10 SES 05 E JS, Perceptions and Learning Opportunities of Beginner Teachers on Assessment
Joint Paper Session NW 09 and NW 10
This presentation examines evidence regarding the assessment learning of preservice teachers (PTs) in a new Master of Teaching (M Tchg) designed to prepare teachers to address the less than equitable outcomes of certain groups of students in New Zealand. The M Tchg, a one-year postgraduate degree, was designed and implemented in response to a call from the New Zealand Ministry of Education to offer programs that intentionally prepare teachers who can achieve positive and equitable outcomes for priority learners. In New Zealand, priority learners are students who have been identified as historically not experiencing success in the schooling system (Ministry of Education, 2014), including many Māori and Pacific learners, those from low socio-economic backgrounds and students with special education needs. The program has six facets of practice for equity, explained below, at its core. This presentation explores PTs’ learning regarding one of those facets: facet 4, using evidence to scaffold learning and improve teaching, a set of principles for practice aligned with the formative use of assessment. The research questions that guided the study were: What assessment understandings do PTs develop in a program designed to prepare teachers to teach for equity? And, in what program contexts do these understandings develop?
In order to understand what it would take to put equity at the center in initial teacher education (Cochran-Smith et al., 2016), we had carried out an analysis of programs/syntheses of major programs of empirical research from various international contexts in order to identify teaching practices that promote equitable learner outcomes – broadly conceived to include social, emotional, civic, critical and academic outcomes. Our review was limited to those programs/syntheses that worked from a complex, non-linear view of teaching and learning. Using directed qualitative content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005), six interconnected principles or facets of practice for equity emerged. These were: (1) selecting worthwhile content and designing and implementing learning opportunities aligned to valued learning outcomes; (2) connecting to students as learners, and their lives and experiences; (3) creating learning-focused, respectful and supportive learning environments; (4) using evidence to scaffold learning and improve teaching; (5) adopting an inquiry stance and taking responsibility for professional engagement and learning; and, (6) recognizing and challenging classroom, school and societal practices that reproduce inequity (Grudnoff et al., 2015).
A further analysis of the five programs of research evidence identified teaching practices associated with each facet (Chang & Ludlow, 2016). For facet 4, using evidence to scaffold learning and improve teaching to bring about more equitable outcomes, these practices are:
1. Designing classroom assessment that is well integrated into instructional activities.
2. Circulating and interacting with students, using a variety of approaches to elicit evidence of diverse students’ learning.
3. Providing timely, substantive, constructive and highly responsive feedback.
4. Being flexible and responsive in adjusting instruction and using alternative approaches to help all students to learn based on the results of diagnostic assessment.
5. Proactively involving students in the process of setting specific learning goals, and understanding the assessment criteria.
6. Providing an evaluative climate that is positive, where all students are motivated to learn and engage in self-monitoring their own progress.
These indicators are similar to the guiding principles of assessment for learning (AfL)
(Assessment Reform Group, 1999) and demonstrate that using evidence to scaffold learning and improve teaching is intimately related to the formative purpose of assessment.
The M Tchg program was constructed with the six facets of practice for equity at its core and provided a site in which we could investigate PTs development of understanding assessment for equity and more specifically, examine their understanding of these five teaching actions.
Assessment Reform Group. (1999). Assessment for learning: Beyond the black box. Cambridge: University of Cambridge School of Education. Chang, W-C., & Ludlow, L. (2016, April 9). Teaching for equity: How do we measure it? Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting, Washington, DC. Cochran-Smith, M., Ell, F., Grudnoff, L., Haigh, M., Hill, M. F., & Ludlow, L. (2016). Initial teacher education: What does it take to put equity at the centre? Teaching and Teacher Education, 57, 67–78. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2016.03.006 Grudnoff, L., Hill, M.F., Haigh, M., Cochran-Smith, M. Ell, F., & Ludlow, L. (2015, April 16–20).Teaching for equity: Insights from international evidence. Presented at American Education Research Association, Chicago, IL. Hsieh, H.-F., & Shannon, S. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15, 1277–1288. Ministry of Education. (2014). The New Zealand curriculum: Priority learners. Retrieved from http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Priority-learners
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