Tillema 2009 Assessment for Learning to Teach

Tillema, H. H. (2009). Assessment for learning to teach: Appraisal of practice teaching lessons by mentors, supervisors, and student teachers. Journal of Teacher Education, 70, 155-167. DOI: 10.1177/0022487108330551

Summary: This study examined the multiple perspectives (preservice teachers, supervisors, and mentor teachers) on assessing PSTs’ performance of lessons. They study found that all three value and consequently focus on different aspects of the lesson. This means that assessing PSTs’ performance should include a multi-vocal perspective. They also found that each individual preferred different roles. Supervisors preferred to be a critical friend and a reflector, whereas mentors preferred to be guides and performance consultants. No one preferred to be an assessor.


  • Finding – “Those more closely connected to the teacher education program preferred a reflective role, acting as a critical friend, whereas mentors preferred a steering and performance-oriented advisory role” (p. 160).
  • “What is clear from the table (having top priority, great agreement, as well as congruence) is the jointly experienced lack of guidelines and clear procedures on how to work as assessors” (p. 160).
  • “Students are predominantly concerned about alignment in appraisal among stakeholders and the way they receive feedback, whereas mentors more readily focus on how ot give directions (for learning) and maintaining standards. Supervisors, however, seem more concerned about maintaining multiple perspectives (or conflicting voices) in the appraisal but value the different sources of information that come into play” (p. 161).
  • “Strong congruence was found on problems with respect to clarity of procedure (lack of guidelines, criteria, and structure in appraisal); however there was diversity in perspectives on clarity of purpose (allowing for multiple perspectives, using different observations, maintaining standards and alignments of ratings)” (p. 161).
  • Management was more important than reflection and pedagogy in the appraisal process.
  • “It is the combined viewpoints that must be considered in a full appraisal of how a student teacher performs” (p. 164).
  • “The most important feature of assessments in learning to teach is that they allow students to control their own learning by helping students identify strengths and weaknesses in a continuous, nonthreatening way” (p. 164).