Assessment tools

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Tool 5D: Key Challenge


Issue/Challenge: Guiding and Assessing 'At Risk' Students


Guiding and assessing ‘at risk’ pre-service teachers is frequently the most stressful and potentially challenging aspect of supervising teachers’ work in professional experience. Placements need to be supportively managed with early identification, clarification of key issues, action plans put into place and clear communication protocols.

Tool Summary:

Issue/challenge: ‘At risk’ PSTs

Assessors commonly state that guiding, finally assessing and grading a border-line PST who is struggling with Professional Experience and possibly ‘at risk of failure’ can be the most stressful aspect of their supervision role. It is not unusual for there to be a wide gap between how the PST themself is evaluating their professional experience and the assessor’s evaluation of their teaching practice. Both PSTs and assessors can be constrained by a limited range of learning resources and evidence of professional practice to effectively guide their communication and  additional support processes.

The following may be contributing factors to the complexity around formulating and implementing ‘additional support’ strategies for ‘at risk’ PSTs:

  • difficulty for the PST to understand, visualise and accept aspects of their professional practice that are of concern.
  • challenges for supervising teachers to  communicate and PSTs to ‘hear’  information regarding expectations, specific aspects of professional practice that are of concern and processes to be followed.
  • lack of a clear shared ‘picture’ of the PST’s practice to inform discussion and formative guidance. Lack of clear practical steps to support further PST development and timely communication.
  • lack of opportunity across the placement for sufficient observation and collection of valid evidence by a single assessor to inform a valid judgment
  • lack of opportunity for both school and university-based educators to have a shared understanding of the PST’s professional practice to inform the assessment judgment
  • lack of opportunity to include the PST’s voice and to provide opportunity to include their reflective comments.
  • summative judgement may be informed by documents assembled during the placement, the final self-report and possibly the PST’s associated oral presentation. Focus is commonly not only towards the evidence selected and presented but to pertinent reflective comments.

Assessment Strategy & Process


Assessment Strategy and Process: Self Report

When a PST completes their own professional experience report, either during a placement or as a summative document, this can provide assessors with additional information and a valuable ‘window’ into the PST’s perceptions and understandings of their teaching practice as well as their understanding of how they PST is evaluating their own practice relative to Professional Teaching Standards.

PST’s self-reports can:

  • focus responsibility for the PST’s professional learning back on themselves and raise their level of awareness as to their developing teaching capacity relative to a explicit framework such as the National Professional Teaching Standards.
  • be closely structured against the Professional Teaching Standards as well as identified key areas of practice that are of concern,  thus raising PST’s awareness of particular areas needing attention.
  • use the same reporting format as the formal summative report completed by the assessing educator or use a format explicitly developed to guide PST’s evaluative and reflective work
  • be completed at early or final stages of the placement, contributing in both formative and summative ways to the assessment process.,
  • be presented within a portfolio structure to either individual supervisors or to a roundtable panel to provide evidence of PST’s perceptions of their capacity, including goals for further development.
  • be a key document for presentation and discussion within subsequent on-campus seminar groups at which the experience and learning within placements is a focus for debriefing and future goal setting  for subsequent professional experience placements.



Resources: Protocols and Rubrics

  • A set of explicit guidelines for self-reporting needs to be developed collaboratively by educators both school and university-based, including the status of the PST’s self- report with respect to final formal assessment and grading
  • Clear guidelines regarding the format of the report, forms of evidence to be considered, audience for presentation, and timelines for development and presentation need to be clearly communicated to the PST and their assessor(s)
  • Evidence Guides, particularly those that flesh out the Professional Teaching Standards at Graduate level can be a valuable document to guide the PST in compiling a report.



Professional Teaching Standards

All Professional Teaching Standards can be addressed when self-report and presentation is a key assessment process. However, selected Standards and focus areas may be identified as relevant to a particular PST or a specific stage. A final presentation by the preservice teacher via a portfolio when articulation of understandings and performance against Professional Teaching Standards is required, provides rich evidence to inform the assessment summative judgment.

 Standard 6, Engaging in Professional Learning is particularly apt in terms of the PST focussing on the development of their own professional learning and providing evidence of this development through a self-report.