ASSESSMENT AS LEARNING: TRANSFORMING PRACTICES WITH SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS
University of Macerata (ITALY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 8-9 November, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Student assessment is undoubtedly one of the most relevant yet insidious processes of learning. Today the transition to a problem and competency-based education requires a radical change. Indeed, assessment is still predominantly linked to mere content rather than “high-level conceptual and analytical skills” (Fishman & Dede, 2016, 1274). Thus, there is an increasing need for assessment as learning (Carless 2015; Zeng et al., 2018), characterized by a substantial overlap between formative and evaluation processes that are processual, subjective, and intersubjective. The concept of objectivity and assessment as a comparison between result and intended outcome is replaced by process evaluation, sharing, co-assessment, and co-determination.
Teachers implicitly implement practices in this direction, including authentic tasks, process evaluation, rubrics, and feedback. However, they are neither always aware of the innovative elements inherent in their practices, nor do they operate strategically in this direction. Old and new practices are often present, just as old criteria are re-used in final and summative evaluations.
This paper presents a survey carried out on a sample of 137 secondary school teachers on assessment. The survey was administered during two training courses concerning methods and procedures of assessment in secondary school. The courses were organized by the School Office of the Marche region (Italy) in collaboration with the University of Macerata and held remotely in synchronous mode between July and October 2021. They both last 30 hours, divided into four training meetings (10 hours) and a workshop part (20 hours). The meetings are focused on the following topics: assessing subjects and certifying competencies (1); from task to process - the construction of rubrics (2); summative assessment and the ePortfolio (3); reflection on project work and final synthesis (4).
Before the beginning of the courses, participants were asked to fill in an entry questionnaire to facilitate a better alignment of the training program. The questionnaire, composed of open and closed-ended questions, was designed to collect professional information, motivations and expectations related to the course, and data regarding assessment (critical elements, types of tests most frequently used, integration between assessment of learning and certification of competencies).
The collected data highlighted critical elements related to teaching (63.6% first grade, 65.8% second grade) and tests (30.3% first grade, 26.4% second grade). Among the types of tests used to assess learning, reality or authentic tasks are mentioned by 13.1% of first-grade teachers and 23.7% of second-grade teachers. The simultaneous assessment of disciplinary knowledge and skills prevails in both courses since both are present in the routine tests (58.6% first grade, 54.1% second grade). Among the reasons for enrolling in the course, the teachers mainly stressed the wish to update or improve their skills and a personal interest in the topic.
Keywords: Assessment as learning, student assessment, secondary school, teacher training.