09 SES 12 B, Formative and Summative Assessments
The context of this study involves the first four years of compulsory education referred in Portugal as the 1st cycle of basic education, covering children between 6 and 9 years old. We will name this cycle as primary education for clarification purposes. In this cycle, learning outcomes are defined for disciplinary areas (Mathematics, Portuguese language, Study of the environment and Expressions) which all together constitute a referential learning target for the primary education. At the end of this 4-year cycle there is an external national exam, which according to the grade obtained allows students to access, or not, the next study cycle. It can be said that primary education includes the first years of formal education.
It is accepted that formative assessment is crucial and requires learners to be in the center of the assessment (Colbert & Cumming, 2014). Formative assessment understood as a process that intentionally seeks to support students in their learning has been recognized by various stakeholders of the educational system as a very important practice in terms of teaching and learning (OECD, 2013). If the support to this idea seems to be relatively peaceful, the practice is far from being a reality (Santiago, Donaldson, Looney, & Nusche, 2012). There are several reasons in general pointed out to justify this lack of formative assessment practice in primary education: the educational policy, the extension of the programs, the characteristics of the students, namely because they are too young, immature and, as they are in initiation phase, they have difficulties thinking about their own work or their difficulties. So, it is necessary to understand whether if it is possible to develop formative assessment practices in primary education and how students are able to recognize them as useful for their own learning. These are the objectives for this study.
The formative assessment term is not consensual and allows different interpretations. In the literature, this term can enclose several conceptions: from the idea that all assessment made in class is formative to the idea that only the assessment that uses information to overcome difficulties is formative (Bennett, 2011). These different ideas also lead to different practices. In our study, formative assessment is understood as a process, involving teachers and students, thus allowing to support and to guide students in their learning process (Black & William, 2006).
In this sense, to carry out its purpose, formative assessment must be based on five key strategies: to clarify students of what is intended in terms of learning; to introduce situations that can provide evidences of learning; to provide appropriate feedback; to use peers as a resource to each other and engage students in overcoming work of their learning (William, 2007). In addition and for this to be achieved it is required that the teachers has a clear intention (Santos & Pinto, 2011) to integrate planning between instruction and assessment (Bennett, 2011).
This conception involves a conceptualization of learning as an activity process (Vygostky, 1987), emphasizing the importance of the clarification of what is to be learned through the assessment criteria and the instruments in terms of their ability to provide evidence of learning (eg. portfolio) and the importance of feedback in guiding students in their learning process.
Bennett, R. (2011). Formative assessment: a critical review. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 18(1), 5-25. Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (2006).Developing a theory of formative assessment. In J. Gardner (Ed.), Assessment and learning (pp.81-100). London: Sage. Castanheira, S. (2015). O portefólio como instrumento de avaliação reguladora: um estudo no 1.º ciclo na área da Matemática. (Relatório de Mestrado, Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal) Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education. London: Routledge. Colbert, P. & Cumming, J. (2014). Enabling all students to learn through assessment. In C. Wyatt-Smith, V. Klenowski, & P. Colbert (Eds.), Designing Assessment for Quality Learning (pp, 211- 231). Australian Catholic University: Springer. Gomes, S. (2016). Práticas de questões-aula numa perspetiva de avaliação formativa em Matemática. (Relatório de Mestrado, Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal) McMillan, J. (2013). Why we need research on classroom assessment. In J. McMillan (Ed.), SAGE handbook of research on classroom assessment (pp. 3-16). London: SAGE Publications, Inc. NCTM (2014). Principles to actions. Ensuring mathematical success for all. Reston, VA: NCTM. OECD (2013). Synergies for better learning. An international perspective on evaluation and assessment. OECD Reviews of evaluation and assessment in education. Paris: OECD Publishing. Pimentel, I. (2013). O contributo do portefólio para as aprendizagens dos alunos no 1.º ciclo do ensino básico. (Relatório de Mestrado, Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal) Peres, A. (2012). O contributo dos critérios de avaliação no desenvolvimento da capacidade de resolução de problemas, em alunos do 1.º ciclo do Ensino Básico. (Dissertação de Mestrado, Universidade de Lisboa) Santiago, P.; Donaldson, G.; Looney, A., & Nusche, D. (2012). OECD Reviews of evaluation and assessment in education: Portugal 2012. OECD Publishing. Santos, L. & Pinto, J. (2011). Is assessment for learning possible in early school years? Procedia social behavioral sciences, 12, 283-289. (doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.02.037) Santos, L. & Pinto, J. (2014). Des politiques éducatives a la salle de classe. 26éme Colloque de l’ADMEE Europe. Cultures et politiques de l’évaluation en éducation et en formation. Marrakech, 15-17 janvier, 2014. Sadler, D. R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science, 18, 119-144. Vygostky, L. (1987). Thinking and speech. New York: Plenum. Wiliam, D. (2007). Keeping learning on track. In F. Lester Jr. (Ed.), Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 1053-1098). Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.
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