Requirements for valid and reliable assessment methods

Highly accomplished teaching is complex professional work and methods for assessing teaching need to reflect that complexity. A central requirement for these methods is that they provide evidence of what students are doing and learning as a direct result of a teacher’s methods of teaching (unlike value-added measures based on standardised tests). 

Key characteristics of such methods are that:

  1. They  measure and reflect the intentions of the standards accurately;
  2. They represent authentic and significant 'chunks' of a teacher’s work – such as a unit of work over several weeks, not just a single lesson;
  3. They provide a basis by which teachers can show how their students have developed in their learning over time as a direct result of their teaching;
  4. They are fair and do not prescribe or favour any particular style of teaching;
  5. They are 'context free', that is, they measure something that all teachers should be able to do no matter where they teach; and
  6. They are interpreted in the same way by different teachers.

Another feature of well-designed assessment methods such as portfolio tasks is that, when teachers undertake them, they necessarily become engaged in highly effective modes of professional learning. These include detailed analysis, evaluation and reflection on their teaching in relation to standards for highly accomplished teaching.