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Australian Professional Standards of Teachers

Introduction to Formative Assessment Strategies

Australian Professional Standards of Teachers consists of seven standards that specify and outline ways, methods, and knowledge that a teacher must know and be able to do and carry out in practice. They are divided into four descriptions for the four career stages of a teacher and they are as follows-

  1. Graduate
  2. Proficient
  3. Lead, and
  4. Highly accomplished.

The standards explained and their descriptors are effective representations of the contemporary practice for teachers in Australia. The standards include knowing students and how they learn, understanding the content and ways to teach it, planning and practicing effective ways of teaching and learning, creating and maintaining safe and supportive environments for learning, assessment of student learning, provision of feedback for the same along with reporting on student learning, engagement with professional learning and engaging with fellow teachers, colleagues, students and parents/carers and community(Adoniou et al 2017). The standard 5.1- Assessment of Student learning will be attempted as our context for this videative.

Types of assessments include the following-

  1. Assessment of learning – The assessments of learning include assessment methodologies that are typically and specifically administered at the end. When the teacher has finished a particular concept or a unit or any grading period, and now wants to evaluate or measure the understanding of the student on the particular topic taught by way of comparison of the student's achievement and understanding against a set standard or benchmark set against a class, or district or nationwide standard (Taras 2002). Students are not directly involved in the process of assessment being used.
  2. Assessment for learning- It can also be described as assessments being used as a method of learning. They are ways to measure and assess a student’s understanding and comprehension of the particular skill, topic, and concept or lesson taught by the teacher and understood by the student during the process of learning and teaching. They will help assess a student’s progress made and specific learning needs of the student. It is a continuous process where students are provided with a clear cut understanding of their targets for learning a particular concept or topic (Taras 2002). It involves both the student and the teacher. It provides ongoing feedback about the students to the teachers and educators and helps in the identification of students who are at-risk early and helps in the adjustment of instruction and monitoring of student progress.
  3. Assessment as learning- It is better described as the use of continuous and ongoing assessment by students for self so that they are able to measure and monitor their own learning and understanding on a specific concept/topic, which is basically and specifically characterized by the students reflecting on their own learning and then trying to make specific adjustments so that they achieve a deeper understanding of their learning process and issues around it (Suskie 2018). It helps the students record their own learning process.

Next, the different types of strategies for assessment for learning are looked at which include- Formal and informal, diagnostic, summative, and formative.

  • Diagnostic way of assessment will include assessing a student’s basic understanding of the concept- his/her strengths, weaknesses, skills, and knowledge before the beginning of instruction. It is better described as pre-assessment.
  • Formative assessment- It will involve measuring the student’s performance while giving instruction to him/her about the particular concept. This will be carried out regularly, throughout the entire process of instruction.
  • Summative assessment- It will include measuring a student's performance, understanding, and knowledge about the specific topic and criteria based on what the student learned or gained from the instruction on a particular topic (Suskie 2018). It usually occurs towards the end of the concept or topic being taught.

Formative assessment –

Formative assessment refers to the ongoing process students and teachers engage in when they

  1. Focus on learning goals.
  2. Take stock of where current work is in relation to the goal.
  3. Take action to move closer to the goal.

The best formative assessment involves both students and teachers in a recursive process. It starts with the teacher, who models the process for the students. At first, the concept of what good work looks like belongs to the teacher (Brookhart 2010). The teacher describes, explains, or demonstrates the concepts or skills to be taught, or assigns student investigations—reading assigned material, locating and reading materials to answer a question, doing activities or experiments—to put content into students' hands. For example, the teacher shares the aspects of a good descriptive paragraph and tells students how their work compares to the ideal. Gradually, students internalize the learning goals and become able to see the target themselves (Brookhart 2010). They begin to be able to decide how close they are to it.

 Teachers have the responsibility to assess, measure and understand whether whatever that is being taught to the students is being understood by them or not. If they are actually learning and understanding the concept and topic being taught and explained to them or not.If they don’t, they will have misconceptions and will be lost all the time. Poor teachers continue teaching whether students understand or not. The end result is a classroom full of confused students along with the teacher. Hence, it is important to take continuous assessments before moving forward. Master teachers use formative assessment tools to make a decision to re-teach or move ahead (Lam 2017). That explained the why behind formative assessments.

Now the question arises when should it happen? It should be a quick process and take place during the teaching of the lesson or concept so as to keep a check on the student’s level of understanding regarding the topic and his/her learning ability. It should be taking place during the teaching process.

Formative assessment in the class- For example, one of the formative assessment methods to assess their understanding could be the use of “Understanding the intention of learning wall"(Green 2019). It can be utilized to measure the performance of children while doing maths. The discussion is centred around what the learning intentions are and what is going to be learnt. It helps in specific articulation and understanding of what the lesson is going to be.

Suppose, Students are being taught to add single digits and today’s topic for learning includes how to add 2+8, which is equal to 10. So, after the lesson, the student is supposed to measure, assess, and see whether he/she is able to do this addition on his/her own or not. The student according to their capacity will rate their own understanding and rate themselves on the "learning intention wall" divided into three zones- green- able to do it completely on their own, orange- need a little guidance for completing it and red- need help to do it completely. This way helps understand the student as well as the teacher where the student stands in that particular assessment and helps inform the teacher to improve her future teaching strategies as well. It also helps the students, their parents, and carers also understand where they stand in the learning curve and what needs to be done to improve their learning. They are able to reflect on their own learning and understanding and also able to ask for help or support if required.

It also helps in the provision of immediate feedback and therefore, immediate alteration and change in the teaching strategy and task at hand to make it more significant and useful in accordance with their capabilities and abilities.

Benefits of Formative Assessment

The benefits of formative assessment will include benefits for both teachers and students. The teachers will be able to modify their teaching terminologies and methods of instruction and also re-plan or re-assess their class schedule and methodology. Also, it will help the teachers to identify errors of the students at an early stage. The students will also benefit from the same because of being able to do a self-evaluation of their learning on their own along with being able to give and receive feedback as well (Green 2019). Also, it will help improve their learning and teaching abilities due to getting better opportunities to learn and ask questions as well.

Conclusion on Formative Assessment Strategies

Standard 5.1 was illustrated for this assignment and the different measures of assessing the students were looking at and different ways involved in the same were described. An example of a type of formative assessment was also discussed and explained along with its benefits as well. Some benefits include better assessment and continuous evaluation and the opportunity for students to improve their learning and understanding and getting better opportunities for the same. The standards described help teachers improve in their career and help in better learning and teaching outcomes for everyone.

References for Formative Assessment Strategies

Adoniou, M. and Gallagher, M. 2017. Professional standards for teachers—what are they good for?. Oxford Review of Education, 43(1), pp.109-126.

Brookhart, S.M. 2010. Formative assessment strategies for every classroom: An ASCD action tool. ASCD.

Green, F. 2019. An Exploration into the value of formative assessment and the barriers associated with the implementation of formative strategies. Teacher Education for the 21st Century, p.203.

Lam, B.H. 2017. Constructing formative assessment strategies. Emerging Practices in Scholarship of Learning and Teaching in a Digital Era (pp. 247-264).

Suskie, L. 2018. Assessing student learning: A common sense guide.John Wiley & Sons.

Taras, M. 2002. Using assessment for learning and learning from assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 27(6), pp.501-510.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Early Childhood Assignment Help

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