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Module 5: The Role and Importance of Assessment and Feedback

Week 1: The Role of Assessment in Teaching and Learning

This week the ECT focused on revisiting the role and importance of assessment as part of the teaching and learning process.  They explored the complexities of assessment and how assessment outcomes can be influenced and distorted as a result of the assessment we as teachers choose to utilise.  This week set the tone for a critical exploration of the role of assessment within their classrooms. 

Evidence and Research:

Invite the ECT to think about their learning from this week and explain to you what they see as the role and importance of assessment within the teaching and learning cycle.

You may want to use the following questions to support this discussion:

  • What do you understand to be the role of assessment within teaching and learning?

  • Is assessment important, and why?

  • Are you confident with using assessment within your own practice?

  • What support or guidance do you feel would be beneficial for you to develop (further) in this area?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT chose a lesson to explicitly focus on with regards to using assessment to inform their planning and approach to teaching and learning decisions, using the cycle below:

Invite the ECT to talk you through this lesson with a focus on how they used assessment to inform decision making and practice. 

 

You may find the following questions help to scaffold this conversation:

  • What lesson did you choose to focus on, and why?

  • What assessment data and information did you draw upon to inform your planning?

  • What were the learning intensions for this lesson?  How did these reflect the previous learning and assessment knowledge you held?

  • What assessment did you incorporate within the lesson? and at what points within the lesson did you use these strategies?

  • As a result of these assessments within the lesson, did you amend you plan at all?  Why? How?

  • How did you assess whether the learning intentions had been met?

  • What do your assessments tell you?

  • How might this influence your planning for your next lesson?

Reflection and Discussion

The ECT watched the video below where Dylan Wiliam explores the complexities of assessment.  

You may find it beneficial to watch the video.

Invite the ECT to summarise their learning as a result of this video.  They should talk about the following:

  • They key messages they took from the video

  • What they learned from the video that was new to them - or extended their knowledge.

  • Anything that challenged their thinking.

  • WHat they will take into their own practice and how they plan to do this.

Week 2: Formative versus Summative Assessment

This week the ECT focused on the roles of summative and formative assessment in a pupil's learning.  They revisited the meaning of each and looked at how these should effectively be applied in order to progress learning within the classroom.  The ECT also considered alternative approaches to summative assessment by exploring the approach taken in Finland.

Evidence and Research:

Hold a conversation with your ECT about their learning this week, inviting them to share their understanding of the differences between formative and summative assessment and to explore the roles of each, particularly the importance of the use of formative assessment.

You may find the following questions support this discussion:

  • What do you understand to be the differences between formative and summative assessment?

  • What is the key function or role of each?

  • What are the differences in the use of each form of assessment between the UK and Finland?

  • Why is effective formative assessment so important in the teaching and learning process?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

This week the ECT was asked to choose a lesson whereby they would focus of effective formative assessment, choosing different forms of formative assessment.  Here you may want to explore the choices they made. 

 

The following questions may frame the discussion:

  • What lesson did you choose to focus on, and why?

  • What formative assessment methods did you plan to include in this lesson?  Why?

  • Were any approaches you chose new to you?

Reflection and Discussion

Having taught the lesson they had planned, with a focus on formative assessment, invite the ECT to reflect upon this lesson.

You may find the following scaffold this reflection:

  • How did you utilise the formative assessment?

  • What impact did this have on the learning process? 

  • What did you do/amend/develop as a result of the formative assessment?

  • What would you develop (further) in the future?

Week 3: The Role of Homework

This week the ECT focussed on  the role and purpose of homework in the learning process.  They explored what constitutes homework and what high-quality homework might look like.  They considered the arguments for and against setting homework and how homework has the potential to reduce the attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils as well as the potential barriers faced by more disadvantaged pupils.

Evidence and Research:

Hold a conversation with your ECT about their learning this week, ask them what they have learnt about the place and role of homework within teaching and learning.

You may find the following questions support this discussion:

  • What constitutes 'homework'?

  • What is flipped learning?  Have you used this before?  Do you think it might have benefits?

  • What might homework include?  What makes for high-quality homework?

  • What are the arguments for setting homework?

  • What are some arguments against setting homework?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

This week the ECT was asked to explore the school's policy on homework and to have a conversation with colleague/s around their views on homework, you will want to unpick the key learning from the discussions and their understanding of the school policy.

 

The following questions may frame the discussion:

  • What is Newingate's policy regarding homework?  Were you aware of this previously?

  • Have you been adhering to the policy?  If not, how do you need to adapt your practice in order to?

  • What are people's opinions regarding homework?  Did you gather any differing perspectives from your conversations with colleagues?

Reflection and Discussion

Drawing upon the ECT's learning invite them to reflect upon their position around homework.  The following questions will scaffold the reflective conversation:

  • Do you think homework has a role in the teaching and learning process?  What is this role?

  • Do you feel that homework has a place in a setting such as ours?  Why?  Why not?

  • Do you think homework is an effective mechanisms to close the attainment gap?

  • Thinking back through your practice and ITE, did you set high-quality homework?  What would you do differently?

  • How might you adapt your practice moving forward as a result of your learning?

Week 4: The Importance of Feedback

This week the ECT focused on  the different forms of feedback we can give pupils and how each differs in terms of effectiveness.  The ECT considered the importance of feedback being related to the task rather than the person and explored what constitutes effective feedback.  The ECT trialled a chosen feedback strategy or approach and reflected upon how this moved pupil learning forward.

Evidence and Research:

In your conversation with the ECT invite them to share what they have learnt this week, inviting them to share which elements of their learning they feel they need to focus on and develop within their practice.

The following questions will help to frame your discussion and draw on the learning they engaged with:

  • What do you understand the role of feedback to be?

  • What are some key types of feedback that can be used within your teaching and learning?

  • What types of feedback do you feel you would like to develop further, and how might you do this?

  • Have you read and does your practice align with the school assessment policy?

  • Talk to me about ego-involved and 'task-involved' feedback.  Which is preferable and why?

  • What is the key aim of feedback?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

This week the ECT was asked to choose one of the feedback strategies/approached covered within their learning to trial within a variety of lessons.  Invite them to discuss their choice with you.

They also, if they had time, may have observed a colleague's lesson focusing on the feedback approaches used.

The following questions may help scaffold this discussion:

  • What feedback strategy/approach did you choose to focus on and trial within your own practice this week?  

  • Why did you choose this strategy/approach?

  • If you observed a colleague, what feedback strategies and approaches did you see in action?

  • What did you learn to take into your own practice?

  • Did you see evidence of feedback moving pupil learning forwards?

Reflection and Discussion

Having trialled a chosen feedback strategy/approach within their teaching this week, invite the ECT to reflect upon these lessons.  The ECT will have engaged in a reflective exercise using these questions, invite them to respond to:

  • How did you find planning the feedback strategy/approach you chose to trial?

  • How did this strategy work in practice?

  • How did the pupils respond?

  • How did this strategy/approach to feedback move student learning forward?

  • What evidence do you have of this?

  • What would you do to develop this approach/strategy further?

Week 5: Verbal and Written Feedback

This week the ECT focused on  the benefits and impact of both verbal and written feedback and considered how to effectively utilise each strategy to move pupil learning forwards.

Evidence and Research:

This week the ECT focused on  the benefits and impact of both verbal and written feedback and considered how to effectively utilise each strategy to move pupil learning forwards.

This would be a good week to undertaken a formal observation of the ECT with a focus on assessment and feedback.

Evidence and Research:

Before exploring the lesson observation within your mentor meeting you may wish to invite the ECT to share their learning from this week with you.

Invite them to explore with you how they understand the role of verbal and written feedback within teaching and learning and how feedback, if utilised effectively can move learning forward.

The following questions may support this discussion:

  • What is the importance of effective feedback in terms of learning and teaching?

  • What is the role of verbal feedback in moving learning forwards?  Why does verbal feedback have such a positive impact?

  • When might written feedback be useful?  How might you frame this?

  • Is there anything you specifically need to consider when offering feedback to pupils?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

This week the ECT was introduced to the Verbal Feedback Toolkit (UCL).  You may find this useful to take a look at and ask how the ECT has applied any elements of this toolkit to their practice.

The ECT was invited to focus on trialling verbal and written feedback strategies within their practice this week.  Explore what strategies they chose to trial with them and the reasons for their choice.  This may be framed by the following questions:

  • Did you try any new or different verbal feedback strategies this week?

  • Why did you choose these particular strategies?

  • What written feedback did you offer the pupils this week?

  • Why do you think written feedback was the most appropriate form of feedback in these instances?

  • Did you offer time for pupils to engage with your written feedback?

Reflection and Discussion

Having conducted an observation this week, focus this element of your mentor meeting around this observation.  Inviting the ECT to reflect upon the lesson and adopting a coaching style approach to facilitating this discussion.

Ensure that there is a focus on how the ECT is effectively using and developing assessment and feedback within their practice to move pupils' learning forwards.

Week 6: Effective Feedback for Autistic Learners

This week the ECT focused specifically on how to effectively question and offer feedback to learners with autism.  The ECT looked at a journal article on this subject (see below) and focused on the key themes within this article and how these can be applied to practice within the classroom.

Evidence and Research:

Use part of your discussion time to consider the difficulties autistic learners have in engaging with questioning and feedback dialogue and what strategies can be adapted within practice to reduce such difficulties.  

You may find asking the following questions useful:

  • What difficulties do learners with autism face when engaging with AfL such as questioning and feedback?

  • Why is this the case?

  • What can you do within your own practice when asking questions of your pupils to reduce the difficulties they face?

  • How might you adapt your feedback to be more supportive for your pupils?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT was invited to trial the suggested adaptations to both their approaches to questioning and feedback within their teaching this week.

They may not have had the opportunity to try them all.

Invite them to identify what they have tried and practiced from the bulleted list below:

Questioning:

  • Offer a longer 'wait time' after asking a verbal question

  • Use a quiet and non-threatening tone of voice

  • Support questioning with additional stimuli such as visuals

  • Ask questions that only require short, two or three word answers.

  • Ensure the questions you ask are clear and brief.

  • Use steps to scaffold asking more complex questions, breaking the questions down into parts.

  • Avoid idioms (e.g. over the moon) and metaphorical questions (e.g. is the glass half empty or is the glass half full?)

Feedback:

  • Ensure feedback is short and unambiguous

  • Make the next steps for learning explicit E.g. next time you write a letter you need to include a date at the top on the right hand side of the page.

  • Consider using visual representation to communicate your feedback e.g. a mindmap.

  • Offer affirmative praise.

Reflection and Discussion

The ECT will have reflected on the approaches tried and considered the impact they had on learning.  

Invite the ECT to share their reflections with you.  The following may help frame the conversation:

  • How did the approaches work?

  • What went well?

  • What impact did adapting your practice have on pupils' learning?

  • Are there things you tired that you feel you need to practice more?

  • What are your next steps?

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