Assessment tools

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Tool 10H: Key Challenge

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Issue/Challenge: Placement Site Limitations

Summary:

Each placement site has restrictions on the experiences and opportunities it can provide to a pre-service teachers. Pre-service teachers thus need a range of professional experiences to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and aptitudes.

Tool Summary:

Issue/challenge: Placement site limitations

Any single professional experience placement site will be limited in its capacity to provide PSTs with the diverse range of learning opportunities that represent teachers’ professional responsibilities as defined by the National Professional Teaching Standards. Each school and class has a particular socio-cultural range and gender balance, including the range of learning abilities and ages as well as the ethnic and language backgrounds of its students. Some school-based activities do not occur throughout the year and may not coincide with a PST’s placement period eg excursions, parent/teacher nights.

Many specialist areas of education such as those associated with meeting particular learning needs such as G&T and additional learning support, ICT integration, indigenous and foreign language teaching etc may be only presented by one or a few teachers/classes in each school or not at all. However, many of these aspects of the school life represent required learning fields for PSTs as defined and assessed in terms of the National Professional Teaching Standards. PST’s need to develop an understanding of schools beyond individual class teaching and see how the work of the individual teacher fits within a number of wider spheres of influence and responsibility that includes community interactions, communication with parents/carers and other professionals involved with the school. Some teaching responsibilities such as communication with parents, working with specialists such as school counsellors will involve issues of privacy and sensitivity. Understandings and skills will need to be developed by the PST in such cases in ways that mirror the actual interactions and processes.

 

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Assessment Strategy & Process

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Assessment Strategy and Process: Hypothetical professional experiences

If the placement site is unable to provide the required range of experiences and learning opportunities to be assessed, hypothetical or pseudo experiences may need to be designed and completed by the PST. Hypotheticals offer experiencers and tasks that mirror activities often difficult to offer in an actual way.

As an example:

-The pre-service teacher in collaboration with key school personnel and the community may be required to engage in the organisation of a specific excursion, either actual or hypothetical. This work could involve mapping and planning the excursion against relevant curriculum and syllabus documents, developing understanding and applying relevant policies and institutional regulations as well as working collaboratively with teachers, other school personnel and community members.

-Additionally designing documentation and engaging in appropriate communication with all key stakeholders in a collaborative manner is required. This could include the preparation of hypothetical communication and information documents for parents/carers.

Elements of the process would need to include:

  • negotiation between the university’s placement officers and the school to guide the development of relevant hypothetical activities when opportunity for the actual experience is not available.
  • Universities could develop a number of ‘packages’ that could be accessed by supervising teachers to guide them in setting up and assessing PSTs across hypotheticals.
  • specific criteria and expectations for hypothetical learning experiences  developed by the university in collaboration with schools needed  to delineate relevant whole school or specialist area points of focus.
  • clear guidelines shared with PSTs would need to be developed as to how the final grading and reporting requirements would include evidence arising from PSTs completing hypothetical tasks.
  • portfolio, video work, peer group activities all present rich possibilities for use in particular hypothetical projects.
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Resources

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Resources: Protocols and Rubrics

  • A set of explicit questions, possibly linked to Professional Teaching Standards to guide discussion may be developed to support both formative and summative processes.
  • Evidence from hypothetical could include: programs and lesson sequences developed and linked to syllabus documents, letters and communication documents for parents/carers, relevant resources, worksheets etc.
  • Development and presentation of a portfolio by the preservice teacher that documents the diverse experiences, observations and activities undertaken in various contexts and specialist areas within the school would provide valuable evidence to guide PST learning and support the assessment process.

ACTIVITY

  • Visit the website – www.rrrtec.net.au
  • Click on the tab: Modules
  • Scroll down to Module 6 - ‘Professional Experience”
  • Click on: Simulations and Scenarios

Note: In this module you will find many examples of ways in which teacher educators have created ways for pre-service teachers to participate in rural, regional and remote professional experiences (either hypothetical or scenarios). You might like to consider ways in which you could also develop such a scenario.

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Standards

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Professional Teaching Standards

All Professional Teaching Standards can be addressed within a Hypothetical  Strategy. However, some standards present more difficulty for PSTs to access when placed on an individual class, school and at a particular time within the school year. As examples:

Standard1: 1.3.1, 1.4.1, 1.5.1, 1.6.1. These Focus Areas requires PST observation of and experience across students from a wide range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds as well as ability levels.

Standard 2: 2.4.1. Many single classes may not afford the opportunity for PSTs to deepen their understanding of educational approaches relevant to Indigenous students.

Standard 6.  6.3.1. The opportunity to work with a range of teachers and develop a capacity for professional communication and teamwork are well met by a whole school approach.

Standard 7. 7.1.1 – 7.4.1. Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community.

 

 

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