Assessment Principle 1 Support Materials
Assessment should be an integral part of Teaching and Learning
Assessments should arise naturally out of the teaching and intended learning of the curriculum and syllabus. They should be carefully constructed to enable judgements to be made about students' progress in ways that contribute to ongoing learning.
To do this, assessments should provide information about fine changes in student learning related to specific aspects of that learning. They should help teachers understand where students are in their learning, what they need to learn next as well as identify any misunderstandings or misconceptions that the students have. It is this fine-grained information that enables teachers to plan programs that challenge students to go beyond what they already know, understand or can do in order to build new knowledge, understandings and skills.
There are myriad ways that teachers can find out where students are in their learning including one-to-one conferencing with individual students, the range of formative assessment strategies that allow teachers to check students' understandings during the course of the lesson, learning journals, exhibitions, portfolios as well as teacher-devised tests and standardised assessments. All the information teachers collect about their students should become an integral part of the planning of instructional activities.
Teachers need to give careful consideration to planning for assessment as well as planning for teaching. This preparation should include planning how they will draw on their own observations and planning for summative assessments. Teachers also need to consider how they will refine their teaching programs based on the information they collect.
Reflecting on integrating teaching and assessment
Fine-grained assessment refers to assessment that examines very specific aspects of learning. It includes 'in the moment observations' of a student or students; posing a question in the middle of a lesson to see who has 'got it' and who hasn't; as well as devising assessments that provide information about specific aspects of learning. Fine-grained assessment is an essential component of formative assessment.
Carefully constructed rubrics, score keys and marking guides that arise out of the teaching need to be developed if formal or recorded assessments are to provide fine-grained evidence of learning. Where possible, assessments should focus both on learning that has been achieved and understandings and knowledge that are yet to be acquired, so that the information collected is relevant for both summative and formative purposes.
Consider how you integrate Teaching and Assessment
- Is assessment an integral part of your lesson planning?
- What information do you collect during lessons (your observations, student responses to questions, student participation in group activities and so on) and to what extent is this information used to shape subsequent lessons?
- How do you use assessment information as the starting point of your lesson?
- To what extent is your planning for assessment incorporated into lesson planning?
- Do the rubrics, score keys and marking guides that you use reflect what you have taught and provide you with fine-grained evidence of student learning?
- What standardised assessments does the school use and to what extent are you using these assessments to inform your teaching?
- Are there any assessments being conducted where the data collected is not being used to inform your teaching or to evaluate the school programs?
Ensure your assessments provide fine-grained information about student learning
You can check whether your assessments provide fine-grained information about student learning by asking yourself:
- Does the assessment enable me to say what students know and understand about specific aspects of learning?
- Does the assessment inform me as to what each of my students needs to learn next?
- Does the assessment distinguish between students of different abilities?
If your answer to these questions is yes, it is likely that your assessments do provide you with fine-grained information.