Overview of Research

Year 1 Support Materials

Year 1 HASS snapshot: History – Past, present, future

Assessment Principle 1: Assessment should be an integral part of Teaching and Learning

The teacher in this Assessment Snapshot designed a task to check her students’ conceptions about time, including their ability to understand and sequence phrases that are used to denote the present, past and the future.

Effective teachers recognise that learning is most likely to occur when a student is presented with challenges just beyond their current level of attainment, in what Vygotsky (1978) referred to as the 'zone of proximal development'. This is the region of 'just manageable difficulties', where students can succeed with support. Effective teachers understand, therefore, the importance of first determining students' current levels of attainment. … Effective teachers administer assessments that reveal how students think rather than what they know, the quantity of work, or the presentation. They are interested in eliciting students' pre-existing, sometimes incomplete understandings and their misconceptions, in order to identify appropriate starting points for personalised teaching and learning (Forster, 2009, pp. 5-6).

Teachers need to be aware of what each and every student is thinking and knowing, to construct meaning and meaningful experiences in light of this knowledge, and have proficient knowledge and understanding of their content to provide meaningful and appropriate feedback such that each student moves progressively through the curriculum levels (Hattie, 2009, p. 238). In 2006, Professor David Andrich recommended to the Curriculum Council (now the School Curriculum and Standards Authority) that fine-grained assessment take precedence over broad classifications of student performance. Curriculum documents, like the Australian Curriculum, and standards frameworks, like the Achievement Standards, inherently provide broad classifications of student performance. The teacher in this snapshot devised an assessment strategy which allowed her to examine her students' understandings at a more fine-grained level than is specified in the curriculum. By doing this the teacher has been able to identify misconceptions which, if left unchecked, would impede further learning.

Reflection questions
  • What assessment strategies do you use to gain insights into how your students think?
  • How do you incorporate planning for assessment into your lesson plans?
  • How do you refine your lessons based on the information you collect?

Year 1 Science snapshot: Plants or Animals?

Assessment Principle 1: Assessment should be an integral part of Teaching and Learning

The teacher in this Assessment Snapshot designed a task to check her students could classify plants and animals correctly. The activity allowed her to gain insights into her students' thinking and the misconceptions that they held about plants and animals.

Effective teachers recognise that learning is most likely to occur when a student is presented with challenges just beyond their current level of attainment, in what Vygotsky (1978) referred to as the 'zone of proximal development'. This is the region of 'just manageable difficulties', where students can succeed with support. Effective teachers understand, therefore, the importance of first determining students' current levels of attainment. … Effective teachers administer assessments that reveal how students think rather than what they know, the quantity of work, or the presentation. They are interested in eliciting students' pre-existing, sometimes incomplete understandings, and their misconceptions in order to identify appropriate starting points for personalised teaching and learning (Forster, 2009, pp. 5-6).

Teachers need to be aware of what each and every student is thinking and knowing, to construct meaning and meaningful experiences in light of this knowledge, and have proficient knowledge and understanding of their content to provide meaningful and appropriate feedback such that each student moves progressively through the curriculum levels (Hattie, 2009, p. 238).

In 2006, Professor David Andrich recommended to the Curriculum Council (now the School Curriculum and Standards Authority) that fine-grained assessment take precedence over broad classifications of student performance. Curriculum documents, like the Australian Curriculum, and standards frameworks, like the Achievement Standards, inherently provide broad classifications of student performance. The teacher in this snapshot devised an assessment strategy which allowed her to examine her students' understandings at a more fine-grained level than is specified in the curriculum. By doing this the teacher has been able to identify misconceptions which, if left unchecked, would impede further learning.

Reflection questions
  • What assessment strategies do you use to gain insights into how your students think?
  • How do you incorporate planning for assessment into your lesson plans?
  • How do you refine your lessons based on the information you collect?
References

Andrich, D. (2006). A report to the Curriculum Council of Western Australia regarding assessment for tertiary selection. Retrieved http://www.scsa.wa.edu.au/internet/Publications/Reports/General_Reports

Forster, M. (2009). Informative Assessment: Understanding and guiding learning. Papers presented at the 2009 Australian Council for Educational Research Conference on Assessment and Student Learning: Collecting, interpreting and using data to inform teaching. Retrieved http://research.acer.edu.au/research_conference/RC2009/17august/11/

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning. A Synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Oxon, England: Routledge.