Date of Award

6-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. William Cobern

Second Advisor

Dr. Marcia Fetters

Third Advisor

Dr. Katharine Cummings

Abstract

The process of formative assessment improves student understanding; however, the topic of formative assessment in preservice education has been severely neglected. Since a major goal of teacher education is to create reflective teaching professionals, preservice teachers should be provided an opportunity to critically reflect on the use of formative assessment in the classroom. Case method is an instructional methodology that allows learners to engage in and reflect on real-world situations. Case based pedagogy can play an important role in enhancing preservice teachers’ ability to reflect on teaching and learning by encouraging alternative ways of thinking about assessment.

Although the literature on formative assessment and case methodology are extensive, using case method to explore the formative assessment process is, at best, sparse. The purpose of this study is to answer the following research questions: To what extent does the implementation of formative assessment cases in methods instruction influence preservice elementary science teachers’ knowledge of formative assessment? What descriptive characteristics change between the preservice teachers’ pre-case and post-case written reflection that would demonstrate learning had occurred?

To investigate these questions, preservice teachers in an elementary methods course were asked to reflect on and discuss five cases. Pre/post-case data was analyzed.

Results indicate that the preservice teachers modified their ideas to reflect the themes that were represented within the cases and modified their reflections to include specific ideas or examples taken directly from the case discussions. Comparing pre- and post-case reflections, the data supports a noted change in how the preservice teachers interpreted the case content. The preservice teachers began to evaluate the case content, question the lack of formative assessment concepts and strategies within the case, and apply formative assessment concepts and strategies within their own case descriptions. The results of this study further strengthen the existing literature on formative assessment instruction in preservice teacher education, and support the call for further attention given to utilizing case methodology to improve preservice teachers’ knowledge of the formative assessment process.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access