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Explanation

Assessment is key to developing pedagogical teaching and long-term learning. It is


important that teachers develop units of work to ensure that students can demonstrate the
achievement standards designed for their grade by the end of the year. Teachers, therefore,
need to use assessment to guarantee that students are learning what is being taught.
Assessment is also used to inform teachers of any misconceptions students may have and
to provide teachers with insight on how to progress with their teaching. Furthermore,
students use assessment to develop their learning. The Understanding by Design curriculum
planning framework not only ensure that diagnostic, formative and summative assessment is
central to the teaching and learning process, but also ensure that feedback, alignment and
reporting occur.
To develop, students in the Foundational Year, knowledge and abilities in English, a unit of
work was created using the backwards design template. The big idea was 'patterns in
language and literature'. The unit covered five imaginative texts such as One Hungry Spider
by Jeannie Baker and An Australian 1, 2, 3 by Bronwyn Bancroft and a collection of
informative texts. Aimed to meet several achievement standards such as of students
engaging with a variety of texts for enjoyment (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and
Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2016). Furthermore, the key concept helped to deliver, several
content descriptors that focused on the features of language. For example, students
developed an understanding that punctuation is a feature of written text and to recognise
how capital letters are used for names, in the days of the week, and that capital letters and
full stops signal the beginning and end of sentences (ACARA, 2016, ACELA1432). Through
this learning journey, the students extended and developed their understanding of patterns in
language and literature.
It is important that assessment focuses on teaching and learning, rather than high-stakes
testing, which is a common misconception of assessment. Using the Understanding by
Design ensures that this was the central focus of the unit of work. Wiggins and McTighe
(2011) state that Understanding by Design is based on the key concept that teachers help
students developing an understanding of transferable concepts and processes while giving
students numerous opportunities to apply their learning in authentic ways to ensure longterm achievement (p. 4). This means that teachers must use strategies such as diagnostic,
formative and summative assessment to ensure that their teaching is rich and creative.
The summative assessment was rich and creative as it was developed to help students
connect and apply their knowledge to the real word in authentic ways. The summative
assessment was called planned conferences. Tompkins, Campbell, Green and Smith (2015)

describe planned conferences as an assessment literacy strategy where the teacher and the
student meet to discuss the students knowledge and abilities. In the planned conference the
students reading abilities were assessed. For example, the students were asked if the book
they selected was informative or imaginative. This demonstrated that the students could
identify some differences between imaginative and informative texts (ACARA, 2016,
ACELY1648). Students will need this knowledge in real life situations to be able to tell the
difference between fiction and non-fiction.
Additionally, on-the-spot conferences were conducted as informal formative assessment
practices and an evaluation conference was conducted to provide the student with feedback
to self-correct. Using a variety of assessment methods not only address the teaching
standards, but also endorses assessment principles. Readman and Allen (2013) state that
assessment needs to reflect the curriculum for which it is developed and that feedback
enhances learning. Therefore, on-the-spot conferences were used as assessment for
learning to develop the students understanding of informative and imaginative texts. The
evaluation conferences provided the students with feedback to enhance their learning.
Feedback is paramount to assessment success. The patterns in language and literature unit
of work uses feedback in the diagnostic, formative and summative assessment to confirm
misconceptions, the progress of student learning and that learning has occurred. Readman
and Allen (2013) state that there are three principles associated with feedback; high-quality
feedback that enables students to self-assess, teacher and peer dialogue centred around
learning and opportunities to act on feedback. The unit of work uses all three principles
throughout the learning journey to ensure student long-term achievement.
Feedback that enables students to self-assess transpires in all three assessment strategies.
The informal formative assessment on the relationship between letters and sounds
demonstrates an excellent example. Feedback is essential to the students ability to correctly
use their understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds to self-correct and
build new understandings. Readman and Allen (2013) describes this as feedback as
information that benefits the student in terms of the zone of proximal development. For
example, after the teacher has role modelled the relationship between letters and sounds as
the days of the week are written, the students are asked to read the days of the week. The
teacher provides the students with highly descriptive feedback on the students ability. The
student then has the opportunity to self-assess and self-correct.
The other principles of feedback are also addressed. For example, teacher and peer
dialogue centred around learning and opportunities to enact on this feedback occur within
the formative and summative assessments. Hattie and Timperly (2007) describe this as feed

forward; a powerful tool that teachers and students can use to answer the question of what
activities must be done to make better progress as feedback is a consequence of
performance. For example, this occurs informally as the teacher listens to the students
discussions about informative and imaginative texts as they classify the books and record
some of the reasons and justifications for groupings (Education Services Australia, 2013).
The teacher and the other students provide dialogue centred these concepts. Later the
students are able to enact on this feedback during the next activity by predicting if the text
shown is informative or imaginative. In the summative assessment, students demonstrate
their knowledge and abilities on this concept and the teacher provides feedback on the
students abilities in a planned conference.
Alignment is key to pedagogical assessment practices. The unit of work and assessments
were aligned to each other and the Australian Curriculum. Demonstrating assessment
principles such as reflecting the curriculum and creating the link between teacher judgement
to inform the use of criteria and standards (Readman & Allen, 2013). Additionally, alignment
creates the linkage between pedagogies, practice, and performance to purposes and goals
(Hayes, Mills, Christie & Lingard, 2006). Ultimately, the foundation of teaching and learning.
Effective alignment delivers productive assessments. There are four aspects of productive
assessment. Intellectual quality, connectedness, supportive classroom environments and
working with and valuing difference (Hayes et al., 2006). One of the elements of intellectual
quality is higher-order thinking. The unit of work demonstrates higher-order thinking through
the use of Blooms Taxonomy. For example, the students are asked to identify uppercase
and lowercase letters (activity 1.4.1). The students then need to demonstrate their
comprehension of this lesson in another activity where they air write the letters (activity
1.4.2). This knowledge and understanding are then applied as the students locate and write
their names (activity 1.4.4). Analysis occurs when the teacher draws the students attention
to the capital letters in their names and in the days of the week (activity 1.4.5). Students
decide which letter is capital in their name and circle it to demonstrate evaluation of the
concept (activity 1.4.6). Later the students create capital letters in the formative assessment.
The main purpose of reports is to communicate the students achievement to their families.
There are three ways to do this. Through a written report, a profile or a portfolio (Readman &
Allen, 2013). The unit work on patterns in language and literature focus on reporting the
students achievement through an end of the year written report. This was done for two
reasons. Firstly, due to the fact that the unit of work will be done at the end of term four. The
second is due to the fact that student-teacher normally do not report face-to-face to parents

and/or careers. However, there are criteria and methods to effectively report student
achievement to families.
The criteria and methods of reporting are detailed in the principles of reporting. There are
four themed principles of assessment reporting. Marsh (2014) describes these as the
process of communication, the relative weight attached to the grade, and summary
judgements must be supported by data. The process of communication should be addressed
to the students parents or careers. Readman and Allen (2013) state that reports need to
carefully consider the audience and is normally addressed to the students families, however
in some cases have been addressed to the student. In any case, reports need to be based
on evidence collected from assessment.
In summary, the big idea of this unit was based on patterns in language and literature for
students in the Foundational Year level. The Understanding by Design template help
demonstrate how the big ideas were developed to give the students numerous opportunities
to apply their learning to ensure long-term achievement. Furthermore, the big ideas were
aligned to the Australian Curriculum to create rich assessment strategies. These strategies
included diagnostic, formative and summative assessment. All three assessment strategies
were used to extend and develop the students learning through methods such as
conferences. These conferences demonstrated how teachers could provide feedback to the
students so they could self-assess their achievement as use assessment for learning to
further progress their development. Finally, by collecting evidence of student achievement
teachers can report on student progress and there are themed principles and methods on
how to do this.