Learning focus area 3: Assessment and reporting

Strengthening teacher judgements against standards

Driving Question: How do we build teacher capacity to make accurate judgements against standards?

The purpose of this learning focus area

1. This LFA supports a school community to engage in an investigation that helps teachers:

  • make accurate judgements against the Victorian achievement standards 
  • analyse and interpret evidence that reveals where students are in their learning and development. 

How this learning focus area can help participants achieve their purpose

1. This LFA supports schools to:

  • identify the learning needs of teachers in relation to making more accurate judgements against achievement standards
  • design and lead school-wide and team-based professional learning that results in teachers making more accurate judgements against the Victorian curriculum standards
  • have structured conversations to make sense of evidence
  • identify key considerations, implications and actions for leading change to strengthen the accuracy of teacher judgements. 


Outline of the investigation

The table below outlines the sections of the investigation and participants this LFA uses to achieve these steps.

Section Participants
1.      What can we learn from our current context?

The investigation team

Teachers from the learning community focus group

2.      What can we learn from other school communities? The investigation team
3.      What else does the educational evidence say? The investigation team
4.      What does the system level say? The investigation team
5.      Pulling it together The investigation team

To complete the investigation, follow the steps in each section below. 

1.   What can we learn from our current context? 

1. PurposeTo find out:

  • how teachers are currently making teacher judgements of student learning against the Victorian Curriculum F-10 achievement standards   
  • what teacher strengths, challenges, learning needs and ideas are for strengthening teacher judgements against standards
  • what possibilities and changes teachers would value in relation to their current experiences.

2. Participants:

  • the investigation team
  • teachers from the learning community focus group.

3. How do the investigation team facilitate 'What can we learn from our current context'?: 

Workshop 1: the investigation team and teachers from the learning community focus group.

  • Read through Investigation: Strengthening Teacher Judgements against Standards booklet (LFA 3.1 booklet). 

  • Read through the guiding questions on page 4 of the LFA 3.1 booklet and choose/refine/create questions that will best reveal what the team aims to learn.
  • Split teachers into 2 groups. Allocate 2 investigation team members to each group. Use one as a leader and one as a recorder
  • Follow the prompts on page 3.
  • Lead the group conversations using the questions prompts on page 4.
  • Record notes from the group conversations on pages 5-6.

Workshop 2: the investigation team

  • Retrieve the notes from the group conversations in workshop 1.
  • Analyse and synthesise the responses 
  • Record findings on page 8.
  • Keep page 8 notes for LFA 4.  

2.   What can we learn from other school communities? 

1. This section provides an opportunity to learn from Westgarth Primary School's journey. 

Background: Westgarth Primary School embarked on a journey to translate reporting against the Victorian curriculum standards into plain language statements that were meaningful to both parents and students. They explored how to improve the quality of teacher judgements, this included the development of assessment maps and changes to their moderation processes. They also looked at the leadership implications involved in improving the quality of student reporting and reports. 

"It's been a godsend" (Teacher)

"These new reports are amazing…they are providing an access point for stuff I couldn't work out for myself." (Parent)

2. Purpose: to learn from other communities and decide which possibilities are worth pursuing.

3. Participants: the investigation team. 

4. How to facilitate 'What can we learn from other school communities'?:

5. Consider the implications for determining entry-level development and the process of making more accurate judgements.  

6. Read through LFA 3.2 Case Study: Precision Assessment at Westgarth Primary School.

7. Discuss the following:

  • Compared to Westgarth Primary School, how well do we support our teachers to learn how to make accurate judgements about student learning and growth?
  • Westgarth Primary School developed assessment maps to illustrate what student progress and achievement might look like within a progression of learning. What resources do we offer our staff and students? How well are these serving them?

8. How confident are we about the accuracy of our teachers' judgements against the Victorian Curriculum standards? What other information do we need to confirm this confidence?  

3.   What does the educational evidence say? 

1. Purpose: to review the evidence on strengthening teacher judgements with a view to incorporating the findings.

2. Participants: the investigation team.

3. How to facilitate 'What does the educational evidence say?': 

4. Go to the EdP Professional Reading Discussion Guide. Select a process to help make sense of the forthcoming orienting reading. Use the question prompts to enrich the discussion about the reading.

5. Go to Optional Reading: Strengthening dependability of teacher judgements. Use the question prompt from the reading discussion guide to discuss the reading.

6. Complete one or all optional exercises if you wish:

  • Extension resource 1: Making judgements using the Continua of learning and development
  • View and reflect on examples of how one teacher makes judgements using the continua of learning and development.
  • Note down how this teacher gathers various forms of learning evidence to help her make professional judgements with her class.
  • Share findings in a triad. Identify key features about how they relate to the Victorian Curriculum F-10 context.

7. Extension resource 2: Increasing the dependability of overall teacher judgements and Moderation, NZ Ministry of Education.

  • Select a process from the EdP Professional Reading Discussion Guide to help make sense of these readings.
  • View and reflect on ways to increase the dependability of judgements and the student's role in this.
  • Use the summary of considerations for discussion.

8. Extension resource 3: Moderation and Teacher Learning (Hipkins, R. and Robertson, S. 2011).

  • Read through the Index and choose one section that aligns with your professional learning aims.
  • choose one of processes in the EdP Professional Reading Discussion Guide to guide a conversation to explore and analyse the reading.

9. Make notes on what the investigation team has learned in relation to the following:

  • What are the characteristics of teachers who can make accurate professional judgements, where do you see yourself at this point in time? 
  • What are some implications for us as leaders if we are to support our teachers to strengthen their judgements against standards? 

4.   What does the system level say?

1. Purpose: to understand system level recommendations for making teacher judgements against achievement standards.

2. Participants: the investigation team.

3. How to facilitate 'what does the system level say?':

4. Read through the following system level guidance regarding making teacher judgements of student learning:

5.   Pulling it together

1. Purpose: to use what the investigation team have learned to understand new possibilities for strengthening assessment design. 

2. Participants: the investigation team.

3. How to facilitate 'pulling it together':

4. Discuss and note what has been discovered about the following on LFA 3.3 Investigations Key Point Template:

  • the extent to which the current moderation practices support accurate teacher judgements against standards?
  • the learning needs of our colleagues that need attention?
  • what else we can do as leaders to support our colleagues to make more accurate judgements against standards in a re-imagined reporting process?

5. Keep these notes to be shared during Learning Focus Area 4.

Learning Focus Area 3 Evaluation Guide

LFA 3.4 Evaluation survey is provided for school leaders to distribute to relevant members of the investigation team and participating teachers. It is designed to determine the understandings and impacts of participating in the Strengthening Teacher Judgements against Standards investigation.