Item Writer/Expert Reviewer

  • Key stage 1 National Curriculum (English reading; English grammar, punctuation and spelling; and Mathematics).
  • Key stage 2 National Curriculum (English reading; English grammar, punctuation and spelling; Mathematics and Science).
  • Professional Skills Tests for Prospective Teachers (Literacy and Numeracy).

An Item Writer is responsible for creating questions, items or tasks and appropriate supporting marking instructions.

An Expert Reviewer is responsible for reviewing questions, items or tasks and appropriate supporting marking instructions.

These roles will be carried out under the direction of the Assessment Manager which must be undertaken within the conditions, timeframes and arrangements set by SQA.

The primary role is to work with the Assessment Manager and other SQA appointees to ensure consistent application of standards and subject specific integrity of decision-making in relation to content.

These activities will be under the direction of the Assessment Manager and staff from SQA’s Contract delivery teams as appropriate. There may be a requirement to undertake duties during weekends and holiday periods.

Outline of duties – Item Writer

  • Produce new question(s)/item(s)/task(s) and marking instructions in accordance with the item specification and guidance from the Assessment Manager. New question(s)/item(s)/tasks(s) and marking instructions must be of a suitable standard in terms of validity, reliability, accuracy, content, degree of difficulty, spelling and grammar.
  • Reviewing, refining and amending the items as a result of informal trialling, expert review, or any other feedback provided.
  • Identify sources and copyright requirements for submission along with question(s)/item(s)/task(s) and marking instructions by specified dates.
  • Classify items according to the item type, content and cognitive domains from the test framework and where appropriate, provide evidence for its classification.
  • Ensure activities are concluded by specified dates and assist in ensuring resources are used effectively and efficiently.
  • Support SQA with continuous improvement developments.
  • Item Writers may be asked to undertake additional activities. These activities will attract additional payment and could include the following:
    • Informally trialling items with appropriate age range / ability groups to derive qualitative data on item performance.

Outline of duties – Expert Reviewer

  • Review new question(s)/item(s)/task(s) and marking instructions providing comment on their suitability in terms of validity, reliability, accuracy, degree of difficulty, content, mark allocation, layout, spelling and grammar to ensure they meet the requirements of the item specification.
  • Ensure that new question(s)/item(s)/task(s) are free of bias and stereotyping on the basis of factors such as race, religion, disability, sex, social background, sexual orientation and age.
  • If required verify the classification of items according to the item type, content and cognitive domains from the test framework and where appropriate, provide evidence for its verification.
  • Ensure activities are concluded by specified dates and assist in ensuring resources are used effectively and efficiently.
  • Support SQA with continuous improvement developments.

Selection criteria

Successful candidates must:

  • have expertise in one  or more of the following areas:
    • Key stage 1 National Curriculum (English reading; English grammar, punctuation and spelling; and Mathematics).
    • Key stage 2 National Curriculum (English reading; English grammar, punctuation and spelling; Mathematics and Science).
    • Professional Skills Tests for Prospective Teachers (Literacy and Numeracy)
  • be able to demonstrate creative ability to generate assessment items.
  • be able to communicate and engage professionally, confidently and effectively with other appointees and SQA staff both orally and in writing.
  • be able to work professionally and co-operatively with other appointees and SQA staff.
  • be able to demonstrate good forward planning and time management skills and adhere to deadlines.
  • have a home computer or laptop with broadband internet connection and a private e-mail address.

Key Performance Measures for Item Writer/Expert Reviewer

On completion of the duties outlined in the Item Writer/Expert Reviewer contract specification, the appointee will be measured against the following Key Performance Measures and informed of the outcome in relation to their performance.

  • Produce new question(s)/item(s)/task(s) and marking instructions in accordance with the item specification and SQA policy and instructions by specified dates.
  • Identify sources and copyright requirements for submission along with question(s)/item(s)/task(s) and marking instructions by specified dates.
  • Complete review of question(s)/item(s)/task(s) and marking instructions to ensure accordance with the item specification and SQA policy and instructions by specified dates.
  • Demonstrate behaviours outlined in the Terms and Conditions of Appointment which support SQA’s values.