n South African Journal of Higher Education - Supporting teacher educator professional learning about assessment : insights from the design and use of a task analysis tool in a first-year BEd programme

Volume 27, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



While there is an extensive literature in the field of professional development for teachers, much less has been researched and written about professional development for teacher educators (Smith 2003). In this article, the authors present and discuss their findings from an assessment research project at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) School of Education (WSoE) which offered opportunities for professional development to teacher educators in a Bachelor of Education (BEd) programme. The research project focussed on first-year assignments and examinations because of concerns about the under-preparedness of many first-year students for the cognitive and academic literacy challenges of university study. The authors present a tool for the analysis of formative and summative assessment tasks and then describe and discuss its use in the analysis of (i) a first-year assignment; and (ii) a first-year examination question. In the concluding section, the authors argue firstly, that the collaborative design and use of the task analysis tool enabled professional learning for teacher educators; and, secondly, that such learning can lead to the adoption of assessment practices that both transmit criteria of knowledge being taught and test students' mastery of these criteria at an appropriate cognitive and academic literacy 'level'.

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