Assessment tools

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Tool 3F: Key Challenge


Issue/Challenge: Assessing According to the Professional Teaching Standards


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: Professional Teaching Standards

Assessors need to have the professional knowledge and experience 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).

.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. Commonly assessors need support in using Standards within the assessment process, particularly identifying what counts as valid evidence for particular stages of development.

 As Standard documents become the common guiding documents, the assessment process, particularly its formative phases, needs to have more explicit, focussed and at times simpler documents to provide both PSTs and educators with clear guidelines for explicit feedback. It is not uncommon for a professional experience placement to be provided only with the final or summative report document., and lack support documents. Equity issues around the assessment process can arise due to lack of understanding on the part of the PST and their supervisor as to exactly what is meant by particular assessment criteria and what they are required to demonstrate competence.


Assessment Strategy & Process


Assessment Strategy: Rubrics and Evidence Guides

Relevant Evidence Guides linked to Standards can assist both formative and summative assessment processes. Evidence Guides provide a range of suggested indicators that may need to be demonstrated and attained to meet a particular Standard. Evidence Guides ideally provide indicators for early, mid and late stage professional development stages.

Rubrics are developed to explicitly outline assessment criteria for particular assessable elements of teaching practice in clear language. A particular assessment task – for example production of a lesson plan and its implementation- may be guided by a focussed rubric which clearly sets out elements of practice to be demonstrated within the task. The rubric would provide description of aspects of the task possibly against a grading scale – ie Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations. Annotation of practice against a rubric provides clear feedback on aspects of practice observed and evaluated.

A rubric may:

-          provide the framework for explicit evidence production and collection.

-          provide descriptors of different levels of attainment relevant to assessment criteria

-          provide a framework to assist assessors giving the PST explicit feedback

-          be developed specifically for a particular PST, context, aspect of practice, ‘at risk’ situation

-          be developed by the university, supervising teacher, individually or collaboratively, as well as by the PST.

-          provide a structuring framework for a portfolio

-          be focussed toward the planning, delivery and evaluation of a series of lessons required to meet the learning needs of a specific group of students for example.

PSTs and their educators working with shared rubric or evidence guide documents can develop clearer common understandings of what is required and needing to be demonstrated during a placement. Such shared understanding contributes to a more equitable assessment process.





Resources: Protocols and Rubrics

  • Evidence Guides and Rubrics may be supplied by the university as guiding documents and may have explicit requirements as to their status as well as time and method of employment. They may be provided only as advisory documents to be referred to if required by both PSTs and educators to deepen understanding of the assessment criteria.
  • A set of explicit guidelines regarding use of rubrics and Evidence Guides needs to be developed collaboratively by educators both school and university-based
  • Evidence Guides, particularly those that flesh out the Professional Teaching Standards at Graduate level can be a valuable document to guide the PST in focussed observation and providing feedback to their supervising teachers and peers.
  • A generic rubric structure/document provides a framework for assessors to further develop for a particular assessment task, filling it in with the particular forms of evidence that needs to be produced to attain a specific assessment requirement.





Professional Teaching Standards

All Professional Teaching Standards can be addressed through associated evidence guides and rubrics. However, selected Standards and focus areas may be identified as relevant to a particular PSTs or a specific stage and these provide a  focus within an assessment rubric.