Classroom assessment in a subject classroom, General Studies

Lai Wah WONG-YU

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

In the era of education reform in Hong Kong, in various government documents, different concepts and functions of assessment were introduced to the community (Education Commission, Sept, 2000; Curriculum Development Council, 2001). Assessment is proclaimed as an integral part of the education process. Formative assessment is stressed as a way to improve teaching and the learning of pupils. It takes place in the classrooms, and provides short term feedback to teachers so that learners’ strengths and weaknesses in relation to their progression can be identified. Then teachers can use the feedback in planning what to do nest in order to enhance learning and to promote teaching effectiveness (Black, 1993). Thus, in the lessons, teachers can provide pupils with various learning activities in line with the inquiry approach, have more interaction with the pupils, and carry out different assessment tasks to evaluate individual pupils’ knowledge and understanding, skills, as well as values and attitudes (Curriculum Development Council, 2002). The aim of this paper is to study the student teachers’ implementation of formative assessment in local primary school classrooms. It is hoped that the present study will provide some insight for the practicing teachers when they plan to conduct formative assessment in General Studies lessons in order to enhance the learning of the pupils and promote the effectiveness of their own teaching. In response to the education reform, the researcher invited fifteen student teachers of the Postgraduate Diploma of Education (Full-time)(Primary) Programme to be co-researchers of the present study. They were to implement formative assessment in General Studies lessons during their teaching practice. They collected data and reflected on the implementation of formative assessment practice in their classroom teaching by writing weekly reflection reports, videotaping a lesson, interviewing their pupils and being interviewed by the researcher. When preparing to teach General Studies, the co-researchers aligned the learning activities with various assessment activities. The planned formative assessment activities included questioning and observation in the classrooms. During the alignment of learning and assessment activities, the co-researchers encountered difficulties such as time constraint, lack of experience and insufficient knowledge of formative assessment, different agendas of the school/the regular teachers and co-researchers, no teaching aids/teaching materials and not enough equipment for doing experimental activities. The lessons video-taped by each of the co-researchers during their teaching practice shows the extent of the implementation of formative assessment in the classrooms. There were variations among the co-researchers in terms of rich questioning, effective feedback, self and peer-assessment, and regulation of activity (Kavanagh, 2002). The co-researchers reported that the factors affecting the implementation in General Studies classrooms included the school ethos and learning styles of the pupils, the support from supporting/regular teachers, the high degree of freedom, the availability of resources, and the attitudes and perception of the co-researchers on self and peer-assessment. Various difficulties included the short time span in a lesson, not being able/difficulty to observe all pupils in class activities, difficulty in handling individual differences, difficulty in questioning and problem with the design of activities. In order to make the implementation more successful, the co-researchers expected more support from the schools such as higher degree of freedom, flexible teaching syllabus, more resources, more support from the regular/supporting teachers, small class size, as well as more knowledge and better techniques of classroom management. Constraints and problems encountered by the co-researchers during the alignment and implementation of formative assessment in General Studies classrooms illustrate that conducting formative assessment practice is not a simple or an easy task. In order to implement formative assessment successfully, teachers cannot work alone in their own classrooms, they should initiate the educational change in their subject classrooms, seek approval and support from the principal with support from the local community and government (Fullan, 2001). Furthermore, in order to improve the practice, there should be continuous review of this change process. Teachers are encouraged to conduct action research to investigate their practices and the quality of learning outcomes of pupils (Elliott, 1991).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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classroom
pupil
teacher
learning
Teaching
curriculum development
education
teaching practice
student teacher
school
teaching aids
reform
teaching materials
syllabus
resources
action research
community
primary school
Hong Kong
video

Citation

Yu, L. W. (2005, June). Classroom assessment in a subject classroom, General Studies. Paper presented at the First International Conference on Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Assessment, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China.

Keywords

  • Primary Education
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning