The Assessment Practices of Teacher Candidates
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The purpose of this study is to explore what teacher candidates (n=156) believe will be their primary assessment purposes, summative assessment practices, and assessment formats in their classrooms, their values and beliefs surrounding assessment, and what contextual factors influence teacher candidates’ assessment beliefs and practices. The results are placed in the context of previous research into the assessment practice of teachers and compared to the recommended assessment practices identified in research and what the Ministry of Education of Ontario expects its teachers to do through its assessment document, Growing Success (O.M.E., 2010). The survey instrument used in the study was composed of questions original to this research in combination with a revised version of the instrument used by McMillan (2001) and Duncan and Noonan (2007). Teacher candidates were divided into different groups based on their grade level, academic level, subject area, and B. Ed program (concurrent, or consecutive). Descriptive statistics were generated for each question by group and overall. A Principal Components Analysis was used to reduce the 35 items in the summative assessment practices section into 5 scales for ease of interpretation. Inferential statistics (paired samples t-tests, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were used to determine if there were statistically significant differences between groups. The results of my research indicate that the teacher candidates report having values and beliefs supportive of the orientation towards assessments reported in the research literature and Growing Success (O.M.E., 2010). Teacher candidates’ responses regarding purpose and format were also in alignment with practices supported in the research literature and Growing Success (O.M.E., 2010). In contrast, teacher candidates’ uses of non-academic criteria in making assessment decisions were not in line with recommendations found in the research literature and Growing Success (O.M.E., 2010). Only two statistically significant differences were noted between groups: Grades 7 and 8 teacher candidates reported using constructed response items more frequently than Grades 11 and 12 teacher candidates in their summative assessment practices; and concurrent education program teacher candidates reported their coursework as being less of an influence on their future practice than their consecutive education program peers.