Assessment tools

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Tool 6F: Key Challenge



Tool Summary:

Issue/challenge: Quality of Professional Experience relationships

Professional experience is characterised by complex interactions between those involved – the preservice teacher (PST), the supervising teacher(s), who is commonly the major assessor and the university mentor(s) (Tertiary Mentors). The quality of the overall professional experience is commonly influenced by the quality of communication between these parties.           

Supervisory relationship quality can be impacted by such factors as the challenge for teachers taking on this additional educative role, time pressure, higher priority needing to be given to their other work commitments (teaching their own students), as well as the possible impact of unexpected personal issues that may arise. Personal and professional ‘mis-matches’ between individual PSTs and educators can arise due to issues associated with differences in age, race, cultural background, gender, experience as well as beliefs and values.   Consequently, inter-personal tensions and communication breakdowns can progressively emerge across placements. Tensions can also arise between supervising teachers and the university Tertiary Mentors, possibly around inadequate communication, differing judgments of a PST’s learning needs or teaching capacity, as well as uncertainty regarding areas of responsibility and levels of expertise. 

Teachers working as supervisors have the pressure of working with explicit Professional Teaching Standards and assessment responsibility within rigorous reporting protocols. In some cases teachers have not been provided with supporting professional development in these areas and are left to navigate their role with little school or university support. The National Professional Teaching Standards (AITSL, 2010), with their Focus Areas offer a comprehensive guiding framework for assessors. However, Standards and summative report formats can be experienced as overly prescriptive, complex and expressed in language that is not completely accessible to both PSTs and their assessors. Commonly assessors need support in using Standards within the assessment process. Rubrics and Evidence Guides can provide such assistance as they support clear and more explicit communication for all parties involved.


Assessment Strategy & Process


Assessment Strategy and Process: Rubrics and Evidence Guides

Rubrics and Evidence Guides provide support to all parties in professional experience through providing clear and explicit communication documents outlining expectations for the placement and the assessment of its components. They both provide information as to specific indicators of practice – what needs to be developed and demonstrated for assessment.

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 provide frameworks that explicitly outline assessment criteria for particular assessable elements of teaching practice in accessible language. PSTs and their educators working with shared rubric or evidence guide documents have 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 and assists the communication between PSTs and their educators. Rubrics can be created for particular areas of practice, stages, individual needs and contexts.

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 focussed observation and providing feedback to PSTs,  supervising teachers and peers.



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.