The smart test system: teachers’ views about this formative assessment for mathematics
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2014 Maria Alejandra Guzmán Guzmán
Given the continuous challenge of improving the quality of students’ learning of mathematics at the school level, and the consensus on the impact that teaching practices have on student learning, several countries have incorporated the development of assessments to directly influence teaching practices, known as formative assessments. However, this response has faced challenges, such as the need for more evidence about which particular formative assessment strategies may be beneficial for the learning of both students and teachers. Accordingly, this research is focused on providing evidence about teachers’ opinions from their experience as users of a particular formative assessment, the ‘Specific Mathematics Assessments that Reveal Thinking’ also known as the Smart Test System, developed at The University of Melbourne. The research aims to answer three fundamental questions. First, how do teachers perceive the quality of the Smart Tests items and the diagnosis provided from the Smart Test System? Second, to what extent, and how, do teachers utilize the information provided by the Smart Test System to change their teaching? Thirdly, to what extent, and how, do teachers report on their learning from their use of the Smart Test System? A mixed methodology approach was utilized according to the research questions, and an on-line self-administered survey was used as the method of data collection. The findings suggest that a majority of teachers who participated in this study have had a positive experience as users of the Smart Test System. Along with reporting that the Smart Tests items and the diagnosis provided are of high quality, many teachers mention formative uses of the Smart Test System. These uses mainly correspond to adjusting their planning and differentiation of their practices according to students’ needs. Almost all teachers in this study stated that they have learnt something from the Smart Test System. The findings of this study provide some understanding about how the Smart Test System fulfils its formative purposes. The results contribute to determining teachers’ opinions about the scope and the ways that they use the Smart Test System to adjust their practices. The results also identify some challenges that could be attended to in order to maximize the potential benefit from the use of the Smart Test System, and which can be considered to develop further formative assessment initiatives.
Keywordsformative assessment; mathematics; teachers
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