Im posting this thread here as I want to know your feedback. My professor is saying that the work is not good since I missed many research questions. Could you please go through this resarch question and let me know on which areas I should improve here? Tutor said it is hard to read and understand, what should I do about it? Thanks.RQ 1: What beliefs do teachers at the Language Centre at (SQU) hold about formative assessment?
RQ 2: What factors are responsible for shaping these teachers' beliefs and formative assessment practices?
The research shows that a majority of teachers consider formative assessment as an evaluation that ranks students against each other and as such forms the basis for competitiveness amongst students. In a broader sense, the teachers say that the Posthumus effect is an illustration of a normative assessment. This effect shows that teachers tend to adapt its requirements according to the class so that the performance of its students are distributed according to a Gaussian curve. It is a normative effect since the class is and where it segregates students compared to the average of the class, whether weak or strong. However, as evidenced in the results, more and more teachers have realized this challenge and put in place strategies to counter, for example by drafting joint reviews with several teachers. Further, teachers are of the opinion that in a mastery learning device, successful standard is not defined by the class but by the goals of education. It is therefore interesting to analyze how students are currently used to a standard system. As one teacher argues, it is important to see how the students attach importance to the success if we want to implement mastery learning devices.
As the results suggest, in formative evaluation, the error is not a lack, not a malfunction of the student needs to penalize, not a sign of its failure. Instead, the error reflects an incorrect or incomplete approach to student mastery of skills. It becomes a real tool for the teacher. He takes into consideration and analyses to make an accurate diagnosis. As a matter of fact, teachers express a belief that in a formative assessment system, the teacher becomes the student or a true partner who guides in the construction of learning. As the teacher's responses suggest, for each student, the satisfaction level with the announced performance, a result is obtained that can be seen as an index of self-esteem. Indeed, this idea is based on the assumption that the student has a negative self-esteem is one who does not reach in its performances, the satisfaction level that is itself defined. Conversely, students who have positive self-esteem are the ones whose performance exceeds the satisfaction threshold.
The results shows an agreement amongst teachers that evaluation is a crucial part of the learning process. In schools, the most directly visible form, according to the results are summative evaluations. They are used to measure what students have learned at the end of a training unit to get students from one class to another, to ensure that they have the level required for graduation or to access certain positions or select students for entrance to higher education. Formative assessment platform provides a platform through which these are achieved. However, teachers note that the assessment may also take a formative function. In the classroom, formative assessment refers to frequent, interactive assessments of progress and achievements of students to identify needs and adjust instruction accordingly. According to the results, teachers using formative assessment techniques are better prepared to meet the diverse needs of students - differentiating and adapting their teaching to improve student achievement and equity of results. The generalization of this practice, however, faces significant obstacles, including perceived tensions between the involved classroom formative assessments and summative tests with high visibility for causing schools to meet student achievement, and a lack of consistency between systems evaluation approaches, institutions and classes.
All teachers that participated in this study encourage formative assessment because they see it as a way to achieve the objectives of the training throughout life. They are motivated by quantitative and qualitative data demonstrating that the teaching that incorporates formative assessment has helped improve the level of students and help teachers to meet the needs of student populations increasingly diversified, which contributes to reducing inequality. Teachers who use formative assessment methods accompany the students in developing their personal skills "learning to learn" - skills that the rapid obsolescence of knowledge in the information society makes increasingly essential.
Additionally, teachers are in agreement that the methods of formative assessment played an important role in improving the general level of students. Quantitative and qualitative research has shown that this form of evaluation could be one of the most operating on student performance ever studied interventions. This is in line with Black and Wiliam that concluded that,
"[...] Formative assessment does improve learning. Progress seems quite considerable and as noted above, they are among the most important he has ever reported for educational interventions. For example, and to show the importance of this progress, an effect of 0.7, if it could be obtained across the nation, would be to raise the average math score of a country like England , New Zealand or the United States among the "top five" after the Pacific Rim countries - Singapore, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. (Black and Wiliam, 1998, p. 61)"
These findings provide a solid basis for further research on teaching strategies, learning and most successful evaluation.
The teachers interviewed further agree that formative assessment builds skills "learning to learn" by focusing on the process of teaching and learning and by actively involving students. By developing their skills in peer review and self-assessment, helping them to understand their own learning and to develop strategies for "learning to learn ". As a matter of facts, a majority of the interviewed teachers are of the opinion that students that with formative assessment, students actively build their mastery of new concepts (not just absorb information), given that it helps them to develop a set of strategies to locate new ideas in a wider context and learning to judge the quality of their work and that of their peers with respect to objectives and clear and specific learning criteria also gain valuable skills to learn throughout life.
The study's findings show that the main obstacles (but not only) in the dissemination of formative assessment include the tension between formative assessments of student achievement in the classroom and made highly visible summative tests - that is to say, national or regional scale assessments of students, which are used to constrain institutions to meet outcomes and that can have deadly consequences for the weak or insufficient facilities. Too often highly visible summative tests used to force schools to meet student outcomes determine what happens in the classroom. The lack of linkages between systems evaluation approaches, institutions and classes. Too often, it is considered that the information collected as part of national or regional monitoring systems or even internal evaluation for institutions show no interest in the teaching activity. Too often, it is considered that the information obtained in class are irrelevant to political orientation.
It was further noted that although teachers often express ambivalence or even some resistance against external summative tests, nothing in the summative evaluation is inherently opposed to the use of formative methods. The fact is that summative results can be used for formative purposes. Teachers noted that formative assessment was more knowledge oriented unlike in summative tests where teachers often feel compelled to teach "for the examination" and students are encouraged to achieve performance targets (pass exams) at the expense of learning objectives (capture and master new knowledge) which is the focus of formative assessment. Many teachers - if not all - felt that these external evaluations are difficult to reconcile and even totally incompatible with the practice of formative assessment. External tests have poor design, the comparative rankings of institutions operated by the media from parcel data and the lack of link between the tests and the program can also hinder innovation; problems that do not plague formative assessment. Additionally, research evidence suggest that teachers are more likely to use formative assessment information when they are well coordinated.
There is no doubt an agreement amongst teachers that while not a panacea for all educational challenges, formative assessment is an effective way to reach high performance goals and strong equity of outcomes, in addition to giving students the knowledge and skills needed to learn at their throughout their lives. There is a general agreement that systems that overcome tensions that impede the diffusion of formative assessment and that promote a culture of evaluation are much more likely to make greater progress towards these goals. Amongst the principles that a majority of teachers agree to as constituting formative learning include:
- Establishment of a classroom culture that encourages interaction and the use of tools of devaluation.
- Definition of learning objectives and track individual student progress towards these objectives.
- Use of varied teaching methods to meet the diverse needs of students.
- Use of diverse methods to evaluate student achievement.
- Feedback on student performance and adaptation of instruction to meet identified needs.
- Active involvement of students in the learning process.
The most striking observation from teacher's feedback is that they have integrated these six principles in their regular practice. If they do not they necessarily attach equal importance (some teachers more emphasis on feedback given to students, others feel more important to offer a diverse range of learning opportunities), they apply each of these six principles to structure learning and assessment. Teachers have created a framework, language and tools, using the various components of formative assessment to shape their approach to teaching and learning. As a matter of fact, it is evident that teachers have integrated formative assessment into their teaching and class created a culture conducive to using it as an assessment tool. In the interviews, the teachers stressed the importance of securing the students that they dare to take risks and make mistakes in class. This idea is practical part: students who have enough confidence to take risks are more likely to reveal what they understand and what they do not understand, an essential feature of the training process.
The findings also highlights the importance of attracting students' attention on mastering tasks rather than competition with peers and develop emotional skills. Indeed, just as revealed in the findings, the emotional skills such as self-awareness, self-control, empathy, cooperation, flexibility and the ability to judge the value of information are useful to students in school and everything throughout their lives. Emotions also have an influence on self-esteem and motivation and ability of the student to regulate his own learning.
It was further noted that the interviewed teachers use objective standards to set learning goals for students, sometimes breaking down the goals into secondary units for weaker students. A majority have also abandoned the traditional scoring systems that tend to be based on a "social comparison" of student performance (that is to say, on comparing the performance of each student to those of its peers) - in favor of methods that allow them to monitor student progress toward learning goals based on precise criteria, thus embracing formative assessment. As a matter of fact, just as emphasized in a number of the reviewed literature material, the findings support the idea that formative assessment is more effective in monitoring student progress on the path of impartial learning goals that compare with peers. Further, they note that in situations of comparison, the weakest students convince themselves that they lack capacity and thus lose motivation and confidence. Indeed, they is a perception amongst teachers that the feedback that refers to student progress and work improvement opportunities that formative assessment offers can help offset the negative impact of social comparisons. Additionally, teachers noted that the burden of setting learning goals and monitor student progress towards achieving these objectives makes the learning process more transparent; students do not have to guess what they must do to succeed.
Another component of formative assessment emphasized by teachers is the use of varied teaching methods to meet the needs of diverse students in which case teachers cited adjusting their teaching methods to the needs of a variety of students, meaning in some cases they adapt teaching to reflect different emotional styles. Teachers note that the most vulnerable students need help to develop their emotional skills. They strive to help students gain confidence in their skills and knowledge and their ability to manage their own learning. This is in line with arguments by social and cognitive psychologists, anthropologists and other social scientists that recognize that knowledge and experiences that children bring with them to school have a determining influence on their learning experience. According to the study's findings, these prior knowledge are formed in part by ethnicity, the culture, socioeconomic medium and gender. There is widespread agreement across those surveyed that teachers can help students understand new concepts and ideas related to their previous world views and representations. As a matter of fact, the findings suggest that by teachers being aware of different cultural modes of communication and are listening to individual communication modes, they are better able to promote expression of what students understand and take ownership of new ideas. This perception is aligned the proposal by the Swiss education researcher Philippe Perrenoud (1998) that stated,
"[...] To the extent that students do not have the same means, not the same needs, not the same workings, an optimal situation for one will not be optimal for the other [...] We can write a simple equation: diversity of persons + adequacy of treatment each = diversity of treatments (Perrenoud, 1998, p. 93-94)"
The observations of the early research suggests that we must completely rethink the strategies to ensure equity of outcomes. But it is also necessary to refine the research on the impact of formative assessment on the different methods students. This research could examine whether and how formative assessment can meet the needs of students based on their personal differences such as emotional style or ethnicity, culture, socio-economic background or gender.
Teachers further observed that institutions use various methods to assess individual student progress over time, within realistic frameworks and in a variety of contexts. Students who fail certain tasks have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in others. These varied assessments also help to gather information about students' ability to transfer acquired to new situations - an important skill judged for "learning to learn" - and also on how the acquired knowledge can be correct or deepen the student.
Further, feedback on student performance and adaptation of instruction for meeting identified needs is largely mentioned by teachers as a fundamental component of formative assessment. The findings reveals that the feedback plays a vital role in the formative evaluation, but all the feedback forms may not be effective: it must intervene at the appropriate time, be specific and include tips for improving future performance. Good feedback is also linked to explicit criteria relating to expected performance, making the learning process more transparent and shows students how to use the skills of "learning to learn". This view is reinforced by multiple studies including Black and Wiliam (1998) that identified a number of studies conducted in ecologically valid circumstances (that is to say, controlled experiments, carried out in the normal classroom setting students with their usual teacher ) that reinforce the view. Feedback requesting ego (even in the form of congratulations) instead of carrying out the task in question appears to affect performance. Furthermore, teachers also noted that students' results improve when working on process goals rather than on product goals and when they follow their progress towards the achievement of learning goals. Teachers also noted that they benefit from feedback processes. When giving feedback, teachers give more attention to what students understand and do not understand and are better able to adjust teaching strategies to meet identified student needs.
The findings of this study suggest that the extent to which institutional policy and other contextual educational factors impact on teachers' beliefs about formative assessment is sometimes determined by teachers' degree of compliance with and perception of these policies and factors. This is to say that teachers are more likely to align their beliefs with institutional policies and contextual educational factors mostly when the latter does not explicitly clash with the former. For instance, despite the LC teachers' acknowledgment of the institution's influence on their formative assessment beliefs and practices, they did not comply with the LC's policy which restricted their use of assessment materials to those prescribed by the LC curriculum. On the contrary, the majority of the LC teachers believed in using their own self-developed assessment materials when using formative assessment and they seemed to be against relying on the prescribed materials and being restricted by their limited boundaries. This may also reflect a growing ambivalence among LC teachers towards their institution's curriculum mandates similar to that of the Australian teachers towards their states' assessment mandates which was reported in Davison (2004). Davison found that Australian teachers did not uncritically implement the state published criteria but seemed to rely more on their professional judgments. Indeed, this explanation is strongly supported by the findings of the study as it was evident in almost all teachers' interviews. For instance, in the following two quotes Fatma and Buthaina stressed that teachers should be given some freedom to choose the content of the formative assessment curriculum and they opposed to relying on and being restricted by the prescribed curriculum.
Active involvement of students in the learning process also largely featured as a strength of formative assessment. Basically, those interviewed agreed with the fact that the goal of formative assessment is to assist students in developing their own skills "learning to learn" (sometimes called "metacognitive" strategies). Students are well equipped with their own language and their own tools for learning and are better able to transfer and apply these skills to solve everyday problems; they gain the ability to find answers or to devise strategies to solve the problems with which they are unfamiliar. In other words, they develop control strategies in their learning process. Further, the findings show that formative assessment takes note of the fact that learning provide assistance in teaching self-evaluation techniques and analyzing the effectiveness of different learning strategies for students. Those interviewed note that these teaching methods are particularly important for students who are not helped at home.
Regardless of LC teachers' diverse cultural and educational background, level of qualification, type of teacher training and prior experiences, the teachers in this study appeared to mostly hold similar beliefs about formative assessment. The main beliefs of the 127 teachers who participated in this study considered formative assessment a pivotal component of the language classroom and provided common justifications for the use of this type of assessment. These "core beliefs" (Clark & Peterson, 1986) reflected that though LC teachers were fully aware of what formative assessment was and how it should be used, they still expressed a strong need for professional development that would enhance their knowledge and promote their effective implementation of formative assessment. The beliefs of the LC teachers seemed to conform to a particular pattern in terms of implementing and integrating formative assessment in the ongoing teaching. This pattern was characterized by and reflected in LC teachers' common views about planning, integrating and implementing formative assessment in teaching, customizing assessment to suit the foreign language context and the target students, informing students in advance about assessment and assessment criteria and using formative assessment for summative purposes and vice versa. The beliefs of the LC teachers seemed to reflect a common understanding and perception of the concept of validity and reliability of formative assessment among these teachers. These beliefs also highlighted the extent to which formative assessment was misused in the LC and provided some insight into how this serious problem could be resolved.
RQ 3: Do students share the same understanding and perception of formative assessment with their teachers?
One of the most outstanding things is the role of teachers and hence their impact training session on learning theories and nor formative assessment is no exception. In reality, the findings reveal that teachers gradually need to build models of different ways of learning for their students. They are required to pay attention in the selection of tasks and questions, so that students can advance their ideas, so they can better restructure their learning. Teachers are also attentive to student answers, and direct them towards gainful responses. Teachers realize that they have roles to play in making this form of evaluation a success. The impact of teachers in formative assessment can be termed as arising from observing the students, monitoring daily leads him to regulate individual and collective rhythms, and to modulate the requirements of personnel given class work at home and help in identifying the successes and mistakes.
The context appears marked by strong difficulties in exercising the profession. While being mobilized for the success of all students, teachers of the study nevertheless expressed a feeling of weariness, frustration or pain caused by poor working conditions and in some cases, the inability to advance many of their students in check. In some cases it appears that the teacher has identified the problems faced by the student and the measures to remedy this but these measures require personalized support without having time to realize it.
Furthermore, teachers especially committed to educational point of view as the political perspective evokes a sociopolitical context not conducive to encouraging assessment: "There is a long and slow process of degradation of the system, the student relationship / between teacher and teachers who are going in the direction of degradation and the growing alienation of the workers that have become teachers." According to this teacher, alienation is, in this case, not being aware of the social logic of the evaluation. This view appears however to relativize the light of considerations of other teachers who express the contrary some awareness of this social logic.
3 impact types are present:
- Proactive regulation: mechanism by which the student ensures that he understands the task, although he uses the knowledge to realize that he has the knowledge to perform the task.
- Interactive regulation: mechanism by which the student adapts the resources, the knowledge, cognitive and metacognitive strategies necessary to achieve the task.
- Post active regulation: analysis, comparison, conclusions about the work of view of the student, the class and the teacher.
The evaluation must be done on multiple objects. Of course, it is on knowledge and skills, but it is also done on the parameters that can help students learn. For example, think of the emotional, cognitive, motivational...
Furthermore, the assessment also covers the teacher's approach.
d) Regulation of the activity
The regulation of the activity leads to successful business. It is based more on the finished product. As against the regulation of learning helps students to cognitive conflict and metacognition. What is important is that students will have a conscious knowledge of his knowledge, that he knows the functioning of his thought processes that are involved when performing a task. To be aware of how they learn, students need feedback. It is through the formative evaluation it will get that feedback.
e) Formative assessment or formative observation
Philippe Perrenoud (1998), proposes to speak formative observation rather than formative assessment. Indeed, formative assessment as it should be practiced, is partly to observe the attitude of the students, their approach, their way to make connections, their comments, their silences, their objections, their misunderstandings, their questions , their mistakes ... On the other hand, the term "formative assessment" is always closely linked to notions of quotes, notes, bulletins, etc. ...
Nowadays, the error is still often synonymous with fear, stress. If the student has understood, listened, then he cannot make any mistakes. If he made a mistake that he did not listen to the teacher or poorly explained or chose a bad example... The student is then penalized. The error is still too often misperceived.
Cognitive theories tell us that learning is not done so immediate. The subject must take risks to apply knowledge. It is the use, transform, reuse, validate, adjust, make trials and errors further tests ... Therefore, the error will allow the subject to learn. In formative evaluation, the error is not considered a failure, a penalty, a weakness but as a way forward, to learn better. It reveals the strategies and performances of students. It is seen as a moment in solving a problem. The role of the error is essential. It should be considered as a useful basis for the learner and the trainer. Do not, under any circumstances seek to punish but logical.
Formative assessment helps students manage their learning. He learns to regulate itself and thus acquires autonomy. He can judge a situation, plan, organize, adjust their knowledge, resources and strategies and assess its way to achieve a situation problem.
Respondents believe that formative assessment should:
- enhance the student's knowledge.
- support students and give information indicating whether he is in the right direction or not.
- be made as soon as possible after the completion of the task, or even during,
- and must be operative by the student.
- be comprehensible to the student.
- allow the student to see that the changes it will operate following the
- have feedback effects.
- provide information on student progress in relation to himself and not by another.
- provide any information that could help the student.
Self-assessment plays an important role. It allows students to learn about their own mental processes and therefore teaches them to manage them better. According to Gérard Scallon (1997), self-assessment should also be an objective in itself training. Self-assessment empowers the student as analyzing their own mental strategies, it becomes less dependent on the feedback from the teacher.
Self-assessment helps students to verbalize, to objectify the way he proceeded. What have I wanted to do, what am I doing, how I do it, what are the steps which I am aware, what I see when I compare what I have done with what was expected, what would I change, what helped me, what seemed difficult, what put me ill at comfortable, what made me particularly proud ...
The student, through self-assessment, must happen to make comments on its productions to understand why sometimes it "stuck" and thus be able to find solutions to overcome them. This implies that the student must know the evaluation criteria or even having committed himself with the teacher. Therefore, it can be expressed more easily in relation to the completion of the task. The teacher, through these comments, discover actionable insights, ways to respond optimally to the student.
Moreover, the practice of self-assessment strengthens student participation in learning. It is done under the supervision of the teacher. It helps the student to make metacognition.
Finally, self-assessment is very close of metacognition. Metacognition includes the ability to reflect on their way of learning, the knowledge of its own cognitive processes and products and the ability to use and control these cognitive processes in order to achieve an objective.
Assessment allows teachers to first locate students with each other and they indicate their level or their value in a discipline. They express an awareness of nature affecting the assessment, in case of positive and negative evaluation if not with the feeling that a negative assessment is critical, it is difficult to get out and can cause a rejection of the matter and the school in general. This situation generates in their feelings of injustice and helplessness. There is also an awareness of over-determination of social skills. The findings show that teachers are actively involved in practices of formative assessment and to encourage and help students grow: self-confidence, self-esteem, sense of competency development, individual aid, the ability to redo his work, recovery of production corresponds to their values and educational goals. Among the practices to develop skills: the ability to repeat all or part of the work required for the assessment with the assurance of an improved rating, adapt the instructions to students' abilities, support students in achieving the task Evaluation is either helping them by allowing teamwork.
The findings present the teacher as responsible for the younger learning, assessment of product daily to track student achievement in the classroom and communicate with parents about their child's progress. Teachers also produces assessments as part of diplomas and awards and contributes partially to define the levels of employment and thus social destinies. The teacher consequently produces various student assessments that experts call either formative - when assessments help students in their learning continuously - or summative - when assessments are benchmarks for institutional decisions for career and educational guidance, for example for a transition to the next grade, repetition or a sector of choice. In many countries, these two dimensions intersect. Internal assessments of students are the sole responsibility of the teacher in his class and his establishment.
The LC teachers' beliefs about implementing and integrating formative assessment in teaching were clearly evident in their views about (1) how frequently they used, planned for and integrated formative assessment in teaching, (2) how they framed formative assessment and whether they informed their students in advance about assessment and criteria, (3) how they customized formative assessment to suit the foreign language context and the target students. (4) how they approached formative assessment in terms of using individual/pair/group assessment, (5) how they used data from assessment to guide teaching and material production, (6) how they used formative assessment for summative purposes and vice versa. These views directly relate to the four aspects (i.e. planning, framing, and conducting and using assessment data) of the first dimension of Hill and McNamara's (2012) CBA framework as will be discussed next.
In assessing the role of evaluation of students by teachers reveals a complex practice that articulates two dimensions which can appear as antagonists. Firstly internal evaluation is a judgment of the teacher, the student's academic progress, occurs in a classroom context, requiring some form of educational freedom without which the act of teaching cannot be adapted the local context and the students that the teacher must accompany. It is also, more often in parallel - for summative and formative assessment intersect in many countries - the appreciation of the value of academic production on the basis of objective criteria, given the stakes assessments, already highlighted in the introduction - that the school selection and certification. Subjectivity and objectivity necessary, freedom and constraints between-mingle incessantly in the teacher's evaluation work in the classroom. Also, traditionally, school regulations that govern internal evaluations ranged from recognition of the pedagogical freedom of teachers and external constraints, legal, imposed on teachers in the field.
The findings reveal that multiple factors affect student achievement with regard to formative assessment including: skills, expectations, motivation and behavior of the students themselves; resources, attitudes and support for families; skills, attitudes and peer group behavior; organization, resources and climate at the school; the structure and content of curricula; the skills, knowledge, attitudes and practices of teachers. Schools and classrooms are complex, dynamic environments, which is why one of the main lines of educational research has been, and remains, to determine the effects of these various factors and their interactions interrelations - and for different types of students and different types of formations.
Three main conclusions emerge from research on student achievement. The first conclusion, and most firmly established is that variations in pupils' achievements are mainly due to their luggage upon entry to school - their abilities and attitudes as well as their family and social environment. It is difficult for policy makers to influence these factors at least in the short term.
The second major finding is that among the variables on which policy makers could possibly act, those who exercise the main influence on student achievement are those related to teachers and teaching. It is generally agreed that the "teacher quality" is the single most important school variable influencing student achievement.
The third major conclusion of the research, which lends a little more controversial, concerns the indicators of teacher quality or correlation factors. The research mostly consisted of examining the relationship between measures of student performance, that is to say most often notes on standardized tests, and easily measurable characteristics such as teacher qualifications, experience educational, as well as indicators of their theoretical skills or knowledge in a particular discipline. These studies generally show a positive relationship between these measures of teacher characteristics and student performance, but perhaps to a lesser degree than that which might be expected. Various studies agree on the idea that the quality of teachers includes many important aspects which do not reflect the commonly used indicators such as qualifications, experience and assessment of academic skills. Among the characteristics of teachers that it is more difficult to measure but can be critical to student achievement include the ability to convey ideas clearly and convincingly, to create an effective learning environment for different types of students, to encourage the establishment of enriching relationships between teachers and students, to demonstrate enthusiasm and imagination and work effectively with colleagues and parents.
Expectations for schools and teachers are becoming increasingly complex. Contemporary society expects of institutions that they effectively address the issue of different languages and backgrounds of students who are enrolled, they are sensitive to cultural issues and gender equality, they encourage tolerance and social cohesion, they take charge effectively disadvantaged students and those with learning or behavioral problems, they use new technologies and remain in phase with the new fields of knowledge and approaches to assessment, which are evolving rapidly.
The impact which is now vested in the teacher is considered more extensive and covers in particular the individual development of children and young people, management of classroom learning process, the transformation of the whole of the school into a "learning community" and links with local communities and the outside world. Examples of areas covered by this expanded responsibility of teachers:At the individual student
- Set up and manage the learning process
- Responding effectively to the needs of individual learners
- Integrate formative and summative assessmentAt the classroom level
- To teach multicultural classes
- Develop new skills transversely across the curriculum
- Integrating students with special educational needsAt the school
- Working in teams and plan
- Educational Evaluation and organizational development programs
- Use of ICT in teaching and administration
- The management and sharing practices canAt the level of parents and the wider community
- Advice professionally parents
- Establish partnerships with local communities
The teacher issues also figure prominently on the political agenda because of concerns of teachers themselves about the future of their profession: is it sufficiently attractive to talented new entrants, and teachers are they sufficiently rewarded and supported in their work? As teachers are in daily contact with students likely to form the next generation of teachers, enthusiasm and morale of the current teachers have a considerable influence on the supply of teachers of the future.
The current schedule of renewed interest in policies related to teacher choice is of utmost importance. The fact that a large number of teachers recruited during the great expansion period of the 1960s and 1970s are approaching retirement age is both a challenge and an unprecedented perspective in most countries. Although a considerable amount of experience and skill should be replaced as and when retirements, the opportunity to reform the deeply faculty and benefit from these changes that awaits many countries represents only once in a generation.
The number of new teachers that will integrate the profession will be higher over the next 5-10 years than in the last 20 years. The arrival in power of new teachers have updated skills and new ideas can be the bearer of a profound renewal of schools. In addition, it can afford to allocate more resources to development as a younger faculty alleviate budgetary constraints. However, if a career in teaching is devoid of appeal and if the teaching does not change basically, the risk of decline in the quality of schooling is real, and a spiral down effect would be difficult to reverse.
Although the information is often fragmented and lacks longer-term data, and although not all countries not in the same position, to outline emerged. Concerns about the attractiveness of teaching as a profession
- A about half the countries reported concerns about maintaining an adequate supply of teachers a good level, particularly in areas where demand is higher
- Concerns about the long-term evolution of the composition of the teaching staff are also common, such as a decrease in "brightest" teachers and the number of men in the profession;
- There are concerns about the image and status of teachers; teachers often feel that their work is undervalued;
- The remuneration for teachers is declining in most of the participating countries
- Concerns about the development of knowledge and skills of teachers
- Almost all countries report concerns about "qualitative" weaknesses: they raise the question of whether a sufficient number of teachers have the knowledge and know-how to meet the needs of schools;
- There are major concerns about the lack of fit between teacher training, professional development, and school needs;
- Many countries do not have an introduction to the teaching structures for beginning teachers.
- Concerns about recruiting, selecting and employing teachers
- Most countries are concerned about the uneven distribution of teachers between schools and the question of whether students in disadvantaged areas have high-level teachers they need;
- Schools often have little direct involvement in teacher as
The analysis shows that issues related to the quantity of teachers and those related to their quality are obviously linked. To respond to teacher shortages, education systems often use a combination of short-term measures: they may lower the threshold of qualifications required for access to the profession, assigning teachers to teach subjects for which they are not fully qualified, increase the number of teaching hours allocated to teachers or increasing class sizes. Such measures, if they are used to ensure that there are no classes left without teachers, so that the shortage is not necessarily clear, however raise questions about the quality of teaching and learning.
At another level, just because a country is not facing a shortage of qualified teachers is not a guarantee that the faculty has the desired quality, especially if the selection process does not allow the best candidates are hired to teach courses. One could interpret the various findings and political concerns as signs of a long-term decline in the teaching profession. Gradually, as societies became more prosperous, the level of education has increased and employment opportunities have expanded, the attractiveness of the teaching career has narrowed in terms of ascent social and job security. General concerns about the challenges many schools face, relayed by often very negative echoes in the press, have hurt the attractiveness of the teaching vocation. Expectations and demands on schools have intensified while in many countries resources have not followed the same progression.
This finding confirms the results from Cohen's (1993) and Zeichner & Tabachnick's (1981) studies in which they found that the impact of teacher training was likely to be washed out by school teaching experiences. It also supports Pajares' (1992) view about the impact of teaching experience on teachers' beliefs and corroborates his conclusion that classroom behaviours are the results of beliefs being filtered by experience. It is interesting to note that though teacher training programs and teaching experience were acknowledged as belief formation factors based on the findings of this study, teaching experience appeared to be stronger both in terms of influencing existing beliefs and forming new beliefs. This may suggest that different belief formation factors vary in terms of their strength and influence on teachers belief system (Rokeach, 1968).
Teachers' teaching experience, personal research and vicarious experience or the influence of other fellow teachers have appeared to be very important in shaping and influencing teachers' beliefs about formative assessment. The majority of the teachers have recognized their teaching experience and personal research both as influencing factors and as sources from which their beliefs about formative assessment emanated. These findings confirm the findings from previous studies such as those of Brousseau, Book & Byers (1988), Zeuli (1993) and Wolters & Daugherty (2007) in which teaching experience and teachers' research were found to play a major role in constituting and influencing the teachers' belief system. As far as the interactive aspect of teaching is concerned, the influence of other teachers has also been acknowledged as a factor that influences teachers' beliefs about formative assessment. The majority of teachers seem to believe that observing their colleagues' teaching and discussing formative assessment with their senior teachers do influence their formative assessment beliefs. These results confirm Hagan et al.'s (1998) findings in which teachers' beliefs and self-efficacy were found to be influenced positively by watching videos on successful behavior management strategies and they are also in line with Bandura's (1977) self efficacy theory that which suggests that teachers' beliefs are influenced by their vicarious experiences and interaction with other teachers.
Professional development training has also been acknowledged as a factor that affects and influences the shaping and formation of teachers' beliefs about formative assessment. Most of the teachers in the LC context seem to think that their beliefs about formative assessment have been influenced by the professional development training they have had. Professional development training does not only seem to affect teachers' beliefs but it also influences their formative assessment practices. This may be inferred from teachers' responses to the statement 17 "I need training on how to use formative assessment effectively" as teachers think of training as a factor that may improve their implementation of formative assessment so that it becomes more effective. There was also made evident by the LC teachers during their Phase 1 interviews. For instance, Ali's (I6, 190-192) following quote implied that professional development training affected both his teaching beliefs and practices:
I mostly rely on my experience in the workshops that I have been to as these workshops [professional development training] influence my teaching and assessment style the most and I have transformed my entire teaching as a result.
These findings confirm the findings reported by Wixson and Pearson (1998) in which teachers' beliefs and approaches to teaching reading were changed due to a series of professional development workshops mandated by the State of Michigan in the US. They are also in line with Bandura's self-efficacy theory mentioned earlier in that LC teachers' beliefs and practices seemed to have been affected vicariously through their participation in professional development workshops as was made clear in the previous quote.
LC teachers were also found to acknowledge their discretion as well as their students' success or failure as factors that contributed to the shaping and formation of their beliefs about formative assessment. I argue here that discretion is a direct result of teaching experience and interaction with all the contextual factors available in the educational environment (Boote, 2006) such as students, curriculum, schedules, time constraints, policies, colleagues and so on. Just like teaching experience, discretion is so influential that it can easily either alter teachers' existing beliefs or give rise to some entirely new ones. This argument is supported by Murshid's (I10, 314-318) following quote:
... when you have discretion as to how to act in certain situations, you are likely to be influenced and act accordingly when you teach and assess your students. This gives you a chance to validate your discretion and if it proves successful, it becomes a teaching principle that guides your future teaching and assessment.
I also argue that the impact of students' success or failure on the shaping and formation of teachers' beliefs is indeed in line with Bandura's self-efficacy theory in that LC teachers regard success and failure as indicators of their successful or unsuccessful teaching. This particularly relates to Bandura's (1977) concept of 'performance accomplishments'(p. 139) which suggests that teachers judged their self-efficacy by evaluating whether they have been able to make a difference in students' learning. This is clearly reflected in Tahani's (I4, 108-109) following quote:
I sometimes regard students' success as a confirmation of the functionality of my methods and it also consolidates some of my previous beliefs about assessment.
It should be noted that when considered collectively, all the aforementioned belief formation factors correspond directly to the third dimension of Hill and McNamara's (2011) CBA framework (i.e. Teachers' theories and beliefs). However, as this dimension clearly fell short of explanations as to where teachers' beliefs come from, the findings from this study complements this dimension and provides an additional aspect which purely focuses of explaining the sources of teachers' beliefs. Hill and McNamara claim that their CBA framework is the most comprehensive framework available for investigating classroom-based assessment of which formative assessment is an indispensible form. However and based on the findings of this study, I argue that Hill and McNamara's framework did not address certain aspects such as sources of teachers' beliefs which are considered essential for any research that targets or investigates teachers' beliefs about classroom-based assessment. This is clearly evident in how the third and fourth dimensions of Hill and McNamara's framework purely focussed on the types of teachers' and learners' beliefs (i.e. beliefs about subject and content area, beliefs about second language learning and beliefs about nature of assessment) and completely overlooked the sources of those beliefs. I also contend that investigating teachers' beliefs about classroom-based assessment would not be complete without considering the sources from which those beliefs emanated or the factors that influence the formation of those beliefs. This is particularly important for understanding how teachers' beliefs are constructed and organized (Rokeach, 1972), for understanding the motives behind teachers' assessment practices (Ajzen, 2002; Richardson, 1996) and for successful introduction and implementation of assessment reforms (Bliem and Davinroy, 1997; Shim, 1999).
As far as the stability and permanence of formative assessment beliefs are concerned, the majority of teachers in the LC context seem to believe that their beliefs about formative assessment are constantly changing. For instance, these teachers think that their beliefs about formative assessment before and after they have joined the LC are not the same which reflects that their beliefs about formative assessment are not permanent or fixed. Based on teachers' overall responses to the questionnaire, it may be possible to describe teachers' beliefs about formative assessment as a living trait which is in constant interaction with the surrounding environment, circumstances, contexts, contents and persons and that this trait changes and modifies accordingly in order to fit within that environment and go along with the other aspects therein.
This study provided substantial evidence on the changing and adaptive nature of teachers' beliefs about formative assessment as was discussed in Chapter 7. For instance, the findings from this study show that teachers tend to change or modify some of their beliefs about implementing formative assessment in order to be in line with the institutional policy and official mandates or respond to some contextual factors imposed by educational environments such as nature and culture of students and level of students taught. This does not only confirm the role of institutional policy as a belief formation factor but also provides evidence that proves the instability or changing nature of teachers' beliefs about formative assessment. It also shows that these beliefs are in a constant process of dynamic interaction and negotiation with the surrounding contextual factors which often influences teachers' beliefs either by elimination or alteration (Ajzen, 2002; Bell and Cowie, 2001; Duffy and Anderson, 1984; Davis et al., 1993). This argument is supported by the model of conceptual change developed by Posner, Strike, Hewson, and Gertzog (1982) which suggests that new information is either incorporated into individuals' existing beliefs in a process called assimilation or replaces those individuals' existing beliefs in a process called accommodation. Both processes lead to change in belief with the former resulting into an alteration of beliefs and the latter resulting into an elimination of beliefs. The findings from this study also lends support to Bandura's (1995) social cognitive theory which suggests that both human behaviors and beliefs tend to change over time due to the accumulated experience and the constant social interaction with the surrounding environment.
The findings of this study therefore refute Block and Hazelip' (1972) and Vandeyar and Killen's (2006) claims that teachers' beliefs, especially about specific classroom practices such as assessment; are resistant to change. This has very important implications for educational decision and policy makers who intend to initiate changes or introduce reforms concerning assessment practices and implementations in their institutions as will be discussed in detail in Chapter 11.
Teachers in the LC context seem to hold strong beliefs about the importance of formative assessment to their teaching and assessment practices. The majority of the teachers think that formative assessment can inform their current teaching as well as help them improve and plan for their future teaching. They consider formative assessment as a means by which teachers identify where their students currently are in terms of the specified objectives and what they need to achieve the expected learning outcomes which is in line with how formative assessment was found to be used in previous studies (Baroudi, 2007, Black & Wiliam, 1998b; Torrance & Pryor, 1998). These findings also directly relates to Wiliam's (2006) suggestions about using formative assessment to bridge the gap between where the students are currently are and where they need to be.
As far as students' learning is concerned, the teachers believe that formative assessment is very important to their students' learning as it motivates them to work harder and helps them mature academically and take learning seriously. These findings corroborate findings from previous studies which highlighted the benefits that students get from using formative assessment (Cizek, 2010; OECD, 2005) and also confirm the use of formative assessment for learning and management purposes which was suggested in Hill and McNamara's (2011) CBA framework. The LC teachers also believe that formative assessment is a good indicator for students' learning and that it serves as a feedback tool which provides teachers with useful information about their students' progress. This in turn helps them to use divers teaching approaches, create better teaching materials, attend to their students' learning needs and preferences and modify their teaching to better suit the level of their students. The teachers also hold strong beliefs about the role that formative assessment plays in explaining the assessment culture and criteria of the university to students and this relates directly to Hill and McNamara's (2011) concept of using assessment in the 'socialization of learners into the local conventions of teaching and assessment' (p.409).
In general, teachers believe that formative assessment promotes a better learning environment and fosters autonomy among language learners. These finding confirm Gong and Hill's (2001) conclusion that formative assessment allows for more accurate evaluation of the students' real ability as well as their classroom performance and achievement of the target learning outcomes. Attending to students' needs and learning preferences by varying teaching approaches and materials during the implementation of formative assessment was reported as a great challenge in a large scale study conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2005). The findings of this study however show that LC teachers regard the actual process of using formative assessment as an aiding tool that helps them be more attentive to their students' needs and learning preferences as well as check the functionality of their own teaching.
Teachers seem to acknowledge the difference between formative assessment and summative assessment in the LC context and when it comes to classroom assessment preferences, the majority of teachers seem to prefer formative assessment over summative assessment. This confirms the findings from previous studies (Meyer, 2009; Matsuura, Chiba and Hildebrandt, 2001; Steadman, 1998 and many other) where teachers' assessment preferences leaned more towards using formative assessment. LC teachers seem to acknowledge the non-threatening nature and continuity of formative assessment as opposed to summative assessment but the majority of them are not sure whether or not it is fairer than summative assessment. Those teachers who think of formative assessment as fairer than summative assessment attribute their opinions to the fact that formative assessment is integrated in the ongoing teaching and that it assesses students throughout the course and this view is similar to those of Yorke (2011), Popham (2008) and Shohamy (2001). In terms of importance, these teachers do not think of formative assessment as more important than summative assessment or as a substitute for it but they rather regard formative assessment as complementing summative assessment, a view similar to those of Harlen & Crick (2003), Sadler (1989) and others. This clearly reflects that teachers in the LC context, regardless of their various ethnic and educational backgrounds, hold strong views about the importance of summative assessment and think of it as indispensible to their teaching process. This may be partially attributed to the strong emphasis that the LC rules and policies place on summative assessment and to the strong status summative assessment has accrued over the years as was evident from some teachers' interview responses in this study especially those of Tahani, Jamal and Ruken.
Teachers also criticize the current imbalance in terms of marks allocated to summative and formative assessment and they stress that giving more emphasis to summative assessment is likely to result in less use of formative assessment and affect the validity and reliability of assessment results. Therefore, these teachers suggest a balanced assessment system in which formative and summative assessment are reasonably weighted, a system in which these two assessments work together to complement and validate each other's results. These suggestions agree to some extent with Yorke (2011) and Shohamy (2001) who recommended using formative assessment along with summative assessment and claimed that this use was adequate to fix the flaws in summative assessment.
As far as the reasons for using formative as