Assessment tools

Each Assessment Tool contains a number of "components" (shown below) that may be clicked and expanded upon.

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Tool 1B: Key Challenge

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Issue/Challenge: Equity and Validity of Assessment Judgement

Summary:

Experienced teachers (as assessors in the professional experience/practicum period) identify that making judgments about and assessing the performance (according to criteria or graduate standards) of preservice teachers can be a difficult and lonely task. Teachers recognise that this is a process often done in isolation and may have expressed concern when making judgments about their own personal bias or ‘subjectivity’ impacting on their decision making.

Tool Summary:

Issue/challenge: Equity and validity of assessment judgment

Experienced teachers as assessors in the professional experience/practicum period identify that making judgments about and assessing the performance (according to criteria or graduate standards) of pre-service teachers (PSTs) can be a challenging and at times stressful task. Teachers recognise that this is a process often done in isolation and some have expressed concern when making judgments about their own personal bias or ‘subjectivity’ impacting on their decision-making. Limits of time and opportunity can narrow the sources of evidence drawn on by assessors in making judgments. Often professional experience assessment is heavily focussed on observed classroom teaching practice and limited in terms of the assessor’s awareness of the PST’s thinking and reflection about their experience.

Consequently, there is potential for inequitable or invalid assessment judgment that may arise through such factors as:

  • Limited relevant, valid and diverse sources of evidence that could be collected during the placement period to inform the assessment judgment
  • Lack of a process in which evidence to inform the assessment judgment is presented in a coherent way.
  • Supervisor observation largely focussed on classroom teaching practice providing a narrow lens through which to assess teaching capacity
  • Lack of structure to guide the PST in formative and coherent reflection across the placement
  • Lack of opportunity for the PST and assessor to reflect on the links between teaching practice and the Professional Teaching Standards.
  • Lack of opportunity to include the PST’s ‘voice’ and gain an understanding of their experience and reflective analysis of their practice.
  • Lack of opportunity for school and university-based educators (Tertiary Mentors) to be collaboratively involved in the assessment judgment.

 

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Assessment Strategy & Process

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 Strategy and Process: Portfolio

  • Portfolio assessment requires the PST to compile, link and present a selection of evidence collected across the placement period in order to demonstrate their teaching capacity and understandings in selected area(s) of teaching practice.
  • The portfolio may be a highly defined process guided by specific proformas and communication steps including key questions to be addressed, or may allow more autonomy and creative input for the PST themselves.
  • Not only does the portfolio serve to provide documentation of the PST’s understanding of what counts as valid evidence against particular Standards or frameworks, but also there is the opportunity for the PST to annotate the evidence and add reflective comments.  Assessors thus have more than observed performance of PST’s teaching practice to draw on in both formative and summative stages of the assessment process.
  • Portfolios provide opportunities for the PST to organise and integrate experiences, understandings, and reflections emerging from their placement and from campus-based learning. It provides an assessment mode that is richer than one solely based on observation of teaching practice and can allow the assessor to have a ‘window’ into the thinking and ‘meaning-making’ of the PST.
  • The portfolio can be presented by the PST to their supervising teacher/assessor or a panel and discussed as a summative event within the assessment process. Portfolios thus provide a valuable contribution to assessor’s decision-making to guide and support the final grading and reporting.
  • Portfolio documents can link separate professional experience placements/events across a pre-service course. As such they can be an evolving and on-going document that is progressively compiled and shared with each subsequent supervisor.  
  • At the end of the pre-service course the final portfolio can be used to provide a complete documentation of the PST’s attainment of all Professional Teaching Standards at graduate level. As a document it can then be presented at interview for accreditation or employment. It can also provide the foundation for portfolio work required for the next stage of professional accreditation by in-service teachers.
  • Portfolios may be electronic (e-portfolio), aiding the inclusion of a range of electronically transmissible evidence such as photos and videos as well as providing a means for electronic submission to assessors who may be at distance from the professional experience site. ICT Communicative technologies offer the potential to increasingly employ online links such as Skype and video-conferencing to connect Roundtable assessment participants both on and off the placement site and to link effectively to e-portfolio structures.

Portfolio evidence/artefacts may include:

  • Documents such as lesson and unit plans, including evaluative comments.
  • Observation and feedback sheets completed by supervising teachers and mentors.
  • Resources developed during the placement
  • Video, audio and photo material – annotated (or not) to demonstrate elements of teaching practice.
  • Reflective writing and analysis possibly in response to a set of pertinent questions
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Resources

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Resources: Protocols and Rubrics

  • A set of explicit guidelines for portfolio development, including e-portfolios, possibly linked to Professional Teaching Standards needs to be collaboratively developed and communicated to guide the presentation and discussion of a portfolio by the PST and how it is to be included in the assessment processes.
  • Clear guidelines regarding forms of evidence, annotations required and timelines for development and presentation of portfolio are required
  • Summative judgement may be informed by documents assembled during the placement, the final portfolio and possibly the PST’s associated oral presentation. Focus is commonly not only towards the evidence selected and presented but to the way it is annotated, linked to particular Standards and inclusive of pertinent reflective comments.

Activity

Read and discuss - D. Bloomfield. (2010). Using Portfolios to Communicate. . In R. Ewing, T. Lowrie & J.Higgs (Ed.), Teaching & Communicating: Rethinking Professional Experiences. (pp. 149–162), Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Discuss the reflection prompt on p162: What do you think should be the balance for portfolios linked to Professional Experience programs between those focussed toward reflective identity work and those whose primary propose is compiling a document relevant to accreditation requirements?

 

Activity

Information: The School of Education, University of New England, Armidale NSW has developed a comprehensive portfolio structure and process that requires engagement by all pre-service teachers across each year of their Bachelor of Education (primary) course. (http://www.une.edu.au/education/resources/pdfs/portfolio.PDF). Across 4 years of study a pre-service teacher is required to develop and progressively refine a portfolio that documents and represents their individual professional learning journey. This portfolio work has an explicit reflective practice orientation, and seeks to support pre-service teachers in understanding the linking themes and coherences across their professional development.

Visit the site and discuss the expectations of developing a portfolio you have for preservice teachers to demonstrate that they will meet the national graduate standards.

 

 

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Standards

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Professional Teaching Standards

All Professional Teaching Standards can be addressed when portfolio development and presentation is a key assessment process. However, selected Standards and focus areas may be identified as relevant to the portfolio requirements at a specific stage. A final presentation by the preservice teacher via a portfolio when articulation of understandings and performance against Professional Teaching Standards is required, provides rich evidence to inform the assessment summative judgment.

Standard 6, Engaging in Professional Learning is particularly apt in terms of the PST focussing on the development of their own professional learning and providing evidence of this development within a portfolio.

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