Authors: Hosun Kang, Doron Zinger
Presented at 2017 AERA
Abstract: This presentation describes the designed learning experiences for PTs to develop one essential instructional capacity to promote rigorous and responsive teaching in classroom—plan and use assessment formatively. We also present empirical findings from the study that follows six secondary science PTs from preparation to the first year of teaching. Effective formative assessment is conceptualized as three interrelated practices: (a) designing or selecting tasks that create opportunities for students to show information about themselves and their learning, (b) interpreting student responses in relation to instructional design, and (c) responding to students instructionally (e.g., providing feedback or adapting instruction). Building upon the prior studies (Author and others, 2015, in press; Lyon, 2013; Otero, 2006), a theoretical learning trajectories framework is conceptualized to guide research activities (see Table 2). Employing a design-based research approach (Design-Based Research Collective, 2003; Sandoval, 2014), PTs’ learning experiences were designed and enacted with one group of PTs (n=20) who enrolled in a teacher preparation program in the 2014-15 academic year. Among the six participants, three began their careers at schools that served highly diverse students from low-income families. The other three were hired at affluent schools. To examine the trajectories of novice teachers’ assessment practices, three sets of teaching episodes were collected during the preparation period and the first-year teaching, respectively (a total of six episodes per participant). Each teaching episode included planned and enacted assessment tasks, samples of student responses to the assessments, teachers’ analysis and reflection (preparation only), teaching video and audiotaped post-observation interviews (first-year teaching only). End-of-year interviews were conducted individually in both years. Assessment practices in each teaching episode were coded as “high, medium, and low,” with regard to sophistication level guided by the framework. Cross-case analyses were conducted attending to both success and failure in engaging effective assessment practices in first-year teaching. The analyses reveal the uneven trajectories of assessment practices across six teachers (see Table 3). Four out of six teachers provided evidence of successful engagement in effective assessments despite various contextual challenges. Cross-case analyses revealed a few patterns. First, the teachers who worked at affluent suburban schools were more successful in engaging in effective assessment practices than those who worked at high-needs schools. Second, the professional community developed during preparation played a critical role in new teachers’ persistence in enacting the kinds of science teaching advocated by the program. The informal network facilitated continuing professional collaboration, such as sharing curriculum materials, ideas, and providing emotional support. Notably, the shared languages developed through the use of core practices appeared to mediate this process. Finally, a few cases suggested that first-year teachers’ persistence, agency, and retention should be counted as important outcomes beyond what they currently could do or were forced to do in the classroom.