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The purpose of an annotation is to explain how and why the selected evidence demonstrates that the teacher’s practice meets the Standard Descriptors from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. It should also demonstrate that you as the teacher have the necessary understanding of practice that is described by the Standard Descriptor.

Your annotations should have sufficient detail so that the evidence can be understood by others outside your teaching context.

At a minimum, annotations should:

  1. identify the Standard Descriptor(s) being accounted for
  2. demonstrate how the evidence shows achievement of the Descriptor(s) and identify their impact on student learning.

Annotations should help teachers:

  • identify and explain how the evidence meets the specific Standard Descriptor(s)
  • provide context for the evidence in order to situate the practice, such as the ‘what, why or when’
  • explain the learning achievements of students relevant to the specific Standard Descriptor(s).

Information on gathering evidence and annotations can be found in the Evidence Guide for Proficient Teacher Standard (PDF 586 KB). While there is no prescribed way to annotate evidence, the examples demonstrate how some teachers have effectively annotated their evidence.

These samples of Proficient Teacher annotations address the purpose and components outlined in the Evidence Guide.

Standard Descriptors addressed
Annotation A

2.3.2 Design and implement learning and teaching programs using knowledge of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

5.1.2 Develop, select and use informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative assessment strategies to assess student learning.

Assessment pre-tests and post-tests, reading checklist and running records

Excerpts from program

Two assessment resources were developed collaboratively with colleagues when I had a teaching block in kindergarten. These included a pre-test and post-test for a Mathematics unit on Time. The information gathered from the pre-test allowed the teaching team to determine what should be included in the teaching and learning program for the unit based on the outcomes and indicators as set out in the NSW K–6 Mathematics Syllabus. Using the results, I was able to analyse the knowledge gained and outcomes achieved by individual students over the unit of work. From the test, I was able to gauge whether the students were ‘working towards’, ‘working at’ or ‘working beyond’ when sequencing events and using everyday language to describe the duration of activities. The assessment results were used to contribute to student reports at the end of the semester.

I developed a reading checklist and maintained running records to use both formal and informal formative assessment when planning guided reading sessions in this unit. As a casual teacher, this enabled me to provide the class teacher and parents with records of students’ reading and contribute to both formal and summative assessments. These assessments also informed my teaching and learning planning for both group and individual student needs, focusing on literacy.

Teacher’s context and learning achievements of students are clearly indicated.

Both Standard Descriptors, which are identified and addressed, are relevant.

The annotation explains how the teacher has demonstrated a number of components of the Descriptor, showing that the teacher has a good understanding of it. The annotation includes the teacher’s individual reflection and acknowledges teamwork with colleagues.


Standard Descriptors addressed
Annotation B

6.3.2 Contribute to collegial discussions and apply constructive feedback from colleagues to improve professional knowledge and practice.

2.2.2 Organise content into coherent, well-sequenced learning and teaching programs.

1.5.2 Develop teaching activities that incorporate differentiated strategies to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.

4.2.2 Establish and maintain orderly and workable routines to create an environment where student time is spent on learning tasks.

3.1.2 Set explicit, challenging and achievable learning goals for all students.

5.1.2 Develop, select and use informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative assessment strategies to assess student learning.

Mathematics program (with excerpts that included syllabus outcomes and indicators, explicit differentiation, lesson evaluation and assessment)

Lesson observation notes and discussion of observed routines

The program was developed for Year 1 for a one-week Mathematics unit. The outcomes and indicators are clearly stated, which ensures that I am clear about each lesson focus and student achievement. During planning, ideas and suggestions were discussed with my colleague teachers to inform and improve upon knowledge and practice (6.3.2), eg different strategies, resources, assessments and activity ideas. Content was then organised in a logical and well-sequenced manner to support student learning (2.2.2). Prior knowledge was activated as a foundation for the development of a new skill or understanding. Activities selected were based on the students’ current understanding and assessment results previously obtained. Activities used a variety of teaching strategies and resources that were well sequenced, hands-on and engaging for students (2.2.2).

Each session has a warm-up activity (whole class), main focus, group activities (differentiated based on students’ level of ability) and whole-class closure (1.5.2, 2.2.2). Due to this routine, students were able to move effectively, ensuring maximum time spent on tasks (4.2.2). The differentiated tasks ensured inclusivity and engagement. WALT (we are learning to), WILF (what I am looking for) and TIB (this is because) were discussed and written on the board for each lesson to provide a clear purpose and learning intentions for students (3.1.2), while encouraging independent learning and ensuring that students know how to achieve success in assessments (5.1.2).

A formal assessment was undertaken and informal observation notes were maintained on students’ progress. Groups were based on SENA (Schedule for Early Number Assessment). This supported teachers and parent helpers in assisting the group to specifically develop the required knowledge and skills. These group strategies encouraged teamwork, communication and problem-solving, while they increased participation and achievement (1.5.2).

Program strategies and student outcomes were evaluated at the end of each session and informed adjustments and planning for the next session.

A program is able to address a number of Standard Descriptors, but to provide a relevant focus it is important to not include excessive numbers of Standard Descriptors. (The How to Guide recommends between one and three.)

However, by using a range of detailed teaching and learning documents, this annotation does address each Descriptor that has been identified with explicit detail specific to the context described. It includes how the teacher developed the program in consultation with colleagues and ongoing assessment processes, which inform future planning and teaching practice.

Each stage is linked specifically to components of the Descriptors. By including the Descriptor number in the text, each one is individually addressed, showing that the teacher understands each of the Descriptors.

The students learning achievements are integrated into the annotations of a number of the Descriptors.


Standard Descriptors addressed
Annotation C

2.4.2 Provide opportunities for students to develop understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

1.5.2 Develop teaching activities that incorporate differentiated strategies to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.

1.6.2 Design and implement teaching activities that support the participation and learning of students with disability and address relevant policy and legislative requirements.

2.1.2 Apply knowledge of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area to develop engaging teaching activities.

Stage 5 Music resource – Classroom arrangement of song

This resource was developed for Stage 5 Music as a classroom arrangement of the song Treaty by Yothu Yindi. I arranged the song to accommodate students with a variety of music abilities and cultural backgrounds. The music abilities of the group include advanced skills and knowledge compared to students in Life Skills. The song was also selected for the activity to assist students’ understanding of Indigenous history, as it is largely about land rights for Indigenous Australians. The use of traditional instruments also allows students to understand the cultural aspects of the song. Students enjoyed and engaged in the performance activity while developing a respect for Indigenous music and an insight into the struggles faced by Indigenous Australians (2.4.2).

I arranged the song in order to facilitate participation by students of all levels of music ability. For beginning guitar players, I arranged a simplified bass line that could be played on one string. For advanced ability, I gave students a framework where they could improvise a guitar solo during the instrumental section using a scale included in the arrangement. All instrument preferences were catered for, including keyboard players with diagrams of finger chords and notes for solos (1.5.2). Students of all abilities could engage and achieve success in the task.

For students in Life Skills, who don’t specialise on a specific instrument, I arranged and notated a simple rhythmic accompaniment pattern that can be played on percussion instruments. This included word patterns that match the beats they play. These adjustments address Life Skills syllabus requirements and the ‘Every Student, Every School’ system policy (1.6.2).

The activity was a highly engaging teaching strategy where students could perform on an instrument of their choice from a wide variety of instruments, based on their skills and knowledge. It appealed to students because it allowed for differences in performance capabilities and was composed for

The context for the planning, development and implementation of the resource is specifically outlined.

Each identified Descriptor is clearly and independently addressed in the detailed description of the documented evidence. The teacher explains how his knowledge of his students’ backgrounds and abilities impacts on the teaching strategy selected and how this facilitated a successful student learning outcome.

This annotation successfully addresses cultural awareness and implementation of policy.


Standard Descriptors addressed
Annotation D

2.4.2 Provide opportunities for students to develop understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

2.1.2 Apply knowledge of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area to develop engaging teaching activities.

2.2.2 Organise content into coherent, well-sequenced learning and teaching programs.

2.3.2 Design and implement learning and teaching programs using knowledge of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

2.5.2 Apply knowledge and understanding of effective teaching strategies to support students’ literacy and numeracy achievement.

Student work sample

Extract from teaching program

The student work sample is a response to a listening formative assessment task that I developed for the Stage 4 English unit ‘How Different Is My Experience?’ The unit focused on a number of syllabus outcomes and skills in listening comprehension (2.3.2). The unit is based on several stories from Stradbroke Dreamtime by Oodgeroo Noonuccal.

The unit was designed to expose students to stories about lives and experiences of children that differed significantly from their own. This provided opportunities for students to explore the culture and experiences of the childhood of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (2.4.2). The task involved the students being read a story (which they had studied) from the anthology. They listened to the story twice, first without taking notes and then again with the questions in front of them. Then they had to answer the questions from memory. The questions ranged from basic comprehension through to more challenging inferential questions, including one that required them to draw on their understanding of a previously studied story, and finished with the task of rewriting part of the story from a different viewpoint.

This unit provided engaging teaching activities and the student work sample demonstrates the strategies used to support students’ achievements in literacy (2.1.2, 2.5.2). The task aimed to develop specific listening and comprehension skills from orally delivered text, while adapting and composing imaginative text. The unit and task demonstrate my ability to apply syllabus requirements in well-sequenced lessons using appropriate content in an engaging and meaningful learning and assessment activity (2.2.2). Clearly states the context for the evidence and situates the work and the resulting student work sample.

The annotation clearly connects the programming, teaching and learning strategy and assessment task with the student work sample.

Each Standard Descriptor is addressed in the annotation to describe how the teaching and learning sequence was developed.


Standard Descriptors addressed
Annotation E

1.5.2 Develop teaching activities that incorporate differentiated strategies to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.

2.1.2 Apply knowledge of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area to develop engaging teaching activities.

3.1.2 Set explicit, challenging and achievable learning goals for all students.

Science unit of work

‘Schoolyard Safari’

Assessment tasks and

student work samples

The program was developed for a Science unit for Stage 1 Year 2. The unit incorporated differentiated strategies to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities (1.5.2) and accommodated the many learning needs of students that had been identified in the class. This included a diagnostic pre-test based on previous knowledge and skills that would inform teaching and learning strategies for individual students. I employed a variety of assessments to guide the development of all learning experiences.

The unit combined a wide range of activities, including the incorporation of visuals, printed words, sounds and motion to provide development and engagement throughout the term (2.1.2). The differentiation of activities allowed students to approach the same learning outcomes at their own level of understanding. This provided the opportunity for all students to participate in all learning activities and achieve success and build the confidence necessary to become self-regulated learners. The set learning goals were made explicit to the students and were challenging and achievable (3.1.2).

Tasks and questioning progressed from closed passages to higher order thinking skills based on Bloom’s taxonomy. In each learning experience, students added to and applied new knowledge in various ways. This required making new connections and adding meaning to their learning.

I applied my knowledge of content to link to student interests. I included hands-on and active indoor and outdoor settings. Multiple opportunities were included in the program for students to develop knowledge and understanding of core concepts via incorporation of multimedia, dance, a design-and-make project, observations in the natural environment and writing tasks. The program demonstrates my application of knowledge of content and teaching strategies to activities that engaged students (2.1.2).

The Standard Descriptors are from three Standards and remain focused on the demonstration of one Descriptor in each of the three Standards, providing clarity.

The annotations address the Descriptor with relevant examples in the preparation of the document and teaching practice.

The context is clearly stated and how and why the evidence meets the Standard Descriptor is explained.


Standard Descriptors addressed
Annotation F

6.2.2 Participate in learning to update knowledge and practice, targeted to professional needs and school and/or system priorities.

6.4.2 Undertake professional learning programs designed to address identified student learning needs.

3.6.2 Evaluate personal teaching and learning programs using evidence, including feedback from students and student assessment data, to inform planning.

Professional learning course and lesson implementation – Teaching Space and Geometry

The evidence includes Early Stage 1 lesson planning resources from a professional development course I attended on ‘Teaching Space and Geometry’ and my reflection from implementing these teaching strategies with my Year 1 class. NAPLAN results had identified Space and Geometry as a priority area for improvement within Mathematics.

As part of our learning, we were required to choose a lesson from the provided resources and implement it into our class teaching. Following this, we engaged in professional discussions with grade colleagues regarding our experience and review of the student work samples.

I selected this specific lesson as I had identified through the Working Mathematically outcomes and the planned questions and discussion that this lesson would develop knowledge, skills, problem-solving and critical thinking effectively with my students while achieving numeracy outcomes. The student work samples from this lesson informed further assessment of student learning and contributed to ongoing reporting requirements. I was able to update the ES1 numeracy records with results for each student and this information was used to guide report writing and interviews with parents and colleagues based on student progress and achievement.

This lesson was registered into the programmed unit of work and my evaluation comments included feedback from students, my observations and the assessment. I also made notes for future planning based on needs that were identified throughout the teaching of this lesson.

This annotation clearly identifies the teacher’s attendance at a professional learning course and explains how the learning and resources were implemented into the teaching practice.

The context provides the reason the course was selected based on the identified student learning needs. The teacher explains how the skills and knowledge gained by the PD experience impacted on the classroom teaching practice and the students’ learning. The annotation also demonstrates ongoing reflection on teaching practice to inform future planning. This annotation concisely meets each Descriptor listed.


Standard Descriptors addressed
Annotation G

4.2.2. Establish and maintain orderly and workable routines to create an environment where student time is spent on learning tasks.

4.3.2 Manage challenging behaviour by establishing and negotiating clear expectations with students and address discipline issues promptly, fairly and respectfully.

4.4.2 Ensure students’ well-being and safety within school by implementing school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

Examples of classroom strategies

including class organisational timetable, learning targets, class rules, student work samples,

lesson observation, notes and discussion

The evidence developed for Stage 3 promotes the importance of classroom organisation in establishing and maintaining orderly and workable routines to create an environment where student time is spent on learning tasks (4.2.2). Students sit within group seating arrangements to promote collaborative learning approaches. These seating positions have taken into consideration the learning needs of each student based on prior assessment.

The learning focus and goals are displayed to support student understanding of concepts, providing educational stimuli to help students with daily learning tasks. They are topic specific and provide clear visual and verbal communication of skills and concepts. Learning targets for each lesson are displayed to set achievement goals and learning criteria for students.

The timetables and work routines are displayed within each learning space throughout the school. This assists students with additional working memory needs and ensures that the whole student community is aware of the total learning environment. This display also helps Stage 3 students to transition to high school (4.2.2).

To ensure that all students feel safe and valued in the learning environment, displays of their work samples celebrate their successes. Student ‘leaves’ are also displayed to highlight individual value and importance within the space. A list of rules and responsibilities was jointly constructed, outlining class expectations. Through the joint construction of the chart, students were given the opportunity to be actively involved in promoting their value and well-being (4.3.2). Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) is a whole-school initiative to ensure student safety and address challenging behaviour. As outlined in the lesson observation, PBL charts are displayed in the classroom. This is an effective means of addressing behavioural expectations for all students (4.4.2). A student monitoring chart is also displayed, providing a visual representation of positive student behaviour, which promotes autonomy and self-regulation of classroom behaviour.

The context for the evidence is clearly identified, including the link to whole-school community initiatives.

The annotation describes the evidence and explains the impact of the evidence on student learning. It also attempts to show how the evidence achieves the specific Standard Descriptor.

Each component of the evidence is also individually annotated to reinforce specific reference to each Descriptor.


Standard Descriptors addressed
Annotation H

1.5.2 Develop teaching activities that incorporate differentiated strategies to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.

Food Technology Life Skills assessment task – Examination

The use of differentiated questioning methods in the Stage 5 Food Technology examination paper was necessary to cater for one student in my class who has a low cognitive ability and health concerns. The examination was designed and modified to meet specific Life Skills outcomes, while the same content was addressed. I consulted with specialist teachers in modifying this examination to meet the specific needs of this student. Three main modifications were made:

  • Fewer questions were asked throughout the paper as this student does tire easily and requires regular breaks after long periods of time and also requires additional reading time. The time limit given for the examination paper was just long enough so that no breaks were needed and the questions were able to be answered.
  • The paper focused on the first three levels of Bloom’s taxonomy (remember, understand and apply). This enabled the student to demonstrate how well subject-specific terminology was acquired and used in the correct context.
  • The organisation methods of questioning included true/false, matching terms and closed passage. This student has difficulty interpreting instructions, so the questions were organised in a box and writing lines and specific writing spaces were provided. This design enabled the student to make a direct link with regard to where and how to answer each question.

The student was able to complete the examination in the allocated time and meet the outcomes without further help. This provided the student with an opportunity for success and autonomy.

This annotation focuses on a single Descriptor.

The context is clear and comprehensive, describing both the specific learning needs of the student and the task to be completed.

The annotation explains how the teacher demonstrates the Descriptor rather than just identifying that a task has been modified.

The impact on student learning is recognised.


Standard Descriptors addressed
Annotation I

7.3.2 Establish and maintain respectful collaborative relationships with parents/carers regarding their children’s learning and well-being.

5.5.2 Report clearly, accurately and respectfully to students and parents/carers about student achievement, making use of accurate and reliable records.

5.3.2 Understand and participate in assessment moderation activities to support consistent and comparable judgements of student learning.

7.2.2 Understand the implications of and comply with relevant legislative, administrative and organisational and professional requirements, policies and processes.

Student academic report

Records of communication

Notes from moderation activities

This student report outlines the student’s achievements for the first semester of Year 2. The document clearly demonstrates the student’s academic strengths and also provides effective detail regarding behavioural and social welfare. I discussed concerns with my grade supervisor and revised my behaviour management strategies to more effectively promote on-task behaviours. I also reviewed previous reports for the student to reflect on changes in levels of achievement prior to the report being distributed to parents. As a result of this review, I met with the parents to discuss the behaviours and changes. The behaviours were addressed in an empathetic, ethical and professional manner. Consequently, the parents offered their support for the strategies being applied in class. This was important in establishing a collaborative relationship with the parents (7.3.2.).

In this report I provided constructive ideas for further learning and used positive report comments to communicate student progress. This communication has afforded the parents valuable information that can be validated with assessment evidence (5.5.2).

The achievement marks given, ranging from A to E, were assigned following assessments produced by my stage partners and myself. Using multiple samples of work from all key learning areas, benchmark samples were identified representing each grade. This provided consistency in judgements for the teachers across the grade (5.3.2).

In preparing the reports, I met the requirements of school policy and processes, including deadlines. When interviewing parents, I followed all school protocols regarding communication with parents/carers by ensuring confidentiality and privacy. Records of the communications also followed school procedures (7.2.2).

The context and description of a series of events that resulted in the development of the evidence is clearly stated.

Two Standards are addressed and relevant Descriptors selected and demonstrated concisely in the outline. The impact of this evidence on the student, including the activities surrounding the report development and communication, added further links, demonstrating each of the Descriptors.

The context and detail provided in this annotation extend the demonstration to a greater number of Standard Descriptors than would be addressed by providing only a statement of report writing.


Standard Descriptors addressed
Annotation J

7.4.2 Participate in professional and community networks and forums to broaden knowledge and improve practice.

Professional network and lesson

The records of attendance show my participation in professional and community networks at the Primary Schools PDHPE Network meeting and local ‘Teachmeet’. At the PDHPE network, my knowledge and skills were broadened, as I was able to learn how to teach AFL skills to primary students in a fun and safe way. This included many drills and games that I could then implement into my PDHPE programs. The network also introduced me to key AFL contacts, which I was then able to utilise in the organisation of an AFL clinic at my school. During the clinic I was able to help with the drills and games, using what I had learnt in the network experience.

The Teachmeet included development of my knowledge and skills through the observation of teachers in both high school and primary settings using a variety of resources and teaching strategies. This has provided me with a bank of ideas and resources to enrich my own teaching strategies, including electronic posters, differentiated instruction, useful APPS and the Colour Symbol Image routine.

These professional networks provide me with ongoing learning and discussions with professional colleagues to continually improve my teaching.

This annotation provides the context of the PD network experience. It does clearly explain both the content of the PL and the impact that the learning provided to both the teaching practice and classroom planning and experience.

Rather than selecting Standard 6 focused on doing the PL, the evidence and annotation focus on the impact of the professional network experience and the changes in teaching practice. This shows clear understanding of Descriptor 7.4.2.

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