Assessment tools

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Tool 3A: Key Challenge

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Issue/Challenge: Assessing According to the Professional Teaching Standards

Summary:

There is increased pressure on assessors to make explicit assessment judgements that align with prescriptive professional teaching standards and that can be supported by documented authentic evidence.

Tool Summary:

Issue/challenge: Working with Professional Teaching Standards

Increasingly the Professional Experience assessment process is structured around and informed by Professional Teaching Standards frameworks. Assessment processes need to be focussed not only towards evaluating the preservice teacher’s performance and capacity against Standards but also to be aligned with Standards to guide professional learning. The National Professional Teaching Standards (AITSL, 2010), with their Focus Areas offer a comprehensive guiding framework for assessors. However, Standards can be experienced as overly prescriptive, complex and expressed in language that is not completely accessible by both PSTs and their assessors. Relevant Evidence Guides linked to Standards can assist both formative and summative assessment processes.

Increased pressure on assessors to make more explicit assessment judgments aligned with prescriptive Professional Teaching Standards and supported by authentic evidence can add to the overall pressure around Professional Experience assessment. Additionally, Professional Experience reports are now more explicit and standards-linked and require high level written articulations of practice.

Assessors need to have the professional knowledge to explicitly analyse practice and teaching capacity in terms of relevant Professional Teaching Standards at Graduate Teacher level, Additionally, they need the professional knowledge and judgment to modify Standards to be appropriate to the developmental stage and learning needs of each preservice teacher (PST).

 

 

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Assessment Strategy & Process

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Strategy and Process: Roundtable Assessment

  • Roundtable assessment structures and processes can be a formal requirement of a specific professional experience program or set up on an individual basis to respond to a specific need or assessment challenge, for example with an ‘at risk’ PST.
  • A panel is formed to participate in the assessment process. Essentially this involves more than one assessor, ideally both school and university-based, concurrently engaged in the assessment process. It therefore supports effective communication between all parties involved in the placement. It allows collaborative approaches and the inclusion of multiple and possibly specialist perspectives in both feedback and assessment processes. It may also include the preservice teacher’s active involvement.
  • This process has the potential to widen the range of perspectives, experiences and voices involved in the assessment process. However, this may process present challenge to both universities and schools in terms of coordination, communication as well as availability of time and resources.
  •  Roundtable process meetings need to set clear guidelines as to their purpose and expectations of all participants. Professional Teaching Standards can provide a valuable framework for this work. It may be a highly defined process guided by specific proformas and communication steps with focus and key questions to be included in discussion.
  • Roundtable processes can be effectively employed in both formative and summative phases. Particular Roundtable meetings may have a formative focus and occur within the placement period or be at the summative stage to allow collaborative decision-making regarding the final grading and reporting.
  • Structured observations by assessors, of the preservice teacher’s practice aligned with Professional Teaching Standards ideally inform the explicit feedback which underpins productive formative steps. Observation documents or reflective journal entries from the PST focused on particular Professional Teaching Standards can be used by Roundtable educators to provide specific feedback and feed-forward and goals for further development.
  • Evidence Guides such as that produced by Project Evidence provide explicit guidelines for both key learning experiences as well as relevant identifying valid forms of evidence that support assessment judgments with respect to particular Standards and Focus Areas.
  • ICT Communicative technologies offer the potential to increasingly employ online links such as Skype and video-conferencing to connect Roundtable participants both on and off the placement site. These are often more time and resource effective methods of communication.
  • Structured observations by assessors, of the preservice teacher’s practice aligned with Professional Teaching Standards, ideally inform the explicit feedback which underpins productive formative steps.
  • Evidence Guides such as that produced by Project Evidence provide explicit guidelines for both key learning experiences as well as relevant identifying valid forms of  evidence that support assessment judgments with respect to particular Standards and Focus Areas.
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Resources

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Resources: Protocols and Rubrics

  • A meeting timetable may be required by the university or negotiated between the potential Roundtable members. Ideally this would include meeting (face-to-face or online) at least twice across the placement period.
  • An Evidence Guide can be used in the production of focussed observation documents for assessors.
  • A set of explicit questions, possibly linked to Professional Teaching Standards to guide discussion may be developed to support both formative and summative processes.
  • Presentation and discussion of a portfolio by the preservice teacher can be included in the Roundtable discussion. Professional Teaching Standards provide a valuable framework for portfolio work.
  • Summative judgement can link back to documents assembled in Roundtable meetings, with collaborative discussion guiding the final reporting phase.

 

Activity

  • Together, read and discuss: Sim,C., Freiberg,J.,White, S., Allard, A., Le Cornu, R. & Carter, B. (2012). Using Professional Standards:Assessing work integrated learning in initial teacher education [online resource]. Melbourne, Australian Teaching and Learning Council. Available from: http://www.teacherevidence.net

Activity

  • Read and discuss: Loughran, J & Corrigan, D.(1995) Teaching portfolios: A strategy for developing learning and teaching in preservice education, Teaching and Teacher Education. Vol 11 (6) pp 565-577
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Standards

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All Professional Teaching Standards can be addressed within a Roundtable Strategy. However, particular aspects of practice may be focussed upon in specific  Roundtable meetings  during the placement. For example in an initial Roundtable meeting discussion of expectations would be outlined, and a timetable of meetings agreed to. Early formative meetings could focus on the preservice teacher’s understandings around the specific context, class, routines etc.

A portfolio could be used as a structuring device linked to particular Roundtable stages. A final presentation by the preservice teacher possible via a portfolio but requiring articulation of understandings would provide rich evidence to inform the assessment summative judgment.

 

 

 

 
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