Beyond assessment literacy; a study of teachers assessment identity in Ireland and Australia

Year: 2017

Author: Looney, Anne, Cumming, Joy, Vand Der Kleij, Fabienne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teachers' capabilities to conduct classroom assessments, and to use assessment evidence to provide feedback to learners and report to parents and others are central to quality assessment practice, traditionally conceptualised as assessment literacy. In previous work, we proposed that that teachers' identity as professionals, beliefs about assessment, disposition towards enacting assessment, and perceptions of their role as assessors are all significant for their assessment work. We term this reconceptualisation Teacher Assessment Identity (TAI).
Based on this reconceptualisation of teachers' assessment literacy, and a review of existing scales for assessment knowledge and literacy, a questionnaire has been developed to investigate teachers' assessment identity across a range of settings. ( Looney, Cumming et al., 2017). The questionnaire, called the Teachers Assessment Identity Instrument (TAII) items are included to reflect the domains of beliefs about assessment, emotional responses to taking on the role of assessor, and anxiety in providing feedback to students, particularly on poor levels of achievement. The questionnaire has also been designed to support the modelling of any relationships between these aspects of the assessment work of teachers and experiences of assessment in a teacher's own educational history, and experience of initial teacher education.
Administered to teachers and teacher candidates in 2017 in Ireland and Queensland for the first time, the paper will report on the initial findings and emerging trends.
The study includes an important comparative dimension. In Ireland, student and teacher experience of assessment has been dominated, until recently, by two external national examinations at the secondary level (Looney, 2006).Recent reforms have introduced an element of school-based assessment for the first time. Queensland has, until recently, eschewed external examinations in secondary schooling, in favour of school based moderated assessment (Looney & Klenowski, 2008; Wyatt-Smith & Looney, 2016). Most Irish teachers have no experience of school-based assessment as a student or as a teacher. Most Queensland teachers have never experienced external examinations in school setting. Both cohorts of teachers have experienced a range of assessment in their initial teacher education programmes. Analysis of the data collected will investigate the potential impact of these important contextual differences on other aspects of teacher assessment identity.