PERCEPTIONS OF FUTURE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS ABOUT FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT
1 Higher School of Education and Social Sciences, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria (PORTUGAL)
2 Higher School of Education and Social Sciences, CI&DEI, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:Assessment in school is one of the inseparable pillars of teaching and learning. It is understood as a practice and a sophisticated social construction, mediated by teacher-student interaction. As a regulator of teaching and learning, formative assessment aims to develop an organized set of regulatory and self-regulatory processes, based on the expected learning. It is in this dialectic that the teacher-student interaction assumes a pedagogical intentionality focused on making students learn. This interaction happens based on information obtained through regular and systematic processes of information collection, in which each of these actors makes decisions on how to improve the learning achieved, through effective feedback.
Based on this theoretical framework, and since 2018, the topic of student assessment has been increasingly reflected on Portuguese schools, due to the focus given by the most recent educational policies, translated by the regulatory framework that reinforces formative assessment as the main method of student assessment. Therefore, it is relevant to understand the perceptions that future elementary school teachers have about formative assessment.
The present study was conducted in a public higher education institution, in the initial training courses for elementary school teachers (students aged 6-9 years) and sought to identify, understand and analyze the perceptions of future teachers about formative assessment and its mobilization in a context of pedagogical practice. Considering this goal, this work resulted from a qualitative case study research design. To this end, a questionnaire survey was applied to 28 students, future teachers attending Professional Master's Degrees, with 4 open questions, namely:
i) definition of formative assessment and its characteristics;
ii) description of a formative assessment practice implemented in a practical context;
iii) identification of a distinctive feature between formative and summative assessment; and
iv) identification of a common feature in formative and summative assessment. Taking into account the answers, a content analysis was performed, according to categories that emerged from the obtained answers.
The results suggest that future teachers identify as continuous processes the main characteristics of formative assessment with the essential purpose of improving the teaching and learning processes, allowing the diagnosis of students' difficulties. Future teachers also considered that these types of assessment involve the distribution of feedback and reflection by the teacher and are non-grading. However, it was found that most of the future teachers did not identify formative assessment practices that they developed in the context of Pedagogical Practice, but, instead of it, they enumerated instruments that can support this process, e.g., observation grids, quizzes or worksheets.
As for the main distinctive characteristics between formative and summative assessment, participants mainly referred to the qualitative nature of formative assessment, focus on the process and not its final purpose being the assignment of a grade. On the other hand, the see the summative assessment has a quantitative nature, occurring at a given moment and aiming at the assignment of a grade. Despite the differences identified, future teachers considered that formative and summative assessment have in common the fact that they aim to assess and improve students' learning.
Keywords: Initial teachers training, Formative assessment, Future teachers perceptions, Pedagogical practice.