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This assignment can be found on my ePortfolio at the following address:
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ETP425 Assessment and Reporting Assignment 01 Part A Evaluation of a Work Sample- Data Record Bean Plan Observation, Year 2.
Preamble The task that I am evaluating follows a bean planting activity. The students are required to record their observations of daily changes to the bean through illustrating and describing what they see. Prior to the activity, I would expect the teacher to have explicitly explained the objective to the students. This may be done by teacher demonstration or by showing examples of previous students work. The DECD website suggest a rubric cold also be used to help students be more explicit. (Government of South Australia, 2008) I would also expect discussion relating to plant needs and how and why growth happens. Additionally, inclusion of Blooms Taxonomy or Tony Ryans Thinkers Keys may assist this process. However, the narrow focus of this activity would benefit from a simple and focused class discussion. Looking at the assessment piece, five descriptors from the year 2 Australian science curriculum could possibly be covered. Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves (ACSSU030) Science involves asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events (ACSHE034) Use informal measurements in the collection and recording of observations, with the assistance of digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS039) Use a range of methods to sort information, including drawings and provided tables (ACSIS040) Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways such as oral and written language, drawing and role-play (ACSIS042) What has been asked of the student? The student is required to adopt simple scientific methods to observe and document changes that occur to a bean over a five-day period. Observations of plant growth are to be documented through diagrams and descriptive text. The diagrams and text should show detailed descriptions of daily changes.

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What is the purpose of this activity? This activity has a number or purposes. Primarily it is an exercise designed to familiarise the student with the idea that living things change over time. These changes should be described and measured. It should stimulate critical thought and enable the teacher to collect evidence of the students understanding and ability. This piece should be assessed against year 2 science curriculum descriptors. Assessment should be an ongoing process designed to improve teaching and learning. Hattie & Jaeger (1988) urge that assessment no longer be regarded as an add on but as an integral part of the teaching/learning process. (Brady & Kennedy, 2012, p. 18) To assist teaching and learning, ongoing informal formative assessment and feedback should take place during the observation period. This assessment will maintain validity through being standards referenced against the Australian curriculum. What the student has done well At first, the student appears to have carried out the task as requested. They have understood that a record was required for each day. They attempted to describe changes to the bean plant over a period of five days. They have recorded and presented their observations by means of diagrams and explanatory text. Each record has been correctly labelled with a day number and a date. The student has made good phonetic attempts at letter sound matches and spells common words correctly (ACELA1424). What areas require remediation? (What outcomes have not been met) On closer examination, it becomes clear that the student has not fully understood the requirement or has not been able to fulfil the requirement completely or with sufficient detail. The diagrams do not clearly describe the varying stages of plant growth therefore do not entirely fulfil their purpose. This may just be opinion. However with adequate instruction it is possible to create clear graphic representations regardless of ones drawing ability. The diagrams could also benefit from being labelled. The written descriptions lack detail. They provide no information about the observed differences on days two, three and four. The description for day five looks like it may have originally suffered from a similar lack of detail but has since been altered. This may be as a result of teacher or peer intervention. If informal measurements were taken to describe the growth of the plant over all five days the observations would align with curriculum descriptor (ACSIS039) and benefit on a scientific level. This observation data could then be used in additional ways, such as plotting a graph. This lends itself to a cross curricular connectedness that covers data representation and interpretation (ACMSP050). From a literacy focus, the description hasnt included any adjectives or conjunctions (ACELA1468) and they have not made any conscious choices of vocabulary to suit the purpose of the writing (ACELA1470).
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Formative feedback As this task is carried out through demonstration, assessment should primarily capture the students performance. The teacher can make anecdotal records and support can be offered to the student in the form of either a reminder or scaffold prompt: What more can you tell me about what you saw on days two, three and four? What differences did you observe between days two and four? How can you check if your plant was taller on day five than on day two? Areas that met with a lesser degree of success can be bought to their attention, and support offered in the form of a short informal discussion and written feedback. What could have been done to support the student and achieve better outcomes? In the interest of equity it would be beneficial to consider additional ways to record and communicate observations. This would allow students to perform the learning task in ways that suit their individual learning styles. Photography, audio recording, time-lapse video and graphing could be considered. The failure of the student to provide adequate description of observations two, three and four could suggest: Not enough understanding of the task. In this case, more time and/or design should be given to the teachers initial explanation of the activity and expectations of the student. One to one assistance to assist over the observation period would also help. Lack of interest in observing and recording observations. A well-designed engaging introduction by the teacher to stimulate interest in how things change over time would certainly help with this issue. The activity could be made more meaningful, authentic and interesting for the students. The way assessment is conducted has the potential to influence both students attitudes to learning and the strategies they use to further their own learning. (Brady & Kennedy, 2012, p. 18) There could be a wall or whiteboard display showing the daily progress of everyones plant. Whose plant is racing ahead? Whose plant is still sleeping? What could the reasons be for some plants growing faster than others? Students would also take pride and interest in their documentation if they were required to present their results to the class at the end of the observation period. This could be done in a number of multi-modal ways. The use of digital technology would also help align the activity with descriptor (ACSIS039) of the Australian Curriculum Use informal measurements in the collection and recording of observations, with the assistance of digital technologies as appropriate. Drawing and visual communications are important literacies skills. Discussion and guidance on good diagrammatic communication needs to take place before and during the observation

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period. This would not only improve the drawings but would also focus the thoughts of the student on the specific changes that are taking place as the bean grows.

Part B Reflection Practice.

What is Assessment?
From my learning in this unit, I believe assessment is akin to taking stock of a situation and making necessary changes with a particular goal in mind. Primarily it is used to gauge students performance with the intention of improving teaching and learning outcomes. In the past, assessment came at the end of a unit, such as grading a project or scoring a test, a process known as summative assessment. If students had not mastered the content as evidenced on the test or project, it was too late (Fontichiaro, 2009, p. 163). Whilst summative assessment still has its place, it tends to be used primarily for grading and accountability. When evaluating the work sample in part A, I was sure to recognise weaker areas of the students work. This would enable me to assist the childs learning before the end of the unit.

Components of assessment
Ongoing data collection can be used to make informed decisions as to the best way of improving the teaching and learning. Summative evidence can be used by external stakeholders, such as governments and parents to measure the academic success of students or schools in relation to each other or to pre-determined standards such as NAPLAN or the Australian Curriculum. As a result of my recent learning I have become aware of much debate surrounding summative assessment and its effect on education. Summative assessment lacks the noble intentions of formative assessment and this brings into question its validity. Perhaps it is time to challenge or at least question the existing accountability system and testing requirements. They seem to lack focus on innovations such as higher-order thinking skills and other 21st-century learning skills. These may not impact test results, yet may offer students successes that will benefit them well beyond their Pre K12 school experiences
(Hunt, 2010, p. 77).

Methods of evidence collection

Authentic, classroom assessment is an integral part of learning and collects evidence of student achievement on an ongoing basis. Portfolios, Observation, discussion, work samples, performances, self-assessment are just a few opportunities for authentic assessment. Wiener and Cohen (1997) point out many advantages to authentic assessment including its focus on higher-level thinking and the way it uses tasks that reflect normal classroom activities.


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Any form of assessment should be designed to measure how well the teaching and learning have met with the objectives. It is therefore vital that assessment is also aligned with the teaching and learning.

When to collect evidence

Formative assessment should be an on going informal process during teaching and learning activities. Better-focused and correctly levelled learning activities can be designed if we also assess the students prior knowledge before commencing with assessable activities. If required, an evaluation of how well a student has learnt at the end of a teaching period can be obtained by a Summative assessment. The authentic assessment principal of using a variety of strategies that reflects student learning is best served by also including standardised and teacher-devised tests in a teacher assessment repertoire (Brady & Kennedy, 2012, p. 45).

Some words about grading

Grading can be a result of assessment, but is not actually assessment in itself. Grading is a reportable value given to the students performance and intended as a measure of their learning. Does grading offer any educational benefit and how accurately does it reflect the range of students abilities?

The Influence of stakeholders?

Evidence of assessment is reported to a number of different stakeholders for a number of different reasons. Assessment procedures are the vehicle whereby the dominant rationality of corporate capitalist societies is translated into the structures and process of schooling (Broadfoot,1981, p.202) as cited in (Brady & Kennedy, 2012, p. 2). My thoughts on stakeholder influence tend to repeatedly come back to the parents. Given that the parents perception of what good education looks like will be highly influenced by their own childhood and that of their own parents, it makes me wonder if the influence they have on todays education is holding it back in any way. Parental influence is twofold; direct influence on the school in which they trust their childs education, and to a larger degree; political influence through the governments that need to show that they are investing money into an effective education system.

Does grading offer any educational benefit and how accurately does it reflect the range of students abilities?

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Do stakeholders (Parents) impact negatively on learning and assessment through their perceptions of what education should be based on their own experiences of passive learning?

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) n.d. (V6.0) Science / Foundation to Year 10 curriculum.

Brady, L., & Kennedy, K. (2012). Assessment and reporting: Celebrating student achievement (4th ed.). Frenchs Forest, N.S.W: Pearson Australia.

Fontichiaro, K. (2009). 21st-century learning in school libraries. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited.

Government of South Australia (2008, August 21). Assessment strategies. Retrieved from

Hunt, T. C. (2010). Encyclopedia of educational reform and dissent. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

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