Research on formative assessment has focused on the ways teachers implement and use formative assessment to check student understanding in order to guide their instruction. This study shifted emphasis away from teachers to look at how students use and perceive formative assessment in the science classroom. Four key strategies of formative assessment were implemented: feedback, questioning, self-assessment, and formative use of summative tests. Over the course of 15 weeks students experienced all of these strategies in three major chemistry units. During the class and at the end of the trimester interviews were conducted with students to look at their views regarding formative assessment and their learning. An inductive, emergent design was used to analyze students' responses in interviews and “truth box” vignettes. Common and unique themes emerged for each strategy of formative assessment.
Overall students found formative assessment to be beneficial to their learning because it provided clear expectations, prepared them for assessments, individualized the learning and informing them of their learning. Other benefits and uses that students reported included: being able to socialize, breaking large amounts of information into manageable pieces, having a second chance to learning, feeling good during the learning process, knowing what was wrong, developing a deeper understanding, focusing more, and having time for questions. Teachers and teacher educators need to be aware of how formative assessment strategies are perceived by students and recognize that the effectiveness of the strategies de-mystifies the learning experience, allows for a growth mindset in learning, makes learning accessible to all students, and shows students how to close the gap in their learning.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2012. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Gillian Roehrig. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 115 pages, appendices A-G.
Haroldson, Rachelle Ann.
Student perceptions of formative assessment in the chemistry classroom..
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