When I was corresponding with one of the authors in this issue, Emeritus Professor James Popham, I received an advertisement for his latest book in a document called “Popham eflyer”. As educationalists are wont to be, particularly those in assessment and evaluation research, I am at times somewhat distracted by the swirling notions of effect sizes in educational research. Consequently, I misread the name of the file as “Popham effect”. Effect size is a statistic that gives an estimate of the magnitude of a difference.
Assessment, Educational policy; structure and systems
The aim of this article is to clarify some key concepts in the current Norwegian discourse on assessment, the importance of which is essential in working with teachers on developing competence in assessment for learning. Competence is reflected in teachers’ assessment practice, which includes the ability to design a cohesive assessment activity. This is a complex task, which is illustrated by two scenarios presenting the link between the many decisions teachers have to make during the process. The article argues that teachers’ competence in assessment is related to making appropriate decisions in a specific context with a clear purpose of assessment in mind.
Christopher DeLuca , Don A. Klinger, Michelle Searle, and Lyn M. Shulha
Curriculum and assessment, Educational policy; structure and systems, Professional learning
Given the recent movement toward standards-based education there is a heightened need for teacher competency in the area of assessment and evaluation. However, despite demands for teacher assessment literacy, there are few instances of mandatory assessment courses in preservice teacher education programmes. Further, there is generally a lack of research guiding the development of effective assessment curricula for initial teacher learning in this area. This study presents one institution’s response to developing an assessment curriculum for approximately 700 preservice candidates. The paper traces the curriculum development process from its initial research to its third year of implementation. Specific attention is given to shifts in content and pedagogy over this three-year period as informed by findings from ongoing course evaluations as well as identification of the challenge facing assessment educators.
Mary Hill, Bronwen Cowie, Alison Gilmore, and Lisa F. Smith
Assessment, Educational leadership practices, Professional learning
In a world where schools are accountable for ensuring that all of their students are academically well prepared to enter “the knowledge society”, using assessment in the service of learning is a critical skill for teachers. This article contends that in order to prepare teachers to use assessment for learning, we need to understand student teachers’ values about and conceptions of assessment, as well as how they learn to use assessment during their teacher education programmes. We review the literature on assessment learning by student teachers and compare this with research on teachers’ values, conceptions and the critical skills needed to implement assessment aligned with improving learning. We then develop an argument for investigating student teacher assessment learning in the New Zealand context in order to understand how our student teachers think about assessment as well as how they learn to become assessment-capable teachers.
Assessment, School governance and management, Student engagement
Assessment for learning (AfL) practices observed in case studies in a North Queensland school were analysed from a sociocultural theoretical perspective. AfL practices of feedback, dialogue and peer assessment were viewed as an opportunity for students to learn the social expectations for being an autonomous learner, or central participant, within the classroom community of practice. This process of becoming more expert and belonging within the community of practice involved students negotiating identities of participation that included knowing both academic skills and the social expectations within the classroom.
This article argues that when AfL practices are viewed as ways of enhancing participation, there is potential for learners to negotiate identities as autonomous learners. AfL practices within the daily classroom interactions and pedagogy that enabled students to develop a shared repertoire, joint enterprise and mutual engagement in the classroom communities of practice are described. The challenges for teachers in shifting their gaze to patterns of participation are also briefly discussed.
This article provides a synthesis of the literature on formative assessment, self-regulated learning and adaptive help seeking. We do this by developing a classroom model of adaptive help seeking. The model focuses on self-regulated learning, within which the processes of adaptive help seeking and interactive formative assessment are theoretically integrated. The learner is central to this model, and the help-seeking behaviours of the learner during learning activities are not only influenced by the nature of the task and the characteristics of the learner, but also by the classroom environment, and in particular their teacher, peers and classroom culture and context. Help-seeking episodes allow for formative interactions that can support further self-regulated learning.
Curriculum and assessment, National Standards, School governance and management
This paper puts forward a proposal for reviewing the role and purpose of standards in the context of national curriculum and assessment reform more generally. It seeks to commence the much-needed conversation about standards in the work of teachers as distinct from large-scale testing companies and the policy personnel responsible for reporting. Four key conditions that relate to the effective use of standards to measure improvement and support learning are analysed: clarity about purpose and function; understanding of the representation of standards; moderation practice; and the assessment community. The Queensland experience of the use of standards, teacher judgement and moderation is offered to identify what is educationally preferable in terms of their use and their relationships to curriculum, improvement and accountability. The article illustrates how these practices have recently been challenged by emerging political constraints related to the Australian Government’s implementation of national testing and national partnership funding arrangements tied to the performance of students at or below minimum standards.
James Graham, Luanna H. Meyer, Lynanne McKenzie, John McClure, and Kirsty F. Weir
Educational policy; structure and systems, Families and communities, Māori and education, NCEA, Pasifika, Schooling for the future, Student engagement
New Zealand’s previous examination-based secondary assessment system can be viewed as encompassing cultural values presenting unfair challenges for indigenous and other nonmajority students. The standards-based National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) incorporates enhanced flexibility, student choice and grading practices independent of comparisons with others. These features may be a better match for the educational aspirations of collectivist cultures, yet little is known about the views of Māori and Pacific students and their parents on NCEA. In this study, Māori and Pacific students and parents were interviewed about NCEA and its impact on motivation and achievement. Participants reported valuing the opportunities and outcomes associated with NCEA while emphasising where further work is needed. The implications of these findings are discussed for policy and practice within the NCEA framework.
Curriculum and assessment, Maths education, Science education, Student engagement
The Premier New Zealand Scholarship, awarded annually to students performing at a high level in multiple secondary school subjects, has historically been dominated by students with successful results in mathematics and the sciences. Three possible explanations for this dominance are explored in the present article. The first is that greater numbers of students undertake assessments in combinations of these subjects than in combinations of other subjects. The second is that there is a greater correlation in the cognitive demands of subjects within this group than is the case for other subjects. The third is that candidates undertaking mathematics and science are stronger Scholarship candidates, on average, than students undertaking other subjects. The analyses show that all three explanations have some currency, although the correlation in cognitive demands is shown to be no greater within the mathematical disciplines and the sciences than it is within the humanities.
Before I trot out my starter-kit proposal, however, I need to make sure we are considering the same entity here, so let me first offer a definition of formative assessment and, after that, provide a brief rationale for why more teachers should be using it.