HSC marking simulation videoconference project

Stage 6 Agriculture
syllabus support
David Randall
Richmond High School
on behalf of
Technology Unit Curriculum K-12 Directorate
Aims of the workshop
become familiar with the amended Stage 6 Agriculture
develop effective programming using a range of planning
utilise teaching strategies to improve student learning
become familiar with the Board of Studies marking
guidelines for Stage 6 Agriculture.
Housekeeping matters
o Sign on sheets
o Workshop materials
o Agenda
o Evaluations
Institute of Teachers standards
1.2.1 Apply and use knowledge of the content/discipline(s)
through effective, content-rich, teaching activities and
programs relevant to the stage.
2.2.3 Apply practical and theoretical knowledge and
understanding of the different approaches to learning to
enhance student outcomes.
6.2.4 Work productively and openly with colleagues in
reviewing teaching strategies and refining professional
knowledge and practice.
•Where you are from – school/system.
•Area of agricultural interest.
Session 1
Overview of changes to the syllabus,
examination specifications
and assessment guidelines
Why did the syllabus change?
A discussion paper was developed by the Board of Studies in August 2008.
The paper considered concerns raised with the Board about HSC student stress
and workload, as well as some different practices between HSC exams and
assessments in different courses.
In Agriculture these proposed changes included:
to exam specifications including the introduction of objective
response questions
oremoval of the optional research project from the course
ochanges in assessment guidelines
Discussion paper
Agriculture teachers around the state responded to the discussion paper, and
there was also meeting at the Board with the NSWAAT and Board of Studies
senior management.
The main points discussed were:
oinability of the 1999 syllabus to support objective response (multiple choice)
odesire of some agriculture teachers to retain the optional research project
oproblems interpreting the 1999 syllabus
othe mark balance between electives and research.
An agreement was made to update the syllabus to allow the new exam
specifications to be implemented.
Amendment, revision or re-write?
NSWAAT was asked to nominate a writing team to amend the syllabus.
The writing team’s aims were:
a clear distinction between the content in the Preliminary and HSC
oprovide guidance to the depth of study in each dot point
ouse a format closer to that of other subjects
oprovide electives which projected the subject into the 21st century.
oallow the new exam specifications to be implemented
oRemove overlap
Syllabus changes
Change in format
Students learn about:
Students learn to:
Plant production systems
• process of growth and
development in plants
outline the phases of growth of one
agricultural monocotyledon or
dicotyledon used in agriculture
describe the effect on plant growth
of the processes of respiration,
photosynthesis, net assimilation
rate, water and nutrient uptake
processes of respiration,
photosynthesis, net assimilation
rate, water and nutrient uptake on
the effects of plant growth
Change in weightings in the HSC course
Removal of the optional research project created an imbalance
between the core and elective.
The weightings in the HSC course have been altered to
strengthen the core and increase the depth of study in ONE
Core 80%
Plant/Animal production 60%
Farm product study 20%
Elective 20%
Detail in learn to dot points
More detail on the required depth of study. Use of the terms including and
such as.
Including means to study all of the items listed.
odescribe chemical characteristics of a soil including soil pH, ion exchange
capacity, soil carbon and nutrient status
Such as gives an indication of the types of items you could study, these are a
guide only, and you are free to investigate other items.
odiscuss one ethical issue relevant to an animal production system such as
mulesing, live export, battery egg production, use of farrowing crates
Use of verbs to indicate the required depth of learning
Verbs from the Board of Studies’ key words glossary are used to indicate the
depth of study required. These key words may also be used to frame
questions from the dot points in the HSC, for example:
the factors that limit fertility of farm animals including genetics,
environment, pests and diseases, management and nutrition
ooutline the role of objective measurement and heritability on the breeding
programs of farms, using at least one specific industry program as an example
odescribe the relationship between the ruminant and rumen microbes
oexplain how plant breeding is used to develop new plant varieties to improve
product quality, yield and environmental adaptation
oevaluate an IPM program, naming the target organism and the plant host
Clearer distinction between the depth of study
required in the Preliminary and HSC courses
The writing team attempted to identify processes and basic biological
functions in the Preliminary course, and study the manipulation of these
through management in the HSC course.
Some examples of these distinctions are:
oPest management
oSoil and resources
oPlant v’s crop growth
oExperimental design and statistics
Minor changes to outcomes
P3.1, P5.1 and H4.1 have been modified to strengthen the breadth and
depth of the outcomes.
P3.1 explains describes the role of decision-making in the
management and marketing of agricultural products in response to
consumer and market requirements
P5.1 investigates identifies the role of associated technologies and
technological innovation in producing and marketing agricultural
H4.1 justifies and applies appropriate experimental techniques,
technologies, research methods and data presentation and analysis in
relation to agricultural problems and situations
Depth in the HSC core has been strengthened by
moving some dot points from the old electives.
With the reduction of the electives from 30% to 20%, some
content was moved from the old electives to the core.
An example of this is:
the effects of plant hormones including auxins,
gibberellins, cytokinins, ethylene and abscisic acid
Removal of the optional research project
In the 2008 discussion papers the role of externally produced
work was investigated.
The research project has declined in popularity, and now has
very few candidates at the HSC attempting it.
New electives
Agri-food, Fibre and Fuel Technologies
Climate Challenge
Farming for the 21st Century
electives were developed so they are an extension of the core syllabus.
oThey indicate three areas of future directions in Australian agriculture.
oOnly one elective to be studied.
oClear distinction between core and elective content.
oElective studied at greater depth up from 15% to 20%.
HSC exam specifications
The examination will consist of a written paper worth 100 marks.
Time allowed: 3 hours plus 5 minutes reading time.
The paper will consist of two sections.
Section I – Core (80 marks)
This section will consist of two parts.
Across this section there will be approximately 50 marks based on
the Plant/Animal production core and 30 marks based on the
Farm product study core.
Part A (20 marks)
There will be objective response questions to the value of 20 marks.
Part B (60 marks)
There will be approximately seven short-answer questions.
Questions may contain parts.
There will be approximately fifteen items in total.
At least three items will be worth from 6 to 8 marks.
Section II – Electives (20 marks)
There will be two questions for each of the three electives.
Candidates will be required to answer both questions on the elective they have
The first question on each elective will be worth 8 marks and may contain
The second question on each elective will be an extended response worth 12
marks with an expected length of response of around three and a half pages of
an examination writing booklet (approximately 500 words).
Summary of changes
20 marks from objective response (multiple choice) questions.
60 marks from questions like the current questions 1 to 5.
These will be in approximately 7 questions which may be made
up of parts.
At least 3 items of high mark value which may be questions
which ask students to asses, justify or evaluate (6 to 8 marks
Only 1 extended response question in the paper contained in
the elective.
No internal choice in the core of the paper. This is consistent
with other HSC exam changes and is best practice in
educational measurement.
Assessment guidelines
There are changes in the assessment guidelines
The main points to note are:
oTo “focus’ assessment on the main concepts and skills of the
course by basing the assessment components on manageable
groupings of outcomes and objectives.
o3 to 5 tasks are sufficient for students to demonstrate their
knowledge and skills in relation to course outcomes.
What might an assessment program look like?
Unit planning
Agriculture as a school subject has some unique challenges when developing
a course plan. These constraints need to be addressed in the early planning
stages, for example:
Seasonal issues with regard to cropping.
Livestock seasonal issues, for example lambing time.
Availability of animals.
Access to venues such as study farms or agricultural processing plants.
Involvement in shows.
Students on work placement for VET courses.
School constraints such as exam periods and reporting due dates.
Activity 1a: Unit planning
Work in small groups to identify the seasonal, agricultural,
school and assessment constraints which will effect how you plan
units of work.
Note these in the table on pages 6-7, Participant workbook.
To complete this planning phase, mark out when you would do
sections of the course.
Activities on
school farm
Unit ideas
4 Plant maize trial
Soils & resources
Expt design
HSC Heifer for local
Term shows
Plant production linked to
maize crop
Plant winter
HSC Local show
Term Unischool steers
2 arrive
Half yr
Assessment tasks
Task – expt.
design / analysis
Report on maize
Animal production
Continue animal production
Product study – beef
Trial HSC
to BOS
Product study
Trial HSC
Activity 1b: Electronic content allocation tool (ECAT)
The Electronic content allocation tool (ECAT) is an Excel
spreadsheet which allows the user to allocate content
across the course and check that syllabus content is
covered fully and evenly across a course plan, program
or unit of work.
The purpose of this activity is to:
oexplore the features, functions and applications of
opractice using the tool on a unit of work.
These tools are on your USB.
There is one for the Preliminary course and one for the HSC
ECAT is also available for the Stage 5 Agricultural Technology
syllabus and for Technology (Mandatory) on the Curriculum
Support web site:
How to use ECAT
• Turn to Plant production unit of work, pages 8–11 Resource
• In groups of 2–3, analyse the unit of work using the ECAT on
your USB thumbdrive. Instructions and screen shots are found
on pages 6–7, Resource booklet.
How to use ECAT
• Using the HSC ECAT
• Choose one elective.
• Put a ‘y’ in all the fields of the elective for the first 2 sections,
‘innovations, ethics and current processes’ and also ‘managing
processes in agricultural systems’.
How to use ECAT
• Choose the tab which contains the elective.
• Work with others in your group to input teaching strategies in
the ‘notes’ section.
• Don’t forget to ‘save as’ to retain your work.
Morning tea
Session 2
Teaching strategies
Analyse a research study
In each elective students have to analyse a research study. This requirement is
the same as in the previous syllabus. This has generated some challenges:
suitable research studies.
oDifficulty for students to understand the technical language in the research
The following activity is one way of tackling the problems students have in
understanding the technical language in research papers.
Activity 2A: Unpacking technical information
The purpose of this activity is to:
obecome familiar with a teaching strategy that can assist students to
comprehend and use complex technical information
oenhance knowledge of experimental design.
The Reciprocal teaching strategy assists students to construct
meaning from text as well as a means of monitoring their reading to
ensure they understood what they read. It consists of four stages:
Producing a summary of a research paper
Each group can report a summary of their work.
When your class has finished looking at a research paper using
the reciprocal teaching strategy, a summary of the paper in their
own words can be produced.
A pro forma for a student summary is on pages 12-13 Resource
Designing a ration
The purpose of this activity is to:
o design and explain a ration to meet the nutritional
requirements of a selected animal for a particular stage of
In this activity you will use a simple spreadsheet application to
formulate rations for two different animals.
o Dairy cow
o Meat or layer chicken
From your USB, open the spreadsheet.
Follow the instructions pages 14-15, Participant workbook.
To make an interesting competition, all use a 600 kg cow
producing 25 litres per day. Try to produce the least cost diet.
Chicken diet
Open the spreadsheet
Each group could use a different diet specification.
Energy source
Protein source
Sunflower meal
Sunflower meal
Practical work
It is intended that students engage in and reflect upon practical experience
relevant to all aspects of the physical, chemical, biological, economic and social
sciences embodied within Agriculture Stage 6.
Some of this experience will be in the laboratory, some in small plot work and
some on commercial farms or other components of the industry. In all cases,
students should use these practical experiences to develop design, practical,
management, observation, recording, interpretation and communication skills.
Practical experiences may also be used to achieve coverage of the content
statements not specifically related to skills.
The practical experiences should occupy a minimum of 30 per cent of allocated
course time.
NSW Board of Studies (2009) Agriculture Stage 6 Syllabus, p. 5.
Activity 2c: Practical work
The purpose of this activity is to:
obecome familiar with the practical work requirements of the
oidentify mandatory practical activities in the syllabus
oidentify dot points which are best covered by practical work and
field trials
obe able to calculate statistical information from practical work
and field trials.
Activity 2c: Practical work
Open a copy of the syllabus from the resources on your USB.
oIdentify the ‘mandatory’ practical activities.
oIdentify dot points which lend themselves to practical activities.
oWhat are the requirements for experimental design and
analysis? Which practical activities are best suited for you to use
to fulfil this?
oDiscuss these with your group and then complete the grid on
pages 17-18, Participant workbook.
oEach group can report back with one practical activity which is
new to them, or with an activity which fulfils a learn to statement.
Measuring significance
One area of change in this syllabus is the addition of the concept
of measuring significance in experimental data.
There is no one method mandated, and you can use any measure,
the aim is for students to understand ‘significantly different’.
Some ways to measure significance are:
oUsing calculators to evaluate standard error (the method is
outlined in Dynamic Agriculture 3).
oCalculating mean, SD and standard error using a simple
spreadsheet .
o Using the statistical package in Excel to measure Chi square,
Student’s t or analysis of variance.
Activity 2d: Calculating mean, standard
deviation and a simple test of significance
The purpose of this activity is to:
ouse two different methods, the Windows 7 calculator and a
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, to calculate a measure of
significance (standard error), and interpret the data from a trial.
Calculator method
There is a calculator in Windows 7 (the DER laptops).
You can find it using the ‘start’ button.
Then type ‘calculator’ in the search window.
Use the Internal parasite trial data, pages 21-22, Participant
workbook and calculate mean, standard deviation and standard
Excel spreadsheet
To allow you to do these calculations more easily there is an Excel
spreadsheet on your resource thumb drive.
Open the Excel spreadsheet.
Use the data Maize silage trial, page 24, Participant workbook in
the spreadsheet to calculate standard error.
Session 3
Responding to and
marking the HSC
Development of examination paper
Examination committee – usually made up of 4 members –
both teachers and academics.
Completely developed from the syllabus.
Examination specifications determine the format of the paper
and content of each section.
BOS officers and Exam committee determine specific content
and level of difficulty of each question.
Examination committee not only develops and writes the
examination paper but also writes the Marking guidelines.
The Marking guidelines can undergo further refinement at
the marking centre.
Chief examiner, Supervisor of marking (SOM) and Senior markers
discuss each question and their marking guidelines.
Senior markers read and often pilot mark a range of candidates’
scripts relating them to the marking guidelines. This is to test the
marking guidelines to ensure validity reliability and appropriate
The marking guidelines can be varied with the agreement of the
Chief Examiner.
Markers are randomly allocated to marking groups.
Each marking group usually marks one question.
Each marking group consists of a team of markers and a
Senior marker.
Senior marker copies and annotates scripts to guide
markers to how marks should be awarded.
(ii) Explain why sunflower yield decreases as the level of weeds increases.
Sunflower yield decreases as the level of weeds increase because the
sunflowers are competing with the weeds for available nutrients and water
which means the flowers aren’t receiving enough to grow to their
maximum genetic potential.
Also the weeds may shade the sunflowers which decreases the
photosynthetic rate of the flower and therefore the yield.
Each marking group discusses the question, marking
guidelines and then the annotated scripts.
Independently mark ( based on the marking guidelines) a
photocopied group of scripts selected by their Senior Marker.
Marks are compared for each script, discrepancies discussed,
expected answers refined in line with candidate responses.
Process continues until all markers are consistent in the
application of the Marking guidelines and discrepancies are
minimised to acceptable levels.
Marking commences when the Senior Marker is confident
that all markers are aligned and can fully apply the Marking
Processes include;
Check marking by the senior marker.
Control scripts at regular intervals.
Daily and cumulative marker statistics sheets.
Double marking of extended response questions.
The future
The NSW Board of Studies is trialling and investigating a number
of marking options:
screen marking
oScanning scripts
oDistributed marking
Activity 3A: Responding to complex HSC questions
The purpose of this activity is to:
oidentify problems students encounter in answering HSC
outilise a strategy to improve student responses to HSC
You will need to refer to the following resources to work through
this activity:
Agriculture HSC paper (2009): USB thumb drive.
Marking guidelines (2009): Resource booklet, pages 18-19.
Glossary of key words: Resource booklet, pages 15-17.
HSC Notes from the marking centre (2009): Resource booklet, pages 20-25.
Activity 3A: Responding to complex HSC questions
Part 1 – typical problems students encounter in responding to
an HSC question
oReview question 4 in the 2009 Agriculture HSC: USB thumb
drive>NSW BOS materials.
oReview the Marking guidelines (what’s expected) for this
question page 18, Resource booklet.
oWhat did students get wrong? Read the HSC Notes from the
marking centre, page 22, Resource booklet.
Part 2 – examination practice activity for students
oReview question 8, 2009 Agriculture HSC written paper.
Highlight the key words. What do the key words mean? Refer to
the Glossary of key words, pages 15-17, Resource booklet.
oBreak down the language, what are the examiners asking for in
part (a) and in part (b)? See Marking guidelines, page 19,
Resource booklet.
oWrite a brief plan of your answer (for a class you would then go
on to do the full answer).
oCheck the Marking guidelines, how many marks do you think
your answer is worth?
Curriculum Support web sites
Curriculum Support web site
Digital education revolution (DER) materials
Teaching and learning exchange (TaLE)
• Growing an idea
• Textiles Technology Resources
• Architectural drawing
• Design Café
• Draw it
CLI: Learncasts
• Sustainable farms and vineyards
• Sustainable horticulture
• Organic farming
• Livestock auctions
BOS website
• Home page
• All my own work
• Assessment resource centre (ARC)
HSC marking videoconferences for
students and teachers
In Term 2 the Technology Unit will present
1-hour HSC marking videoconferences for
students and teachers (DET schools only).
Agriculture: 17 June 2010
Contact: David Shaw
• Please complete evaluation forms and leave
on tables with name tags.
Julie King
R/Manager Technology
Ph: 9886 7623
Sally Bannerman
Schools Animal Welfare Officer
Ph: 9886 7426