Assessment tools

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Tool 2I: 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

The assessment process is ideally structured as a continuous process of both formative and summative steps supporting the professional learning of the preservice teacher as well as leading to a valid summative judgment of capacity as demonstrated across the professional experience placement. 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 supportive formative feedback and feed forward in their work with PSTs.

For some PSTs it may be necessary to incorporate additional support strategies for them to meet the required assessment criteria. 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 needs. That is the assessment process needs to be informed by a two-way flow of information (feedback) from preservice teacher to assessors and the flow of information re appraisal, goals, required development from assessors back to the preservice teacher (feed-forward).

Assessors need to have the expertise and professional knowledge to assist them in the process of explicitly analysing practice and teaching capacity  to articulate feedback and goals clearly to the preservice teacher. This includes determining which particular additional support strategies need to be developed and implemented within the placement.


Assessment Strategy & Process


Assessment Strategy and Process: Additional Support

Incorporating additional support strategies is strongly aligned with strengthening the communication between PSTs and their educators in both directions. The provision of opportunities for feedback from the PST to the assessor and providing feed-forward in the form of goals to the PST that is explicit and targeted is essential. Providing ‘additional support’ can aim to target feedback at various stages of the placement, to be concerned with specific areas of challenge, and to strengthen communication processes and relationship dynamics.

Selection and implementation of additional support strategies targeting feedback needs to be informed by clear identification of areas that are weak or missing in a PST’s practice. Specific observation rubrics, repeated observations involving more than one assessor will often build up a deeper picture of areas of practice that need focus. Video evidence of practice can also be analysed and discussed

Additional analysis of PST’s practice and areas of weakness allows specific goals to be set. Specific Standards or Focus Areas can be identified for attention or even more specific aspects of teaching practice. Assistance will be gained from Evidence Guides, providing explicit guidelines for both key learning experiences as well as identifying valid forms of evidence that support assessment judgments with respect to particular Standards and Focus Areas.

Once goals are identified, forms of additional support need to be selected in response to the analysis of the PST’s capacity, the resources available in the setting, including timelines and personnel.

Forms of additional support can include:

-         additional involvement of supervising teachers/mentors increasing the guidance given,

-         the observations of practice and additional time for formative feedback and reflection.

-         explicit rubrics, possibly developed for the individual PST  to provide clear and shared understandings of aspects of practice that are of concern and levels to which the PST needs to develop and demonstrate capacity.

-         clear indications of evidence that demonstrates satisfactory capacity must be established and shared between educators and the PST.

-          peer observations and analysis and through videos of the teaching practice of the PST, peers and supervising teachers.




Resources: Protocols and Rubrics

  • Documents and discussion need to provide the PST with quality feedback and strategies to support the further development of aspects of PST practice that are of concern. Clear identification, steps to follow, adjustment of expectations if appropriate, timelines all need to be discussed and clearly communicated.
  • A formal document outlining areas of concern, support strategies, expectations and timelines needs to be completed, discussed and adhered to.  
  •  Observation documents or reflective journal entries from the PST, focused on particular Professional Teaching Standards, can be used by educators to provide specific feedback and feed-forward goals for further development.
  • An action plan needs to be developed outlining specifically the support structures to be put in place, the elements of practice to be developed and the specific evidence required to demonstrate meeting assessment criteria.
  • A Evidence Guides  can be used in the production of focussed observation documents for assessors 
  • A portfolio could be used as a structuring device linked to particular placement 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.





Professional Teaching Standards

All Professional Teaching Standards can be addressed within Additional Support Strategy. However, particular aspects of practice may be focussed upon in specific stages during the placement.