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Course Organization - Assessing against the standards


This article has been fully revised as at Dec 2008.

The 'standards' provide a context and a language for evaluating and developing professional school teachers. Making judgements that an individual trianee has or has not met the standards is a complex process - judgements are generally made by the school-based mentors, moderated by tutors and, sometimes by external examiners or OfSTED inspectors. This article provides insights as to how this process in implemented in a particular course for both secondary and primary trainees. Useful downloads of course materials and documentation are provided.

Key words: Standards, Teacher development, Assessment, Partnership, Professional.


1. Introduction
2. Standards
3. Assessing secondary science trainee teachers against the standards for QTS
3.1 PGCE Audit (Secondary)
3.2 PGCE Handbooks (Secondary)
3.3 Training Logs for PGCE Students (Secondary)
3.4 Proformas (Secondary)
4. Assessment of Primary Trainees
5. UoC Pilot Scheme
6. Masters' Level Assignments
7. Useful Websites

If you would like to share your resources, please leave your ideas in the forum relating to assessment or contact Aftab Gujral directly

1.0 Introduction

This Section is about assessment of trainees against the Standards. There are a whole range of courses available for trainees. Most of the resources here are for University of Cumbria, formerly St Martin's, Secondary PGCE trainees but these could be adapted for undergraduates. There are some resources for Primary PGCE trainees. These will be updated and improved as more information becomes available. There are several institutions with very good practice and it would be useful for tutors to compare notes so they can improve their own practice, if necessary.*

* If you would like to share your resources, please leave your ideas in the forum relating to assessment or contact Aftab Gujral directly.

2.0 Standards

This extract from the TDA website shows what providers must do. (Subsequent to the publication of the standards the ASE in conjunction with the Science Learning Centres in England produced a paper exemplitying the standards from a science perspective. A copy of this paper (2009) can be found at

R2: Training and Assessment

All providers must ensure:
R2.1...That the content, structure, delivery and assessment of training are designed to enable trainee teachers to demonstrate that they have met all of the QTS standards.

3.0 Assessing secondary science trainee teachers against the standards for QTS

The following sections show a series of audit, assessment and tracking procedures followed by one secondary provider (for University of Cumbria) with additional material from GITEP (The Gloucestershire Initial Teacher Education Partnership) - much of this material is generic across all subjects, but there is much, too, that is science specific.

3.1 PGCE Audit (Secondary)

Students will need to do an audit of subject knowledge which can be initiated before they start or as one of the first things that trainees do when they start the course (Download  C2.0_3.1a 'Extract from GITEP - Pre-course task' and Download ‘C2.0_3.1b 'Subject audit (secondary)'. At UoC, the students complete a form called "Initial Student teacher profile at start of course" they do the audit again at the end of the Autumn term to see whether there are areas that still need covering. The subject method sessions covered in the Autumn term are fixed but the sessions offered in the spring and summer term are governed by the needs of the students.

Download C2.0_3.1a 'Extract from GITEP - Pre-course task'
Download C2.0_3.1b 'Subject audit (secondary)'
Download C2.0_3.1c ‘Initial Student teacher profile at start of course'

3.2 PGCE Handbooks (Secondary)

This file contains details from the PGCE Handbook (Secondary Science) and it provides the rationale for the way assessment is carried out on the Course.

Download C2.0_3.2

3.3 Training Logs for PGCE Students (Secondary)

There are two of these, one for each placement. These are used:

  • To keep a record of feedback on all lessons observed in one booklet
  • To ensure that targets set at the end of previous lessons act as the focus for observation in the next lesson.
  • To ensure that student progress can be followed easily.
  • To keep a record of meetings between the mentor and the student

The school training log (Download C2.0_3.3a 'Training log school A') also contains a list of recommendations for school based mentor sessions and a range of experiences that we (the subject panel) think are appropriate for all trainees in their school placements. These suggested mentor sessions were produced as a result of consultations with experienced mentors, trainees and the subject working panel.

There are blank lesson observation forms and a set of 'simple lesson observation checklists' to help with those observers who are not subject mentors or when mentors are really pushed for time.

In Gloucestershire a mentor swap procedure is being trialled, where the mentor from the second school visits the trainee at the end of their first placement and observes a lesson and its feedback with the first school mentor. The process is repeated before the trainee returns to the parent school for the summer term.

To support the mentoring process in school GITEP has drawn up a list of 'Good Mentoring Practice' both for lesson observations and for the one hour mentoring session the trainees have each week in school.

Download c2.0_3.3b 'mentor swap and good practice'

3.4 Proformas (Secondary)

This section contains a link to the UoC Secondary School Partnership webpage which explains the process of following the progress of the UoC students. The proformas used for the formal lesson observations and also the 4 Professional Development Forms used can be downloaded by the mentors and tutors when necessary . The PD forms include a section on Strengths and Targets and also an Action Plan. The final PD form, PD 4, informs the Career Entry Development Profile. Three copies are made of the PD forms - one each for the trainee, school and College. Trainees should participate fully in this process and should come prepared to the sessions when these forms are to be filled in. They need to bring their TP files, their notes and evidence to help inform this process. (See also the forms for Tri-partite reviews; these involve a discussion between the mentor, student and the tutor).

4.0 Assessment of Primary Trainees

This link is to the UoC Primary Partnership site which contains various Handbooks and proformas for the assessment of School Placements. The documents, which can be downloaded, are used by Associate tutors in the mentoring of students on block placements and serial attachments. There are grade descriptors in the Green and Red Books and characteristics of good and poor lessons.
Assessment of trainees subject knowledge has been mentioned elsewhere - see Professional Issues/Teaching/ Teaching / misconceptions.  A report on how to assess students' subject knowledge was prepared as an ESCalate project.  Please click this link and search for subject audit or visit the ESCalate site and search for subject audit.

5.0 Pilot Scheme

The Science team at UoC will be piloting a different way to assess trainees over the coming year which will simplify the process. After using the standard UoC forms last year, our Course Leader, David Mason developed an alternative set of forms which will be trialled by Science and if successful will be used by the other subjects.

The trainees are provided with a standards booklet in which they make a note of the evidence to show that they have achieved each particular standard. The evidence will be stored in their TP folder, referenced in the booklet with section / page number and signed off by the mentor and student. They also start what we have termed a standards portfolio, which is a selection of five of the standards which we believe to be most important. These have been greyed out in the standards booklet. For each of these five standards, the students store the evidence in a separate folder. This evidence, as with others will be updated as the students progress through the year. The lesson proformas are also linked to the standards portfolio and the students can ask the mentor to observe particular aspects of their lesson.

Download C2.0_5.0a Standards Booklet
Download C2.0_5.0b Standards Portfolio
Download C2.0_5.0c Lesson Observation Proforma Revised July 2008

6.0 Masters' Level

Many Courses are now at M-level, including the one at UoC. In the Handbook (Download C2.0_6.0a ‘PGCE Handbook'), there are the outlines for two Masters' Level assignments that our PGCE trainees are expected to complete satisfactorily. Our Professional Studies staff deliver 5 sessions on topics such as Research Ethics to prepare the students for researching and writing their assignments. Help is also available from Student Development and Advisory Service for those who have difficulty with any aspect of Academic writing.

7.0 Useful Websites

This Section Prepared by:
This section created by Aftab Gujral, University of Cumbria, Lancaster

The U o C Resources have been kindly supplied by:
David Mason, (PGCE Science (Current Secondary) Course Leader), Alan Knott (Former PGCE Science (Secondary) Course Leader) and the UoC School Partnership Office.

Additional Materials by:
Keith Ross, University of Gloucestershire.

Published: 26 May 2005, Last Updated: 26 Dec 2008