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Teacher perceptions of the use and value of formative assessment in secondary English programmes

Russell Aitken

The significance of formative assessment strategies for student learning has been summed up by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam in their review of all research data from 1988 to 1998. Twenty English teachers from a range of New Zealand secondary schools were asked how they understood the relationship between formative and summative teaching strategies, the distortion of assessment feedback by “necessary” classroom management functions, and the clash between “competitive” and “personal improvement” assessment purposes in the classroom. This article outlines the gap between their perceptions and their actual classroom practice, the reasons for it, and the professional development needs arising from it.

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