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Title: Seeking constructive alignment of assessment in teacher education : locating the reflection in reflective writing
Author: Croft, Julia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 3650
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2015
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The aim of this thesis is to promote a dialogue about constructive alignment (Biggs, 1996) with a particular focus on the use of reflective writing as an assessed task in courses of teacher education and the influence it has, or does not have, on teacher reflection and/or in improving practice. The work is set against a national context in which time to reflect is being written out of teacher education as a consequence of policy which locates ‘training’ to teach increasingly within the busy-ness of school life. Persuaded by principles of constructive alignment and, therefore, troubled by student teachers’ perceptions of complex assignments which appear to have little relevance to their practice as teachers, I have undertaken an action research study (McAteer, 2013; Norton, 2009; and Wells, 2001), beginning with a conviction that it is possible to design assessment tasks which truly integrate professional and academic requirements and influence the learning activity of student teachers in ways which are meaningful for their development as teachers. Using an adaptation of the Ward and McCotter (2004) ‘Reflection Rubric’ to locate characteristics of reflection within the reflective writing submitted for assessment, the study evaluated the relationship between written reflection and academic and professional attainment and found little evidence that engagement in the reflective writing assignment had contributed to the participants’ development as teachers. I conclude that the assessment strategies of students and of the course had been either not aligned or destructively aligned. The thesis narrates my journey to the adoption of a socio-constructivist perspective, leading to greater insight into the relationship between established assessment practice and the learning activity of student teachers, and a questioning of my practice. Crucially, the notion of a ‘framework for assessment’ is broadened to encompass all assignment-related activity, the people involved and the timeframe, in addition to the task and criteria. I conclude by identifying a desire to know more about the national view of assessment in teacher education, seeking a network of colleagues in order to explore ways in which counterparts in other institutions are supporting student teachers to develop reflective practice and assess reflective writing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: constructive alignment ; teacher education ; reflective writing ; X100 Training Teachers ; assessment ; teacher training ; reflective practice