A fresh approach to the practical use of assessment information in schools is presented to the reader of this text. Developed from evidence-based research and informed by ‘on the ground’ experience in education, this book offers a new perspective to the interpretation and use of assessment findings in the classroom.
Cultivated from the view that assessment is for teaching (instead of the more commonly adopted stance, ‘teaching is for learning, of learning’) the comprehensive and practical approach presented in this book informs teaching strategies by facilitating the interpretation of assessment data through a developmental paradigm. The developmental approach (instead of a deficit approach) offered to the reader recognises what the primary or secondary student is ready to learn instead of what they don't know/can't do/haven't learnt. The aim of the approach is to improve student outcomes through the identification and planning of individual learning goals, utilising a developmental scale. The sharing of assessment data and team-based interpretation is encouraged through the promotion of collaboration between teachers in the context of professional learning teams.
Each chapter is structured in a fashion that makes the information accessible to the experienced and inexperienced educator alike, as well as the tertiary teaching student. They comprise an exercise for practising the application of the chapter content to the classroom, response templates for each exercise, guidelines for assessing the value of the exercise in a professional learning team, and lastly, short review exercises for the reader to cross-check their understanding of the content covered.
The early chapters set the scene by outlining the major concepts and ideas being conveyed, and an explanation of the developmental approach to teaching and assessment, along with the developmental paradigm that facilitates the higher order thinking this new approach to assessment requires. The reader is also shown how the assessment data can be utilised to identify a student's zone of proximal development (i.e., using the information to determine what the student can do, what they struggle to do, and what they cannot do). The procedures for conducting assessments are then described.
Chapters 4 and 5 promote understanding of how the approach can foster cultural change in schools through the school and leadership teams, as well as by helping teachers develop collaborative, team-based practices where decisions are informed by the evidence provided from the assessment data. Chapter 6 explores judgment-based assessment and presents ways to formalise teacher judgment to reduce the risks associated with subjectivity, while at the same time promoting the value of a teacher's professional opinion. Chapter 7 extends understanding of judgment-based assessment further by demonstrating how it can be interpreted within the developmental paradigm. Chapters 9 and 10 lead the reader through the ‘how’, that is, the application of assessment designs to identify the scaffolded, developmental pathway, which can be directly linked to the teaching strategies employed. The final chapters tie the content together with the generation of reports using the developmental paradigm as a basis, the teaching of students with special needs, and lastly, a case study presentation that brings the approach alive in the ‘real world’ sense. A particularly useful resource presented in Appendix A is the description of how to use the online testing and reporting linked to the book, an informative and time-saving resource for all professional educators from leadership down.