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Professional Development of Teachers for Assessment for Learning

Pace, Tonio (2018) Professional Development of Teachers for Assessment for Learning. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This phenomenological study explores the perceptions of a group of seven teachers within a Maltese post-secondary college as they engaged with a bespoke professional development programme on Assessment for Learning strategies. Assessment for Learning has long been established in policy but, while the positive impact this could have on learning is strongly supported in literature, its implementation within Maltese educational institutions may not be as extensive as the policy would anticipate. The study focused on the way participants negotiated with their own conceptions as they were exposed to learning strategies from alternative perspectives. The study explores the teachers’ challenges, understandings and attitudes when implementing Assessment for Learning practices within their particular learning community, and the extent to which a professional development programme on Assessment for Learning strategies helped them address their challenges, improve understandings and change attitudes. The study used semi-structured initial interviews, prior to nine bespoke group sessions on particular Assessment for Learning strategies, followed by second set of participant interviews to evaluate impact on participants’ conceptions. Eight main themes emerged from the study: Assessment for Learning: making connections; rubrics as a learning tool; drafting and redrafting; exemplars as a learning tool; learning intentions: for learning or for teaching?; assessment for student learning; assessment for teacher learning; professional development for Assessment for Learning. This study exposed the importance which the participants attribute to positive relationships and the value of fairness when providing feedback to students. Teachers’ conceptions on the need for clarity when assessing tasks were revealed, especially in the context of a clear preference for verbal over written feedback and the use of rubrics as an assessment tool. Another key finding reflected the participants’ outlook on providing students with an opportunity to resubmit previously assessed work, before its final evaluation. Other emergent themes were related to the importance of clarifying the learning journey through the use of exemplars and learning intentions, as well as other factors which contribute to the effectiveness of assessment as a learning tool. The final two themes were related to the empowerment of teachers as leaders of their own learning and to factors related to the design of professional development programmes on Assessment for Learning. This study affirms the importance of developing an awareness of the participating teachers' mindset and preconceived ideas. Moreover, identifying the roots of such positions is critical, especially at the early stage of planning professional development programmes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Assessment for Learning, Professional Development, Feedback
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mr Tonio C Pace
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2019 15:43
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2019 15:43
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22985

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