This glossary will help you interpret some of the terms used in the Teacher Self-Assessment Tool (Teacher SAT) questionnaire. We understand that some terms such as “lead”, “model” and “support” can be broadly interpreted. In the context of the Teacher SAT, these terms have specific meanings. The meanings of these terms are also available within the questionnaire by hovering over underlined terms when using the Teacher SAT on a desktop.
Assessment data refers to any formative (see formative assessment) or summative (see summative assessment) data collected that is used to evaluate students’ learning, attitudes, behaviours and/or academic achievement.
Collaboration refers to actively working with colleagues to achieve an outcome, as opposed to simply passing on information or sharing resources. It can involve joint planning, decision making, assessment moderation and / or problem solving to achieve common goals.
“Demonstrate,” if used in relation to “colleagues” or other individuals, refers to actively instructing them on an appropriate method or behaviour given a particular situation. If used in relation to “understanding,” it refers to the act of providing evidence that a concept is understood by the teacher.
In reference to “encouraging” colleagues and other teachers, “encouraging” refers to actively providing support to others to increase the likelihood they will achieve a particular outcome. For example, encouraging a teacher to improve ICT programs could entail providing them with recommendations for professional learning to improve their skills, and assisting them to implement their learnings. It refers to more than providing verbal approval of the teacher’s efforts to improve teaching and learning programs.
“Establish” refers to intentionally starting a process or action, and taking responsibility for its ongoing implementation and sustainability. For example, in establishing a relationship, it is not enough to participate in a single meeting; the relationship must be maintained through ongoing contact.
Evaluation is the process of analysing and reflecting on the progress and impact of a particular practice or initiative. It should lead to action, and even in the case of success, identify areas for ongoing improvement.
Formative assessment refers to the variety of methods that teachers use to monitor student learning. The usual purpose of these assessments is to provide feedback that can be used by teachers to improve their teaching or by students to improve their learning. Formative assessments are used to determine what skills and knowledge students have developed, and identify areas of difficulty. This information can be used to adjust or differentiate teaching as required.
Compare this to summative assessment
The verb “guide” refers to showing others an appropriate method, through instruction or demonstration. It may refer to providing coaching or advice to help a colleague make a decision or take an action. It also involves an element of monitoring where the guide supports their colleague in implementation.
“Judgements” are decisions that are made to determine a course of action. To exercise “informed judgement” is to base that decision on evidence, rather than a gut feeling or instinct. For example, planning an intervention for a student based on analysis of the student’s work, and research on effective intervention strategies in that student’s context.
“Initiate” refers to actively causing a process or action to commence, and taking responsibility for its ongoing implementation. In the context of statements in the TSAT, it refers to beginning something new with colleagues, in your practice, or at your school. This new practice should be sustained. For example, it is not enough to call a meeting; however, initiating a regular formal or informal professional learning session with a group of colleagues would be an appropriate activity to refer to.
The verb “lead” refers to the action of showing or prompting another person towards a particular path or behaviour, or the action of taking command of a process or program. For example, leading colleagues to use student assessment data would entail sustained engagement with colleagues to ensure success. It does not refer to passive acts, such as suggesting that colleagues use assessment data, or simply encouraging them to do so without follow-up and direction.
“Modelling” refers to the active demonstration, or provision of an illustrative example of practice. For example, a teacher may invite a pre service or newly graduated teacher into their classroom to observe a particular classroom management strategy. In this case, the teacher who made the invitation is modelling the strategy. Modelling is intended to be targeted and instructive – a teacher who is being observed as part of a learning walk or broader culture of observation is not considered to be formally “modelling” in this context.
The “school community” refers to individuals, groups, institutions and organisations that are connected to the school and are invested in its functioning. It could refer to school leaders, teachers, students, parents, school-board members, cultural institutions, parent-teacher associations etc.
Summative assessment refers to methods that are used by teachers and schools to evaluate student learning, skill acquisition and academic achievement at the end of a specified period of learning. Summative assessments test whether students have achieved specified learning goals, and are often graded or marked.
Compare this to formative assessment
In reference to “supporting” colleagues and other teachers “support” refers to actively providing assistance to others to allow them to achieve a particular outcome. For example, supporting a teacher to improve teaching and learning programs could entail providing them with the latest evidence to inform revisions to learning materials, and working with them to apply that evidence to practice. It is more than providing verbal approval of the teacher’s efforts to improve teaching and learning programs.
A teaching program refers to an organised and sequenced program of teaching activities and strategies; and considered planning of assessment strategies and use of resources. A teaching program may encompass the activities of an entire term or semester.
A teaching or learning sequence refers to an ordering of students’ learning activities in order to achieve a defined learning goal. A teaching sequence may refer to a lesson or a unit of study.