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Review of contemporary research and practice related to assessment and feedback in secondary education

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1. Assessment policies and procedures based on political, social and cultural forces

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1.1 Complexity of assessment

Individuality provides complexities in the assessment process of the students. Therefore, the mere learning process is not sufficient for the assessment process of secondary schools. The role of different exigencies such as political, social and cultural factors is crucial for understanding vigour of assessment. According to Engel et al. (2019), OECD has adopted an expansionary policy for reaching out to its educational orientation by including more different countries, topics and age groups in its educational assessment process in the secondary deduction. This provides them with a consolidated structure of different parameters for equality in assessment results and implementation aspects of the same. An example of this is the introduction of PISA or “Programme for International Student Assessment” (Fang et al. 2021). Different countries have also adopted such parameters in their assessment process which reduce the scope of this OECD assessment as different countries have different kinds of political, social and cultural situations. This indicates policy complexities in the assessment process of secondary schooling. This complexity arises due to many functional aspects of assessment which are detecting activities, decision-making activities, screening, instructional planning and feedback responses.

Function of assessment

  • Decision-making activities: This indicates decision-making or grades which depend on the teacher's ability to prescribe higher grades to a particular student. This is subjective and can vary based on culture, political and social factors.
  • Detecting activities: Better delivery of lesson contents also vary with the country and therefore, a generalized assessment process would not suffice (Fischman et al. 2019). This indicates complexity in terms of assessing the students' learning in secondary schools.
  • Screening: Screening of students also varies between the countries based on social and cultural aspects (Verger et al. 2019). In one country, scoring in exams has been taken as a parameter for awarding higher grades and in other countries skills evaluated through practical exams have been rewarded with higher grades. This creates complexities in assessment criteria.
  • Instructional planning: Assessment tasks provide an evaluation of instructional planning of the students. This also indicates the ability of the teacher to impact certain knowledge in a certain way (Huber & Helm, 2020). This also involved complexities as different teachers adopted different ways of imparting knowledge of a particular topic in the classroom.
  • Feedback responses: Feedback is subjective and therefore, incorporates complexities for assessments. A single student can have two different feedbacks from different students. This creates complexities of assessment due to encroaching subjectivities.

1.2 Impact of political, social, and cultural forces of assessment

All schools in Australia adopt the “National Assessment Program” prescribed and operated by Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority ACARA for assessing their students (Creemers et al. 2022). This has been done with the help of Test Administration Authorities”. ACARA is responsible for reporting assessments of students in secondary schools. All these authorities work under specific guidance of some programmes such as “National Assessment Program” on literacy and numeracy, information and communication, civics and citizenship, and sample assessment of science and literacy (Law, 2018). Other than that some international assessment programs have also been conducted by the education authority of Australia. This includes PISA and “Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study” or TIMSS (Thomson, 2021). In the following different aspects of assessment have been evaluated which have been affected by the different social, cultural and political aspects.

Influence of political factors

Globalisation and its integrating effects can deteriorate the educational outcomes of the country. Government policies have changed spending on the latest technologies of the 21st century adopted by different countries for promoting better educational outcomes (Krstikj et al. 2022). Different political aspects of the country can be influential in changing the existing nature of the curriculum, learning design and objective of the learning. Adoption of technology-based learning could enhance remote learning but also reduce the scope for classroom-based learning experiences for fostering academic disciplines. This influenced the assessment policy of the countries which is not required to be limited to data-based analysing of individual performance of the learners. According to Thomson (2021), changes in assessment parameters and process reduce the cost-effectiveness of the curriculum and pose a burden on countries' exchequer. Therefore, it has been found that the role of political influence is more than other factors in case of education or outcome. Despite increasing the learning outcome of education, digital technologies reduce academic discipline of the learners. This could be considered as a negative influence of political factors due to which adoption of digital technologies for educational purposes has been introduced in the academic area of the country (Fischman et al. 2019). Hence, political influence is a two-edged sword for the assessment of secondary education in the country.

Influence of Social factors

Different social factors such as behavioural, socio-economic, physical and school could also influence the assessment process. Level of mental development, language, age, cognitive aspects and health prospects of the students affect the assessment process. As cited by Huber & Helm (2020), consideration of these factors enhances the complexities in the assessment process. This is also crucial for adopting these elements due to seamlessness and generalised application of recommendations oriented on the assessment. Social economic situation of the students could be delved into more for a better outcome for the assessment process of the education. This enhanced the level of understanding of students' achievements in their classroom. Students with utmost care and financial well-being can focus more on the curriculum than the student who does not have such consolidation in the social-economic aspects (Verger et al. 2019). Therefore, the performance of the previous student cannot be evaluated on an equal front with the letter student. Therefore, social factors influence the assessment process by relaxing the above-mentioned socio-economic situation of the students.

Influence of cultural factors

Migration in the country increased diversity in school premises which also increased complexities in the assessment process. Furthermore, increased cultural aspects in the school also increased activities of educators for assessing the students. Different cultural elements of the students have been reflected through their test, language, image understanding of the topic and competencies in imparting (Sachisthal et al. 2020). It has been found that migrated students are more prone to being affected by the formative and summative assessment in the same classroom due to language and cultural beliefs. Therefore, this creates the assessment process more burden for educators.

2. Key factors relevant to assessment principles, policy, procedures, and feedback processes

The main intent of feedback in the teaching criteria and assessment procedures is to mainly enhance the performance of the students in the best possible way. Feedback is any reaction concerning the behaviour and performance of the students and it might be gestural, written or might be verbal. It is also fundamental that the function of nourishing feedback is a cheerful, or at least impartial in nature, understanding experience for the learner. Apart from that, Negative feedback might intimidate student measures and accomplishments (Pardo et al. 2019). Positive feedback always encourages students to perform well in their respective areas of education. The requirement for academic review and feedback procedures has improved over the previous decade.

Before bringing out any review, assessment and feedback, teachers must bear relevant duration to prepare the best strategy for a specific student. Apart from that, the best assessment might involve the following:

  • The duration and spot of the assessment will take place.
  • Recognise the qualification needed that must be met by the prepared assessment.
  • Make sure the evidence produced will also be authentic in nature and must be sufficient, valid and reliable.
  • Recognise any required assessment process

These requirements have been formed from a distinct perspective. Even though, in harmony with the “Australian professional standards for teachers (AITSL)”, understanding learners and how they memorise might permit teachers to decrease the negative reaction and feedback their students might encounter (Call, Christie & Simon 2021). The first requirement is to have the best information that will hint at educational decision-making, specifically the education system and government together with school leaders (Siuty, Leko & Knackstedt, 2018). Additionally, the second requirement is to provide an assessment process for wider life abilities and skills for the students which are crucial in the modern era like innovations, analysing, teamwork and problem-solving of various data. Moreover, the third necessity is to have a more suitable understanding of the learner's memorisation. This requirement has also witnessed a deficiency of consistency among feedback procedures and traditional assessments and this is also understood as a general situation which mainly sustains successful education (Abdel et al. 2019). Lastly, advanced technology has also pulled the engagement of policy designers about the prospects of structurally converting assessment techniques and knowledge in the upcoming time. These demands and requirements mainly mandate diverse assessment paradigms and methods.

  1. Better information for decision-making

The education system and government in most nations have also assigned their precedence to the equity and standard of teaching. In Australian schools and universities, the same situations have been managed and decision creators have been attempting to underrate the accomplishment gaps in an effective way, specifically for underprivileged students and aboriginal students. This situation has also directed to the need for better knowledge in regard to school teaching outcomes (Siuty, Leko & Knackstedt, 2018). Apart from that, this worry has brought about recognizing better evaluation and criticism procedures to work on the quality and value of the educational arrangement. Feedback likewise is extremely significant to create some provisional programs and adjustments to enhance educational techniques. Therefore, Needs for more suitable knowledge to notify decision-making have mainly arranged the latest anticipations on educational assessment. The utilisation of estimation to advise decision-making is to identify the issue, observe the progress and also recognise the facts for action in an effective way.

  1. Wider life abilities and skills

Requests for assessment change keep from the worries about contrasting the ongoing school educational program with cutting-edge information and vital abilities in life in the 21st century. Teachers have extended their interest in the abilities that academy leavers ought to present when they get recruited. These abilities and skills mainly comprise problem-solving, decision-making, critical thinking and teamwork and so on that are very crucial and essential for institutions.

  1. Understanding of human learning

Research has demonstrated the capacity of the cerebrum to secure information implied to as an expectation to learn and adapt could occur all through an individual's life expectancy. Research showed a student may be at various marks of the expectation to learn and adapt and might be gaining ground at various rates (Illeris, 2018). yet every individual is able to do additionally learning and realising, which is distinct to customary conviction about people's natural capacity to memorise.

  1. Transformation of advanced technologies

As new advancements are comprehensively being utilised in the conveyance of lessons and as the latest techniques for learning, for example, internet learning are arising nowadays, clearly the evaluation cycle needs to become innovation-based (Khalid et al. 2018). The generally involved new advancements and technologies in the school system have expanded the opportunity to strikingly change appraisal processes. Apart from this, it will also guide better elegant assessment procedures to be designed. For example, an assessment might be accomplished based on the replies of an online education lesson.

3. Key findings for personal teaching practice and its implication

Personal teaching practice considers continuous development in sharing knowledge through learning. In my teaching practices, I follow through with different strategies such as technology-based teaching, group-based teaching, Q&A session, virtual teaching and doubt clearance sessions. A teacher can consider a single motto or goal during a learning session and that goal needs to convey skill-developing criteria. Therefore, during teaching practices, a teacher has to consider simplicity in learning to help a student to understand their learning materials better. A teacher also can consider a short test on learning materials to judge students' skills and can continue this measurement to the feedback round. This feedback can indicate a student about gaps in learning and can support them to do better in future. Teaching practices faced issues during a covid-19 pandemic and the learning process, therefore, switched to online platforms. According to Tartavulea et al. (2020), education sectors and students supported this transformation to be employed with synchronous and asynchronous interconnection. This research also delivered the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in the e-learning process and mentioned that this technology helped both teachers and students to carry forward education during this pandemic period.

Award-winning programs can be effective for online teaching practices as they can provide a boost to put more effort into teaching (Kumar et al. 2019). This program needs to consider in the online process as physical communication barriers between the education sector, teachers and students present in the virtual learning process. This program can judge a teacher according to the achievements of students. Therefore, the development of skills of a student can be measured through this. Moreover, a teacher can grow students’ skills by improving pedagogical knowledge and by continuing tests and feedback sessions.

4. Critical analysis of assessment and feedback strategies

Assessment and feedback strategies can promote the level of teaching practices. Four types of assessment such as diagnostic, interim, summative and formative can be effective for the teaching process. Diagnostic assessment can be considered as a primary step and this considers a pre-test before learning any chapters. A teacher can understand the basic knowledge of a student and can implement the teaching levels as per their base. For example, eDia online assessment of the Centre for Research on Learning and Instruction provides diagnostic assessment activities on education, mathematics, science and reading (Csapó & Molnár, 2019). The formative assessment considers in mid-session of learning identifying student progression and the interim assessment delivers a comparison of a group of students' performance. In addition, the summative assessment considers measuring student skills according to a benchmark. These assessments can help a teacher to carry forward the learning process to develop students' knowledge.

According to Tanis, (2020), seven principles of effective learning practices can deliver exponential growth in a student’s career and feedback is one of the criteria among those seven principles. This research includes feedback sessions of face-to-face engagement, student-teacher engagement, and teacher-management and student-alumni engagement to do continuous updates on learning levels. This can help both students and teachers to consider effective ways of the learning process as per students' needs. Therefore, feedback can help the education sector and teachers to determine and plan effective levels in the education process to develop the skills of students.

5. Critical analysis of the purpose of providing timely and appropriate feedback

Feedback and assessment are required to be timely. Additionally, There is a brilliant time for giving feedback to understudies and that is the period wherein there is always a lot of time in front of understudies to follow up on it and to maintain and change their education style. Routine feedback and reviews help understudies really, it directs their consideration and vitalities, assists them with bypassing significant missteps and stalemate, and saves them a ton of significant time that they might have consumed on learning something. Apart from that, it is crucial that the procedure of providing valuable feedback is favourable for students and also for the learning experience in the best possible way.

Feedback technique is challenging to handle and the gathered frustration of the educators and learners must hamper the learning prospect of feedback (Carless & Winstone, 2020). Yet usually the feedback that learners obtain has slight or no effect on their education, and in specific circumstances, it might be consistent be counterproductive. Moreover, Expected mistakes connecting to the efficacy of feedback might contain when duration is not assigned in the lesson for learners to utilise the feedback equipped, whenever the educator consumes additional duration for nourishing feedback then the learners must disburse actioning it.



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Appendix 1: Social forces of assessment complexities

(Source: self developed)

Appendix 2: Assessment and feedback strategies

Types of assessment

Classroom examples

Diagnostic assessment

· Initial writing prompts

· KWL charts

· Running Records

· Informal Reading Assessments

· Pre-tests

· Surveys

· Journals

Formative assessment

· Student self-assessments

· Written Responses

· Exit Tickets

· Questioning

· Conferencing

· Observations

· Rubrics

Summative assessment

· End of unit tests

· Final Exams

· Culminating Projects

· Portfolios

Informal assessment

· Journaling

· Observation of student engagement

Formal assessment

· Post tests

· Quizzes

Benchmark assessment

· Common Assessments

(Source: Self developed)

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