Overview of Research

Year 2 Support Materials

Year 2 Technologies: Puppets

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

In this assessment snapshot, the teacher guided his students to create success criteria that arose directly from the task. The criteria were written in language that the students could understand and they were limited in number so the students were not overwhelmed by the scope of the task. Importantly, by co-constructing success criteria with his students, the teacher used assessment to support learning.

We need to let students into the secret, allowing them to become insiders of the assessment process. We need to make provision for them to become members of the guild of people who can make consistently sound judgments and know why those judgments are justifiable (Sadler, 1998).

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.

Andrich also recommended that teachers should employ marking strategies that arise directly from assessment tasks, and should be specific to the teaching program.

Reflection questions
  • How have you used your fine-grained understanding of student learning to inform your writing of success?
  • How do you use assessment as the starting point of your lesson planning?
  • How do you incorporate your planning for assessment into your lesson plan?
  • What anecdotal information do you collect about your students' knowledge, understanding and skills and how do you use this information in a way that contributes to further learning?

Assessment Principle 2: Assessment should be educative

Reflecting on the Assessment Snapshot

The teacher in this snapshot used success criteria to encourage peer feedback and to provide his own feedback. He also used his observations to identify an area of need for a group of students which, in turn, informed his future lesson planning.

To be effective, feedback needs to be clear, purposeful and meaningful and compatible with students' prior knowledge, and to provide logical connections. It also needs to prompt active information processing on the part of the learner, have low task complexity, relate to specific and clear goals, and provide little threat to the person at the self-level…These conditions highlight the importance of classroom climates that foster peer and self-assessment, and allow for learning from mistakes' (Hattie, 2009, p. 178).

Highly effective teachers 'provided high quality corrective feedback…they differentiated literacy instruction for individual needs, based on formal and informal assessment of the children' (Louden, Hopkins and Rohl, 2008, p. 61).

Reflection questions
  • What needs to be in place to ensure that a strategy such as success criteria leads to feedback that is clear, purposeful and meaningful and leads to further learning?
  • What feedback strategies have you found that help your students understand what they need to learn next?
  • What needs to be in place to ensure peer and self-assessment leads to further learning?
  • How do you use assessment information to reflect on your teaching?
  • What strategies have you adopted that allow you to efficiently document your anecdotal observations? How do you use this information, along with the information you gain from your more formal assessment processes, to refine your teaching?

Year 2 English snapshot: My favourite book

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

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.

Andrich also recommended that teachers should employ marking strategies that arise directly from assessment tasks, and should be specific to the teaching program.

In this assessment snapshot, the teacher has devised assessment criteria that are specific to his assessment task (criteria for a book review: tells the audience the title of the book, who wrote it, describes the characters; briefly retells the story; provides a personal comment about why they liked the book and who else might like the book) and criteria that provide fine-grained information about speaking skills needed to deliver a short presentation of familiar topics (maintains eye contact with the audience; uses more formal language; uses complete sentences and speaks clearly and fluently).

Reflection questions
  • What needs to be in place to ensure that a strategy such as success criteria leads to feedback that is clear, purposeful and meaningful and leads to further learning?
  • What feedback strategies have you found that help your students understand what they need to learn next?
  • What needs to be in place to ensure peer and self-assessment leads to further learning?
  • How do you use assessment information to reflect on your teaching?
  • What strategies have you adopted that allow you to efficiently document your anecdotal observations? How do you use this information, along with the information you gain from your more formal assessment processes, to refine your teaching?

Assessment Principle 2: Assessment should be educative

Reflecting on the Assessment Snapshot

The teacher in this snapshot used the 'two stars and a wish' feedback strategy to encourage peer feedback and to provide his own feedback. He also used his observations to identify an area of need for a group of students which, in turn, informed his future lesson planning.

To be effective, feedback needs to be clear, purposeful and meaningful and compatible with students' prior knowledge, and to provide logical connections. It also needs to prompt active information processing on the part of the learner, have low task complexity, relate to specific and clear goals, and provide little threat to the person at the self-level. … These conditions highlight the importance of classroom climates that foster peer and self-assessment, and allow for learning from mistakes' (Hattie, 2009, p. 178).

Highly effective teachers 'provided high quality corrective feedback…they differentiated literacy instruction for individual needs, based on formal and informal assessment of the children' (Louden, Hopkins and Rohl, 2008, p. 61).

Reflection questions
  • What needs to be in place to ensure that a strategy such as the 'two stars and a wish' leads to feedback that is clear, purposeful and meaningful and leads to further learning?
  • What feedback strategies have you found that help your students understand what they need to learn next?
  • What needs to be in place to ensure peer and self-assessment leads to further learning?
  • How do you use assessment information to reflect on your teaching?
  • What strategies have you adopted that allow you to efficiently document your anecdotal observations? How do you use this information along with the information you gain from your more formal assessment processes to refine your teaching?

Assessment Principle 3: Assessment should be fair

Reflecting on the Assessment Snapshot

In this Assessment snapshot the teacher has tried to ensure that his assessment is integral to his teaching and learning program (Principle 1) and that the assessment was educative (Principle 2). As a result it is likely that his assessment was a fair one.

There are other factors that need to be considered. Was the assessment equally available to all students, without discrimination? The answer to these questions may be yes in the context of his class demographics but no in the context of another class. For example, for some cultural groups, it may be inappropriate to assess 'maintaining eye contact with the audience'.

There are several ways a teacher can evaluate the validity of his or her assessments. Firstly, check that the assessment assessed what you intended to assess and that there are no interfering or confounding factors. In this assessment snapshot, if the teacher had given his students a challenging book to read and report, he would have been assessing their reading more than their speaking. Then check that inferences you are drawing from the assessment are legitimate based on what you assessed. Returning to the assessment snapshot; this would not have been reflective of a fair assessment if the teacher had set out to assess the students' ability to provide a book review and not aspects of their oral presentation but had then used his assessment to report on his students' speaking skills.

One of the challenges for teachers is to get the balance right. That is, to collect sufficient information about the aspect of learning being assessed so that the assessment provides worthwhile information that will lead to further learning, and to not allow assessment activity to become so burdensome that it detracts from teaching.

Reflection questions
  • Is your assessment of students' skills and understanding comprehensive? How much information do you need to collect about your students' skills to get worthwhile information about where they are in their learning?
  • What would be too little information? What would be too much information to the point that it would limit how effective your teaching is?
  • Do you ensure you are not letting your knowledge of student behaviour interfere with your assessment of their academic learning?
  • What range of assessment strategies do you use to assess your students' skills and understandings?
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

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

Louden, W., Rohl, M., & Hopkins, S. (2008). Teaching for Growth: Effective teaching of literacy and numeracy. Graduate School of Education, University of Western Australia, Perth, W.A.

Sadler, R (1998). Letting students into the secret: Further steps in making criteria and standards work to improve learning. Retrieved http://www.assessmentforlearning.edu.au/professional_learning/success_criteria_and_rubrics/
success_research_background.html