Dimension: evaluating impact on learning

This dimension is part of the Excellence in Teaching and Learning priority.

Overview

Assessment is used to evaluate impact on learning through a process of gathering, analysing and reflecting on evidence. Improvements in learning rely on informed and consistent judgements. Effective teachers use assessment to evaluate the impact of their teaching on student learning. They then adapt their practices to better meet the needs of all students.

Formative and summative assessment are an integral aspect of teaching and learning, for both teachers and their students. Teachers use real-time, classroom-based data and formative feedback to identify issues at the core of inquiry. Teachers monitor the impact of their actions and adjust their practice accordingly. School leaders communicate a coherent message about the impact of teaching on student learning. This relies on supporting and challenging teachers to understand causes and effects.

Improvement measures

Results from the School Staff Survey, available in Panorama, can be used to measure progress, and as success indicators. Suggested factors include 'use of evidence to inform teaching practice', 'understand formative assessment', 'skills to measure impact', 'understand how to analyse data' and 'monitor effectiveness using data'.

Growth in NAPLAN data (Top 2 Bands, Benchmark Growth) and trends in VCE scores may be used as long-term measures of school improvement efforts in evaluating impact on learning. In the short term, formative assessment and teacher judgement can be used to identify the learning level of each student based on evidence of what the students knows and can do, and to understand what each student is ready to learn next.

Supporting resource

Assessment of Student Achievement and Progress

Continuum

The Continuum for Evaluating impact on learning describes a range of proficiency levels (Emerging, Evolving, Embedding and Excelling) that assists principals and teachers to identify areas of practice that require attention in order to deliver improved student outcomes.

Component: The school builds teachers’ assessment capability to inform teaching

Emerging

Teachers provide students with feedback on strengths and areas for improvement to progress learning. Teachers use a limited range of formative and summative assessments to monitor student learning, identifying needs and complying with curriculum standards.

Evolving

PLCs/PLTs dedicate time and establish processes (such as using assessment rubrics, moderation and protocols) to improve consistency in their assessment of student learning. Teachers provide students with targeted feedback based on informed and timely judgements of each student’s achievement, relative to their learning goals and needs and curriculum standards. Teachers use formative and summative assessment strategies to identify, articulate and explicitly teach skills which help every student to improve.

Embedding

Teachers collaborate to design high-quality summative and formative assessments. Teachers consistently use formal processes such as peer observation, moderation and cross-marking to ensure the accuracy of teachers’ judgements. Leaders and teachers establish processes to enable students to provide feedback on progress and the next steps for improvement with staff and parents/carers/kin.

Excelling

Teachers demonstrate how to effectively use assessment to inform planning of, and adapt, pedagogic practice. Teachers’ professional judgement is validated by reference to rigorous data analysis by skilled teacher teams. Teachers use a range of comprehensive formative and summative assessment data for regular feedback to students and parents/carers/kin, who are engaged as partners with the school.

Component: Leaders and teachers connect student assessment with learning

Emerging

Leaders encourage PLCs/PLTs to work together to identify and use a range of appropriate assessment strategies. Teachers formally assess students’ work at the end of a cycle of learning, using summative assessment tools that measure student achievement at a point in time against goals and the curriculum standards. Teachers analyse student assessment data to identify the knowledge and skills students need to meet expected standards.

Evolving

Teachers work in teams to analyse assessment data and monitor students’ learning as part of regular lesson planning and review, including for those students with IEPs. Teachers review assessments to identify implications for future lesson planning, including curriculum content and pedagogy.

Embedding

Leaders oversee the documentation of whole school assessment strategies. Leaders and teachers use an assessment schedule which balances formative, summative and metacognitive approaches. Teachers working in stages of learning and learning area groups use a range of assessment data to diagnose learning needs, informing future planning. Teachers work in teams to analyse student data and assess the need to adapt their practice and/ or refine approaches to assessment and curriculum.

Excelling

Teacher teams make explicit use of teachers’ analysis of student assessment to inform curriculum development and teaching practice. Student feedback, including evidence-based metacognitive strategies, informs analyses of assessment. Teachers working individually and in groups engage in a reflective cycle of planning, teaching and assessment, using evidence-based strategies. PLCs/PLTs track and monitor individual students, subgroups and whole-school progress.

Case studies

To see examples of how schools in Victoria are implementing the FISO dimension Evaluating impact on learning  see: Evaluating impact on learning case studies

Evidence base

To view the evidence base for the FISO excellence in teaching and learning priority area see: Evidence - Excellence in teaching and learning evidence base

FAQs

Why should my school engage with this dimension?

Research shows that the use of formative assessment, combined with feedback, can have a powerful effect on learning. Teachers use formative assessment, or assessment for learning, to adapt their teaching to meet student needs. When feedback on student performance is provided relative to learning goals it is a powerful strategy which enhances learning. It is important that teachers use these strategies as a way to improve learning, but also consider how they can be used in combination with each other.

To what extent is this dimension already being implemented in my school?

Consider whether formative assessment practices and feedback are integral to your teaching and learning program.

What can my school focus on?
  • Focused approaches to evidence-based formative assessment rooted within specific learning areas
  • Feedback that addresses misconceptions and is related to the task not the person
  • Allocation of time and resources for teaching teams to plan, evaluate and reflect together.
What does successful implementation look like?
  • Curriculum planning and documentation includes summative and formative assessment
  • Peer observation is used as a model for providing effective feedback
  • Teacher teams develop, plan and moderate student work using student achievement data
  • A program of needs-based professional learning is incorporated.
What strategies and actions can my school implement?
  • Access professional reading to develop a deeper understanding of formative assessment and feedback and the impact on learning
  • Teachers collaborate in teams to construct formative assessment tasks in their domain areas
  • Teachers work in their teams to analyse student data and evaluate the impact
  • Teacher teams regularly review curriculum documentation.

More information

For more information, see: Excellence in Teaching and Learning priority