The use of formative assessment in improving the performance of pupils at KS3 science assessment tasks.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
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The study examines the effect of formative assessment strategies on the attainment and motivation of Year 7 pupils in a Welsh medium south Wales comprehensive when completing assessment tasks. The study utilises some of the strategies identified by Black and William (1998) in their landmark paper. The general overall approach is that of action research. Three interventions involving the teaching of units of work with an emphasis on certain key scientific concepts were carried out. These concepts are common to most of the units and as such can be used as a basis for setting targets following assessment tasks. The pupils were given assessment tasks and asked to self and peer assess their work then set targets for improvement. During the interventions a reflective log was kept by the researcher noting observations and reflections. Data were also collected comparing the pupils' assessment of their National Curriculum levels with those set by the teacher. Attainment was measured by comparing the levels attained in the units with target levels set using data from prior attainment determined using CAT tests. The motivation of the pupils was measured using a questionnaire presented before and after the interventions. The impact of the interventions on pupils' motivation was measured. The results showed that the pupils became better at assessing the levels as each intervention was completed and similarly there was an improvement in the quality of the targets they set. There was also progress in pupils' attainment when compared to previous attainment. There was no measurable improvement in the motivation as determined by the questionnaire.
MA Education Thesis
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