Abstracts

Keynotes 

What kind of learning do we want—and how can classroom assessment encourage it? [England]  
Professor Gordon Stobart

Society wants children to learnthat's why we send them to school.
But what kind of learners do we want? There is an
international policy rhetoric about the need for 21st century learning in which the learner is seen as flexible, self-regulating and able to work collaboratively to solve problems. Yet we also have a standards-and-accountability agenda which defines learning in terms of individual performance on narrow standardised tests. These tensions are explored and the model of the expert learner is used to reduce some of them.
How do top performers across a wide range of domains such as sport, music, medicine, literature and science, become such experts? I review what we know about how experts learn; research which education has largely ignored. The key findings are then applied to classroom teaching and learning.
How can we help students move from being novices to increasing expertise in a domain? I draw on examples
from The Expert Learner (2014) to illustrate how this might be achieved and the vital role of classroom assessment in this process.


First principles, reforms and evidence: Setting an agenda for classroom assessment
and student growth [Australia] 
Professor Joy Cumming  and Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith

The starting proposition for this presentation is that assessment is the most important post-modern project in schooling and education more generally.  The reasons are simple: It is assessment that can present the major stumbling block to educational innovation and moreover, to efforts to improve teaching and learning. Further, it is through uncritically holding on to assessment canons and practices that, over time, become normalized and valued, even across generations, we risk closing off opportunities to reform assessment.  In our era of unprecedented change key questions confront us: what should we hold on to and why, what do we let go, and at what cost, and what new values must we embrace?                                                                                                                                                      

We consider six major assessment challenges that need to be confronted at the system and local levels for real improvement in learning:

  •    Rebalancing assessment, measurement and improvement with a focus on fitness-for-purpose
  •    Valuing reliability but refocusing on teachers’ professional judgement to enable complex learning
  •    Rethinking teachers’ work and broad education goals including student wellbeing
  •    Recognising the gestalt of learning across in- and out-of-school learning contexts
  •    Challenging traditional teacher-student roles and interactions
  •   Realising social justice and equity in educational assessment.


Papers


Developing teacher and student understanding of achievement standards
 [Australia]
Lenore Adie and Jill Willis

A national standards-referenced curriculum in Australia is enabling teachers to revisit formative assessment as a philosophy of interconnected pedagogic, curriculum and assessment practices through which students make meaning about their learning. This research investigated how teachers collaboratively developed an understanding of the national achievement standards, as a prerequisite for the formative assessment practice of sharing expected standards with students. This study, conducted between 2011 and 2014, examined how teachers recontextualised new assessment standards by annotating exemplars to inform their planning prior to teaching. This presentation focuses on the analysis of two illustrative critical instances from one school, one which occurred in the planning phase and the other as teacher reflection on classroom practice. The two examples illustrate the work that teachers have to do to develop a deep understanding of the standard, and the insights that they develop about their students as they start to enact this practice and share this understanding with their students. This collaborative process illustrates one way for teachers to make strong connections between national assessment standards and day-to-day assessment interactions with students.

 
Up-scaling assessment: Developing ‘Assessment Frameworks’ for integrated, inquiry-based professional curricula in higher education [Hong Kong]

Susan Bridges

The curriculum goal of alignment between assessment, student learning experiences and student learning outcomes is central to the outcome-based model originally proposed by John Biggs and promoted in Hong Kong’s recent higher education curriculum reform. Scalability; however, becomes an issue. Achieving alignment at the independent module or course level is less complex than developing and mapping an overarching programme/ degree curriculum level Assessment Framework. This is, potentially, even more challenging when working with integrated, inquiry based models. In this presentation, I will share two cases of the development of Assessment Frameworks in Hong Kong in two very different professional programmes (undergraduate Dentistry and postgraduate Initial Teacher Education). A major focus will be identifying the key challenges and potential ways forward in adopting a holistic approach to ‘up scaling’ alignment in integrated, outcomes-based models.

Ethics, moral dilemmas and assessment practices and policies:  Exposing optical illusions [New Zealand]
Roseanna Bourke

An international policy agenda to raise educational ‘standards’ and accountability across schools increases the use of national assessment practices, and ultimately creates a degree of uniformity around pedagogical and assessment practices. Policies on inclusive education where equity in education is a ‘right’ not a need, challenge teachers to include all learners; challenges that can, at times, present as ethical dilemmas in the assessment process. The juxtaposition of diversity in student population and uniformity around curriculum and assessment requires teachers to engage with ongoing ethical dilemmas in their day-to-day work with their students. Teachers have long understood the tensions when complying with national assessment policies while knowing the punitive effects these have on some individual children. Codes of Ethics do not always resolve such situations where school policy, sometimes based on broader governmental policy, competes with other policies (e.g. inclusion) and teachers are caught mediating between the two. This paper examines the ethical dilemmas that arise for teachers when they believe their role and decisions are compromised by policy or state-mandated decisions around whom to assess and with what measure. It shows how teacher conformity to ongoing curriculum demands creates the conditions for ethical drift and score pollution to arise.


A picture of formative assessment in the Philippines [Philippines, United States, Australia]

Louie Cagasan, Esther Care, Pam Robertson and Rebekah Luo

Western research in teaching and learning is frequently based on the assumptions that the class size is small, with 25 students considered “large” (Watkins, 2008), and that students can converse anytime with the teacher by asking a question or querying an idea. In a society characterised by large power distance (Hofstede, 1986) and class sizes of 40 to 60, classroom dialogues promoting informal formative assessment pose challenges. This paper explores ways of capturing these formative assessment practices through an observation tool. The approach and the iterative tool revisions were important steps to provide insights into the elaborate picture of implementing formative assessment in the Philippine classroom. Working with a process-oriented model facilitated clarity in setting parameters or behaviors to record. Ruiz-Primo and Furtak’s (2007) ESRU model was initially used in the tool development process, but operating closely within that model provided challenges in categorizing and coding behaviors. We worked with selected features (Elicit-Use) of the ESRU model that we found functional in observing a Philippine classroom. The developed tool provides a model that can be used to design teacher training modules.


Laying the foundation for assessment reform in Sydney Catholic Schools [Australia] 
Paul Cahill  

This literature-based focus paper was developed as a foundation and guide for assessment reform in Sydney Catholic Schools. The paper outlines the case for assessment reform at both a school and system level and sets the frame through which the purpose, principles and practice of assessment are established. It provides a vision for assessment focused on the learning needs of all students and recognises that renewed focus on learning growth is based on the belief that every student has the capacity to learn. Also, it acknowledges that assessment is a critical tool for teachers to determine the learning needs of students and is key to providing data that informs the way in which teachers respond to those learning needs. In this way the paper sees assessment as integral to teaching and learning; that is, central to informing teacher judgment and in utilising student voice through self-assessment. A key purpose of the paper is to provide research as the basis of true change in system, school and classroom practice. The imperatives to ensure that authentic assessment can be reformed in schools are: for a consistent understanding and application of standards, a recalibration of the understanding of achievement, focus on measuring what matters for learning and differentiating for students so that the learning of each student can be maximised.


Assessment as learning—successes, and leading for successes, in a high school context [Australia]
Marta Cassidy and Joseph Guss

We present the inspiration, implementation, successes and weaknesses of our efforts to replace our school’s boring open-ended investigations (OEIs) with inspiring, student-directed, genuinely open-ended research projects in the high-stakes environment of the HSC years. Our senior Chemistry students in Year 11 were given the challenge of extracting copper from raw chalcopyrite ore, without knowing the chemistry of how to achieve this outcome. Year 12 Chemistry students were given water samples and the brief to push the boundaries of what they could measure. Their logbooks charted their thinking processes, as well as the results. In Physics, Year 12 students were given the goal of identifying an unknown substance using emitted light. They were given a box of basic materials and were told to figure it out by themselves. The results were astounding. Not only did our students impress us with their creativity and ingenuity, they taught themselves far more about physics than we had anticipated in the process. Ideas for how to lead and support this kind of assessment, and how to develop it in a different context, will also be explored.


Assessment for Learning territories: A cartography of practices [Australia]
Jennifer Charteris and Dianne Smardon

Territories are assemblages of relational space. Assessment for Learning (AfL) territories are entanglements of policies, bodies, practices, and discourses that comprise learning-oriented assemblages. AfL can be linked with emancipatory practices in territories where learner agency is co-produced through socio-material classroom relations. This presentation investigates the territories articulated in school leaders’ comments about student participation in AfL. The exploration of AfL territories addresses a question on how learner agency as participation is enacted in different terrains associated with assessment. A range of interrelated schooling territories are mapped from Principal interview data. These territories are framed by teacher actions, student data, schooling frameworks, policies, student voice and, lastly, student participation networks. Different possibilities for youth participation and agency are investigated through these accounts of territories. Youth participation is associated with power, voice, democratic citizenship, legal entitlement, empowerment, motivation and self-confidence, yet these ideas can also be linked with neoliberal notions of student responsibilisation and accountability. The engagement with schooling territories prompts a consideration of AfL as more than a mechanism for devolved learner accountability.


Recognising the rhythms of AfL teacher noticing: Connoisseurship, cultural connectedness and collaborative ways of working
[New Zealand, Australia, England]
Bronwen Cowie, Jill Willis and Christine Harrison

AfL is the process used by teachers and students to notice, recognise and respond to student learning in order to enhance that learning, during the learning (Cowie & Bell, 1999). There is detailed advice for teachers about how to plan AfL activities to find out what their learners have recognised and learned in response to the planned objectives however attending to divergent responses, and deciding what to do in response to student learning within the dynamic interactions in the moment, is an ongoing challenge (Harrison, 2016; Ruiz-Primo, 2016). This article analyses empirical studies of effective classroom AfL to identify the dynamic counterpoints of teacher noticing (Mason, 2002). Effective AfL interactions were evident when teachers responded with connoisseurship; that is responsiveness that included adaptive expertise around ‘what’ students might learn and ‘when and how’ they might teach this, cultural connectedness; that is ethical understandings of the sociocultural context and their learners’ backgrounds that encompassed knowing ‘who’ they were teaching, and collaborative ways of working or understandings of learning; valuing learning as a social process and knowing ‘how’ to empower students in the moment. These three counterpoints of noticing and responsive action provide new perspectives that can both direct teacher attention and inform teachers and students as they negotiate meaning in the ongoing dance of critical inquiry and reflexive self-awareness through AfL.


Assessment adjustments for students with disability: Raising the bar not the barrier [Australia] 

Joy Cumming and Elizabeth Dickson

Australian equity goals for students with disability are to improve their achievement, Year 12 completion rates and transition to further education and training. The Disability Standards for Education 2005 (DSE) provide a legal framework of expected school and teacher practice to achieve these goals. In general, students with disability have a right to education ‘on the same basis’ as other students, with comparable opportunity and choice, and ‘reasonable adjustments’ to curriculum, assessment and certification appropriate to their needs (DSE, 2.2, 6.3). Assessment adjustments should enable students to ‘demonstrate the knowledge, skills or competencies being assessed’ (DSE, 6.3). However, recent reports (e.g., NSW O 2013) identify both inconsistent practice in assessment adjustments and lack of guidance for teachers in how to make adjustments that are fair and equitable. In this presentation, we will (i) discuss a framework (Cumming & Maxwell, 2014) that identifies stages in assessment task development, potential equity impacts for students with disability, and potential adjustments; and (ii) explore the Disability Standards from a legal perspective (Cumming, Dickson & Webster, 2013), including recent considerations about the nature of reasonable assessment adjustments. Our work draws on a funded longitudinal study of researcher-teacher collaboration on effective assessment adjustments for students with disability.


What is the border between formative and summative assessment for 21st century learning?  [Australia] 
Jo Dargusch and Claire Wyatt-Smith 


This paper addresses the key issue of the nature and function of both formative assessment and its relationship to summative assessment at system and classroom levels. It suggests that the current conceptualisation of these two assessment purposes as distinct and demarcated, with summative assessment associated with system requirements and formative assessment enacted by teachers in classrooms is unhelpful/limiting. In the context of 21st century learning, where weight is given to learning through interactions with others, including a focus on problem solving in teams, as well as the application of knowledge in new contexts, it is timely to consider the ways in which the traditional purposes of assessment limit the roles and responsibilities of both teachers and young people.

This paper proposes that assessment be framed in a new way, based on shared and individual knowledge of achievement standards and focused on the use of formative assessment to enable higher levels of achievement in summative assessment items. In this closed model of teaching at the point of summative assessment item production, formative assessment is used as a pedagogical strategy in the production of work to be counted for summative assessment purposes. The paper explores issues relating to validity and fidelity in an assessment model where formative and summative assessment are mutually supportive. It draws on examples of Senior Schooling teachers’ work enacting formative assessment within the production of summative assessment tasks to illustrate the ways in which teachers’ work can bring together formative and summative functions in assessments designated as summative

Practical, research-based ways to use assessment to support adult, school and system learning [Canada]

Anne Davies

Many schools and school systems have been deliberately working towards full implementation of Assessment for Learning for more than a decade, yet success is elusive for many. The findings of this longitudinal qualitative research study (Davies et al., 2014) demonstrated three actions that the successful leaders employ:
Leaders take action and move beyond words to deeds.
Leaders evaluate what they value and move beyond numbers to include triangulated evidence of learning.

Leaders find ways to collect ongoing information and use frequent feedback loops.
In this twenty-minute session, the research results along with accounts from schools and systems will be used to illustrate applications and implications for daily leadership practice with a particular emphasis on student engagement in assessment, professional judgement and lessons learned.


Engaging students with assessment as learning:  Scaffolding classroom practice to build students’ self-efficacy and agentic engagement [Australia]
Anna Fletcher 

This paper presents insider accounts of a formative assessment as learning (AaL) project which sought to integrate understandings from self-regulated learning theory with the concept of agentic engagement into classroom practice. The research question examined how primary students’ scaffolded planning, as part of the forethought phase in the AaL process, shaped students’ self-regulation and student agency in the learning process.

The findings presented in this paper derive from a larger study into formative classroom assessment practice which was conducted at an independent (non-religious, co-educational) primary school in Darwin, the Northern Territory. The study involved 256 students from years two, four and six, together with 16 teachers. Conducted as a one-setting, cross-sectional practitioner research study, the data collection included students’ planning templates, writing samples, interviews with students and teachers and email correspondence with teachers. The data was analysed using a framework of social cognitive theory.

The findings from this research into classroom assessment indicate that AaL has the potential to help scaffold primary students’ development of assessment capabilities such as learner agency, confidence, competence and motivation, and persistence in challenging, yet meaningful learning tasks.


A question of alignment [UK] 
Louise Hayward

This paper explores traditions in the alignment of curriculum and assessment in reading in the UK and the USA. It is argued that the lack of alignment in both the US and the UK has led to major problems in schools and classrooms that are unlikely to be addressed unless significant attention is paid to re-thinking questions of alignment.

The extent to which curriculum and assessment in reading are aligned is an issue that has largely been absent from public discourse. The questions being asked in both the UK and the USA have focused on other concerns. Who knows best how to teach reading? Are standards in literacy rising or falling? Where does our country sit in comparison with other countries?

The session will begin by identifying three areas crucial to the alignment of curriculum and assessment: validity, purposes and impact or backwash. It will reflect on developments in reading assessment in the period between 1995 and 2005 from the perspectives of reading researchers in the UK and in the USA who worked collaboratively on two major ESRC funded projects on the assessment of reading and how, subsequently, ideas emerging from these groups played out in the different policy environments.

Finally, this paper will explore possible implications arising from current trends in reading and their potential either to enhance alignment or to deepen divisions.


Engaging students and improving learning through quality classroom assessment: The Singapore story [Singapore]
Kangya He, Jieying Ng and Yoke Gen Ginny Lee

In 2009, the Singapore Primary Education Review and Implementation (PERI) Committee made a series of recommendations with the intent to realise a more holistic primary education and prepare our young for the future. One key recommendation was more holistic assessment (HA) to support student learning and development.

PERI HA was to be implemented in three phases: Prototype, Roll-out and Deepening. In the current Deepening Phase, HA seeks to further enhance teachers’ assessment competencies, and raise assessment quality in tandem with pedagogy and curriculum changes, to improve teaching and learning.

Guided by Coburn’s (2003) dimensions of scale: depth, sustainability, spread, and shift in reform ownership, HA’s focus is to support schools in developing quality school assessment systems that are balanced and child-centric. Greater emphasis is placed on engaging learners in the assessment process and communicating their learning, as well as on using formative assessment strategies effectively in the classroom.

In this paper, we will discuss the progress, challenges and lessons learnt from roll-out to scale-up of HA in all primary levels and schools in Singapore. We will also share our reflections and the impact on key stakeholders, particularly in our endeavour to move beyond a focus on tools and techniques, to purposeful application with a deeper understanding of quality assessment.


Classroom practices that build students' assessment capabilities: Where should professional learning and support be focused? [New Zealand]
Rosemary Hipkins

The concept of “assessment capability” directs attention to the importance of providing rich opportunities for students to take an active role in assessment. The manner in which they experience learning and assessment events and conversations ideally enables them to become more capable judges of the quality of their work and of their personal progress. A range of strategies have the potential to support this vision. However system-wide research suggests such strategies are not necessarily being widely used. Nor has this situation changed much over recent years, despite the increasing emphasis on learning to learn, assessment for learning, etcetera. In this talk I will show New Zealand teacher data from the NZCER National Survey of Secondary Schools in 2009, 2012, and 2015. These data show clear patterns in opportunities to involve students that teachers are more likely to be taking up, and perhaps as importantly the opportunities that seem more likely to be overlooked. In the follow-up discussion I will invite the audience to discuss how we might constructively disrupt the current situation, with the aim of encouraging more teachers to more actively support students to build their personal assessment capabilities.


The Jetson's World: Online collaborative moderation between small, remote and metropolitan schools [Australia]
Susanne Jones, Leigh-Anne Williams and Alicia Hoddle

Observations during moderation work in the South Australian Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) over the last two years have shown that while teacher capacity in developing consistent teacher judgements, interpreting and understanding Australian Curriculum achievement standards and recognising the need for improving their own assessment practices has increased, there is considerable ground to be made.
Teachers in small and remote schools have added, ongoing difficulties accessing wider collegiate support and influence as well as organising and participating in face-to-face meetings with colleagues for collaborative moderation. They are less able to validate their judgements around student achievement. Leaders in isolated schools are looking for validation of grades in their schools consistent with large metropolitan schools.
This 2015 project involved Year 7 and Year 8 teachers of History and Geography having opportunities to collaborate between small, remote and metropolitan schools using online moderation meetings to facilitate understandings and effective practice around synchronous collaborative moderation and quality assessment. Its intended long term outcome is to improve consistency of teacher judgement and improve student achievement through a focus on collaboration between metropolitan and country teachers.

Teachers indicated on a continuum where they perceived themselves to be with regard to their moderation understanding and practice at the beginning and end of the project. First and second semester data were collected on the worth of involvement in the project, challenges and advantages of conferencing technology, confidence and use of the AC achievement standards and impact on student achievement. The data and the process will be presented in the workshop as a conversation and will show changes in teacher assessment and collaborative moderation practices.


Enhancing the use of Assessment for Learning in South African classrooms: Addressing the equity and redress challenge [South Africa]
Anil Kanjee

The district-wide Assessment for Learning professional development programme is a randomised control study conducted to determine the impact of enhancing the assessment capacity of district officials and teachers on learning and teaching. The intervention programme is based on the five strategies espoused by Wiliam and Thompson, and was implemented from February 2016 in fifty schools randomly selected across all poverty quintile categories. Quintile 1 schools comprise learners from poor and marginalised backgrounds while Quintile 5 schools comprise majority of learners from middle to high SES backgrounds.

Halfway into the programme, a key challenge identified was the large disparity between teachers in the lower and upper quintile schools regarding their understanding and application of “learning intentions and success criteria” and “the effective use of questioning”.

Using activity theory as an analytical tool, this study sought to examine how teachers across the different school quintiles understood these “new assessment strategies and techniques”, how they interpreted and implemented these strategies and techniques in their lessons, the successes and/or challenges encountered in practice, and how they addressed these.


Student learning to self-assess: The role of co-regulation [Canada]
Dany Laveault

Self-assessment is a distinctive characteristic of assessment for learning (AfL). It refers to a set of conditions or to a family of practices where students are progressively involved in different aspects of the regulation of their learning: target setting, monitoring of one’s own activities and adaptation of one’s own activities to remain on target and reach it. While a model of self-regulation is regularly used to account for the exercise of self-assessment, a model of co-regulation is probably more appropriate to account for the processes involved in the purposeful interactions occurring between teachers and students within a facilitating instructional environment. Such capacities to regulate one’s own activities are influenced by the co-regulations between the student and the educational environment (teachers, peers, etc.). They involve the development of a series of skills such as self-control, self-motivation and self-knowledge. The construct of “co-regulation space” is used to describe how the capacity to self-assess is scaffolded and developed to become progressively more – but not entirely – controlled by the student.


Assessment geopolitics? Understanding assessment change in the Republic of Ireland [Ireland] 
Anne Looney 

Geopolitics is generally understood as the relationships between place and power and, as a science, the study of geopolitics offers a useful perspective on how international networks and actors shape the lives of individuals, communities and societies. This paper considers how the location of four sets of actors in an assessment system - teachers, students, parents and policy-makers - shapes their understandings of and engagement with recent controversial assessment change in lower secondary education in the Republic of Ireland (Department of Education and Skills, 2015). While policy-makers focus on the new policy technologies (Ball, 2003), in the form of professional development for teachers, assessment support materials to support practice and public information about the changes in assessment, teachers claim that the changes represent an inversion of the student-teacher relationship and a ‘relocation’ of teachers to a new ‘place’ of ‘judgement’. Drawing on the most recent policy texts associated with the changes and data drawn from responses to draft assessment guidelines, the paper moves beyond issues of assessment policy ‘implementation’ to consider the location and relocation of the various actors and identifies lessons for the future development of the assessment system in the Republic of Ireland, and beyond.

Some consideration is also given to the broader issue of the ‘location’ of the Republic of Ireland and the influences of neighbouring assessment systems on local assessment geopolitics.


Professional learning in assessment for South Australian teachers [Australia]
Hassan Mekawy and Bob Buxton

With the introduction of the new SACE Certificate in 2011, a new model of professional learning was proposed to grow teachers' assessment literacy. This involved a school-based intervention that challenged teachers to reflect upon their current practice in their context, and to build a sustainable culture of professional learning in assessment that would be ongoing. The initial results of the intervention are very promising and provide a rich source of learnings that will inform future iterations of the intervention.
Schools and individuals have engaged in a program of workshops across a 12-18 month period, which gives teachers many opportunities to implement new planning and initiatives between workshops. This has allowed for multiple cycles of reflection and action to occur as their understanding of assessment has deepened, resulting in a much better grasp of the reasoning behind their current practice and the ways of improving their assessment.
Changes have been observed in teachers’ attitudes towards assessment, their classroom practice and their judgment-making. The future development of this program will be very interesting in the context of South Australia and beyond.


Rethinking Indigenous ways to literacy assessment: Hands that speak, feet that tell the story [Australia]  
Kathy Mills 

This presentation asks: What are the ways of knowing, being and communicating that are valued and practiced in Indigenous communities? Literacy assessment internationally and nationally typically does not take into account the multi-sensorial dimensions of non-Western forms of representation that go beyond narrow conceptions of print (Mills, 2016). This presentation highlights examples of the multi-sensoriality of Indigenous literacies observed in participatory community research with an Indigenous school (Mills, Comber & Kelly, 2013). Applying multimodal semiotic analysis to video recordings of Year 3 students’ Indigenous dance and artwork on canvas, the researcher interprets students’ embodied sense-making activity (Mills & Dreamson, 2015). Focus group data with students also provides insights into the children’s intended meanings for their dances and artwork. The colourful examples from the data demonstrate the forgotten role of the hands and feet in communication that are central to Indigenous identity and literacies. The presentation problematises the privileging of narrow, logocentric, and Western forms of literacy and its implications for rethinking the role of the whole body in literacy and literacy assessment.


Valuing partnerships in assessment: Building sustainable professional learning [New Zealand]
Jenny Poskitt

Assessment for Learning (AfL) approaches are claimed to have improved student learning and achievement (e.g., Black & Wiliam, 1998). These improvements have stimulated interest in wider implementation of AfL across many nations. While there have been considerable successes in some classrooms and schools, attempts at more widespread AfL through professional learning (PL) initiatives have been thwarted (e.g., Hayward & Spencer, 2010). Carless’ (2005) exploratory framework of three interacting levels of change factors: personal domain (teacher knowledge and beliefs), micro (local school context) and macro (wider external forces such as national policies) may provide insights. Attention to only one or two of these levels in professional learning has resulted in unsustainable programmes (e.g., Poskitt, 2014). Effective learning requires communities of practice, in which each partner is valued and empowered to actively contribute, receive and use feedback. Quality classroom assessment and PL need to be framed therefore to value all learning partners in the system (student, teacher, micro and macro levels), and to provide opportunities for interactive dialogue amongst the levels. Analysis of a NZ case study derives principles for how this might be done from classroom/school to state, or national, policy level.


Marking in a standards-referenced framework
 
[Australia]

Olivia Radford

The creation and marking of assessment tasks is important for accurate measurement of student growth and attainment of learning outcomes. However, there is generally little training for teachers in how to create assessment tasks, and their associated marking rubrics, that are consistent with the current standards-referenced system. Marking rubrics, in particular, are an essential but often overlooked component of the assessment process, and educators often have insufficient understanding of their creation, purpose or how they should be used to effectively discriminate between performance levels and provide feedback. For instance, marking rubrics that are used in the English classroom often consist of vague language that requires further definition, usually through the use of a marking kit and exemplars. To address this disconnect between system and practice, a theoretical model of creating and marking assessment tasks in a standards-referenced system is presented. By contrasting current practice and teacher assessment skills with theoretical models of practice, suggestions can be made to identify a clearer path toward effective assessment and marking practices in a standards-referenced system.


Finding the pieces of the engagement puzzle: Student voice and choice in assessment practices [Australia]
Tiffany Ross

Engaging students in assessment is critical as it directs learning (Havnes, 2004). There is a myriad of methods aimed at engaging students, however, why not ask the students themselves (Baroutsis, McGregor, & Mills, 2015)? This narrative study captured and highlighted students’ stories surrounding their engagement in assessment practices in a junior secondary classroom. Skinner, Kindermann, and Furrer (2009) raised the question, do students actually know what motivates and engages them? This study asserts that they do as they describe how they engage and disengage based on the task, the class, the topic and the teacher. These narratives were utilised to identify and address pedagogical issues as it allows examination of the curriculum and pedagogy from the perspective of the participants, the students (Olson, 2000; Rosiek & Clandinin, 2007). Three main themes were highlighted: student voice in assessment is silenced by current practices resulting in decreased engagement; student voices are varied and dynamic—what suits one cohort, context and time will not suit mass roll out; and, finally, through providing choice, teachers can value students’ choices and increase student engagement. Throughout the paper students’ views are highlighted and explored in regards to literature and the practicalities of increasing engagement in assessment in the classroom.


ISQ Progression Points: Promoting a continuum approach to the Australian curriculum in English and mathematics [Australia]
Jenene Rosser

The Australian Curriculum: English and Australian Curriculum: Mathematics have been developed using year level achievement standards that describe what students typically should know and be able to do having been taught the content for that year. However teachers across Australia are required to report twice per year on their students’ achievement in these two subjects on a five point scale. As primary teachers of English and mathematics across the independent sector in Queensland began implementation of the Australian Curriculum, they requested support from Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ). Teachers wanted assistance in how to use the one achievement standard from ACARA to create a five point reporting scale.
In response, ISQ developed the English and Mathematics Progression Points. Teachers use the Progression Points in multiple ways. The Progression Points are a reporting framework, based on a continuum model of achievement. The Progression Points also elaborate on the Australian Curriculum providing examples and explanations to give teachers more user-friendly access to the curriculum. The Progression Points can also be used to monitor and track individual students and inform what teaching is required next to move a student forwards in their learning. In this presentation, teachers from independent schools will demonstrate the multiple ways the Progression Points are being used to support the diverse needs of learners in classrooms across the independent sector.


Sustaining teacher professional development in assessment to improve student learning [Singapore]
Xiao Yun Sherlyn Seah, Sheng Lim and Fangxi Tan

In 2009, the Singapore Primary Education Review and Implementation (PERI) Committee made a series of recommendations with the intent to realise a more holistic primary education and prepare our young for the future. One key recommendation was more holistic assessment (HA) to support student learning and development.

A core strategy to ensure successful implementation of PERI HA is to build the capacity of school leaders and teachers in using assessment to improve student learning. To bring about the greatest impact, a key focus of capacity building for PERI HA is on the effective use of formative assessment as an integral part of everyday teaching and learning in the classroom. For sustainable teacher professional development in this aspect, a capacity building model in which teachers learn collaboratively in Teacher Learning Communities, practise in the classroom and engage in peer observation and feedback was piloted in 72 schools in 2013. To date, 170 out of 190 existing primary schools in Singapore have adopted the model to support their teachers in improving their assessment practices to enhance student learning.

This paper discusses how the capacity building model has been implemented, and the efforts made to scale up implementation with increased depth, spread, sustainability, and shift in ownership (Coburn, 2003). It will also discuss the impact on schools, teachers and students observed thus far, as well as the lessons learnt and future directions.


Social moderation: An option for sustainable teacher professional learning in assessment? [New Zealand]
Esther Smaill

Around the world, it is increasingly recognized that teachers require ongoing professional learning in assessment. This paper examines whether teachers might access such learning through the school-based social moderation processes associated with New Zealand’s National Standards assessment system. Teachers require trustworthy assessment information to inquire into and strengthen their teaching. In a year long, multi-site case study, I investigated whether participation in social moderation processes could provide teachers with insights that would enable them to collect more dependable student assessment information. This paper reports on data gathered during this study. It describes the extent to which involvement in moderation broadened participants’ understandings of those factors that can affect the dependability of assessment information. Additionally, it identifies the characteristics of those moderation processes that seemed to afford teachers the greatest opportunity to strengthen their assessment capability in this regard. My findings indicate that school-based social moderation processes have the potential to contribute positively to the provision of ongoing, sustainable teacher professional learning in assessment. Yet these findings also suggest that to have this effect, these moderation processes need to be carefully configured and resourced.


Functions of assessment in teacher education [Norway]
Kari Smith

This paper discusses the multiple and complex functions of assessment in teacher education which brings to the fore a number of important issues to be discussed. A central function of assessment in teacher education is gatekeeping, who is suitable and qualified to join the teaching profession and who is not? This function is to a large extent summative. However, at the same time, formative assessment throughout teacher education addresses the development of the student teachers as regards to content knowledge, practical skills, professional attitudes and values. This function is central in supporting the future teacher searching for self-understanding and professional identity. Assessment is an integrated part of teaching, and the student teachers will need to learn about assessment during their education. This can be formal learning, courses in assessment, however, more important is perhaps the modelling of assessment student teachers are being exposed to during teacher education. Do teacher educators practice what they preach in relation to assessment, and especially assessment which enhances learning?

Assessment in teacher education is complex, and my claim is that it has not been given sufficient attention in teacher education in Norway and perhaps also internationally.


Student-led assessment incorporating assistive technology for a diverse range of learners in the classroom [Australia]
Kristyne Smith and Kathleen Bennett

Our paper discusses examples of innovative practice from two schools.
We will discuss how these two schools assess student learning through the use of quality assessment design, underpinned by visible learning incorporating digital technologies to engage a diverse range of learners. We will demonstrate how we support and assess student achievement through the Literacy and Numeracy Continuum (NSW PLAN data) to achieve syllabus outcomes and how students direct their own learning. We will present examples assessment tasks used for Assessment for Learning (formative assessment), Assessment As Learning (student self-assessment
- self-regulation, forming inquiry questions) and Assessment Of Learning (summative tasks through the unit at a specific time or at the conclusion of a unit). We will discuss examples of quality teaching practice that incorporate digital technology to guide a diverse range of learners to achieve personal learning goals. We will provide examples of teaching practice that demonstrate how assistive technology tools support students with diverse learning needs to engage in their learning and demonstrate the achievement of curriculum outcomes.
We will also discuss how specific software selection enables differentiation of learning tasks and present an App evaluation tool currently used by classroom teachers to select appropriate learning tools for students.
We will provide an overview of how our different classroom experiences are inclusive of best quality practice. We will also discuss how our assessment and teaching practices are based on the research of John Hattie and Simon Leonard, incorporating the Australian Professional Standards.


Assessment supporting high school student learning in language arts [Canada]

Ann Sherman

High school teachers have attempted to work towards the implementation of Assessment for Learning for many years but there are continued struggles involved in changing both teacher and student understanding of what assessment can do for the learning process. One New Brunswick high school English Language Arts department has implemented a 3P program of assessment focusing on practice, progress and products based on the work of Gregory, Cameron and Davies. Students are encouraged to collect evidence in portfolios and, through an emphasis on student engagement in the assessment process, including the creation of criteria for success, teachers have enabled students to negotiate their marks with them through a series of conferences.

This session will provide a summary of the research project, along with accounts from the teachers to illustrate applications and implications for classroom practice.


Classroom assessment being informed by large scale assessment: The case of the Pacific Islands literacy and numeracy assessment [Fiji] 
Torika Taoi and Mere Vadei 

The Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy assessment (PILNA) is a measurement of student achievement against pre-set regional standards for literacy and numeracy based on the learning outcomes common across the national curricula of Pacific Island countries. The 2015 PILNA provided data on literacy and numeracy skills of students, from 13 Pacific Island countries, who have completed four and six years of formal primary education. The purpose of PILNA is to monitor the literacy and numeracy performance of students and to use the data to provide information to policy makers and education stakeholders for systems and school level interventions, ultimately for changes in classroom practices. This paper addresses the dissemination of the PILNA findings to each of the 13 participating countries and the proposed intervention strategies intended for teachers. The PILNA findings are reported at the decision making level, at the curriculum and assessment level, as well as at the classroom level with head teachers and teachers. Discussions on intervention strategies are captured to inform intervention strategies that take account of classroom-based assessment for learning to improve teaching skills and hence, learning achievement.


Curricula alignment, classroom assessment practices and teacher competency standards: The critical role of learning outcomes [Fiji] 
Mere Vadei and Torika Taoi

Any assessment is always referenced against something. Traditionally, there has been the distinction between norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessments, with classroom-based assessment being part of the latter. What are the criteria for assessment upon which Assessment for Learning (AfL) activities are predicated, and hence children’s achievement evaluated? While this question appears very basic, the paper posits that it is a dilemma that has to be resolved before Assessment for Learning can become a reality. The AfL movement presumes the clarity and shared understanding amongst teachers and learners of these criteria; but is this so? Two intertwined approaches are taken to begin to address this dilemma in Pacific Island countries. A back-to-basics alignment of the intended, implemented and assessed curricula components, using clear learning outcomes, is necessary. Second, is the targeted focus of teacher competency standards on the use of clear learning outcomes taken from curricula documents to drive teacher design and implementation of learning and assessment activities? The paper discusses these approaches as they translate in selected Pacific Island countries and the challenges that still need to be addressed to get teachers closer to purposeful assessment.


Using video technology to enable student voice in assessment feedback [Australia]
Fabienne Van der Kleij, Lenore Adie and Joy Cumming

Students’ voices have been remarkably absent in assessment feedback research, yet research shows that how students respond to feedback significantly impacts its effect on learning. Feedback research has mainly focused on aspects of the feedback message between a sender and receiver, with little consideration of the positioning of students in this process. This paper (a) provides an overview of the literature about feedback in education and the role of the student in these processes, and (b) provides findings from a pilot project with six teachers and six students that explored the use of video technology as a self-reflection tool for teachers and students, to capture classroom assessment interactions and to give students a voice in feedback conversations. The pilot trialled the use of an iPad to facilitate video-aided self-reflection on feedback practices. The results suggest that video is a powerful tool for teacher reflection on their feedback practices, and provides a better understanding of the students’ perspective in feedback conversations. Importantly, involving students themselves in video-stimulated recall of feedback conversations has the potential to contribute to students’ self-reflection of their involvement in the feedback process, encouraging them to make their voices heard and participate in feedback as a dialogic practice.


Assessment for personalised learning: Towards a whole community approach [Australia]
Deborah Williams 

Assessment practices are not neutral: they will either advance or hinder a school’s learning vision. This presentation will share one school’s ongoing journey to build shared assessment literacy amongst teachers, students and parents in order to create an empowering synergy between the school’s vision for personalised learning and the way in which assessment is designed and implemented. When a school articulates clearly the principles upon which its assessment will be based it can also create flexibility in the assessment and reporting structures within which teachers design assessment repertoires. Equally important is the simultaneous development of student capacity to negotiate learning goals and assessment choices so that students and teachers work collaboratively to create a culture in which every student can embrace assessment as opportunity to both demonstrate and celebrate learning at their personal point of challenge. The presentation will outline the way in which professional learning, parent communication and student agency have contributed to a transforming assessment landscape.


How do primary and secondary school teachers in China understand, implement and reflect on classroom assessment? [China]

Decheng Zhao

Since 2001, China has launched a new round of national reform on basic education curriculum. The reform has emphasized that teachers should reinforce classroom assessment and strengthen its developmental function to improve teaching and learning. More than 15 years have passed, so how do primary and secondary school teachers in China understand classroom assessment? How do they practise classroom assessment? What do they learn from practising classroom assessment? The researcher conducted a non-participant observation on 18 teachers’ teaching activities, and conducted a structured interview after their classes. The results show that, as a whole, teachers have realized the importance of classroom assessment to teaching improvement, and accepted the ideas of developmental assessment. However, there is a lack of awareness and reflection on how to ensure the validity of the tests. Teachers have learned limited things from the practice of classroom assessment. Compared with county town and rural teachers, urban teachers have a more profound understanding of classroom assessment and grasp more techniques for on test preparation and analysis, so that they could improve teaching and learning through their assessment. In the future, teacher educators need to strengthen training in classroom assessment in basic education.


Posters

Assessment to support student learning and development: The Singapore PERI holistic assessment journey [Singapore]
Jieying Ng, Sheng Lim, Kangya He, Xiao Yun Sherlyn Seah

In 2009, the Singapore Primary Education Review and Implementation Committee (PERI) made recommendations to realise a more holistic primary education and prepare our young for the future. A key recommendation of this was to use holistic assessment to support student learning and development, as well as to build their confidence and desire to learn.

To support school implementation, a PERI Holistic Assessment (HA) Project Team was formed. PERI HA was implemented in stages, commencing with prototyping in 16 schools in 2010, before rolling out to all primary schools. In the current Deepening Phase, efforts are being made to scale up HA implementation with increased depth, spread, sustainability, and shift in reform ownership (Coburn, 2003).

In this poster, we will share our progress, successes, challenges and lessons learnt through the Singapore PERI HA Journey in four focal areas: (1) Engaging Students: Supporting learning through formative assessment; (2) Engaging Teachers: Sustaining teacher professional development to enhance classroom assessment practice; (3) Engaging School Leadership: Developing a quality school assessment system; and (4) Engaging Parents: Holistic reporting and parent-child-teacher conferencing. The poster presentation will also showcase school stories, artefacts and videos of HA implementation documenting the journey over the years.


Teachers' learning that bridge the gap between the 'letter' and the 'spirit' of assessment practices [Japan]
Sae Yamamoto and Masahiro Arimoto

In this research we explore the distinction between the 'letter' and the 'spirit' of assessment practices that Japanese teachers attempt to improve the quality of their teaching and student learning in their classrooms. The organizational learning based on familiar relationships (a friendly/supportive relationship between teachers, based on frequent association) has encouraged teachers to change their practices and their own beliefs.

There are two sections. The first deals with the same lessons of two first grade mathematics classrooms. Each teacher used the same approach and tool, but use of feedback was different. The nature of assessment for learning, namely student agency, emerged from teacher and student feedback (teacher and student attitudes toward teacher feedback or feedback between teacher and student). It appears crucial to the 'spirit' of assessment for learning that a teacher has wide objectives and deep conceptual understanding of the subject matter. The second section considers the common way in which organizational learning at school helps to develop the capacity of each teacher and student to have a sense of his or her own agency. In Akita, successful prefecture to improve student learning, we found how professional learning took place.


Assessment components in Yokote Seiryo Gakuin [Japan]
Syoji Zeze

It is well known that elementary and junior high schools in Akita have been top ranked in the nationwide assessment for academic ability in Japan. Their remarkable accomplishment is largely owing to the policy reform conducted by Akita board of education.  At the same time, however, similar reforms in high school education in Akita seem to be rather difficult to implement. One possible obstacle is the diversity between high schools, which requires school based strategy rather than global implementation.

Yokote Seiryo Gakuin, where the author is teaching, has a unique character. Three courses (middle, ordinary high, vocational high) show above mentioned diversity within the same school. Students and teachers share a common culture and beliefs. Students have accomplished remarkable academic performance through rich experiences.

In this research, we attempt to identify what kind of competency is developed, and what kind of assessment is suitable in the school. Both qualitative and quantitative evidence for students and teachers will be used. For students, we will focus on assessment of the “affect” aspect (Stiggins, 1992). For teachers, we investigate firm collegiality developed in this environment.


Symposia

Symposium Considering the impact of human and social conditions on Assessment for Learning: Implications for practice [USA, Australia, New Zealand]
Discussant: Susan Brookhart

Assessment for Learning (AfL) is implemented by classroom teachers and puts students at the centre. However, as such practices take place in the complex environment of classrooms, it is vital that practitioners consider the human and social conditions present, which can enhance or, at times, undermine the success of AfL. This symposium draws together five contributions from the Handbook of Human and Social Conditions in Assessment (Routledge, July 2016) that examine issues and challenges for implementing AfL. Presentation 1 introduces the importance of human and social conditions in classroom assessment, framing subsequent papers. Presentations 2 and 3 focus on techniques of AfL (peer and self-assessment), and identify the impact human and social conditions have on their successful implementation. Presentation 4 takes up the issue of preparing new teachers to use student-centered AfL. Our discussant synthesises the contributions using a co-regulation of learning framework to integrate the findings. For example, a co-regulation of learning framework helps explain how privacy, diversity, and equity are related needs in effective classroom assessment and not just contemporary policy issues. Finally, a set of eleven recommendations for classroom assessment is derived from this compendium of research which can help guide teachers, AfL advocates, and teacher education programs.


Symposium Paper 1:

The human and social experience: Too easily glossed over in classroom assessment
Lois Harris and Gavin Brown 

While few scholars of Assessment for Learning question the benefit of student-centered classroom assessment practices (e.g. feedback, peer- and self-assessment) for learner academic and personal development, studies of enacted practice have not always shown the positive results expected. These practices can be undermined because teachers, students, and other stakeholders often have beliefs and experiences that question the validity of assessments that do not involve traditional formal testing. Psychological, cultural, and social processes mean that assessment interactions do not have universal, stable meanings and ignoring such variation in meaning can produce invalid implementation and data. We argue that to maximise the positive impact on students and their learning, those implementing AfL practices within the classroom must understand and effectively mediate such complex human and social factors and acknowledge when these may limit the validity of AfL practices. This presentation provides a conceptual introduction and framework for the symposium, arguing that AfL advocates and practitioners need a more sophisticated understanding of threats which, if not properly managed, can undermine the effectiveness and validity of these practices.


Symposium Paper 2:
Student self-assessment: An overview of research and problems of practice

Heidi Andrade and Gavin Brown 

This presentation focuses on what is known about the individual and social influences on student self-assessment, including (a) individual students’ competence and confidence in self-assessment, (b) inter-personal relations with teachers/instructors who require students to conduct and perhaps share their self-assessments, (c) inter-personal relations with peers, in front of whom students are sometimes required to carry out self-assessments, and (d) the students’ cultural contexts. It will highlight the ways in which the power of self-assessment is dependent upon the conditions under which it is implemented. Implications for the implementation of self-assessment will be discussed. Because our knowledge of the appropriate conditions for self-assessment is limited by the fact that many researchers do not report the procedural details regarding the ways in which self-assessment was conducted in their studies, the presentation will also include recommendations for research and reporting, and for ensuring the validity and reliability of self-assessment practices.

Symposium Paper 3:
Peer assessment— collaborative learning more than collaborative scoring: Implications from a review

Ernesto Panadero

In this presentation, the empirical evidence on peer assessment and its effects on social and personal variables will be reviewed. Peer assessment is often implemented as a scoring and as an anonymous activity. These two characteristics of peer assessment (scoring only and anonymity) do not guarantee deep interaction between the assessor and assessee, especially when it comes to anonymity. What are the effects of using such characteristics on students’ acceptance of peer assessment? Based on a recent empirical review, the presentation will reply to this question and analyse what the known effects are and what still needs to be explored. Literature suggests that when peer assessment is implemented as a collaborative learning task instead of a “collaborative” scoring activity, the chances for deeper learning are increased, along with students’ acceptance of peer assessment. Additionally, teachers’ perspectives on peer assessment implementation will also be examined to present a wider picture.


Symposium Paper 4:
Changing perspectives about assessment for learning through teacher education
Mary Hill
and Gayle Eyers

This presentation reviews research evidence about the ways pre-service teachers are prepared for working in AfL environments. Teacher education needs to prepare new teachers for the complexities of environments where both summative and formative practices co-exist. Given the importance of using assessment for learning, and despite the importance of preparing assessment confident and competent beginning teachers, evidence has suggested that teachers are often ill-prepared for their assessment roles, and particularly their role in AfL. This presentation focuses on what we know about how teacher education does, or does not, adequately prepare teachers to competently implement AfL when they begin teaching. Despite variability in assessment education outcomes, and in contrast with the findings of earlier reviews, many studies in this review demonstrated that with deliberate effort and planning, pre-service teachers can begin teaching with positive attitudes, knowledge and ability to use AfL. However, it appears that preparation programmes do not often have a focus on AfL and even when they do, AfL is interpreted inconsistently and implemented in ways that may be less than ideal if we want teachers to really understand how to negotiate the complex psychosocial aspects identified as important within research.

* * * * *

Symposium Professional learning in assessment: A South Australian perspective [Australia]
Discussant:
Hassan Mekawy

With the introduction of the new SACE Certificate in 2011, a significant professional learning program for teachers was begun to induct an entire state into a new certificate based upon standards-referenced assessment. This program has developed over time to cover both the quality assurance requirements of the certificate and also to develop the assessment practices of teachers in schools. The capacity to build and sustain this professional learning has presented challenges and opportunities to expand how professional learning is constructed and delivered.
Alongside this, a new model of professional learning was proposed to grow teachers' assessment literacy through the Institute of
Educational Assessors. This involved a school-based intervention that challenged teachers to reflect upon their current practice in their context, and to build a sustainable culture of professional learning in assessment that would be ongoing. The initial results of the intervention are very promising and provide a rich source of learnings that will inform future iterations of the intervention.
Schools and individuals have engaged in a program of workshops across a 12-18 month period, which gives teachers many opportunities to implement new planning and initiatives between workshops. This has allowed for multiple cycles of reflection and action to occur as their understanding of assessment has deepened, resulting in a much better grasp of the reasoning behind their current practice and the ways of improving their assessment.

Changes have been observed in teachers’ attitudes towards assessment, their classroom practice and their judgment-making. The future development of this program will be very interesting in the context of South Australia and beyond.


Symposium Paper 1:
Professional learning in the SACE
Hassan Mekawy  

With the introduction of the new SACE Certificate in 2011, a significant professional learning program for teachers was begun to induct an entire state into a new certificate based upon standards referenced assessment. This program has developed over time to cover both the quality assurance requirements of the certificate and also develop the assessment practices of teachers in schools. The capacity to build and sustain this professional learning has presented challenges and opportunities to expand how professional learning is constructed and delivered.


Symposium Paper 2:
Institute of Educational Assessors
Bob Buxton

With the introduction of the new SACE Certificate in 2011 a new model of professional learning was proposed to grow teachers' assessment literacy through the Institute of Educational Assessors. This involved a school-based intervention that challenged teachers to reflect upon their current practice in their context, and to build a sustainable culture of professional learning in assessment that would be ongoing. The initial results of the intervention are very promising and provide a rich source of learnings that will inform future iterations of the intervention.
Schools and individuals have engaged in a program of workshops across a 12-18 month period, which gives teachers many opportunities to implement new planning and initiatives between workshops. This has allowed for multiple cycles of reflection and action to occur as their understanding of assessment has deepened, resulting in a much better grasp of the reasoning behind their current practice and the ways of improving their assessment.
Changes have been observed in teachers’ attitudes towards assessment, their classroom practice and their judgment-making. The future development of this program will be very interesting in the context of South Australia and beyond.

* * * * *

Symposium Involving Learners in assessment from early childhood to secondary to adult learners: Alignment of word and deed [Spain, Canada]
Discussant: Ernesto Panadero

Research in the area of classroom assessment for learning (AfL)—in which students are deeply involved in the formative assessment process is not only extensive, it is also overwhelmingly positive in terms of its impact on student learning and achievement. This symposium focuses on the implementation of these research-based ideas in early children classrooms, in secondary classrooms and in support of adult learning in schools in Canada.

Chris DeLuca, Canada: How are young learners involved in assessment in the service of their learning and what are we finding out as we do more of this work?
Ann Sherman, Canada: How are secondary school learners involved in assessment in the service of their learning and what are we finding out as we do more of this work?
Anne Davies, Canada: How are adult learners (teachers and school leaders) involved in assessment in the service of their learning and what are we finding out as we do more of this work?

Experience across multiple schools and school systems has shown that the deliberate alignment of actions from the classroom to the systemparticularly in the areas of evaluation and professional growthpositively implicates and impacts everyone’s learning.


Symposium Paper 1:
Assessment in the early years: A study on classroom practices

Chris DeLuca

Primary education is changing. Current curricular reforms have increased accountability in early primary education requiring teachers to integrate assessments throughout their instruction. In addition, teachers are increasingly required to support specific academic learning objectives whilst retaining developmentally appropriate pedagogies such as play-based learning. Despite these reforms, comparatively little research has been conducted on teachers’ assessment practices within early-years instructional contexts. The purpose of this study was to explore teachers’ approaches to assessment in early primary education (i.e, Kindergarten) with a specific focus on how assessment practices differed based on teachers’ of conceptions assessment and play-based pedagogies. Data were obtained from 77 Ontario kindergarten teachers via (a) an electronic survey, (b) in-depth interviews, and (c) classroom observations. Overall, data from this study suggest a misalignment in teachers’ pedagogical perspectives of the purpose of play and what teachers assess during periods of play. The paper concludes with implications for future research and practice in early primary assessment.


Symposium Paper 2:
Secondary teachers' collaborative work towards AfL in high school English language arts classrooms

Ann Sherman

 This paper examines the changes in high school teachers’ thinking as they move from a theoretical understanding to a practical application of AfL in their classrooms. Teachers have been attending professional development workshops on AfL and meeting in discipline groups in their high schools but still faced a great deal of resistance in the way some of their colleagues view the purposes of assessment. Through a process of discussion, risk taking, trial and error, and soliciting feedback from students, two local high schools have made dramatic shifts in their practices moving from theoretical understanding to practical applications and full student engagement in their own learning assessment. Teachers have shifted their own thinking in dramatic ways, moving from a distinctly summative process to a formative process for close to 90% of student assessment activities. Every instructional strategy, curriculum outcome and potential process and product is discussed and thought through, with students negotiating their marks with their teachers as they demonstrate ways they have met co-constructed criteria.


Symposium Paper 3:
Teacher supervision and AfL: Using assessment in the service of adult learning 
Anne Davies

Research in the area of classroom assessment for learning (AfL)—in which students are deeply involved in the formative assessment process is not only extensive, it is also overwhelmingly positive in terms of its impact on student learning and achievement. This paper focuses on the author’s work with schools and systems where AfL strategies have been deliberately used with adults in support of professional growth and change. The author provides examples from the perspective of professional growth and evaluation cycles for teachers. This Canadian example illustrates the use of assessment in the service of adult learning, including redefining reliable and valid evidence of adult learning. Experience across multiple schools and school systems has shown that the deliberate alignment of actions from the classroom to the systemparticularly in the areas of evaluation and professional growthpositively implicates and impacts everyone’s learning.

                                                                                                                     * * * * *

Symposium
Fight or Flight? Risking self in formative practice for shaping learner agency
[Australia]
Discussants:
Jill Willis
and Lenore Adie

Developing strategies and classroom practice to enhance student learning can be an exhilarating yet daunting task for any teacher. Continual professional learning helps hone such skills across careers and frequently involves a measure of risk-taking. Yet framing and sharing such experiences to effect school-wide improvement in learning and teaching can be a significant challenge for school leaders, especially if the goal is to ‘change’ elements of long-lived, proven practices. This symposium presents a snapshot of the changing landscape of professional practice at Brisbane Girls Grammar School across the past eighteen months. Principles of assessment for and as learning have been embraced in action research, trialled to foster learner agency, and embedded in teachers’ professional practice and reviews. Consciousness of the impact of emotional responses to change on the effectiveness of learning is as true for teachers as our students. Each of our presenters has engaged with the ‘fight or flight’ perspective to provide context, goals, processes and outcomes to illustrate their insights into Open Doors at Brisbane Girls Grammar School and how gradual change in the professional learning culture and attitudes to formative practice are affecting growth in student agency.


Symposium Paper 1:
Reflecting on a school's transition into formative assessment, and transformational assessment practices for the junior school 

Bruce Addison

Brisbane Girls Grammar School is a non-selective school. Its approach to learning is based on the ideal of exceptional scholarship. In order for there to be exceptional scholarship there must be exceptional teaching. Our Centre for Professional Practice is responsible for nurturing the synergy that must exist between teaching, learning and scholarship.

In recent years the strategic direction of the Centre for Professional Practice has focused on an Open Doors policy. This approach has encouraged teachers to visit each other’s classes as critical friends. The approach initially was intra-Faculty observation. In the second year of operation the requirement has been inter-Faculty observation. The mantra from the outset has been one of trust generation in order to secure genuine and honest reflection on practice.

An assessment for learning focus has also underpinned this strategy. Teachers have been encouraged to reflect actively on the work of Professor Dylan Wiliam. Our Open Doors approach has worked very successfully in pivoting assessment and learning practice in a high performing teaching staff.


Symposium Paper 2:
The importance of holistic care in the support of student learning 
Alix Vann

An awareness of the value of holistic care in student learning is fundamental to the approach to academic excellence at BGGS. Research has consistently demonstrated the importance of happiness, wellbeing and positive mentoring relationships on shaping girls’ development of self and priming for effective learning and achievement. Adolescent girls experience stress and anxiety in greater proportions and different ways from adolescent boys, and are more likely to have their ‘fight or flight’ response triggered by specific kinds of classroom, teaching and assessment experiences (e.g. ‘pop quizzes’ may be detrimental to a girl’s learning as moderate stress actually impairs learning in females, while the same levels of stress can improve learning for males). The drive to perform perfectly and the setting of unrelenting high standards can at times result in crippling ‘fight or flight’ being activated in students. Thus, in both teaching and assessment, and in pastoral care work with the girls, it is crucial to continually encourage realistic goals, a balanced perspective, and a firm grasp on overall wellbeing, to ensure that stress and anxiety are kept at an optimal level of activation. A brief review of these theoretical underpinnings will be provided, along with some practical examples of how to adaptively harness the stress response in aid of effective learning and performance in adolescent girls.


Symposium Paper 3:
Understanding the adolescent brain to inform formative assessment 
Ruth Jans

This presentation explores how understanding the adolescent brain can inform pedagogical practice regarding formative assessment. Some strategies teachers can use to engage and involve students in classroom activities involving question and answer and discussions, without triggering the fight and flight response, is a key focus. At the same time, it is important to consider how teachers can maximize the involvement of as many students as possible when checking for understanding and providing instant feedback in the classroom. Finally, whilst we understand and acknowledge the importance of scaffolding student reflection on their learning and formal assessment, it is important to consider how to use this information to enhance future learning.


Symposium Paper 4:
The grades/feedback nexus: See the formative forest rather than the summative tree
Stephen Woods

The return of student work has become a time of anxiety and apprehension for students and their teachers alike.  Wiliam and many others have testified to the inimical relationship between grades and constructive feedback, and indeed between grading and learning.

The English Faculty at BGGS has worked to transform the return of summative assessment from a fraught stressor to a segue to formative growth and focused, differentiated learning. We have endeavored to change the impetus from flight to (the good) fight of formative striving. A key strategy in this effort has been the design of instruments on which our students record their grades each time they receive work. As feedback is accrued, each new transcription provides students with both point-in-time and longitudinal information at the level of specific descriptors rather than at the unhelpfully unspecific level of a holistic grade. The use of this strategy, among others, has had a significant impact on the tone of the handback itself, and more importantly, on the tenor of subsequent discussions with students and their parents.


Symposium Paper 5:
'Noticing', reframing and introducing 'criterial literacy': Impact on sense of self and student agency
Kay Kimber

Who would have thought that a teacher of over thirty years’ experience would find weaving formative assessment practices into a unit on persuasive writing a blow to self-esteem? After weeks of progressive building of persuasive strategies with students, drawing on visual journalling, practice writing and rewriting, this teacher grew disappointed with students’ summative assessment results. Could the teacher’s initial despair be channeled into productive ‘wondering’? Could her ‘noticing’ of the discrepancy help students to critique their own performance and ‘notice’ the link between criteria and the quality of their individual performances? Could they ‘wonder’ productively and collaboratively about factors impacting their essay-writing skills and apply criterial literacy to improve both their understanding and future performances? In this presentation, attention will focus on student artefacts, comparative performance profiles, student reactions, and how the ‘fight or flight’ response was manifested for students as well as teacher. Some theoretical underpinnings will be considered as the noticing and wondering continue to untap student agency in learning and assessment.

CONTACT US

Tel: +61 (0)7 3806 1220
acucac@officelogistics.com.au
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