09 SES 04 A, Characteristics and Development of Teacher Competence and Training
Within the growing accountability context of education across Europe and North America, teachers around the world are increasingly called to use assessments throughout their practice to monitor and measure student learning. As Popham (2009, p. 4) argues in today’s educational systems, “educators’ inadequate knowledge in assessment can cripple the quality of education. Assessment literacy is seen as a sine qua non for today’s competent educator.” Yet despite the importance of this professional competency, little is known about teacher preparation in assessment or the foundations of teacher assessment literacy. Over the past 15 years, assessment literacy has evolved to represent a complex professional skill. While assessment literacy was originally defined as the procedural knowledge required to design, administer, score, and use assessments to support and measure student learning, researchers now recognize assessment literacy is a negotiated competency shaped by several contextual factors. These factors include teacher professional learning, teaching context, students’ learning needs (Tierney, 2006). Also emerging from the literature is the importance of an influence of latent traits on teachers’ approaches to teaching and assessment such as teachers’ personality traits, self-efficacy, and beliefs toward teaching, learning, psychology, and mindset (Coombs, DeLuca, McEwan, & Chalas, 2018; Dweck, 2008; Looney, Cumming, van Der Kleij, & Harris, 2017). As such, assessment literacy is now understood as “a dynamic context-dependent social practice that involves teachers articulating and negotiating classroom and cultural knowledges with one another and with learners, in the initiation, development and practice of assessment to achieve the learning goals of students” (Willis, Adie, & Klenowski, 2013, p. 242). In characterizing approaches to educational assessment, a summative approach (assessment of learning; AoL), a formative approach (assessment for learning; AfL) and an understanding of the assessment itself as a learning opportunity (assessment as learning, AaL) are distinguished (e.g. DeLuca, McEwan & Luhanga, 2016). Underpinning this conception of assessment literacy is a view that relates teachers’ assessment practices to their personal identities as teachers (Looney et al., 2017) and as situated within socio-cultural contexts of teaching and learning.
In general, wider “conceptualisations of teacher competences are linked with visions of professionalism, theories of teaching and learning, quality cultures and socio-cultural perspectives…The differences between theoretical traditions about teaching in (for example) the English-speaking and German-speaking worlds can offer valuable opportunities for dialogue and integration.” (European Commission, 2013, p. 11). Following this idea, our paper reports a quantitative cross-cultural comparison study. To this aim, we leverage current conceptions of assessment literacy to explore how beginning teachers in two distinct learning cultures – Germany and Canada – approach classroom assessment differently. Specifically, the purpose of this research is to explore teachers’ approaches to classroom assessment in relation to a set of psychometric scales including: self-efficacy beliefs, personality traits, action-control, and aspects of personal competence. Guiding this research are the following questions:
- What are German and Canadian beginning teachers’ approaches to and perceived competences in classroom assessment?
- Do the interrelations between different aspects of approaches to and self-perceived competence in assessment vary between the two countries?
- Do teachers’ approaches and self-perceived competence in classroom assessment vary as a function of personality traits and are the patterns of influence similar across countries?
By exploring the linkage between personality traits and assessment literacy across two cultures, we aim to simultaneously provide empirical evidence on predictors influencing teachers’ approaches to assessment whilst recognizing that assessment literacy is a contextual and culturally-specific competency.
A survey research design was used across two samples of beginning teachers in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany (n=190) and Ontario, Canada (n=206). Canadian student teachers were at the end of their pre-service program, while the German candidates were at the end of their Bachelor’s program, still having to complete a Master’s program and Preparatory Service. Teachers completed three instruments to identify their approaches towards, and self-perceived competence in classroom assessment (CA): (a) the Approaches to Classroom Assessment Inventory (ACAI; DeLuca et al., 2016; Coombs et al., 2018); (b) Ratings on assessment competence from the KOSTA project (Schneider & Bodensohn, 2014; 2017); and (c) an Assessment Knowledge Test (originating from a multiple-choice exam in use at Trier University). Furthermore, central aspects of personality were measured: (d) self-efficacy beliefs (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995); (e) big five inventory (Rammstedt & John, 2007); (f) action-control scale (Kuhl, 1992); and (g) personal competences (Frey, 2008). The following instruments were administered: ACAI: The ACAI was designed to help teachers determine and develop their approach to classroom assessment. This instrument is focused on scenario-based questions, teachers’ perception of their skills in classroom assessment, and professional learning interests and preferences in classroom assessment. Self-ratings on AC: Individual’s self-perception of competence on 13 classroom assessment standards is examined through excerpts from the Competence and Standard Orientation in Teacher Education (KOSTA) instrument. Assessment Knowledge Test: This instrument presents teacher candidates with statements regarding assessment theory or practice that are evaluated true or false. Self-Efficacy Beliefs: This scale examines individual’s general beliefs on his/her self-efficacy with the principal aim to predict coping with stressors. Big Five Inventory: The 10-item version of the Big Five Inventory aims to measure five dimensions of personality: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. Action-Control Scale: This scale assesses personality factors that affect the ability to manage/enact intentions. Only the prospective and decision-related action orientation vs. hesitation subscale was included. Data analysis strategies include descriptive and inferential statistics, ANCOVA, linear regression, and exploratory factor analysis (EFA) of scales within the sample from each country (Germany and Canada).
Results from Canadian teachers collected in December 2017 have been analyzed preliminarily, with German data being collected at present. More in-depth analysis will be presented at the conference. In the preliminary analyses, Canadian teachers prioritized a formative approach to assessment, valuing the designing of assessments and the communication of results, an equitable and differentiated approach to assessment fairness and valuing contextual factors when making assessment decisions. They also reported fairly high levels of self-perceived competence in classroom assessment (>4.00 on a 6-point scale) on each subscale (e.g., awareness of assessment bias). By submitting all assessment constructs to EFA, three factors were identified. Stepwise linear regression was then applied to predict factor scores by personality traits. The first factor (assessment competency) contained all competency self-ratings and was best predicted by ‘self-efficacy beliefs’, ‘curiosity’, and ‘agreeableness’. The second factor (traditional approaches to CA) consisted of AoL, the use/scoring of assessments, a standard approach to assessment fairness, and valuing consistency in CA results and was best predicted by ‘sense of duty’. The third factor (contemporary approaches to CA) included AfL, AaL, design and communication of assessments, equitable and differentiated approaches to assessment fairness, and valuing contextual and consistent/contextual factors in determining CA results and was best predicted by the personal competences instrument and specifically the ‘enjoyment of life’ and ’serenity/patience’ scales. Overall, results from this study present data on how teachers’ approach assessment in schools and what personality factors influence these approaches. Underpinning the significant findings from this work is a conceptualization of assessment literacy rooted in a socio-cultural understanding where teachers’ approaches to assessment are shaped by multiple factors, including personality. The results of this work have important implications for teacher education and future research, areas further described in the complete paper.
Coombs, A., DeLuca, C., LaPointe-McEwan, D., & Chalas, A. (2018). Changing approaches to classroom assessment: An empirical study across teacher career stages. Teaching and Teacher Education, 71, 134-144. DeLuca, C., LaPointe-McEwan, D., & Luhanga, U. (2016). Approaches to classroom assessment inventory: A new instrument to support teacher assessment literacy. Educational Assessment, 21(4), 248-266. Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House Inc. European Commission. (2013). Supporting teacher competence development for better learning outcomes. Strasbourg. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/repository/education/policy/school/doc/teachercomp_en.pdf Frey, A. (2008). Kompetenzstrukturen von Studierenden in der ersten und zweiten Phase der Lehrerbildung [Structures of competence of students in teacher education]. Landau: Verlag Empirische Pädagogik. Kuhl, J. (1992). Psychometric properties of the action-control scale In J. Kuhl & J. Beckmann (Eds.). Volition and personality: Action versus state orientation (pp. 47-59). Toronto, ON: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers. Looney, A., Cumming, J., van Der Kleij, F., & Harris, K. (2017; e-publication ahead of print). Reconceptualising the role of teachers as assessors: teacher assessment identity. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 1-26. Popham, W. J. (2009). Assessment literacy for teachers: Faddish or fundamental? Theory into practice, 48(1), 4–11. Rammstedt, B., & John, O. P. (2007). Measuring personality in one minute or less: A 10-item short version of the Big Five Inventory in English and German. Journal of research in Personality, 41(1), 203-212. Schneider, C., & Bodensohn, R. (2014). Core competences of students in university teacher education and their longitudinal development: First results of the KOSTA study. In K.-H. Arnold, A. Gröschner, & T. Hascher (Eds.), Pedagogical Field Experiences in Teacher Education: Theoretical Foundations, Programmes, Processes, and Effects (pp. 147–163). Münster: Waxmann. Schneider, C., & Bodensohn, R. (2017). Student teachers’ appraisal of the importance of assessment in teacher education and self-reports on the development of assessment competence. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 24(2), 127-146. Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1995). Generalized Self-Efficacy scale. In J. Weinman, S. Wright, & M. Johnston (Eds.), Measures in Health Psychology: A User’s Portfolio - Causal and Control Beliefs (pp. 35-37). Windsor, UK: NFER-NELSON. Tierney, R. D. (2006). Changing practices: Influences on classroom assessment. Assessment in Education, 13(3), 239-264. Willis, J., Adie, L., & Klenowski, V. (2013). Conceptualising teachers’ assessment literacies in an era of curriculum and assessment reform. The Australian Educational Researcher, 40(2), 241–256.
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