ERG SES C 09, Assessment and Education
A growing number of studies while investigating preservice assessment education treat preservice teachers mainly as professionals and design their instruments accordingly to obtain their professional beliefs on assessment. This implication of previous studies points to the need to take into consideration that preservice teachers are, at the same time, students who experience assessment being evaluated by their educators. As for Kazakhstan, there are no studies conducted examining preservice assessment education. It is not known how teacher education programs prepare preservice teachers to build their understanding of educational assessment following requirement of the Bologna Process.
With this in mind, the purpose of the study is twofold: to explore pre-service teachers’ assessment conceptions, and to adapt existing instrument on Teachers Conceptions of Assessment to a Kazakhstani context. The overarching RQ is: how do pre-service teachers conceptualize educational assessment? Subquestions of the study: How do pre-service teachers form their assessment conceptions? What are the assessment conceptions of pre-service teachers? To what extent can a Chinese model of the way assessment is conceptualized by teachers provide a means of examining this topic in a single university of Kazakhstan and in other public universities of Kazakhstan?.
Because of the multidimensionality of assessment approaches, it became challenging to explain assessment concepts in one single theory. For example, there is traditional and alternative perspective on assessment, and each of them deserves separate explanations. Traditional assessment approaches as measurement tool functioning separately from learning and teaching is articulated using an explicit theory of measurement. As for alternative assessment approaches focusing more on teachers’ classroom assessment practices, it is difficult to base them on one theory. There were attempts to develop a theory of Formative Assessment (FA), but still, authors left it with a conclusion calling for further development (Black & William, 2009). This is because FA itself is interconnected with teaching activities and learning approaches, the practice of which varies depending on the context. In this regard, Brookhart (2004) claims that classroom assessment theory intersects with theories from three disciplines, namely psychology, sociology and measurement. However, what unites alternative assessment approaches is their purpose to support students’ learning. Therefore, non-traditional assessment approaches will be examined in the next chapter in relation to learning theories of behaviourism, cognitivism, and socio-cultural theory.
Preservice assessment education, it is explained in the frame of propositional and experiential knowledge theories. These theories were proposed to use by Bullock (2011) and were further articulated in the current study considering the reviewed literature and the Kazakhstani context. Thus, propositional knowledge theory is about the direct transmission of knowledge required for preservice teachers in their teaching at schools. It concerns more the content of preservice education. In contrast, experiential knowledge theory refers to various experiences that somehow helps build an understanding of one or another concept in teacher education. In this regard, Dewey’s experiential learning is useful to explain teacher education through experiences of preservice teachers. It should be noted here that, in contrast to other experiential learning theories in teacher education (Bullock, 2011), Dewey recognizes both positive and negative experiences. Thus referring to the traditional mode of teaching as “mis-educative” experience, he still acknowledges it as experience even if negative one. For example, the apprenticeship of observation theory developed by Lortie (1975) could be considered a negative experience. Apprenticeship of observation is about teachers gaining first-hand knowledge and building their initial conceptions on teaching, learning and assessment while being a student at a school. In the current study, this apprenticeship of observation is not only considered as past experience of teachers but also present experience because preservice teachers continue to be students in higher education.
The methodology used in the study is a sequential mixed methods approach (Cresswell, 2013). There are three reasons for using the mixed methods identified in this study: 1) the nature of the questions; 2) the emergent character of the questions; and 3) the purpose to provide a more complete understanding of the central phenomenon of the study, i.e., assessment conceptions of preservice teachers. The research was conducted at “Ustaz Univeristy” which offers about 20 teacher education programs both in Kazakh and Russian languages using state curriculum. Among all 20 teacher education programs, Pedagogy and Psychology of Primary Education program was chosen as the source of data collection. Even if the research questions of the study are aimed to investigate the one central phenomenon, hese questions require separate methods of investigation. Firstly, I employed a qualitative study with the purpose to explore the process of building assessment conceptions of preservice teachers with a special focus on the sources through which preservice teachers construct their assessment conceptions. At the first I collected documents to examine a curriculum offered to preservice teachers in order to build their understanding of assessment. Then, I conducted focus group interviews with pre-service primary teachers. Overall, I conducted six FG interviews with pre-service teachers of 1,2,3, and 4-year study. The third qualitative data source was one-to-one interviews with teacher educators. Overall, I interviewed four teacher educators (4) of Pedagogy, Technology of Criterion-Referenced Assessment and New Technologies of Teaching and Learning subjects for three times each, and two informal conversations with teachers’ educators of Methodology of Teaching and Technology of Criterion-Referenced Assessment subjects. The interview questions for focus groups with pre-service teachers and individual interviews with teacher educators was designed with a help of the theoretical framework of this study. The initial analysis of gathered qualitative data allowed to decide to choose A Chinese version of Brown’s Teachers’ Conceptions of Assessment to identify pre-service teachers’ assessment conceptions and to adapt this instrument into Kazakhstani context. After adapting the survey, paper-based survey was employed recruiting primary pre-service teachers in "Ustaz University” using a census sampling. Overall, 94 primary pre-service teachers out of 102 participated in the study. After conducted initial analysis of the gathered the instrument will be further improved and spread online to all other public universities of Kazakhstan aiming to collect responses from 500 primary pre-service teachers.
Pre-service teacher training programs in Kazakhstani public universities are at the stage of modernization due to updating a content of secondary education and Bologna reforms in higher education institutions. Pre-service teachers training programs have only recently started to introduce a separate course on assessment, and still, pre-service teachers build their assessment conceptions mainly by observing their teacher educators and school teachers at teaching practicum. Preliminary qualitative findings suggest that preliminary teachers have mainly controlling and examination-driven conception of assessment and that is why it was decided to choose Chinese version of Teachers Conceptions of Assessment Survey to identify Kazakhstani pre-service teachers’ assessment conceptions (Brown, Hui, Yui & Kennedy, 2011). These and other findings will be discussed in this paper.
Black, P., &Wiliam, D. (2009). Developing the theory of formative assessment. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability,21, 5–31. doi:10.1007/s11092-008-9068-510.1007/s11092-008-9068-5. Brookhart, S. M. (2004). Classroom assessment: Tensions and intersections in theory and practice. Teachers College Record, 106(3), 429-458. Brown, G. T., Hui, S. K., Yui, W. M., & Kennedy, K. J. (2011). Teachers’ conceptions of assessment in Chinese contexts: A tripartite model of accountability, improvement, and irrelevance. International Journal of Educational Research, 50(5), 307-320. Bullock, S. M. (2011). Inside teacher education: Challenging prior views of teaching and learning. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Springer Science & Business Media. Creswell, W.J. (2013). Research design, qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. London, UK: Sage.Lortie, D. C. (1975). Schoolteacher: A sociological study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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