Assessment for Learning Literacy and Pre-Service Teacher Education: Perspectives from Myanmar

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Embargoed until 2022-12-01
Copyright: Oo, Cherry Zin
Viewpoints on different assessment systems used throughout the world are diverse and continually evolving, shaped by shifts in the forms of assessment: from exam-dominated systems to school-based assessment; from norm-referenced to criterion-referenced assessment; and from assessment of learning (AoL) to assessment for learning (AfL). This has resulted in a shift in the role of teachers and in the conceptualisation of their requisite assessment knowledge and skills, commonly known as their assessment literacy. However, very little attention has been paid to pre-service teacher (PST) AfL literacy despite research evidence showing that initial teacher education is problematic and PST AfL literacy remains relatively low. Drawing on a socio-cultural approach which views the relationship between theory and practice as praxis, this study investigated in what ways pre-service teacher education can be adapted to help develop AfL literacy among PSTs. Using design-based research (DBR) methodology, a needs-based professional development (PD) program for PST AfL literacy was developed at a leading university in Myanmar. A total of 335 PSTs, with 30 PSTs in the intervention group and 305 PSTs in the cohort group, were asked to self-assess their AfL literacy before and after the program through a survey based on Nguyen (2016). An analysis of the pre- and post-survey showed a significant intervention effect of the PD on PSTs’ overall AfL literacy. In addition, semi-structured individual interviews were undertaken with the intervention group before and after their two-week teaching practicum in schools. This data was analysed together with data collected during their practicum, including lesson plans, observation checklists and audiotapes of lessons. This data demonstrated the ways in which the PSTs in the intervention group were able to apply their knowledge and skills learnt in the PD program in actual teaching practice. The findings revealed that there was an interaction of influences among the PSTs’ beliefs, understandings and confidence in AfL literacy, their efforts to apply AfL strategies in their practicum, and their supervising teachers and students’ responses to these. The overall findings of the study demonstrate the value of DBR as a pedagogical approach to professional development in pre-service teacher education, and the important contribution of explicit teaching of AfL literacy to preservice teachers as one way to change the assessment culture in schools to focus more on improving student learning.
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Oo, Cherry Zin
Davison, Chris
Alonzo, Dennis
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PhD Doctorate
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