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Assessing Internal Assessment

Ann Lamont and Bruce McBride

In both Australia and NZ there has been a great deal of interest in the effects that external examinations have on the subjects taught and the way they are taught in secondary schools. In 1970 Queensland took the plunge, scrapped a final internal exam and introduced internal assessment. How has the experiment faired?
Until 1972, entrance to tertiary institutions in Queensland and selection into many occupations was determined by the applicant's results in an external examination. This examination, which was administered by the University of Queensland, dominated the final years of secondary education in Queensland. After much debate and the rejection of the 'Bassett' Committee's recommendations in 1969, the Radford Committee was set up to review the system of examinations. In 1970, the gordian knot was cut by the Queensland Parliament: internal assessment was introduced progressively starting at the Year 10 level in 1971 and reaching the Year 12 level by 1973. In 1974, a major evaluation, the "Schools Under Radford" (SUR) study was made, and in 1978 the 'MAPS' study was undertaken.

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