Assessment for Learning for PGCE Science students: an investigation into the usefulness and value of assessment for learning as perceived by PGCE secondary Science students on their own learning.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
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Master's level (M-level) credits form a compulsory part of the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) secondary course at the institution under study. This poses a particular challenge for the majority of PGCE Science student teachers who have had limited experience of academic writing in the social science context, a useful pre-requisite for the M-level challenge. Consequently, a number of assessment for learning strategies (AfL) had been implemented at the institution concerned. This case study explored how AfL strategies were perceived and valued by student teachers in their dual roles as classroom teachers in their placement schools and as learners in higher education. Perceptions of the current cohort of PGCE Science student teachers were surveyed by questionnaires whilst the tutor's views were sought by a semi-structured interview. These were examined along with a range of documentary evidence which tracked the progress of student teachers. Results highlighted not one but three effective AfL strategies: individual feedback on draft work, sharing assessment criteria and sharing marking criteria. However, failure to use self-assessment against marking criteria was identified as the top barrier. Findings related to the perceived value of AfL were less convincing, with documentary evidence inconsistent with data from questionnaires and interviews. It appears that whilst student teachers seem to value AfL, they may not have embedded it within their own practice, whether as a teacher or a learner. In conclusion, it is hoped that these findings will not only inform the future practices of PGCE Science tutors but they may also have implications for recruitment and learner support.
MA Education Thesis
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