On the Possibility of Modeling Teacher Learning Progressions in Classroom-Based Formative Assessment: An Evidence Centered Design Approach


Research on teachers and teaching has shown that formative assessment can improve student learning more than most instructional practices (Hattie 2012). Empirical evidence spanning two decades indicates that thoughtfully implemented formative assessment practices improve students’ learning, yet little work has been done on the development of teachers-as-formative-assessors as they take up high-leverage practices (Duckor & Holmberg, 2017) in the domain of classroom-based assessment for learning.

Our talk explores implications of teachers becoming formative assessors from pre- and in-service classroom perspectives, centered on how high-leverage instructional and assessment moves can be modeled for study using Wilson’s Constructing Measures (2005) framework. The talk is motivated by two distinct but potentially complimentary perspectives.

Wilson, Lehrer, Kim and Pfaff (2009, 2014) argue that changes in classroom assessment practices appear in coordination with teachers’ use of content-based constructs (e.g., statistics and probability learning progressions) as tools for discerning forms of student thinking and of moving that thinking toward higher levels during whole-class conversations. Specific discourse moves that elicit student thinking to more explicit forms of discipline- and construct-specific forms of thinking can improve teacher efficacy in classroom assessment practice and potentially student achievement.

Duckor and Holmberg (2014, 2017) relax the assumption of content-specific moves and argue for developmentally appropriate “footholds” and “fixed lines” to help teachers with formative assessment practices that are broader, more actionable, and subject to construct modeling in a trans-disciplinary framework. They see instructional moves such as posing, pausing, probing, bouncing, tagging and binning as traceable and tractable across different subject matter, including, but not limited to, STEM curricula and classrooms.

New state-led accountability policies that emphasize local control have the potential to distinguish between classroom-based assessment practices and accountability measures. Shepard (2000, 2015) argues that we need to “develop and pursue an agenda of public education to help policymakers and the general citizenry understand the differences between large-scale, system monitoring tests and what we hope for from teachers... daily,” implying classroom assessment-for-learning practices will continue to sharply differ from accountability assessments. How can a moves-based, classroom assessment-for-learning orientation influence these deliberations? How might teachers challenge and affect them?

Brent Duckor is an associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at San José State University. He taught government, economics, and history at Central Park East Secondary School in New York City in the 1990s before returning to the University of California, Berkeley, to study education measurement, testing, and assessment with the passage of No Child Left Behind. Duckor's research on teachers' understanding and use of formative assessment in the K–12 classroom and validation of teacher licensure exams in state, national, and international contexts seeks to integrate a developmental perspective on teachers' growth in the profession.

Mark Wilson is a professor of education at the University of California, Berkeley. He teaches courses on measurement in the social sciences, especially as applied to assessment in education. Recently he was elected president of the Psychometric Society, and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME). His research and development interests focus on the development and application of sound approaches for measurement in education and the social sciences, the development of statistical models suitable for measurement contexts, the creation of instruments to measure new constructs, and scholarship on the philosophy of measurement.

For more information about the talk, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=5qZR4xOGXDQ

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 - 2:00pm
2121 Berkeley Way