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Title: Rethinking formative assessment from a sociocultural perspective : a practitioner investigation in a history classroom
Author: Bird, Michael John
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis investigates and analyses the practice of formative assessment, or assessment for learning (AfL) in a secondary school context. It is oriented from a personal account of my practice, both as a researcher and a teacher and charts the challenging journey of change in both. Assessment for learning (AfL) as it was presented in staff training at my school did not engage pupils in my history classes. This experience defied the recommendations of those who claimed that greater learner autonomy and better results could be achieved using it (Black et al2003; Black and Wiliam, 2006a). My department linked AfL to summative test performance so that faults by individual students could be identified and targeted. This was a view of formative assessment that ran counter to' what many researchers working in AfL intended. Lesson observations, interviews with staff and pupils in the Drama Department, which the school held up as a model of best AfL practice, revealed that this was a common approach which produced similar results. Nevertheless, observations of practice in drama did reveal a more spontaneous and emergent form of formative assessment embedded in pupils' and teachers' interactions and dialogue. It appeared much more purposeful in terms of pupils' learning but it remained unrecognised by teachers and school leaders. The thesis explores this conundrum by establishing what is problematic with the enactment of the practices advocated at institutional level and seeks to understand formative assessment based on sociocultural learning theories, which view learning as situated and social. It uses tenets distilled from the theories and observed practice to inform how similar conditions could be created that would enable a formative assessment dialogue that engages pupils in their learning to emerge in the subject of history. The main study employs a sociocultural action research design taking account of Rogoffs three planes of analysis and foregrounding the interactions in the history settings to explore the intervention in my practice to generate a formative learning discourse. Detailed analysis of interactions and dialogue within classroom settings and interviews with pupils focused on the impact of changes and lessons learned.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available