How early career experiences shape teachers' approaches to classroom assessment

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Coombs, Andrew
classroom assessment , assessment education , classroom teacher , teacher candidate , teacher educator , assessment literacy , assessment competence , assessment capability , assessment identity
In order to enhance the use of high-quality assessment practices to support student learning, it is critical to understand how early career experiences influence teachers’ approaches to assessment. Early career experiences are shaped by educational researchers’ conceptualizations of assessment constructs, how assessment education is structured and operationalized by teacher educators, and the assessment learning experiences of teacher candidates during teacher education and classroom teaching. This dissertation explores these dimensions with participants from across Canada through a range of methodologies including a scoping review, semi-structured interviews, and quantitative questionnaires. The first study of this multiple-manuscript dissertation presents a scoping review of peer reviewed literature on the assessment constructs of assessment competence, literacy, capability, and identity that have shaped the field of teachers’ assessment education. The second study is an examination of the landscape of assessment education in 12 teacher education programs from across Canada through interviews with 25 teacher educators. The third study utilizes latent class analysis to examine how teacher candidates’ approaches to classroom assessment are shaped by their teacher education program. Finally, the fourth study examines teachers’ approaches to assessment at four distinct career stages through a cross-sectional research design. Collectively, findings from this dissertation indicate a degree of contention across and within assessment scholarship, assessment education, and classroom assessment practice. Based the notion of contention and informed by the key findings of this research, a framework for re-imagining assessment education is proposed. This framework includes recognizing that assessment practice is a social and emotional endeavour, that assessment requires teachers to be trusted to exercise their professional judgement, and that teachers’ assessment learning is a career-long process that is shaped by teacher agency. In conclusion, this research provides the framework for re-imagining assessment education that strives to acknowledge and re-orient existing contentions as a positive force on shaping teachers’ assessment practice.
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