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Designing assessment tasks

Although tasks are only one form of assessment, they are arguably the most versatile.

Tasks may include:

  • a written test format
  • learning tasks doubling as assessment opportunities
  • interview tasks
  • individual or group tasks
  • short assessments during a topic (formative)
  • major assessment at the end of a topic or term (summative).


Teacher-designed assessment tasks can target the specific information a teacher requires for:

  • informing planning for teaching
  • evaluating teaching practice
  • mapping student progress.


The quality of an assessment task is determined by the quality of information that it elicits. Does the task adequately assess the targetted knowledge and skills?

To produce good quality tasks, the following aspects of task design should be considered:

  • coverage of the different ways of using fractions
  • variety of representations
  • type of response expected
  • closed or open tasks
  • use of materials
  • contextualised problems or no context
  • probing for misconceptions
  • evidence of strategies.

Choosing the fraction model

Fractions are used and modelled in a variety of ways. Assessment tasks can be designed to target student understanding of a particular fraction model.

Closed or open tasks

Closed tasks are useful for assessing specific knowledge or procedures. Open-ended tasks are useful for assessing strategies and problem solving.

Choosing the response type

There is a variety of ways students can be asked to respond to assessment tasks. Different response types will reveal different information.

With or without context

Designing an assessment task with a context can have a significant impact on the way students respond to the task.