A consistent approach to assessment with the Practice Principles

​​​Oak Park Primary School reflected on what worked and what needed development to support literacy interventions in the classroom. The nine Practice Principles for Excellence in Teaching and Learning provide a starting point for a close analysis of your professional practice as a teacher.

The Practice Principles allow both school leaders and teachers to reflect on what works best in their teaching practice and identify areas to improve.

At Oak Park Primary School, the School Improvement Team has used the Practice Principles to guide collective reflection and support them to identify the next areas of focus for the school. Assistant Principal Monika Gruss explains how the school's approach to using the Practice Principles helped its teachers develop together.

Understanding the value of the Practice Principles

Tools to evaluate our teaching approaches

'Before the Practice Principles, we didn't really have much consistent evidence of what best-practice teaching looked like across th​​e board. But now I can use one document, which is evidence-based, that says what we're doing in the classroom is great and these are the behaviours that make an effective teacher.'

Practice Principles in action to improve literacy learning

#6 Rigorous assessment practices and feedback inform teaching and learning

For many schools, assessment – particularly in literacy – is a constantly evolving practice. For Oak Park Primary School, the School Improvement Team (SIT) identified assessment as a focus area through their monitoring and evaluation of ​curriculum and student learning data.

The Practice Principles support teachers as they weave a literacy focus into all their work – guided by the core teaching practice of curriculum development, pedag​​ogy, and assessment.

It's not someone else telling us what to do, we're looking at our own development

'One of our leading teachers, who had recently done a professional development course at Bastow, spoke about the development of assessment guidelines that we could use to keep our practices consistent across our school.' 'If we have ​​it consistent, then there's no confusion across the whole school, and that's when we think we will see the greatest success as a school.'

Starting with the strongest practice

'In some areas, assessment is stronger than in others, so we're going to start with our literacy teams because this is an area a lot of teachers feel confident in.'

'For this year and the next year, we will be building our foundational knowledge in assessment in line with the Practice Principles because we firmly believe that if we have these effective, rigorous assessment practices in place, with lots of feedback for both teachers and students, it's going to inform our practice and we're just going to skyrocket from there.'

Room for feedback at all levels

'It's really important for all teachers to be able to reflect on what worked and didn't work when they evaluate their current practices against the Practice Principles.

'This feedback gets discussed, and the next step will be to take everything we've learned from introducing a consistent set of assessment guidelines aligned to the Practice Principles to our School Improvement Teams.

Support for you to reflect on your o​wn practice

Professional Practice Note 8: Using the Practice Principles to guide literacy learning

The Department has developed a Professio​​nal Practice Note to help teachers understand how the Practice Principles for Excellence in T​eaching and Learning facilitate effective practices across your school, beginning with literacy.

To start the self-reflection in your school, see:

Professional practice note eight: Using the practice principles to guide literacy learning
Review the teacher tip
A quick guide to Professional practice note eight: Using the practice principles to guide literacy learning
Supporting FISO Priorities: Excellence in teaching and learning

Effective teaching is the single biggest determinant of student improvement in the school. Excellence and consistency in teaching are best developed through reflecting on your practice and determining what areas you can develop to improve student outcomes.

To learn more about this priority and its supporting dimensions, see Excellence in teaching and learning.