Investigating the Efficacy of a Professional Development Program in Formative Classroom Assessment in Middle School English Language Arts and Mathematics

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M. Christina Schneider
J. Patrick Meyer

Abstract

Background: Teachers who engage in formative classroom assessment using practices that accurately measure student learning should be better positioned to diagnose the instructional needs of their students and to act on that information. For this reason, there has been increased interest in formative classroom assessment in recent years. Although some researchers have found indications that some assessment practices may raise student achievement, evaluations of professional development programs designed to increase teacher assessment skill have not found differences in student performance. However, few studies of this type have been performed.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of a professional development program in formative classroom assessment on teacher assessment knowledge and their students’ achievement.

Setting: The professional development program was implemented in state-identified, low performing middle schools from November 2005 through April 2008.

Intervention: Researchers investigated a professional development program for teachers designed to increase their skill in creating and using assessments to support student learning. In Year 1, the professional development was implemented by an assessment coach in the treatment schools. No professional development was provided in the control schools. In Years 2 and 3, levels of treatment were investigated such that the professional development was implemented by an assessment coach or a relatively untrained facilitator.

Research Design: Year 1 involved a multi-site, cluster randomized trial where schools were randomly assigned to either the treatment or control group. Year 2 and Year 3 involved a quasi-experimental design.

Data Collection and Analysis: Researchers collected pretest and posttest teacher measures and analyzed the data using a split-plot ANOVA each year. Summative large scale assessment data was collected for students and analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM).

Findings: Findings from this study indicate that the professional development program increased teacher assessment skill regardless of whether the program was implemented with a trained assessment coach or a relatively untrained facilitator. However, students of teachers participating in the professional development tended to demonstrate lower achievement than a matched set of students whose teachers did not receive the professional development. Implications for how teachers use assessment data to guide reteaching are discussed.

Keywords: formative assessment; classroom assessment; student achievement

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How to Cite
Schneider, M. C., & Meyer, J. P. (2011). Investigating the Efficacy of a Professional Development Program in Formative Classroom Assessment in Middle School English Language Arts and Mathematics. Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 8(17), 1–24. Retrieved from https://journals.sfu.ca/jmde/index.php/jmde_1/article/view/291
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