3.6 Evaluate and Improve Teaching Programs

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What does this descriptor look like at different levels?

Evaluate and improve teaching programs is the sixth descriptor of the third standard of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

This focus area is all about how and why you adjust your teaching and learning programs. Teaching programs need to be flexible and responsive to student needs. You can plan out your units and lessons meticulously, but that doesn’t mean that they will be what every student needs.

A large part of this focus area is knowing how and when to change your plans. To do this, you must be very aware of how your students are going and what they need at each point. As teachers, you can’t get too attached to your plans because they’re always going to need tweaking if you want the best outcomes for your students.

See more: Australian Professional Standards for Teachers Terminology Explained


What does it look like?

At the Graduate level, teachers are expected to demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

At this career stage, you’ve just got to know how to do it.

Every pre-service teacher in Australian needs to reach the Graduate level of each focus area before they can graduate with a teaching degree. Because of this, many of the Graduate descriptors don’t expect you to have much experience in the classroom.

To reach this career stage, you must know how to evaluate your teaching programs. You can do this through assessment data and student feedback, which can be collected in a variety of ways.

See more: 4 Innovative Formative Assessment Strategies for Teachers

What evidence can I collect?

If you are a pre-service teacher, your university will give you many opportunities to show that you can evaluate teaching programs. It is their job to set you up to graduate, after all.

You can do this on your teaching placement, or you can provide evidence through one of your uni assignments. For this descriptor, you don’t need to actually evaluate a teaching program, just know how you could.

See more: 10 Tips for Making the Most out of your Teaching Placement


What does it look like?

At the Proficient level, teachers are expected to evaluate personal teaching and learning programs using evidence, including feedback from students and student assessment data, to inform planning.

Now that you’re in the classroom, you’re going to have your own teaching programs to reflect on and improve. Using the techniques that you learnt about at the Graduate stage, you’re going to have to apply them to your own lessons and units.

What evidence can I collect?

A big part of this descriptor is the evidence that you use to evaluate your plans. How do you know if they were effective? How could you tell that something didn’t work? Your evidence should include these pieces of data. They could include:

  • Samples of student work
  • Lesson Observation notes
  • Feedback from students

The most important thing with the data is what you do with it. You will need to have evidence that you not only collected this data, but used it to reflect on and improve your teaching.

This could be as simple as an annotated unit plan. Have your unit or lesson written out before you deliver it, then write some notes on it afterwards. What would you tweak, and why?

See more: Lesson Observations – Common Questions and Concerns for Teachers

Highly Accomplished

What does it look like?

At the Highly Accomplished level, teachers are expected to work with colleagues to review current teaching and learning programs using student feedback, student assessment data, knowledge of curriculum and workplace practices.

This career stage is where you need to be influencing those around you. It’s not enough to be improving your own programs, you need to use what you’ve learnt to help others as well. At the Highly Accomplished level, you’ll be starting to support students and teachers across your school.

What evidence can I collect?

To provide evidence for this performance standard, you’ll need to have proof that you’ve helped your colleagues. This can come in a range of forms:

  • Minutes of meetings
  • Annotated lesson plans and programs that show different points of view or contributions.
  • Notes from lesson observations with feedback.

You’ll also need evidence of what data you’ve used to improve the programs. Have you used assessment data? Have you observed lessons to see what your plans look like in the field? All of these provide fantastic evidence for this descriptor.


What does it look like?

At the Lead Teacher level, teachers are expected to conduct regular reviews of teaching and learning programs using multiple sources of evidence including: student assessment data, curriculum documents, teaching practices and feedback from parents/ carers, students and colleagues.

What evidence can I collect?

At this career stage, you need to make a school-wide impact.

There is no easy solution to gathering evidence for this performance standard. Every Lead teacher will demonstrate this descriptor differently, so it’s all about your story. You’ll need to show that you’re using evidence, whether it’s student data, new research, or observation and practice. You’ll also need to show what you’re doing with it.

Feedback and statements are fantastic evidence for any descriptor at the Lead level. Record some people explaining what you did and the impact that you had and you’ll have no problem providing evidence for your actions.

To learn more about the other descriptors in the third standard of the APST, use the following links:

Elise is an enthusiastic and passionate Australian teacher who is on a mission to inspire and support fellow educators. With over a decade of experience in the classroom, Elise leverages her expertise and creativity to provide valuable insights and resources through her blog. Whether you're looking for innovative lesson ideas, effective teaching strategies, or just a dose of inspiration, Elise has got you covered.

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