Teacher Candidates’ Formative Assessment Development: Implications for Evaluating Teacher Preparation Programs

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Katharine E. Cummings

Second Advisor

Dr. Steven W. Ziebarth

Third Advisor

Dr. Christine Browning


Teacher preparation programs are charged with the task of providing evidence of candidates’ impact on P–12 student learning. Since formative assessment has already been established as a way to significantly impact student learning, it makes sense for programs to examine the development of formative assessment practices in their candidates. This three-essay format dissertation explores the development of formative assessment in candidates and provides insight into how these practices might be further developed by programs. The first essay focuses on teacher candidates’ conceptions of assessment and how conceptions might differ depending on the type of assessment or the type of teacher. The second essay compares candidates’ self-reported formative assessment practices with the practices they actually demonstrate on a performance assessment. The final essay examines how embedding formative assessment into the design of a performance task can provide candidates with a better opportunity to demonstrate their formative assessment skills and give teacher preparation programs higher-quality data for use in program evaluation. Results indicate there are clear distinctions between candidates’ conceptions of formative assessment and summative assessment, signifying the importance of using specific and distinct terminology with candidates. Additionally, there is no relationship between candidates’ reported formative assessment practices and what they are able to actually demonstrate on a performance task. Programs need to be careful in their use of self-report data in making judgments about candidate development. Finally, embedding formative assessment into a performance assessment did produce better results in terms of both the demonstration of candidates’ skills and the quality of data that could be used, thus supporting the idea that well-designed assessments can be used to improve program outcomes.


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