09 SES 08 B, Formative and Summative Assessments
This qualitative study used action research to provide an insight into how pupils’ experience and perceive assessment in music education. In collaboration with pupils we constructed an assessment for learning model aimed at involving pupils in the co-development of assessment criteria and in the processes of self and peer assessment. In addition we also aimed to develop, with the support of feedback, self-regulatory attitudes to learning in the pupils. An action research model involving two cycles was used for this study showing how pupils’ perception of assessment changed from seeing it as to do with punishment or reward to how it provided support for learning. This change was brought about by a focus on formative assessment strategies with a strong emphasis on quality descriptive assessment, formative feedback and the teacher’s attitude to assessment.
The study, as it was undertaken, in a system where pupils perceive numerical marks prevailingly as reward or punishment, raised the question of whether it was actually possible to implement formative assessment in Slovenian classrooms. Within this context, we were particularly interested in pupils’ attitude towards learning and under what circumstances this attitude might change.
In the last couple of decades there have been significant research activity aimed at broadening the spectrum of assessment methods (Razdevšek Pučko 1996; Black and Wiliam 1998; Sentočnik 2000; Black et al. 2002; Collwel 2002; Komljanc 2008; Marentič Požarnik 2003; Fautley 2010; Wiliam 2013). The impetus for this research is based on a desire to stimulate and guide pupils, so that they will know how to study, develop lasting knowledge, successfully meet learning objectives and become more independent learners. Such contemporary approaches to assessment put greater emphasis on holistic assessment methods which attribute more importance to the quality of the reproduced knowledge, reflected by in-depth understanding and applicability, than to its quantity (Marentič Požarnik 2004).
As contemporary society becomes increasingly diverse and complex, so does the process of preparing young people for life as independent thinkers, productive citizens, and future leaders. Collaboration, active engagement, and inclusion characterize these contemporary instructional approaches. In such an approach teachers and students collaborate, as do students and their peers. The traditional boundaries between the roles, responsibilities, and activities of teachers and students are blurred, if not eliminated entirely. This collaboration takes place in learning communities in which learners respect one another and work toward common goals for everyone's success. Active engagement involves bringing one's experience to learning, being willing to expand one's understanding, integrating new perspectives into one's thinking, and applying that changed thinking to one's own life.
The trend towards developing the school curriculum based on in learning outcomes with associated developments in teaching practices have also produced changes in our approach to assessment. The dynamic nature of contemporary forms of teaching and learning require holistic assessment, which is increasingly regarded as an integral part of the teaching-learning process, as a feedback mechanism for teachers and students alike, not merely an administrative add-on for accountability purposes. Rather than focusing strictly on outcomes, assessment helps create the conditions for learning.
The results from this research indicated that students involved in holistic assessment achieved higher results. They also expressed enthusiasm about the learning process which enabled self-assessment, self-regulated and cooperative learning and was an enhancement to their personal development.
Black, Paul, and Dylan Wiliam. 1998. Inside the Black Box. Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment. London: School of Education, King’s College Press. Black, Paul, Christine Harrison, Clare Lee, Bethan Marshall, and Dylan Wiliam. 2002. Working Inside the Black Box. Assessment for Learning in the Classroom. London: School of Education, King’s College Press. Colwell, Richard. 2002. “Assessment’s Potential in Music Education.” In The New Handbook of Research on Music Teaching and Learning, edited by Richard Colwell and Carol Richardson, 1128–1158. Reston, VA: MENC. Fautley, Martin. 2010. Assessment in Music Education. Oxford, MA: Oxford University Press. Komljanc, Natalija. 2008. “Formativno spremljanje učenja.” In Didaktika ocenjevanja znanja, edited by Mira TurkŠkraba, 17–22. Ljubljana: Zavod RS za šolstvo. Marentič Požarnik, Barica. 2003. Psihologija učenja in pouka. Ljubljana: DZS. Marentič Požarnik, Barica. 2004. “Kako bolje uravnavati mogočen vpliv preverjanja in ocenjevanja.” Sodobna pedagogika 55 (1): 8–22. Phelps, Renata, and Stewart Hase. 2002. “Complexity and Action Research: Exploring the Theoretical and Methodological Connections.” Education Action Research 10 (3): 507–524. Razdevšek Pučko, Cveta. 1996. “Drugačne oblike preverjanja in ocenjevanja znanja.” Sodobna pedagogika 47 (9/10): 411–419. Sentočnik, Sonja. 2000. “Avtentične oblike preverjanja in ocenjevanja za kakovostnejše učenje in poučevanje.” Vzgoja in izobraževanje 31 (2/3): 82–87. Wiliam, Dylan. 2013. “Vloga formativnega vrednotenja v učinkovitih učnih okoljih.” In O naravi učenja, edited by Sonja Sentočnik, 123–142. Ljubljana: ZRSŠ.
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