This document provides a suggested outline for facilitating a group session where teachers can use the formative assessment in maths video to reflect on their own practice. It could also provide guidance for activities for self-directed reflection.

Cover of formative assessment in maths group facilitation guide

This resource was created by Ochre Education in partnership with AERO. 

The activities in the resource aim to:

  • build knowledge of formative assessment (particularly checking for understanding and providing feedback) and of AERO’s guidance in this area
  • assist in developing teaching strategies involving formative assessment
  • encourage teachers to embed formative assessment in their practice.

Australian Professional Standards

This resource is related to ‘Focus Area 6.2 Engage in professional learning and improve practice’. 

This resource is related to ‘Professional Practice 2 Developing self and others’ in the Australian Professional Standards for Principals.

Facilitator preparation

The following is an example checklist to help you prepare for the session.

Review the materials

  • Watch the Formative assessment in maths video, noting down key points that would be valuable for your team and any aspects you think might need clarification.

Plan the session

  • Make sure to give your team sufficient notice about the session so they have time to do the pre-work.
  • Consider how the session can specifically assist your school and your students.
  • Think about what you want your participants to be able to do as a result of this session. For instance, identifying what it is that you want students to know and be able to do as a result of the sequence of lessons, or methods by which you might collect information that students have progressed in their learning.

Consider how change will be promoted in your school

  • How might teachers discuss and decide how to check for understanding and provide feedback how teachers might support the work of their colleagues, and what additional resources and learning might be required.

Prepare to facilitate

  • Read through this resource and highlight the key elements and the questions you plan to ask.
  • ‘Road-test’ the session with one of your colleagues to clarify any aspects of formative assessment that you are unsure about and to make sure you are confident with each step.

'Formative assessment in maths' video

In this video, Sue Davis explains how she uses formative assessment in her maths lessons.

Attendee preparation

The following is an example checklist of pre-session work to set participants before they attend.

  • Read AERO’s formative assessment guide.
  • Identify a formative assessment approach that you have used to collect information on whether students have mastered a skill or set of knowledge can help you to focus the session, and connect to practices used in your context.
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Formative assessment session agenda

The following outlines a possible agenda for a 45 minute group session.

Information about how to do an Acknowledgement of Country can be found on the Reconciliation Australia website

Review key aspects of AERO’s Formative assessment Tried and Tested Guide, with a focus on checking for understanding and providing feedback

  • Low key assessments should be used to collect information, particularly relating to common misconceptions.
  • Take the opportunity to ask challenging questions which require students to explain their reasoning.
  • Have a method for noting down observations of student responses and giving useful feedback to students.

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Think about your own teaching practice

  • How do you use formative assessment in your practice now?

Focus on strengths

  • What do you think we do well?
  • What aspects of formative assessment are you not so sure about?
  • Are there parts of it that you use less in your current instruction?

Think, pair, share

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In this video, Sue Davis explains how she uses formative assessment in her maths lessons.

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  • What is something that you learnt from watching this teacher discuss how they implement formative assessment in their lessons?
  • Was there anything in the video that you found surprising?
  • Which parts of formative assessment would you want to know more about?
  • Are we clear about what information about student learning is important to know at different stages in the lesson?
  • How do we currently know whether students have mastered an idea or concept?
  • How might we quickly gather information about students’ level of learning in a particular area or subject?
  • What feedback do we tend to give to students as a result of the information we gather? Does it help progress their understanding?

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What additional support would help you to plan deliberate and purposeful practice?

Post-session review

This could be in the form of another meeting, online session, peer coaching session or some other format agreed by the group.

  • Share the practice activities from each team member with the rest of the team, if they are happy for this to happen.
  • Reconvene the team after several weeks to review key aspects of formative assessment (with a focus on checking for understanding) and to share experiences. Questions to ask could include include:
    • What changes to practice have been relatively simple?
    • What parts have been challenging for you?
    • How can the school assist you to implement formative assessment in your classroom?

Meeting reflection

It is important for you to reflect on the session and the progress of your team. The following questions can help you think about the outcomes and next steps for improving the quality and consistency of formative assessment.

  • Were there differences in expertise between members of the group?
  • Are there members of the team who you felt left the meeting still a little unsure of what effective practice looks like? What could you do to follow up and provide support?
  • What are the aspects of breaking down content that require further learning?
  • What parts of the session worked well for the group?
  • What aspects were less successful?