by the teacher concerned.

I am aware that this work will be reproduced and submitted to plagiarism detection software programs for
the purpose of detecting possible plagiarism (which may retain a copy on its database for future
plagiarism checking).

Student’s signature:
Note: A teacher as the right to not mark this assignment if the above declaration has not been signed.

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Task rationale:

Part A:

Experiment Design 15%

You are a chemist working as part of a team in a research lab. Due to a technical malfunction
the classification system within your department has been compromised. Your test materials
have been misclassified and must be identified. In order for your work to continue you must
design an experiment to reclassify the test materials as either carbonate, metal or ethanol. To
conduct these tests you have access to Hydrochloric Acid and various lab resources.

Recommended Word Limit – 600 words

Part B:

Recommendation 5%

Consider whether your experiment is best undertaken by a team or by an individual. Discuss the
benefits and detriments of both and provide a recommendation of which would be more

Recommended Word Limit – 200 words

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Assessment Criteria -

Part A

Details Mark Allocation

● Student demonstrates a advanced 12.5 - 15

level of ability to design an
experimental procedure in order to
test the chosen variable including:
○ Repetition
○ Method of collecting results
○ Control
○ Correctly identified dependent
and independent variables

● Demonstrates a thorough knowledge 9.5 - 12

of the use of appropriate experimental
● An advanced level of comprehension
in at least 3 of the following attributes:
○ Repetition
○ Method of collecting results
○ Control
○ Correctly identified dependent
and independent variables

● Demonstrates a sound knowledge of 6.5 - 9

the use of appropriate experimental
procedure including at least two of the
following attributes:
○ Repetition
○ Method of collecting results
○ Control
○ Correctly identified dependent
and independent variables

● Demonstrates a basic understanding 3.5 - 6

of the use of appropriate experimental
procedure including one of the
○ Repetition
○ Method of collecting results
○ Control
○ Correctly identified dependent
and independent variables

● Provide some mechanisms for 0-3

experimentation but none of the

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following are present:
○ Repetition
○ Method of collecting results
○ Control
○ Correctly identified dependent
and independent variables

Part B Marking Guide:

Details Mark Allocation

● Student demonstrates a thorough 5

understanding of experimentation
planning and execution
● Is able to accurately assess benefits
and detriments of both individual and
team conducted experiments
● Provides a recommendation which is
informed by at least 1 Academic

● Student demonstrates an 4
understanding of experimentation
planning and execution
● Student provides benefits and
detriments of both individual and team
conducted experiments
● Provides a recommendation which is
informed by at least 1 Academic

● Student demonstrates an 3
understanding of experimentation
planning and execution
● Student describes some benefits and
detriments of both individual and team
conducted experiments
● Provides a recommendation

● Demonstrates some understanding of 2

the differences between individual and
group experiments
● Applies knowledge at a basic level

● Provides some reasons 1

● Unclear analysis of benefits and

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Sample Response
Part A:

Control, Independent and Dependent

Control: Hydrochloric Acid without the introduction of any foreign or outside substances
Independent: The unlabelled substances which will be mixed with Hydrochloric Acit
Dependent: The chemical reactions being identified

1. Set up a test tube rack with six test tubes labelled 1-6
2. Store a supplementary test tube in a separate rack which is labelled control
3. Add 5ml of acid to all of the test tubes.
4. Label the test tubes 1 and 2 as Sample X
5. Label the test tubes 3 and 4 as Sample Y
6. Label the test tubes 5 and 6 as Sample Z
7. Add 5 ml of each unknown substance to the correctly labelled test tubes
8. Conduct pop test on all test tubes to test for hydrogen gas
9. Add lime water to all test tubes to test for carbon dioxide
10. Record any chemical reactions being observed.
11. Record if any reactions occurring in control

Test Tube Number: Hydrochloric Acid: Test Substance Observations:
which has been

#1 5 milliliters 5ml Sample X A reaction with lime

Added water (of a ‘milky’

#2 5 milliliters 5ml Sample X A reaction with lime

Added water (of a ‘milky’

#3 5 milliliters 5ml Sample Y Precipitate formation


#4 5 milliliters 5ml Sample Y Precipitate formation


#5 5 milliliters 5ml Sample Z Added

#6 5 milliliters 5ml Sample Z Added

Control N/A N/A No Observed


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Part B:

Conducting experiments requires varying levels of human interaction, creativity and inputs. Due
to this variability there is a similar variance in the structure of the teams who conduct these
exercises. With this experiment it is recommended that an individual conduct it due to a few key
reasons. Firstly this experiment has limited components and as such it is far more efficient for
work to be conducted by one person (Hannebury, 2003). Additionally an individual conducting
the experiment can run the experiment in their own time allowing for focus to be interrupted if
necessary. A notable disadvantage is that you are unable to garner assistance in times of
complexity - however this disadvantage is less relevant in this situation due to the simplicity of
the experiment.

While this experiment does not require a team structure there are some experiments which
would greatly benefit from a team. Some key considerations with recommending a team
structure are complexity and order of operations. Where experiments are overly complex or
require specific manual coordination there is usually a requirement of multiple conductors. You
have the ability to share workloads and allow individuals to specialise. A large team may also be
able to suggest new ideas as to how the experiment is conducted. A notable disadvantage of
large teams may be discordance of vision, variance in skill and intra-team conflicts.

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Part 2 of the Assessment:

NSW schools are taking more responsibility for their own performance, are subject to
closer public scrutiny and are finding new ways of improving student outcomes in a
world of ever- more demanding standards (Smith, 2005, p. 42).

Evaluate the importance of assessment and approaches to feedback and assessment

design that will inform your practice in your teaching area. Refer to recent Australian and
international literature and teacher scholarship from relevant Professional Associations
and organisations on assessment practice in schools (1000-1500 words)

The case for the evaluative assessment

Assessments are a critical mechanic at both measuring the effectiveness of learning processes
and providing a platform for students to develop and grow in practical environments.
Assessments often incorporate theoretical concepts learned through the course and empower
students’ learning (Wyatt-Smith et al, 2014) by then manifesting these conceptualisations in
practical tasks. In Chemistry it is especially important to ensure that students have a competent
grasp on the fundamental mechanics and thus a thorough and engaging assessment plan with
frequent feedback is ideal for ensuring optimal performance.

Changing Focuses in a Changing World

Individual Schools Responsible

The education system has specified its focus on improving individual student performance on an
increasingly specialised basis. Policy has previously specifically focused on improving the
demographic performance of groups which are socio-economically disadvantaged (Considine &
Zappala 2002) , underperforming boys (Buckingham 2002) and to specific cultural groups. This
approach has since been specified to target schools, making them accountable for their results
and highlighting individual divergent issues (Smith, 2005). The approach has most recently
been seen by the MySchool system which has invited individual scrutiny for schools and seeks
to moderate for various contextual factors (Education and Employment References Committee,
2014). There is now greater information as to the effectiveness of teachers which has lead to a
greater expectation and scrutiny into their performance. This increase in scrutiny is additionally
supplemented by the additional demands of a changing world and employment market.

World Changing
These increasing accountability mechanisms exist in a time of incredible disruption for schools
and students. The environment students are educated in is foundationally changing through the
wide proliferation of digital learning platforms. Further the post-secondary environment is
shifting toward one where tertiary education is becoming the rule as opposed to the exception
(ABS, 2017). The fields which are represented in the higher school certificate are also
significantly changing over time - specifically within the field of chemistry we have see syllabus

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has been updated in the most recent iteration to include learning outcome H15 (NSW Education
Standards Authority, 2016) in response to changing industry demands and pre-requisite
knowledge. Noting both of these current variables it is understandable that there is a greater
scrutiny on how teachers utilise their time and how effective their engagement techniques are. A
crucial tool in this continue engagement is the utilisation of assessments.

Assessments: A crucial tool to securing performance

Assessments are at the centre of how teachers measure their students and engage them with
the core content of subject. Practically, assessments may be compartmentalised into two broad
camps: internal, which deals with how the school on a micro level addresses student
performance and gives feedback, and external, which deals with how outside institutions assess
students with more objective, quantifiable and rankable measures. In realistic terms, the
contrast between the two appears at face value to be common sense: internal testing is less
practical, but more grounded and equitable, while external testing is less equitable but more
transferable. Parker and Rennie (1998, in Smith 2005) acknowledges that while both are
metrics of achievement, there is a clear preference for external measures in many of the end-
goal oriented aspects of schooling (tertiary study and occupation are named as two). They
proceed to critique external assessments in favour of internal assessment under the grounds of
intimacy with the required learning goals. At face value, the internal test seems to be the
counterbalance to the rigidity and objectivity of the external exam; however, there are valid
concerns about the universality of internal exams, according to papers such as Linn and
Gronlund (2000, in Smith 2005).

Indeed, if there were a “problem” in this section, it would most likely be “solved” by the
harmonisation of both external and internal assessment methods in a concerted framework,
where one informs the other. This is seen in NSW as integral to the effective administration of
school accountability systems (Smith 2005, 40).

There are two prominent approaches for feedback both of which help understand the role of
assessments and provide advice as to how to mould them. One of these is the ‘model of
feedback’ (Hattie and Timperley, 2007) which is posed on three major feedback questions:
‘[where] am I going? How am I going? and Where to next?’. These three questions are key to
understanding where ‘gaps’ in understanding occur and helping stimulate investigation into
alternate pathways to progression. A key element of this approach is to increase the regularity
of feedback - through things such as informal assessment.

The alternate approach is the model of ‘formative assessment’ which is outlined in the paper of
Black & Wiliam (2009). This model identifies 5 key strategies for designing assessments which
explicitly incorporate considerations such as student engagement and technological resources.
These 5 considerations are:

“1. Clarifying, sharing and understanding learning intentions and criteria for success
2. Engineering classroom activities that elicit evidence of learning

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3. Providing feedback that moves students forward
4. Activating students as instructional resources for one another
5. Activating students as the owners of their own learning.”

Both models broadly converge in defining the purpose of feedback as a mechanism to drive
student understanding and performance. Where external pressures on teachers are increasingly
apparent having an effective set of curricular tools is essential to all teachers. Through
understanding of the theories behind feedback systems we are able to better curate responsive
systems that more actively respond to student development. In achieving the end goals of
understanding and performance both sources converge in their focus on assessing trajectory,
assessing the effectiveness of current mechanisms / examining current understanding and then
selecting the correct methodology to achieve the outlined goals. In contrasting both models the
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2017) noted the ubiquitous focus on
the flexibility in approach of teachers and students in order to achieve their learning goals and
the role of assessments in diagnosing the necessity and nature of any change.

Assessment design and feedback in the field of Chemistry

Specifically within the field of chemistry there are a few key mechanisms which are specifically
notable. Chemistry is about understanding the world around you and the interaction of various
substances and in enabling students to explore this area assessment is of the utmost
importance. Students regularly are made to construct hypotheses, conduct experiments and
assess results however there has been a long struggle to engage students in a way which
allows them to direct the learning process. Despite these engaging and immersive tools many
scholars bemoan an underutilisation of activities which engage students (Indira et al, 2011). An
additional consideration is to provide adequate internal assessment mechanisms as to promote
indigenous learning and to better tailor academic plans.

One of the key challenges identified by Johannson (2015) was providing a platform for student
engagement in classroom activities. In a recent survey Vlachou (2018) found that almost all
surveyed teachers still structured their activities around a teacher lead model - indicating that
the key recommendation of student engagement in Black & William (2009). While chemistry has
several unique ways to actively engage students it regularly is criticised for relying too heavily
on a pedagogical methodology of delivery. It is incredibly important (as noted by the above
analysis) to include student engagement and assessment in order to gain key information which
can lead to better. This research further reflects the specific utility that assessments designed to
provide direct feedback provide to students.

In conclusion it is clear that assessments which are able to provide feedback and encourage
student participation are critical fulfilling the evermore demanding role of teachers. In such a
dynamic teaching environment with such an engaging field it is important to actively attempt to
incorporate informal and formal assessments in a way which provides accurate and ongoing
reporting of understanding.

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Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2017). Australians pursuing higher education in record numbers.
Retrieved from

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2017). Spotlight: Reframing feedback to
improve teaching and learning (pp. 6-8). Sydney. Retrieved from

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (2009).Developing the theory of formative assessment. Educational Assessment.
Evaluation and Accountability, 21(1), 5-31.

Buckingham, J. (2000). Boy troubles: Understanding rising suicide, rising crime and educational failure.
Centre for Independent Studies. CIS Policy Monograph, 46(1), 2-5.

Considine, G., and G. Zappala (2002). Factors influencing the educational performance of students from
disadvantaged backgrounds. Refereed Proceedings of the National Social Policy Conference 2001,
SPRC Report 1/02, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 91-107.

Education and Employment References Committee. (2014). Effectiveness of the National Assessment
Program – Literacy and Numeracy. Canberra.5, 22.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77, 81–112.

Indira N. Z. Day, Floris M. van Blankenstein, Michiel Westenberg & Wilfried Admiraal (2018) A review of
the characteristics of intermediate assessment and their relationship with student grades, Assessment &
Evaluation in Higher Education, 43:6, 908-929, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2017.1417974

Jonsson, A., Lundahl, C., & Holmgren, A. (2015). Evaluating a large-scale implementation of assessment
for learning in Sweden. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 22(1), 104–121.
doi:10.1080/096959 4X.2014.970612

NSW Education Standards Authority. (2017). Chemistry Stage 6 Syllabus. Sydney. 34.

Smith, Max. (2005). Data for schools in NSW: What is provided and can it help?. Retrieved from:

Vlachou, M. A. (2018). Classroom assessment practices in middle school science lessons: A study
among Greek science teachers. Cogent Education, 5(1), 1455633.

Wyatt-Smitt, C.; Klenowski, V.; Colbert, P. (Eds.) 2014. Designing Assessment for Quality Learning

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