Assessment tools

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

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Tool 2A: Key Challenge


Issue/Challenge: Assessment incorporating Explicit Feedback Steps


Have you ever heard the term "They just don't have it". Many pre-service teachers hear this about their practice but what does 'it' mean and what does it look like? Providing explicit feedback is a challenge for both university based and school based teacher educators alike.

Tool Summary:

Issue/challenge: Incorporating explicit feedback steps

Assessment processes provide significant opportunities to support PST’s on-going professional learning in a formative way as well as focussing on the final summative judgment step. At times the summative judgment process can dominate a professional experience placement so that supervising teachers and university-based educators may not find opportunities to incorporate formative feedback and feed-forward in their work with PSTs. It is important that the work of any assessor aims to be developmentally educative.

 The assessment process is ideally structured as a continuous process of both formative and summative steps supporting professional learning of the preservice teacher as well as providing a valid final judgment on their capacity as demonstrated across the professional experience. Ideally a range of perspectives and areas of expertise from experienced teachers, such as in a Roundtable group provide guidance to PSTs’ professional learning.

Communication between assessor(s) and the preservice teacher needs to include explicit feedback arising from on-going informed analysis of the preservice teacher’s professional learning development and needs. That is the assessment process needs to be informed by a two-way flow of information (feedback) from preservice teacher to assessors and a flow of information re appraisal, goals and required development from assessors back to the preservice teacher (feed-forward).

Assessors, ideally as a team need to have the expertise and professional knowledge to assist PSTs in the process of explicitly analysing  practice and their teaching capacity and have the ability  to articulate feedback and goals clearly to the preservice teacher. This explicitness also can be important in explaining and justifying summative assessment judgments with the preservice teacher.




Assessment Strategy & Process


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 Roundtable 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.
  • By setting up roundtable processes structured across a series of meetings, face to face or on-line, rich, diverse and targeted formative feedback to the PST can be an integral part of this process.
  • 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.
  • It may be a highly defined process guided by specific proformas and communication steps that guide the focus as well as key questions to be included in discussion. A meeting could focus on a number of Professional Teaching Standards and provide specific feedback and feed-forward or goals for further development.
  • This process has the potential to widen the range of perspectives, experiences and voices involved in the assessment process. This may present challenge to both universities and schools in terms of coordination, communication as well as availability of time and resources.
  • ICT 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 approaches.





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.
  • 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.
  • Summative judgement links back to documents assembled in Roundtable meetings, with collaborative discussion guiding the final reporting phase.



  • Read the paper: Hattie, J. & Timperley, H. (2007) The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research 77(1), 81-112.
  • Discuss: Hattie and Timperley state "Feedback is among the most critical influences on student learning. A major aim of the educative process is to assist in identifying these gaps (“How am I going?” relative to “Where am I going?”) and to provide remediation in the form of alternative or other steps (“Where to next?”).
  • Consider your responses to the three questions - Where am I going? How am I going? and Where to next?
  • Consider how you might use these three questions to support PST's development as a summative assessment.



  • Visit the Project Assessment ‘sister site” – Project Evidence at
  • Click on : Professional Learning
  • Scroll to: A conceptual framework for Professional Learning and follow the section and activities to find out more about providing feedback.







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.



Read and discuss together the following article:

Sim, C. (2006). Preparing for professional experiences – incorporating pre-service teachers as ‘communities of practice’. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22, 77–83.