CSSE CERA 2012 Assessment for Learning Saad Chahine


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Over the past decades the educational measurement community has widely adopted Assessment for Learning (AfL) and Cognitive Diagnostic Assessment (CDA). AfL and CDA have emerged in parallel to each other and are often treated as mutually exclusive entities. This paper attempts to integrate these two movements in order to support teachers in providing rich descriptive feedback to students. The structure of this paper is to provide a theoretical perspective from educational psychology as to why AfL and CDA may work in children’s learning, then describe an activity that promotes pre-service teachers to take the perspective of students in identifying misconceptions students may have when they are learning in the classroom. The paper then concludes by identifying themes in pre-services teachers thinking about completing an activity that makes them think about children’s thought process.

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CSSE CERA 2012 Assessment for Learning Saad Chahine

  1. 1. Supporting Pre-Service Teachers with Assessment for Learning Strategies12-05-27 Saad Chahine, PhD
  2. 2. Assessment and Learning• Blend of psychometrics and psychological theories of learning• Assessment for Learning (AfL) – More learning theory• Cognitive Diagnostic Assessment (CDA) – More psychometrics
  3. 3. Purpose of AssessmentAfL: provide teachers with information that can support their instruction, which, in turn, is intended to enhance students’ learningCDA: provide individual students with diagnostic feedback from large-scale assessment based on specific measured skills
  4. 4. MisconceptionsDef.Systematic errors that childrenmake in their learning.•Educational Psychology helps usunderstand how children learn.
  5. 5. Schema & ZPDSchema Def. Children develop rules or patterns when they learn.ZPD Def. Zone of Proximal Development – examine ability to solve problems independently and to solve problems with an adults helpRole. helps teacher develop questions to identify, diagnose and remedy typical misconceptions that may affect students learning *note: maybe a very narrow view of AfL and CDA
  6. 6. Teacher Made Cognitive Diagnostic Assessment• Pre-Service teachers develop a multiple-choice (MC) test• Use of MC tests in Canada is anecdotally not very wide spread• MC test development was used to promote perspective taking with pre-service teachers
  7. 7. CDA MC Test Development Activity• Students received a template and a verbal explanation on how to complete the MC test development activity• 2 hours in class to practice item development with their peers and 1 hour to debrief
  8. 8. CDA MC Test Development Activity• Three parts to this activity: Part 1: identify three curriculum expectations/outcomes to measure and associated skills required Part 2: identify three misconceptions for each of the skills identified in part 1. Part 3: develop MC items that included the correct response (based on the skill needed to meet the expectation) and distractors (based on misconceptions).
  9. 9. Example of ItemIf it is noon and the sun is shining directlyabove you, you will have:a) A long shadowb) No shadowc) A short shadowd) Two shadows(b) correct answer(a) thinks certain objects emit the same type of light,(c) thinks light strength is the same with all distances, and(d) thinks there is always a shadow given from a light source.
  10. 10. Example of Skills Based BlueprintItem # Curriculum Skill Distractor 1 Distractor 2 Distractor 3 Outcome1 CO 303.4 S3 (b) M1 (c) M2 (a) M3 (d)2 CO 303.6 S2 (c) M1 (a) M2 (b) M3 (d)3 CO 303.4 S3 (a) M1 (c) M2 (d) M3 (b)
  11. 11. Reflection Summaries• Randomly selected 24 Pre-service teachers’ reflections• 12 from 74 elementary pre-service teachers• 12 from 66 secondary pre-service teachers• 6 Themes Identified (difficulty, misconceptions, current teaching practices, perspective taking, learning theory, curriculum)
  12. 12. DifficultySecondary Teacher (T13):the skills and misconceptions portion resultedin one thing: curling up into the fetal position.As I rocked back and forth trying to figure outwhat skills and misconceptions are needed,….Putting the test together wasn’t as difficultas I thought, but when it came to the skills andmisconceptions- I thought I was going to loseit.
  13. 13. MisconceptionsElementary Teacher (T1):The misconception section of this writing processwas very difficult for me to understand. I dorecognize the importance of comprehending thestudent’s answers, even when it is not the correctone, because teachers are able to betterunderstand how these students learn or wherethey have been mistaken. My only struggle wasfinding several misconceptions and trying to thinkof myself as the student.
  14. 14. Current Teaching PracticesSecondary Teacher (T19):I think the task was useful in that it got us to thinkabout the questions we would put into a test andwhy we would use particular questions overothers. I think if all teachers thought about exactlywhat they wanted to test for and themisconceptions when they were making tests,most tests would be of better quality!
  15. 15. Perspective TakingElementary Teacher (T9):Putting together a test for students in the fourthgrade like I did here is much different than puttingtogether a test that say I would take. You mustput yourself in a fourth graders mindset. You haveto think hard at which misconceptions you mayhave while learning this topic or to go back toyour own childhood.
  16. 16. Learning TheorySecondary Teacher (T16)As I expected, some skills were surrounded bymore misconceptions than others. But as a Frenchteacher it is of utmost importance that weconstantly search for and dispel misconceptions,because if they exist for too long, they become“fossilized” in the students’ internal grammarstructures and understanding of the language.
  17. 17. CurriculumElementary Teacher (T2):The most difficult part of this task was assessingoutcome A10; observing whether or not a studentis able to compare and order fractions. When Ibegan to create the questions and answerchoices, I kept running into problems with thenumbers I was choosing.
  18. 18. Discussion• AfL is talked about a great deal, but often not done well in the classroom.• AfL requires a great deal of planning and perspective taking.• It is time consuming, but it is also important.• We can only see improved assessment practices when time and effort is devoted in planning.