3 things that you can do right now

Observe alongside a colleague within school to gain another perspective.

Be open and honest with your mentee. Have discussions around their progress and give them an opportunity to demonstrate how they can meet targets.

Familiarise yourself with the assessment framework that the training provider, Appropriate Body or school has implemented and refer to the Teachers’ Standards to ensure your assessment is as accurate as possible.

Also In this section


In this section we focus on:

  • assessing the development of the teacher in a reliable, valid and transparent manner

Just like with the pupils in our classrooms, it is vital that we are regularly assessing the progress of mentees during their programme.

Mentees can often be unsure of their own progress and how well they are performing in relation to expectations. In some cases, it might not be until the Spring Term that a formal assessment of them is made; in others, no formal assessment will be made at all. This is why regular, more informal assessment conducted by the mentor is so useful for our mentees. It allows them to know what they are doing well and, just as importantly, any areas that they might need to address in order to improve.

Your assessment of the mentee will be carried out in a variety of ways. You will most likely be observing your mentee on a formal basis most weeks if you are involved in ITT, or possibly on a termly basis within a school context. You will also be working alongside them on a daily basis, observing and learning about their professional values, behaviours and outcomes. Your training provider, Appropriate Body or school will have their own assessment criteria which will most likely be tightly linked to the provider’s curriculum and you should ensure you are familiar with this to enable you to focus on the right things, at the right time.

As we have briefly explored, each provider will have their own assessment system. These systems may use formal approaches such as instructional coaching and others. You will receive training on these various approaches and it is important you feel confident and understand what the principles are to support your practice. It is vital that the mentee receives the same support from you that has been outlined within their handbook and that has been outlined by the provider.

As with the pupils in our classes, it is as much about what you do with your assessment as it is the assessment itself. One way of ensuring that your own judgements of your mentee are accurate, is to work alongside colleagues who might observe with, or in addition to, you. This allows you to be confident that your judgement is both fair and accurate and can give you another perspective to reflect upon. Once you have made that judgement, your professional relationship might be tested by having to deliver a difficult message. It is vital that mentees receive honest feedback which allows them to have the opportunity to know where they need to improve and to have the time to meet these targets. Managing these situations can be a challenge and there is more advice around how to deliver a difficult message in the suggested reading. As pointed out above, the key to effective assessment is ensuring that you use it to impact on progress. Once you have delivered your feedback it is vital that support is put in place to allow the mentee to act on your assessment of them and make progress.

Teacher Observation in Student Assessment

This excellent discussion paper from Queensland University written by Graham Maxwell considers the benefits and challenges that come with observing teaching staff to inform assessment.  It might not give you definitive answers but will be a great starting point when considering how to get the most from your observations.

Read the discussion paper

Enhancing feedback - Feedback rich assignments

The University of Edinburgh have produced this handy guide that talks through a principle of ‘feedforward’ rather than feedback. It looks at feedback in the context of assignments but has some very valuable ideas around how to support the progress of your mentee through the lens of feedback.

Read the guide here.

Teachers' Standards

The Teachers’ Standards are obviously key to you being able to assess your mentee, both formally and informally. 

Read the Teachers' standards here.

Deliberate practice teacher educators handbook

Page 16 of this handbook from Ambition Institute outlines how to ensure you are giving your mentee effective feedback.  The document is linked to a whole school approach but has lots of relevant guidance for Teacher Educators.

Read the handook book here.


These short, free online courses, hosted on the FutureLearn Platform are the perfect resource for anyone looking to find some self-directed learning platforms. There are programmes focussing on:

  • NE700 Managing Behaviour for Learning
  • NE711 Introduction into Assessment for Learning
  • NE710 Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment
  • NE714 Feedback for Learning

There are also subject specific courses at both primary and secondary level.

Visit the website here.

STEM Online Primary Resources

A fantastic online resource that covers a wider range of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) materials that are useful to all primary teachers at any stage of their career. Invaluable pool of resources for both teacher educators and trainees.

Visit the website here. 

Formative Conceptions of Assessment
Keith Taber

You will need to pay for access, but this paper analyses the tensions between how we might want to assess our mentees and the realities of the classroom in our secondary schools.

Read the paper here.

The Teachers’ Standards in the Classroom
Roy Blanchard

Written for the benefit of mentees, this accessible read is just as useful for you as a mentor as it is your mentee.  Each Standard is broken down into detail of what the very best teachers can do.  This allows both you and the mentee to have a far clearer picture of what to look for when assessing during an observation.

Coming soon

Assess – Further Development