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

Cover of formative assessment in science 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 developing curriculum knowledge and setting goals) 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 science 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 participants to be able to do as a result of this session. For instance, to be able to identify what it is they want their students to know and do as a result of the sequence of lessons or understand how they might collect evidence that students have progressed in their learning.

Consider how change will be promoted in your school

  • What access do teachers have to national, state and school curriculum documents?
  • How are concepts of a teaching sequence shared between team members?
  • What resources are available to teachers to build their subject knowledge?

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 science' video

In this video, Darcie Clarke explains how she uses formative assessment in her science 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 some examples of learning intentions you have used in your classroom.
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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 curriculum knowledge and setting goals

  • Clarify the common progression of learning in the unit you are teaching, with reference to the curriculum or syllabus.
  • Determine what you want students to know and be able to do as a result of the unit and set goals around what they should know.
  • Research the misconceptions students commonly hold about this progression of learning.

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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, Darcie Clarke explains how she uses formative assessment in her science lessons.

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  • What is something that you learnt from watching this teacher discuss how they build and use curriculum knowledge in order to implement formative assessment in their lessons?
  • Was there anything in the video that you found surprising?
  • Which aspects of formative assessment do you want to know more about?
  • Do we have a common view about how a learning progression is best taught?
  • Do we know how to craft a good learning intention that is clear and measurable?
  • Are we clear about what information about student learning is important to know at different stages in the lesson? Do we allocate more time to parts of the course that are more difficult to understand?
  • What resources do we currently have to build our understanding of some of the content we need to teach?

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What support would help you to develop your formative assessment?

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.

  • Reconvene the team after several weeks to review key aspects of curriculum knowledge and sequences of learning to share experiences. Questions to ask could 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 your formative assessment practice.

  • 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 building curriculum knowledge in practice looks like? What could you do to follow up and provide support?
  • What parts of the session worked well for the group?
  • What aspects were less successful?