About the project

The development of the Assessment Toolbox has been shaped by a rich body of knowledge ranging from Authentic Assessment to Design Pattern Theory. If you are interested in how and why the Toolbox was developed, please read on.

Project overview

This project was a two year longitudinal study working with school-based and university-based teacher educators. The website is a practical resource as an outcome of the data collected from the first two stages of the project. The website design is itself a strategy aimed to bring teachers and teacher educators with pre-service teachers into meaningful conversations about ways to improve the formative and summative assessment practices in professional experience.

Theoretically, our research was informed by Authentic Assessment (Darling-Hammond & Snyder, 2000), Evidence-Centered Assessment (Mislevy, 2006), and Design Pattern Theory (Alexander, 1979). 

Stage One: The first stage of the project involved a review of professional experience assessment practices in Teacher Education Institutions across Australia. A high-level desktop document analysis was conducted across thirty tertiary institutions.  Twelve of these institutions were then selected for detailed document analysis, and eight then agreed to participate in in-depth interviews. Key questions were asked of participants and informed our analysis of the documents. In particular we investigated:

•Context: what is the context of practice and assessment?
•Actors: who are the assessment actors and what are their roles?
•Evidence: what sources of evidence are seen as significant?
•Judgment: how is assessment judgment made?
•Equity: how are consistency, equity and reliability supported and maintained within the assessment process?


Stage Two: The second stage of the project involved two workshops with experienced supervisoring/mentor teachers and teacher educators (held in Sydney and Melbourne). The workshops were split into two phases.

The first phase aimed to learn about and gather common challenges faced by teachers and teacher educators in professional experience. Participants were also encouraged to bring with them 'cases' of their experiences and share strategies they had tried to address the various challenges. In total from the analysis of all the discussion, 12 common challenges became clear. (We do acknowledge that this list is not definitive but for the purposes of the project, participants agreed they covered the range of specific cases they experienced).

The second phase involved again working with participants to develop strategies (we describe 9) to match the elicited cases and develop assessment 'tools'. An important idea underpinning the development of the tool template is that we wanted them to be viewed as both a means of documenting and scaffolding authentic assessment in existing practice as well as a method for generating new approaches to, or perspectives on, authentic assessment.