This report situates the Teacher-led Learning Circles project in relevant research evidence and examples from practice to support teacher leadership and professional development for teachers’ understanding and use of formative assessment practices to improve student learning and related student outcomes.
It has been long established in research that, within a school, teachers and their work is the most important factor influencing student achievement. Teaching is highly complex, requiring teachers’ expertise, professional judgement, and practices to meet the diverse needs of students in a range of contexts. In recent years, the work of teachers has further intensified with the need to support diverse, multicultural, multilingual, and mixed ability student populations and to teach students to learn and be equipped to succeed in a world with rapid development of technologies, geo-political instability, climate crises, and changing global and local economic and employment opportunities. The impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic has further changed and challenged teachers’ work. Periods of school closure, remote learning, and the mental and physical health impacts of the pandemic have had profound consequences for students’ learning, equity, and well-being, with similar impacts on educators as well (Thompson, 2021). In the current global context, it is essential to provide professional development to support teachers’ leadership and expert use of formative assessment to identify students’ learning needs and to provide feedback to improve students’ progress. In this report, we discuss:
- the importance of the teaching profession, teacher quality, teaching quality, and teacher leadership;
- effective professional development to support professional learning and student learning; and
- definitions, strategies, and practices for understanding and use of formative assessment and feedback.