Module 5 Assessment

        I.            Write down 5 things you believe about assessment and 5 things you want to know about assessment.


I believe that formal assessment:

  1. Needs to be fair (i.e. no favouritism, or based on classroom behaviors etc.)
  2. Criteria needs to be transferable so other teachers would be able to mark assessments with similar accuracy
  3. Should provide feedback that is understandable by students and their parents/carers so both parties can identify how the assessment was made (and the score produced)
  4. Should be exclusive of the class/group results (e.g. not part of a bell-curve or other statistical model – whilst unlikely, if multiple students have earned full marks then that’s the mark they should be entitled to
  5. Can be scrutinized by students and teachers are confident their assessment strategy and marks are justified


I would like to know more about:

  1. Tools for developing marking rubrics
  2. Informal assessments to influence the class planning
  3. How assessment is done for VCE (i.e. outside of the school, centralized marking)
  4. Relating assessment tools back to curriculum (i.e. how much is enough/not enough)
  5. Developing tools for overall assessment (i.e. whole year)


      II.            Has anything you have read about changed or confirmed what you originally believed about assessment?


The idea that a teacher will monitor the progress of their student’s learning and modify their teaching content and methods on the needs of the students is a ‘penny dropping’ moment for me.  My preconception was that assessment was the formal assessment of student’s outputs based on assessment tasks (i.e. VCE).  For the teacher to ‘infer’ the students’ understanding of the content and their breadth of knowledge and then modify to improve this is a skill important in the improvement of teachers.

The on-going nature of assessment is in stark contrast to the periodic assessment task evaluation of a student’s outcomes which I originally believed.  I will take this important finding with me and adapt this to my planning and teaching strategies.




    III.            Record any useful resources you have found in your journal.


Northwest Evaluation Association (2015) ‘Assessments with Integrity How assessment can inform powerful instruction’ LINK


How to assess students and modify the teaching practices accordingly.
12 Awesome Formative Assessment Examples LINK Gives different activities that can be used to gauge a student’s progress without appearing as a ‘formal’ assessment.
56 different examples of formative assessment  LINK David Wees, a specialist in formative assessment, has developed a range of ideas and activities for
Assessment for Learning
Curriculum Corporation web-page LINK
Identifies assessment requirements for Australian state curricula





    IV.            What are the three most important ideas you have learnt about assessment in this section?

Grading Vs Assessment – grading places a value on the outcomes of the education (i.e. result of exams, assessment tasks etc.) whilst assessment is the understanding of a student’s progression, understanding and growth.  Grading takes place at specific intervals (i.e. at the end of the week, topic or semester) whilst assessment is a constant process whereby the growth and rate of growth is monitored and the skilled teacher adapts his or her program within the curriculum to best support the student in their learning.


Formative Assessment – monitor student learning.  Using formative assessment, teachers can work with students to BOTH identify strengths and weaknesses, develop plans in areas that need improvement, act quickly to minimise gaps in the learning.  This kind of assessment can be done informally and occurs during the learning.


Summative Assessment -evaluate student learning against specific criteria (e.g. tests, exams etc.).  Whilst these assessments can be used to develop strategies (e.g. such as in formative assessment) it is usually after the event, with the result fixed.  Summative assessment is usually formal and is completed after the learning.


      V.            Based on your learning about feedback, identify the three most important aspects of giving feedback to later years students.


Feedback helps clarify what we expect from our students.  It helps the students understand what we (or the curriculum) require from them and in turn produce better learning outcomes.

In regards to supplying feedback to students, it should be of high quality, not a quasi-marking system.  The comments made by Dylan William at the NWEA Conference (2012) that feedback should be like a medical, not a post-mortem really resonated with me.  Feedback (i.e. the ‘medical’ where it outlines components of learning and identifies areas of strengths and weakness) should provide ways to improve for all students – and this inspires and engages them toward further learning.


The return of assignments etc. is often an anxious moment for students.  It is an opportunity for teachers to provide honest and timely feedback but also a chance for the student to reflect and grow as a learner.  Watson (2013) suggests the feedback should be

Specific – as feedback is a tool for future change so identify the areas that need work.  Alternatively, identify the areas that worked well.  It is important to emphasise what could be done differently next time and highlighting only the most significant improvement to bring about the most important change, rather than brushing over a raft of small errors and omissions.

Actionable – emphasise what could be done differently next time (as opposed to the thing/s they did wrong this time) and offering how this could be done.

Timely – the most effective feedback is timely and frequent in that suggested improvements can be implemented before the next assigned task (where possible) has begun.

Respectful – looking for the good points while still focusing on future solutions.  Being less judgemental with feedback by replacing “You did not…” with “I did not understand…”


Acknowledging that there is a marked difference between ‘feedback’ and ‘advice’ and ‘evaluation’ (Wiggins, 2012) is important.  Feedback is information that a student can grow and learn from.  In the samples given, ‘advice’ is what to do or change without using a context which can lead to an unsupportive message.  The ‘evaluation’ is judgement of a poor/good/better outcome or an emotional response on its own.  Wiggins would like to dismiss the evaluation and grading within schools but concedes that it would be difficult to do this.  However, he does reiterate the benefits to both student and teacher in providing good feedback to enhance future learning opportunities.



5 Assessment for Learning Curriculum Corporation, (2008) Introduction to Assessment for Learning Retrieved from:


5 Carnegie Mellon University (1999) ‘TEACHING EXCELLENCE & EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION – Assess Teaching & Learning – Basics – Grading vs Assessment’  Retrieved from:
5 Department of Education & Training (Vic), 2013,  ‘Assessment Advice’ Retrieved from:
5 Department of Education & Training (Vic), 2013,  ‘Teacher Support Resources > Assessment and Reporting > Assessment Advice’ Retrieved from:
5 Global Digital Citizen Foundation (2016) ‘12 Awesome Formative Assessment Examples’ Retrieved from:
5 Northwest Evaluation Association (2015) ‘Assessments with Integrity How assessment can inform powerful instruction’ Retrieved from:
5 Watson, G (2013 Aug 30) ‘Characteristics of Good Student Feedback’ [Video File] Retrieved from:
5 Wees, D. (2012) ’56 different examples of formative assessment’ Retrieved from:
5 Wiggins, G.  (2012) ‘Seven Keys to Effective Feedback’ Feedback for Learning Volume 70 (Number 1) Pages 10-16 Retrieved from:
5 William, D. (2012 Dec 14) ‘NWEA – Partnering to help all kids learn. Unpacking Formative Assessment’ [Video File] Retrieved from:

Module 4 Teaching and learning strategies

        I.            What strategies for teaching later years students appeal to you? Why these ones – is it because of your preferred style of learning?


I see my strategy to incorporate enjoyment for students and teacher alike.  With students engaged in the class (i.e. not being distracted or bored), the learning experience is enriched for all.  Engaged students are less likely to have behaviour issues.  Enjoyment and engagement is a result of well-prepared classes, inclusion of humour/silliness/entertainment to exchange understanding and initiate learning exploration.  To appeal to the variety of learning styles within classes, I would incorporate a number of techniques that resonate with the students.


Ideas from:

Comparison Matrix

With the use of comparison matrix as it is commonly used in the workplace to record information to compare and contrast particular features or attributes of ideas, plans, items etc.  An example could include using a well-known music player such as iTunes where the song and selectable attributes appear in a table to include artist, album, year of production, length, song-writer etc.  The user can discount information that is not important or relevant for the task (e.g. may ‘hide’ unwanted fields such as ‘genre’, ‘beats per minute’ etc.).



To assess the transfer of a concept or information, taking time for the students to visualise and report what is happening/happened in a text or concept and produce an output will allow them to explore their own understanding.  Some will be able to re-tell in detail, others will be able to write, others might be able to draw a diagram or a combination of the above and this will reflect their learning experience.  Especially when deciphering texts and concepts this strategy will reflect not only the exchange of information, but the students’ understanding.


Graphic Thinking Organizers

This method is useful as it can incorporate what the students already know, what they need to know and the connections between related concepts.  To introduce this, I would refer later years students with nearly any crime/detective show on TV where the suspects and victims are depicted on a board and connections are made as to their relationship or discounting them.  This method could be used to demonstrate a familiar topic (e.g. character and plot map of a familiar story such as Three Little Pigs) and express this graphically.  Students may copy and annotate for their own record the organiser so as to shape the understanding for themselves.  There are a number of online tools (such as MindMap) to create electronic versions of this.



Make your own notes about these strategies and how you think you would be able to use them in your teaching.

Note Taking

Note taking is important as it summarises the information given in a lesson for future learning and assists in the revision of the lesson.  Obviously, not all information that is given in a lesson can be transcribed in a class (it changes the shape and focus of the lesson from a learning experience to one of dictation) so it needs to be structured as a prompt for further investigation or point to review resources.  There are a few different methods with some cross-over depending on the learning styles of the student (i.e. incorporating colour, font styles, diagrams etc.)

Outline method

This method helps students outline the main and sub-topics discussed in a classroom.  The hierarchy allows for important information to ‘appear’ so by being located in the ‘important’ section of the page (e.g. left-most side for main points).  This can easily be achieved with a program such as Word using the Heading Styles, tabs and bullet.

To introduce this, I would incorporate a story/topic the students were already familiar with (could be a nursery rhyme, or text previously studied).  Discussing the text in a group and producing a sample notes page on the whiteboard is a good idea.  Showing good note-taking techniques (i.e. keeping information in a context, structured and adhering to a hierarchy) will assist students develop their own note-taking skills in future.

Cornell method

The Cornell method is a way of arranging the notes page prompting action from the student to review and reflect as a way of improving the retention and comprehension of the class content.  This method is important for the ‘motivated’ learner – i.e. one who understands the importance of note-taking and revision/review for later assessment.   This is important for later years’ students as it prompts the further investigation.  Effective instruction of this method ensures the timely follow-up and completion of subsequent research to respond to the questions.

Mindmapping method

Designed around a central theme, the mind-mapping tool is a visual tool to demonstrate content.  This can appeal to visual learners with the break-down of complex ideas into sub-content and streams.  It shows the relationship of existing knowledge and puts this into a visual representation.  This can assist in the planning of essays and projects where ‘branches’ of the main idea can be discussed as sections, paragraphs, chapters etc. and marked when investigated, discussed or discounted as appropriate for the task.

Class Discussion

Where a class engages in conversation, there is an opportunity for the teacher to gauge the understanding, or at times misunderstanding, of the content.  Using well placed questions and prompts, the teacher can direct the discussion to where the known and unknown and other students may be able to assist others in their understanding and development of their own understanding and view.


Vocabulary is important as each subject area and content area has words, phrases and jargon that students will need to learn as part of their understanding of the learning.   As the student develops the understanding of not only the word, but its meaning and uses it appropriately this indicates a level of learning about the concepts and words within that topic.  Introducing key words to students is important as they can build their understanding through the important parts of a topic.  This enables assessment by a teacher through reflective tasks such as a class discussion (e.g. where the students discuss a text and call the characters by name) where they have adopted the words to assist in not only their understanding but explanation.


      II.            Read the following articles, noting points of interest and useful ideas you could incorporate in your teaching.


The first article has a focus on how to encourage a deep learning through three different approaches.  While the focus of the article is university students, parallels can easily be drawn with later years students.
What’s the difference between a deep approach, a surface approach and an achieving approach to learning?

Deep Intrinsically motivated; develop an understanding and create their own meaning; make links to previous knowledge and widen their knowledge-base; inspire a curiosity to explore further (life-long learning)


Encouraged by:  engaging the students’ previous knowledge and experiences; allowing students to decide aspects of the course (contents and assessments); providing feedback rather than a mark; engaging students’ minds with questioning techniques;

Surface Students learning to pass exams – learn just enough to get through the exam and purge the information; Use of memory and repetition of information;   “Is this going to be on the exam?” Turn off when information isn’t ‘needed’.

Extrinsically motivated

Achieving Competitiveness; challenge themselves by ‘training’ towards the exam/assessment through organising and allocating time to train/study; When used with deep learning, usually leads to subject success.


The next article looks at some strategies for developing deep learning.
Teaching practice – Promoting deep learning

The RMIT (2014) articles discuss points similar to other research (Lublin, 2003) whereby the teacher’s enthusiasm and questioning techniques can have a profound effect on the depth of learning for a student.  Applicable to later years students, where the students are generally interested in their subjects as they have chosen some or all of them, the options and decision-making about the direction of their learning is key in developing a deeper understanding – not surface learning to pass a final exam.  Motivation of students (Baeten, Kyndt, Struyven, & Dochy, 2010) and providing supportive environments for their learning is important for developing the deeper learning skills.


The third article discusses the value of questions in the thinking and learning process.
The Role of Questions in Teaching, Thinking and Learning

This article looks at the importance of delving into content, rather than just accepting that there is one answer for each question.  It discusses the importance of helping students develop an understanding through a teacher’s questioning techniques to provoke thought and further investigation.  The student then develops further meaning and organises the information to create meaning.


Read through the resources below, taking your own notes about each of the approaches as you go.

When High School Students Struggle with Textbook Reading.

This blog discusses the issue of how to read textbooks for meaning.  Importantly, it outlines how teachers can assist students who may not be familiar with reading textbooks and recommends strategies such as ‘chunking’ (where the teacher familiarises themselves with the content and focusses student attention on specific chapters or pages), ‘revision’ (develop activities in class where the students are able to use the information contained in the textbook in discussions with their classmates) and helping students to develop study skills to ensure they understand the content.  Pells (2016) recent article discusses the failure of UK university students to read textbooks with the academics posturing that the students don’t know how to prioritize information from textbooks whilst the student body blaming the assessment culture for this experience.  By helping our students in later years to develop skills to help prioritise and arrange information, we can assist their further learning skills for later in life.

All teachers are teachers of literacy and we cannot assume that all later years’ students have the skills to read for meaning. A search of the internet will reveal lots of resources which describe different stages of teaching reading. There is a great resource on the NSW BOSTES website for teachers, student and parents called Learning through reading and writing.

The resource describes four strategies for high school teachers to use to develop students’ reading and writing skills preparing for reading, detailed reading, note-making and joint construction. This process can be used for later years students as well.

To overcome issues in reading in later years students, NSW BOSTES has come up with a strategy consisting of:

1. Preparing for reading This step helps initiate curiosity by helping identify and prepare connections the student has with existing knowledge and understanding. It is recommended that the teacher discuss some to the key topics of the text so that students identify these at they read the text.


2. Detailed reading Identify key pieces of information (words or phrases) which can give extra meaning to the read text.  This might be to discuss or define these points within the class or further research for meaning.


3. Note-making. As this is a group activity, students are actively participating in the note making by writing notes on the board and/or copying this to their own workbooks.


4. Joint construction This is where the revised text is recorded providing for further understanding.  The professional teacher is to provide an appropriate level of scaffolding to ensure the information is sorted and utilised in a logical and useful manner.





    III.            Read the following articles, compiling a list of strategies you could use to encourage active listening in your students.


Strategies for encouraging active listening:

Practice – introduce to the students the idea of active listening and discuss how to develop these skills.  Students may not be aware of active listening as a concept and rely on a teacher’s experience to assist them with this important learning and skill (Taherkhani, 2011).Fun can be had in delivering ‘non-verbal’ communication and role-play this to identify how good listening body language is receptive compared to negative body language.

Environment – create a respectful listening environment by doing away with distractions and waiting until there is appropriate silence within the classroom before delivering speech.  Remove obstacles such as boredom through well-planned lessons.

Lead by example – use the skills of active listeners by modelling behaviours such as showing full attention to students when they are speaking, paraphrasing their questions and comments (this is a good tool when delivering to a classroom as all students may not have heard the content initially) and being sincere – i.e. responding without sarcasm etc.

Non-verbal signs – showing receptive body language such as smiling (or reflecting the mood of the content where appropriate – e.g. surprise, shock) and leaning slightly toward the speaker attentively.

Verbal signs – seeking clarification of points made during the speech, paraphrasing the question in a response, summarising the points made etc. (, 2016)



    IV.            Identify the key features of wait time that you could use in your teaching.


The concept of ‘Wait time’ enables the teacher to engage all thinkers in the classroom, not just the most extroverted or exuberant trying to please with the quickest and as evidence suggests, not always the best response to a question.  With wait time, there is an expectant pause in the usual humdrum of classroom activity and it focuses students’ minds on the question at hand.  Wait time encourages all students to contemplate their response and the deeper thinking students are given an opportunity to develop an answer in their own mind without the pressure of urgency from peers.

Whilst we have been socially engineered to reduce wait time in normal conversations, the use of wait time in the classroom allows for not only students to consider their response in the normal flow of a conversation, but a teaching using a pause before speaking demonstrates a level of deeper thinking – modelling good learning behaviour for the students (Ingram & Elliott, 2016)


      V.            Identify 3 active learning strategies you can use with later years students in your subject area. An internet search will give many subject specific examples.


activating prior knowledge

Explore the existing understanding of concepts prior to their introduction to the classroom with such questions as “What do you know about…?” or “When you hear the term (x), what does that mean to you?” to build a knowledge profile of the class and direct learning around this.  This is an opportunity to correct inaccurate or erroneous information before the ‘new’ information is approached for learning.


Chunking involves the break-up of large, complex concepts and workloads into manageable chunks –or to put it another way, ‘How would you eat an elephant? One bite at a time’.  This is a way to help students organise and priorities new and existing information for their learning.  Key points for primary learning can be identified in the initial ‘chunks’ and those of lower priority can be investigated at another time.


Building on the existing knowledge and experience of the student, elaborating helps create links between the new concepts and knowledge with that which the student already holds.  When introducing new content, the teacher guides the student through their existing, familiar knowledge and builds on this by comparing and contrasting the new information.

(Swiderski, 2011)



ACS Distance Education (2011) ‘Home > Info > Education > Trends & Opinions > Listening Skills’ Retrieved from:


Artze-Vega, I. (2012) ‘Active Listening: Seven Ways to Help Students Listen, Not Just Hear’ Retrieved from:


Baeten, Marlies, Kyndt, Eva, Struyven, Katrien, & Dochy, Filip. (2010). Using Student-Centred Learning Environments to Stimulate Deep Approaches to Learning: Factors Encouraging or Discouraging Their Effectiveness. Educational Research Review, 5(3), 243-260.
Bergmann, J., Sams, Aaron, & Ebsco. (2012). Flip your classroom reach every student in every class every day (1st ed.). Eugene, Or. : Alexandria, Va.: International Society for Technology in Education ; ASCD.
Bonk, C., & Graham, Charles R. (2005). The Handbook of Blended Learning Global Perspectives, Local Designs. Hoboken: Wiley.
Boyles, N. (2003). From sparse to specific: Teaching students to write quality answers to open-ended comprehension questions. New England Reading Association Journal, 39(2), 16-22.
Foundation for Critical Thinking (2013) The Role of Questions in Teaching, Thinking and Learning Retrieved from:
Ingram, J., & Elliott, V. (2016). A critical analysis of the role of wait time in classroom interactions and the effects on student and teacher interactional behaviours. Cambridge Journal of Education, 46(1), 37-53.
Lorcher, T. (2014) Make the Best of Class Time with Cornell Notes Retrieved from:
Lublin, J (2003) Centre for Teaching and Learning Good Practice in Teaching and Learning:  Deep, surface and strategic approaches to learning Retrieved from:
Munro, J, (2012) ‘Improving literacy in the secondary school : An information to knowledge innovation’ The University of Melbourne. Retrieved from:
NSW BOSTES (2014) ‘Learning through reading and writing: information for teachers and schools’ Retrieved from:
Pells, R. (2016 Apr 16), ‘University students are struggling to read entire books’ The Independent Retrieved from:
RMIT University (2014) Teaching practice – Promoting deep learning Retrieved from: (2016)  ‘Active Listening’ Retrieved from:


Swiderski, Suzanne M. (2011). Transforming Principles into Practice: Using Cognitive Active Learning Strategies in the High School Classroom. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 84(6), 239-243.
Taherkhani, R. (2011). Active and Passive Students’ Listening Strategies.Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2(3), 705-708.
Vander Ark, T. (2013.1) Leading for Deeper Learning: 10 Proven Strategies Retrieved from:
Vander Ark, T. (2013.2 ) Deeper Learning–Not Just for Honor Students Retrieved from:

Module 3 Planning

        I.            Look at the format of the Unit/Lessons document and note the different types of information that are included in this unit plan.


The unit plan consists of:

Year 8 Semester 2: Energy Types Unit Identifier – which year and semester and unit heading
Essential Question: What is Energy? Essential question gives us a summation of the unit and what is being explored (i.e. in this unit, identifying ‘What is Energy?’ is more about identifying the types of energy rather than measuring, producing, engineering etc. if the question was ‘Energy’)
Time Allocation: 4 weeks (12 x 48 minute sessions) Structure to outline 4 weeks, depending on the timetable allocation this could be 1 single and 1 double period over the four weeks, or 3 separate periods over the week depending on the school timetable structure.
Level 8 Science Achievement Standard: This statement appears in the Australian Curriculum and the relevant parts have in this example been highlighted where it is matched (see below) with the Australian Curriculum Code
Content Descriptions:


The applicable Curriculum Codes and description are colour-coded to verify the content
Lesson sequence: Energy Types This table outlines the content for the plan

(48 mins)

Numbered sequence of sessions for the four week plan


  Focus    What will students know and be able to do? This outlines what key outcomes from successful completion of the session. These can be used as part of the session’s introduction and conclusion.
  What are the main learning activities?        


Outlines the activities and how they are delivered within the session; includes links internal and external to the document.
  What are the assessment tasks? Outlines the tools used to assess the student’s understanding and gauge their learning (in meeting the planned outcomes through the activities).
Example worksheet Sample worksheets are attached for the use in the planned sessions.  Other work activities are hyperlinked throughout the document.




      II.            What are the similarities and differences between the Victorian and the NSW sample units?

Whist there are many similarities, the main difference with Vic and NSW sample units (using the Year 8 Science example from above) is the Elaboration for very similar code descriptions.  Compare:

Code Description Elaborations


Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge ·  considering whether investigation using available resources is possible when identifying questions or problems to investigate

·  recognising that the solution of some questions and problems requires consideration of social, cultural, economic or moral aspects rather than or as well as scientific investigation

·  using information and knowledge from their own investigations and secondary sources to predict the expected results from an investigation




Identify questions, problems and claims that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge ·  investigating how advances in telescopes and space probes have provided new evidence about space

·  investigating how the development of microscopes has changed understanding of cell function and malfunction, and how this has led to improved medical treatments for disease

·  investigating how knowledge of the location and extraction of mineral resources relies on expertise from across the disciplines of science

·  considering how advances in technology, combined with scientific understanding of the functioning of body systems, has enabled organ repair and replacement

·  investigating how land management practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can help inform sustainable management of the environment



Whilst the descriptions are almost identical (added “and claims”) the Elaborations are quite different.  In the example used above, the Victorian model is quite prescriptive whereas the NSW sample is much broader.

The Victorian model also includes other Descriptions not shown in the NSW model.


    III.            Record in your learning journal the stages of UbD and add a short description for each.


Understanding by Design is a fascinating concept as it turns traditional curriculum design on its head by planning around an outcome or goal.  The example given by Jay McTighe in likening our planning backward design to planning a holiday or building a house is an identifiable analogy as it requires a plan with multiple event and scenarios to take place to achieve the overall goal.   Whilst it is a great tool for teachers to plan, it still leaves room for the teacher to put their own abilities to task with their pedagogical stance and delivery methods but provides a strong structure within which to operate.

Stage 1:  Identify Desired Results

In this stage, we identify the knowledge and skills outcomes that students should obtain and/or develop as a result of completing the subject.  Knowledge is what the student should know (facts, processes etc.) and the skills component is what the student should be able to do with the knowledge (i.e. when to use it). (Howard, 2014)

As there is a wide range of parts to learn, a teacher planning the curriculum takes guidance from the Curriculum framework to create a plan within these parameters.

Once a general area has been identified, Wiggins & McTighe (2005) discuss the development of curricular priorities into three areas, 1-‘Worth being familiar with’, 2-‘Important to know and do’, 3-‘Enduring’ understanding’. As each subject area has a vast amount of content, not all are going to be critical but may be ‘worth being familiar with’ which could be looked into further if need be (and could be used as extension activities.  Secondly if it is ‘important to know’ (i.e. focussed upon in the direction of the curriculum – not everything can be included in every school’s curriculum for every subject) this too is included to help transmit understanding and the future use of the content.  Where the learning would be considered ‘enduring understanding’ (i.e. the fundamental principles of this subject and future understanding) it is included in curriculum as a mainstay of the subject content.

Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence

By designing the tools to collect acceptable evidence, we create subject content for a ‘real-world’ value rather than to complete an end of unit exam.  Whilst traditional tests, quizzed and exams may be used, there are other ways a teacher can assess the progress being made by the student (i.e. using the knowledge in an appropriate context) collecting evidence of the progress over the period of the subject.


Stage 3: Plan Learning Experiences and Instruction

Here is the final stage –this is now the vehicle we as teachers need to drive to meet the identified ends (the transfer of understanding for the students).  It is here that specific tasks, activities, projects etc. can be developed to determine the level of understanding from both formal and informal assessments.


    IV.            Make a note of the headings you would use in your lesson plans. You could develop your own template and include it in your journal (not compulsory). You will need to bring your suggestions for a lesson plan to the Intensive.


I looked through the samples provided in our course material and found that Template #4 was most suitable for my use.  I am familiar with planning using matrices so this format was recognisable and for me easier to follow than others.

I would include the following headings:

LESSON IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION Quick reference guide for identifying and sorting lesson plan
Name;  Topic;  Lesson No;  Subject;  School;  Duration;  Date;  Year level; 
Learning Purpose/Rationale: Motivation for the lesson and why we’re doing it
AusVELS or VCE focus Matching with curriculum standards and codes
Learning outcomes: Related back to the expected outcomes from the relevant curriculum area
Assessment: How assessment is going to made
Procedure Identify how the session is to be run and what activities the teacher provides and what activities the students will be undertaking/completing.
·         Timing;

·         Teacher activities; (including the Initial engagement into the session, the procedural steps for the lesson to flow, and conclusion)

·         Learner Activities

Teacher’s resources: Notes as to the planned resources
Catering for inclusion: Any special requirements
Students’ resources: Note of any special student resource requirements
Extension activities:   For early finishers/ further understanding
Learning space set-up: Usually as per classroom but may be altered for discussion etc.
Self-evaluation: including: Reflection on the lesson and how it can be improved.
·         What did students learn/achieve through this lesson?

·         What evidence is there that learning occurred and did it match your learning outcomes?

·         How could it have been improved?

·         How has the assessment informed your teaching (e.g. pace, direction) in this lesson and future lessons?)

Mentor’s comments:   Tips and critique from teaching mentor
ACTION: Identify any urgent action outcomes to be addressed.



      V.             Will these types of lessons have a place in your teaching practice? Explain your response.

·        Blended learning

Technology is exciting for most school-aged students, the ‘digital-natives’ who have grown up with ICT at their fingertips.  By using this to improve the learning experience, I see value in being able to present ideas and concepts for students to research themselves and solve problems.

Blended learning takes the emphasis off the teacher as a lecturer and can spend that time instead of lecturing, on working more closely with the individual needs of the student.  This includes the learning styles and the range of method used to delivery subject content.

·        Flipped classroom

One definition of the ‘Flipped Classroom’ is completing the homework in class whilst doing the introductory learning beforehand (i.e. by watching a video or pre-reading)  (Bergmann, J., Sams, Aaron, & Ebsco, 2012).  I like the concept as the interest has already been initiated outside the classroom and (usually) in a comfortable environment (such as the family home).  I liken it to the enthusiasm and the depth of recall of a class discussing the previous night’s TV show compared to the enthusiasm to discuss homework.   The TED Talk given by Salman Khan (2011) outlines his philosophy for creating the Khan Academy and his conviction that it actually increases social interaction within the classroom.  I like the idea as it generates a way of thinking where the information is available for students to access at any time (before, during and after in some cases) online to allow each student to learn at their own pace but to also be ready when the class begins.

·       Collaborative learning

It is rare and unusual for adults to solve problems with work etc. on their own.  Humans are social beings so Collaborative learning is a valuable tool.  The opportunity for students to share their knowledge, understanding and values with other members of the group is an important way for students to not only gain understanding of the topic but to build the inter-personal social life-skills so important in our society.



Jones, Karrie A., Jones, Jennifer, & Vermette, Paul J. (2011). Six common lesson planning pitfalls–recommendations for novice educators.(Report).Education, 131(4), 845.
Khan, S. (2011): Let’s use video to reinvent education [Video file] Retrieved from:

Module 2 Curriculum

        I.            What are the three most outstanding things you have learnt from your exploration of the Australian Curriculum?


National focus – there has been state parochialism in the defence of many areas under state government control and this includes state education systems.  By introducing a nationwide approach, this allows for the best practices to be adopted by states and incorporated toward the goal of a world-standard curriculum.  The national approach assists in the transferability of students from state-to-state with the advent of a more readily transportable population.

Fits in with community purpose in that it’s not simply for the subject’s sake – one of the overall principles is to not only create an education system to reinforce the importance of single subjects but the importance for the future of Australia students “become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.” (ACARA, 2012.1)

Development of levels (e.g. years) increasing the breadth of understanding – the suitability of the content for each year level is important, meeting both the student’s needs and developing their knowledge and understanding as they progress.  The inter-relation of the ‘General Capabilities’ that run through all subject areas is important in a more in-depth understanding and doesn’t pigeon-hole skills and knowledge from one area (i.e. only developing numeracy skills during maths classes, ICT during computer classes etc.)

      II.            Make note of some of the information available in your subject area on the the ACARA website.


Civics and Citizenship is designed for students to become aware of what it means to be a citizen in contemporary Australia.  It looks at the functions of our political and justice systems comparing our history and other models with the current structures.

Interestingly, it includes focus on nurturing the students’ rights and responsibilities under the Australian democratic, equity and judicial systems.  That is to say that it’s not only about learning what Civics & Citizenship means but promotes a subscription to these values.  The intended outcome from completing this subject is to provide the Australian community active and informed citizens.

Reading through the Draft Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship Consultation Report (ACARA, 2013) where stakeholders provided feedback on the proposed curriculum, there was general consensus and agreement with the majority of the draft curriculum components (Overall agreement based on survey results).


    III.            What are some of the considerations you need to keep in mind when designing lessons for students in Years 9 – 10? You should comment on general capabilities, cross-curriculum priorities and diversity of learners. You might like to add a glossary for any terminology you are not familiar with.


Years 9 and 10 are classified as the ‘Pathways Stage’ – this is where students are planning their senior and post-secondary study areas in contract with the Foundation stage (Years F–2) and Breadth stage (Years 3–8).

Therefore, in Civics and Citizenship, year 10 Students build on their existing knowledge and can make informed decisions and choices, analyse systems and factors (such as cultural diversity) affecting their own rights and responsibilities but those of Australia in a wider context.  The incorporation of differing perspectives and including ambiguities in the subject material for the young adults of year 10 to develop their own attitudes and ideas for the subject.


    IV.            Make a note, with short explanatory notes, in your learning journal about the types of information that are available to guide you in your teaching.
Not all curriculum areas are structured in exactly the same way, but you should include rationale, aims, structure, concepts, scope and sequence. Include any other information you think is important.


Civics and Citizenship

The Rationale

The reason for ‘Civics and Citizenship’ is to introduce the Australian systems of political and legal systems with increased breadth and understanding for students as they progress through their secondary school education.  The idea of Civics and Citizenship is to build knowledge and understanding within students so as adults, they can make informed decisions and participate within our community and its systems.  Understanding what and how the systems work enable students to value and contribute to their and our contemporary society.

The Aims

The aims of Civics and Citizenshipis to understand, appreciate and operate within the values, principles, institutions and practices of Australian democratic government functionality and the roles the various groups and bodies play within that.  It aims to acknowledge the historic pathways which have brought about the current structures of government and legal systems to help understand their role within that.

The Structure

The structure of Civics and Citizenship is about initially providing an strand of knowledge and understanding (what it is, how it works) and one of inquiry and skills (why does it do that, how can I be a participant).  By understanding the content of Civics and Citizenship, students are then able to make informed decisions, collaborate, discuss, give their views on selected topics, use problem-solving techniques, planning for action etc. as an Australian citizen.



      V.            (Study Design and Resources link)  Make a note, with short explanatory notes, in your learning journal about the types of information that are available to guide you in your teaching.


From the VCAA website:

Civics and Citizenship: Curriculum-specific advice

Introducing the curriculum

Gives a summary of the content of the curriculum and provides a link to a PowerPoint presentation further outlining the aims, structure and key messages of the subject

Curriculum planning

Provides information as to how to incorporate Civics and Citizenship into a school’s curriculum planning and has links to the VCAA Curriculum Planning Resource – a complete guide as to how to incorporate the four layers of school, curriculum area, year level and unit/lessons.

This page also provides template for curriculum mapping.

Assessment and reporting

This information hasn’t yet been published but the website indicates that both Progression Point Samples, and Student Work Examples will be posted some time in 2016 (currently these are available for other subject areas).

External resources

There are links in this section to government and non-government organisations relevant to Civics and Citizenship such as the Australian Electoral Commission which itself has many education resources aimed at school students.

Frequently asked questions

The FAQ section responds to relevant concerns to the curriculum with the incorporation of Civics and Citizenship into the school’s current and planned curriculum



Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, (2012.1) The Shape of the Australian Curriculum Version 3; Retrieved from:
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, (2012.2) The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship Retrieved from:
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, (2013) Draft Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship Consultation Report Retrieved from:
Hawker Brownlow Education (2013) “What is Understanding by Design? Author Jay McTighe explains.” [Video file]. Retrieved from:
Howard, K. (2014)  “Understanding by Design” [Video file]. Retrieved from:
Science Curriculum (2015) Retrieved from:
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority  HOME > Civics and Citizenship: Curriculum-specific advice  Retrieved from:
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (2014) Retrieved from:
Wiggins, G., McTighe, Jay, Association for Supervision Curriculum Development, & Ebook Library. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed., Gale Reference). Alexandria: ASCD.

Module 1 Later years students

I.            What do you think are the most definitive characteristics of later year’s students? Identify these in five words (or less). Then add one sentence to describe each characteristic.


Adulthood – there is an increased exposure through peers, media to more ‘adult’ activity both legal and illegal.

Inexperience – limited understanding of the effects of their actions and decisions on other people

Independence – creating their own style and personality

Career – developing a strategy to follow a career path such as subject selection

Responsibility – planning and committing to study and managing extra-curricular activities such as work, sport, groups etc.


      II.            What implication/s will this have on your teaching of later years students?


I enjoyed observing the views of the experienced teachers – some with years, others with decades of experience in teaching later years students.

In common with each of the stories was a positive attitude toward the cohort with an understanding and appreciation the students were taking, not only in their academic but in their personal physiological and emotional development to adulthood – albeit at times wobbly.

Supporting these ‘new adults’ to optimise the best outcomes from their later years formal education has an impact on the teacher’s love for their career – and that the satisfaction of working with such a group.

The understanding that whilst there are signs of emotional and physical maturity, there was mention that the later years students in some ways were ‘still just kids’ especially when faced with heightened anxieties associated with VCE and not necessarily having the skills and maturity to deal appropriately with the emotional demands of VCE.

Another general theme to come out of the videos was the general ‘acknowledgement’ of the presenters in how there was ‘stages’ of development as opposed to a ‘learning curve’ with some being as explicit as the changes occurring over the transition from year 10 to year 11 and again into year 12.  Whether this development happens in such stages or gradual growth is an interesting observation – is it only when the presenters have stepped back and reviewed (i.e. over the summer break) is growth and development noticed?  I’d suggest this is a general observation with the age cohort based on the variable rates of maturation of physical, emotional, academic and social aspects of each student.

The final main point from these videos was to provide enough support by providing a structure within which students can work but also to further challenge and expand their understanding with flexibility.


    III.            What are two things you can do in your teaching to actively encourage lifelong learning?


Teach for understanding beyond the exam requirements.  Ignite the idea that the learning process is not about ‘what’ but the how and why we learn and build a relevance into their lives.  Create an attitude towards learning to challenge their values, knowledge and attitudes.  These ‘metacognitive skills’ are important life skills for future aspects of their lives –whether it be helping to decide which career path interests them through to making plans and decisions for a holiday.  Being confident in approaching new or uncommon issues allows students (and therefore the adults of tomorrow) to develop methods to deal with and develop a plan and solution.

Students ‘apply knowledge’ through problem-solving – don’t give away the answer too quickly, allow the students to come up with solutions.  Planting the seed in students to explore and find out for themselves – to be inquisitive and ask not only the ‘how’ and ‘why’ but ‘is there more to it?’  Students will benefit from developing the learning tools outside the subject traditions but applicable across many aspects of their lives – time management, problem solving, reflection, collaboration, communication skills to develop techniques for creating a response, rather than simply one answer to one question.


    IV.            As you read, note down ideas that you may be able to incorporate into your teaching of later years students.


The goal is to keep all students engaged and participating because only the person who thinks, learns. – Wills, p56

The above statement has rung true for me more than many others.  Most teachers, students and education stakeholders (i.e. parents, community etc.) would have a similar understanding of the importance of having students engaged and participating as it is key to the learning.  Those without a great formal education experience could agree that they did not like school and they were bored – however with their work and/or pastimes, have found that they have learned because they were engaged and participated making them think.

I found it fascinating reading about the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mechanism we humans share with other animals affects us as students in the classroom.  (Willis, p50)  It makes sense that our brains are subconsciously ‘protecting’ students during times of stress or fear – fear of being embarrassed when delivering a speech to class or stressing about under-performing in and up-coming test.   To overcome this, Willis suggests ways to alleviate the stresses and anxieties within the classroom, challenging some of the traditional methods of ‘chalk and talk’ to create a more welcoming and less confronting environment.

I particularly enjoyed the concept of adding novelty to the classroom – something that I have previously done even with adult learners to, with regard to the quote at the top, keep them participating and engaged.  I use colours, diagrams, daggy drawings and cartoons to help with the enjoyment of my students and boost their dopamine levels in line with Willis suggestions.



Bryce, J. & Withers, G. (2003) ‘Engaging secondary school students in lifelong learning’ Retrieved from:
KidsGrowth, (2004) ‘Stages of Adolescent Development’ Retrieved from:
Sousa, D. (2010). Mind, Brain, & Education: Neuroscience Implications for the Classroom (Leading Edge). Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.
Willis, J The Current Impact of Neuroscience on Teaching and Learning In Sousa, D. (2010). Mind, Brain, and Education Neuroscience Implications for the Classroom (Leading Edge). Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.