Essential assessment literacies for teachers: A focus on learning improvement and accountability

Essential assessment literacies for teachers: A focus on learning improvement and accountability

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Essential assessment literacies for teachers: A focus on learning improvement and accountability

Internationally there is ample evidence of the high priority given to educational assessment, with governments increasingly calling for evidence of student and school achievement. Against this backdrop, this paper addresses the question: What are the assessment literacies that classroom teachers need to enable them to engage in assessment practices that serve to improve learning and to meet system and local accountability requirements? With this question in mind, the paper discusses two recent projects in Queensland, Australia, where the focus has been on developing and understanding teachers’, assessment knowledge and skills. The first case focuses on the cross-sectoral approach taken to build teachers’, assessment literacy and thereby promote public confidence in school-based assessment in Years 4 to 9. This case includes the explicit provision of system supports for standards-referenced teacher moderation meetings. The second case examines how criteria and standards can be used within a classroom to identify individual learning priorities, with the teacher working to induct students into the language of assessment, thereby building students’, explicit knowledge of assessment and how to “,see”, the intrinsic quality of their work. Of particular interest in this second project is the evidence showing the benefits of working with standards and feedback on achievement, especially when students engage with self-assessment. The paper concludes with a conceptual framework for assessment literacy that recognises the role of information and training and the act of undertaking assessment for continual capacity building of teachers’, assessment literacy.

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