Teacher perceptions of the use and value of formative assessment in secondary English programmes'

Year: 1999

Author: Aitken, Russell

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The significance of formative assessment strategies to student learning has been summed up by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam in their review of all research data from 1988 to 1998. The potential value of a range of strategies for the effective incorporation of formative assessment in secondary English classrooms is beginning to be appreciated by teachers in New Zealand.

Formative assessment centres on effective feed-back to students close to the time of the learning task and it should look forward to the specific next step to improve performance.

This paper summarizes the perceptions of twenty secondary English teachers from a range of secondary schools across the Massey University College of Education's catchment area.

The paper outlines the understanding the teachers have of the following issues raised by Black and Wiliam: the relationship between formative and summative teaching strategies how assessment feed-back can be distorted by classroom management functions the clash between 'competitive' and 'personal improvement' assessment purposes in the classroom.

The paper will outline the nature of the gap between the perceptions held by the teacher involved in the study and their actual classroom practice and will highlight the reasons for that gap. It will also look ahead to the professional development needs arising from the gap.