Item Writer/Expert Reviewer - Item writing

  • Key stage 1 National Curriculum (English reading; English grammar, punctuation and spelling; and Mathematics and Science).
  • 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/Expert Reviewer is responsible for creating/reviewing:

  • questions, items or tasks
  • marking instructions
  • commentaries, texts and rationales, where appropriate

which conforms to the Standards Testing Agency’s (STA) requirements.

The role involves working with an Education Consultant, other Item Writers/Expert Reviewers and SQA teams to ensure consistent application of standards and subject specific integrity of decision-making in relation to content.

These activities will be co-ordinated by an Education Consultant and staff from SQA’s Contract Operations Team.  It is intended that the work packages allocated to each Writer/Reviewer will allow them to produce them in their own time, whilst meeting SQA requirements for submission to STA.

Outline of duties 

  • Produce and review new question(s)/item(s)/task(s) and marking instructions in accordance with the item specification and guidance from the Education Consultant.
  • Ensure question(s)/item(s)/tasks(s) and marking instructions are of a suitable standard in terms of validity, reliability, accuracy, content, degree of difficulty, spelling and grammar.
  • Review, refine and amend 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.
  • Make recommendations where appropriate to SQA for improvements to systems, processes and procedures etc.
  • 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.

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 and Science).
    • 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.

It would be advantageous if they are working in, or have access to, a school for informal trialling of the materials produced.

Key Performance Measures for Item Writer/Expert Reviewer

Performance will be measured against the accomplishment of the duties specified within individual contracts, within the prescribed timelines and to the required standard.