Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks

Jim Sturgiss
Aligning practice for better outcomes.
Use SOLO taxonomy to create open, engaging and accessible questions that produce differentiated student responses.
Target Audience
Science 7-10 teachers
19 reviews

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

Writing extended response tasks is an art and a science. They must be engaging, contain limited prompts and illicit a full range of responses. SOLO taxonomy is used to underpin the design of writing tasks and assessment rubrics.


Science 7-10 teachers

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

COVID-19 Event Information

All TTA venues continue to work with advice provided by the NSW Health Department in managing the risks associated with the current COVID-19 situation. While the current risk is low, TTA venues will be taking steps to help provide a safe environment for our courses. There will be increased cleaning and disinfecting of all areas, and venues will be providing ample hand sanitiser pumps. While venues will be taking all the care that they can, we also stress the need for course participants to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around them. If you are not feeling well or showing symptoms of COVID-19, please don’t attend this event. Wash your hands regularly. Avoid shaking hands where possible. Practice cough etiquette, coughing into a tissue or your elbow and washing your hands afterwards. Thank you for your understanding.

Access to syllabus and other documents are accessed via a moodle.
Participants share products on forums on the moodle.

Teaching Standards
5.1.2 Proficient Level – Assess student learning
5.2.2 Proficient Level – Provide feedback to students on their learning
5.3.2 Proficient Level – Make consistent and comparable judgements
6.2.2 Proficient Level – Engage in professional learning and improve practice

Are you in NSW? If so, this is relevant for you

Completing this course will contribute 5 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 5.1.2, 5.2.2, 5.3.2 & 6.2.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

TTA (Teacher Training Australia) is endorsed to provide the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered Professional Development for teachers accredited at Proficient and Lead Level Teacher.

This course contributes to 6.0 professional development hours.


There are no occurrences of 1. Face to Face in Australia (ACT) at this time.


The Structure of Learning Outcomes (SOLO) Taxonomy

30 minutes

Presentation and discussion: SOLO classifies the quality of student responses by addressing both the quantity of points in a response, the type of points within the response and the relationships within the response.

The anatomy of an Extended Response Task

1 hour

Presentation, Quiz and discussion:
Analysis of an extended response task;
Using SOLO to create marking rubric
Applying SOLO and the marking rubric to student responses

Designing an extended response task

2 hours

Participants collaboratively design an extended task; marking rubric and sample responses that will assess a student’s knowledge and understanding of specific syllabus points.


1 hour

Participants present their extended response tasks to others for peer review and refinement.

What To Bring

Wifi enabled Laptop

User Rating


Latest Reviews

Please note the feedback listed here is unfiltered, and includes all comments and ratings collected.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by Belinda McKeown on 03/07/2018

Great ideas. Nice small group. Presenter excellent and helped with 1-1 help and great ideas which will really change my teaching for the better.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by Anne De Fraine on 03/07/2018

Excellent opportunity for discussion and working on actual tasks.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks

Very useful course.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks

The presentation was well organised and scaffolded into mini modules.Content was delivered clearly with opportunity to practice skills of SOLO.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by Steven John Guyot on 16/03/2017

Valuable experience.Excellent learning environment.Knowledgeable presenter.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by Susan Rutherford on 16/03/2017

Good breakdown.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks

Plenty of time to apply theory.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by Halima Heywood on 16/03/2017

Excellent,practical,relevant,and just what I needed to take my assessment questions to the next level.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks

Good resources,gain more knowledge and insight on how to write better questions.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by Michael Murdoch on 21/06/2016

A well prepared and structured day. An excellent approach to look at assessment to make a valuable tool rather than extra paperwork. Going to rethink assessments I write in the future.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by Maureen O'Connor on 21/06/2016

This was a really valuable learning experience about how to create better extended responses. This is something I have struggle with. I feel much better equipped now.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks

Good combination of theory, examples and working tasks to complete. Concretes ideas and skills on the day.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by Rob Bearlin on 12/04/2016

Highly organized.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by Helen Foster on 12/04/2016

Very well organized and presented. Worthwhile and will change my practices.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by milada safarik on 12/04/2016

Content was targeted. Involved good networking and discussion. Some aspects ran through quickly. Overall, great workshop.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks

Content used was excellent for future assessment design. Presentation was a bit rushed and probably had too much to get through. Overall, very informative.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks

Very useful and interesting.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by Stephen Nugent on 12/04/2016

Slightly fewer sections with greater emphasis on SOLO.

Write a better test: Extended Response Tasks
by Paul Stokes on 12/04/2016

Well paced and very informative.

About the team

Jim Sturgiss


Improving outcomes through aligned teaching practice synergies.

Jim is an educational researcher and independent educational consultant. A recipient of the NSW PTC Distinguished Service Award for leadership in delivering targeted professional learning to teachers, he works with schools to align assessment, reporting and learning practice. He has been a DoE Senior Assessment Advisor where he developed many statewide assessments, (ESSA, SNAP, ELLA, BST) and as Coordinator: Analytics where he developed reports to schools for statewide assessments and NAPLAN.

Selected NSW Department of Education and Communities appointments
2015                            Analytics, Systems and Development Coordinator 
2012 – 2013                School Assessment Design and Development Acting Coordinator (ESSA)
2007 – 2010                Head Teacher Science, Newtown High School of Performing Arts
2004 – 2005                Senior Assessment Officer, Computer Skills Assessment (CSA6)
2004                            Test Development Officer, Secondary Numeracy Assessment Program (SNAP)
2000 – 2004                Head Teacher Science, Concord High School 
1998 – 2000                Senior Assessment Officer, English Language and Literacy Assessment (ELLA)

Teaching Qualifications
1993 – 1997                M.Ed. (Hons) University of New England (Thesis: Literacy & learning in Science) 
1979                            Dip. Ed. University of Wollongong
1976 – 1978                B.Sc. University of Wollongong (Majors in Chemistry and Bioenergetics)