An Analysis of the Effects Upon ITET Students’ Learning and Self-Efficacy When Adopting the Principles and Practices of Assessment for Learning (AfL)
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Assessment within higher education is pervasive (Leathwood, 2005). The necessity for marks and grades creates a strong summative assessment environment and can dominate students’ thoughts (Crisp, 2012). However, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that formative interventions over a learning period can ameliorate improvements in learning and achievement (Macfarlane-Dick, 2006; Gibbs, 2006; Black and Wiliam, 1998). This research project is an action-based investigation of student teachers’ learning and self-efficacy and focuses upon a second year (level 5) cohort studying for a BA (Hons) Primary Education degree with qualified teacher status (QTS). The evidence of the impact of formative assessment upon performance (Black and Wiliam, 1998; Juwah et al., 2004) provided a theoretical base underpinning my research project. Data on students’ responses to the implementation of a range of Assessment for Learning (AfL) strategies, assessment processes and their self-efficacy were collected by means of questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and analysis of assignment results. The data indicated that interventions such as staggered submission of assignments and changes to tutor pedagogy, impacted upon students’ performance. The largest gains were demonstrated by those achieving the lowest marks, although improvements were noted across the cohort. Changes in self-efficacy were evident and interesting results occurred when investigating sophistication of students’ assessment definitions linked to their performance. Issues on how best to implement formative assessment strategies within a dominant summative assessment model are central to the project and the thesis concludes with recommendations on how higher education institutions can help create a more ‘assessment literate landscape’.
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