Why did you decide you wanted to try and be an assessor?
The Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher certification process interested me greatly as it provides an opportunity for excellent teachers to be recognised and rewarded for their high-level of knowledge, skills and practices, while allowing them to remain teaching in their classrooms.
I was keen to be a part of the pilot project as I believe strongly in the introduction of the two new teacher classifications and the establishment and implementation of a high quality and rigorous certification process.
Being an Assessor provided a fabulous opportunity for me to become a part of this project and assist in shaping this initiative for Queensland.
What does it entail?
You need to first complete the Assessor training course and become certified as an Assessor. When assessing an application, you need to examine the applicant’s collection of evidence thoroughly and make individual judgments against the seven Standards for the career stage being applied for.
Following this, you confer with a co-assessor to come to an on-balance judgement about whether there is sufficient evidence that each Standard has been demonstrated, based on the evidence provided. If all Standards have been met on balance, the applicant will proceed to stage 2 of the assessment process. This involves one of the Assessors conducting a site visit, where they will observe the applicant’s teaching practice and have discussions with the applicant, their supervisor and other colleagues. A final judgement as to whether the applicant has demonstrated the Standards at the relevant career stage is then made by the two assessors and a recommendation is made to the certifying authority.
What was it like and how many hours did it take?
Being an Assessor was a very engaging and rewarding experience. Although the same process is followed to assess each application, each one was different in how it was presented and the applicants came from a wide range of experiences.
No two applications were the same and it was interesting to learn more about some of the wonderful teachers we have in our Queensland schools. Many hours of work go into assessing an application to ensure the process is valid and consistent.
What did you enjoy the most about it?
I enjoyed working with other Assessors from varying experiences, the Qld Department of Education project team and the QCT personnel. I also was fortunate to visit a variety of school sites and observe some high quality, innovative teaching practice.
What was challenging about it?
Adapting to using different platforms, such as iTunes U, to access some collections of evidence was challenging at first. However, once I developed my own skills and understanding of the use this technology, it became easier.
What have you gained from the role professionally?
I learnt so much and developed a whole new range of skills, not only in the assessment of collections of evidence, but also in observation of practice, effective communication with a range of personnel and report writing. I have developed a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the Professional Standards for Teachers at each career stage, which will benefit me in mentoring and supporting teachers in my own school.
What is your advice to others who are thinking about doing it?
It is imperative that you have a very good understanding of the Professional Standards for Teachers at the varying career stages. There are many tools that have been developed to support Assessors so don’t be nervous about giving it a go. It is a great experience!