Formative Assessments and Raising Attainment Levels

Tracking the progress of students and helping them can be a difficult task. The main aim of the research is to gather insights concerning the formative assessment methods and how they can be impactful in bettering the learning ability of a learner. The reason for this is due to the discovery that teachers in local schools found it challenging to help students learn, especially new concepts. Formative evaluation involves a constant method of checking and balancing in the teaching-learning procedures. The technique enables educators to regularly check the students’ progress and the efficacy of their practice, thus enabling learner self-assessment.

Practice in a class is formative to the degree that proof concerning student accomplishment is elicited, interpreted, and utilized by educators, students, or their peers. The above is intended towards reaching decisions regarding what steps to take next. This way, a student can get better than when there is no interpretation of information about their achievement. Formative assessment gives an in-process response about what student is or not learning, so instructional strategies, academic support, and teaching materials are adjustable to the needs of a learner. These can be informal as they are not graded and can take various forms.

This study aims to understand the impact of formative assessments on raising attainment levels. The process consists of various formal and informal procedures done by educators during learning to adjust teaching as well as learning undertakings to better student attainment. The objective is tracking learning to offer ongoing input that can aid learners in recognizing their capabilities and inadequacies and see the areas that require work. It also assists faculty in identifying where students have a problem and addressing that situation early. It involves qualitative input for both students and educators that focuses on performance and content. It is usually compared with the summative assessment, which aims to track educational results for external accountability.

Regarding the school context, formative assessment is done every day during teaching and learning, enabling educators and learners to evaluate attainment and progress more often. Information about the frequency of application of the technique is essential since the method is also applicable in the workplace. It starts with a diagnostic evaluation showing what is already identified and loopholes in knowledge or skills. If an educator and a learner comprehend what is accomplished within a certain period, arranging the next steps becomes more straightforward. As learning goes on, other assessments reveal whether teaching plans need modification to reinforce or extend the process.

Formative tests may consist of questions, quizzes, tasks, or more formal examinations. Usually, they may not be in recording at all except when needed. The questions would be checking whether the learners understand enough regarding what they are being taught in class and how can one tell. Additionally, to identify if the schools and educators can measure the progress achieved by the learner and identify the needs and react to them accordingly. Practical evaluation is required to offer effective answers to all of the above critical questions. Examinations and tests are a great way of monitoring a student’s progress and are significant to the accountability of a school and the whole learning system. The apparent types of tracking, called summative assessment, are also utilized by employers and parents. To be completely practical, the evaluation also needs to be formative, which means identifying and reacting to students’ learning needs.

Two high schools were selected for the study, and in each of them, two classes were chosen for observation. One was a private establishment, while the other was public which is essential since the conditions in a public institution cannot be similar to those in a private facility. Students in the sophomore and their teachers were selected as participants as they had a chance to give better observation data than the other learners. This is a report of a study done to investigate formative assessment and impact on raising attainment levels.

Literature Review

Formative assessment happens daily during teaching and learning, enabling educators and learners to evaluate attainment and progress more often. It starts with a diagnostic evaluation showing what they already know and loopholes in knowledge or skills. If an educator and learner comprehend what has been accomplished within a particular time, arranging the following steps is much more straightforward (Alotaibi, 2019, p.76). As learning goes on, other assessments reveal whether teaching plans need modification to reinforce or extend the process. Formative tests may consist of questions, quizzes, tasks, or more formal examinations. Usually, they may not be in recording at all except when needed.

As suggested earlier, understanding whether a learner comprehends enough regarding what they are being taught in class and how one can tell is essential. It is also essential to check if there is a way of measuring the progress achieved by the learner and identify the needs and react to them accordingly. Practical evaluation is required to offer effective answers to all of the above critical questions. Examinations and tests are a great way of monitoring a student’s progress and are significant to the accountability of a school and the whole learning system (Andersson and Palm, 2018, p.578). Employers and parents also utilize the evident type of tracking called summative assessment. To attain effectiveness, the evaluation also needs to be formative, which means identifying and reacting to the learning needs of students.

Educators make regular and interactive check-ups of student comprehension in a classroom going through a formative assessment. The technique allows them to modify their work to cater to learners’ personal needs and aid them in reaching high standards. A teacher also actively involves their student, assisting them in developing skills that help improve their learning (Beesley et al., 2018, p.4). Many of them integrate formative assessment aspects into their work, but it is not often that one finds it practiced systematically (Bartholomew et al., 2019, p.75). Suppose a formative assessment is utilized as a scheme for teaching. In that case, educators alter how they communicate with learners, establish learning situations, and direct them towards their goals. They also help them define success (Ferreira et al., 2020, p.25). Numerous states promote this type of evaluation as a fundamental approach regarding education reform.

The OECD has tried to learn formative assessment in several educational systems, including Canada, Australia, Denmark, England, Italy, Finland, Scotland, and New Zealand. The study also compiled research literature appraisals in French, English, and German (Ferreira et al., 2020, p.27). This brief policy checks at the research outcome, including principles to address hindrances to the type of evaluation and encourage its utilization. It is revealed to be remarkably effective in raising student attainment, increasing the value of the outcomes, and bettering the capability to learn. The accomplishment gains related to assessment type under scrutiny are the largest ever stated for education intervention (Wylie and Lyon, 2020, p.320). The research conducted by the OECD’s CERI supports the findings (Ferreira et al., 2020, p.28). The examination method in the discussion also improves the equity of student results.

A school that utilizes formative assessment shows overall gains in academic accomplishment and significant progress for previously underachieving learners. Attendance and learning retention also become better, and the level of quality of a student’s work. Numerous states have introduced or are developing standards for student performance (Wu and Jessop, 2018, p.1021). However, some claim a contradiction between such centralized standards and the individualization of learning implied in the formative assessment model (van der Kleij and Adie, 2018). Indeed, the notion of standards presupposes a level of uniformity. Furthermore, the high-visibility tests that hold a school accountable for meeting centralized standards may aggravate the situation.

Nonetheless, formative assessment techniques are not at odds with standards as well as testing. A teacher may work still towards standards, recognizing the factors causing the disparity in learners’ accomplishments and adapting the teaching process to cater to personal needs (Speckesser et al., 2018). Exemplary schools are showing progress in filling loopholes in a student’s achievement while recognizing the individual and cultural discrepancies. The formative assessment builds skills that can help learn by stressing the procedure of teaching and identifying learners as part of it. It also develops skills at peer assessment as well as self-assessment and aids in building various practical learning approaches.

A student who actively builds their comprehension of new concepts and learns to check the value of their work and peers’ alongside well-described criteria is gaining essential skills for long-term learning. There are numerous critical elements for productive utilization of formative assessment in schools (Schildkamp et al., 2020, p.101602). Educators utilizing this type of evaluation have altered their classrooms’ culture, emphasizing helping students feel secure to take risks, commit mistakes, and develop self-confidence. Those working with learners from places other than theirs as well as make an effort to comprehend cultural preconceptions (Prashanti and Ramnarayan, 2019, 101). They often interact with individuals or a few of them and involve them in the procedure, offering them insights on how to judge their work’s value.

Educators also make learning more open by setting and communicating about goals, tracking progress, and adjusting objectives to cater to the needs of the students. They can compare their assessments with others to ensure they equitably treat learners (Mahapatra, 2021, p.519). Teachers usually find comments to be more productive than allocating marks for bettering performance and aiding every one of them to attain high standards. However, it is difficult to reduce the occurrence of marks. At times, a student and parents desire to understand how they are performing in contrast to others in the same class (Leighton, 2019, p.794). To cater to a variety of needs, a teacher can use various instruction techniques. They guarantee that a lesson includes different strategies to explain new concepts, offer alternatives for independent classwork, and encourage learners who have understood a new idea to help others.

A teacher uses a combination of tactics to evaluate student comprehension of what is taught. They may utilize diagnostic evaluation to understand a learner’s capacity when they initially enter a new institution or at a particular time during the semester to shape the strategies. They most usually use questioning methods (Leenknecht et al., 2021, p.240). Questions regarding casualty or open-ended questions, for instance, usually show student misconceptions. For example, individuals teaching biology in one case study began asking their learners what would occur if chlorophyll stopped working and found common misinformation that the whole world would turn dark (Dilova, 2021, p.145). A teacher may offer a verbal or written responses to a student’s work. Some researchers discovered that the most productive feedback is specific, timely, and related to clear criteria (Dilova, 2021, p.145). Educators also modify their methods to cater to needs recognized during an assessment.

Eventually, the aim is for a student to develop their learning skills. Successful utilization of this type of assessment in schools means that a teacher models practical learning behavior, impart self-assessment abilities, and aid learners to scrutinize how well various approaches have performed. A student takes increasing responsibility for their progress as they learn. Such teaching methods may certainly be significant for kids who do not have additional support for learning in their homes. Whereas formative techniques towards teaching and assessment usually resonate with policymakers and practitioners, there are hindrances to broader practice.

They include perceived tension between formative and obvious summative exams to hold institutions accountable for learner achievement. Others lack coherence between evaluations and assessments at the policy, classroom, and school levels and fear that the techniques are too time-consuming and resource-intensive to practice. Systems that address the tensions and promote constructive evaluation cultures are expected to make much more significant progress in improving reforms (Lee et al., 2020, p.124). Data collected during assessment as well as evaluation is utilized in shaping strategies for betterment at the education system’s every level. In a class, a teacher gathers information on the learner’s comprehension and adjusts teaching to cater to recognized needs, as suggested earlier.

In a school, the leaders utilize the data to recognize areas of capabilities and inadequacies and develop methods for improvement. Officials at the policy level utilize the gathered information to direct investments in training as well as support. Working closely with educators in the eight nations researched has developed a range of easy solutions to deal with practical hindrances to using formative assessment in schools (Yan et al., 2021, p.239). Individuals teaching in lower secondary face a long curriculum and reporting requirements. In many case study institutions, a teacher prioritizes what they ought to cover in the curriculum.

Some items are missed, but the educator is more confident that the learners are retaining information and learning in greater depth. Through the study, educators are introduced to a technique such as enlisting learners, in an attempt to track their performance, by using previous results (Yan et al., 2021, p.243). For instance, they ask the latter to record feedback in personal portfolios. A portfolio means that teachers do not have to spend any amount of time in record-keeping (Kyaruzi et al., 2019, p.290). Additionally, the research also introduces rubric, which helps the student to help themselves without the need of a teacher’s presence, by communicating with examiners on what is needed from one who is examined. Tracking performance and allowing a learner to check their understanding builds confidence on both parties.

Ethics

For theoretical assignments, ethical issues one might encounter in this research include consent and privacy. When planning for this study, to address the two, I would ensure that the schools, students, teachers and management are well informed about the procedure. It is at this point that the participants can ask questions concerning the process including how the data will be used. BERA (2018) dictates that the consent is given at the start of the study and that the individuals involved ae entitled to confidentiality. This means that one needs to plan ahead to avoid the problems that may arise as a result of violation.

Consent

In the study, two ethical issues arose and might offer a framework on how to handle such in the future. It is usually expected that a participant’s voluntary consent to be included in research will be acquired at the procedure’s beginning (BERA, 2018). Additionally, an investigator is anticipated to be sensitive as well as welcoming to the withdrawal of subjects. The Association takes voluntary consent to be a condition by which people comprehend and agree to participate and the practicalities and terms before the study begins. One needs to make it clear to a subject that they can decide to stop their participation at any point of the procedure without offering an excuse or explanation. Once it was discovered that there was a violation of consent, the investigators apologized to the schools’ management and asked if it was possible to continue with the process.

Investigators need to do all they can to guarantee that every prospective participant understands what the study involves. They need to be informed why their involvement is essential, what they may be required to answer and what happens to data obtained from them. Additionally, they need to know how that information is utilized and for whom it is intended. According to BERA revised guidelines, they ought to be informed concerning the data’s retention, sharing, and other uses. Where proper, a researcher who is a BERA member will inform about their membership to clarify that they are expected to adhere to the set guidelines. After realizing that they had violated this guideline, the researchers apologized to the participants and asked them to continue with the process.

Privacy as well as Data Storage

Apart from consent, privacy and data storage were the other ethical issues. The anonymous and confidential treatment of data from participants is regarded as the norm while conducting research. Investigators need to recognize the entitlement of both individual and institutional participants to privacy and accord them their rights to anonymity. Fictionalizing strategies were thus employed when reporting and applying the approaches requires explanation. Nevertheless, in some circumstances, participants or guardians may desire to waive their right to confidentiality. Once it was discovered that there was a violation of privacy, the schools’ management had to be informed and permission sought to continue the investigation.

Data Collection

On the one hand, it is essential to consider using assessment in this process since it helps understand more about the students’ performance. On the other hand, the observation method is ideal to answer the research question and has been used in other studies before that involved matters about education (Beesley et al., 2018, p.5). This method involves gathering information by watching the behavior or events and noting the physical characteristics in their natural setting. It can be overt, whereby every individual knows that they are being studied or hidden, meaning no one recognizes they are being investigated (Chen et al., 2021, p.849). The latter’s advantage is that people have a greater chance of naturally behaving if they do not know about the investigation.

Nevertheless, one will require conducting overt observations due to ethical issues associated with concealing the study. In this research, participants were not initially told they were being studied, which is why it is mentioned above that it was an issue associated with the process (Correia and Harrison, 2020, p.360). Using direct and indirect observations, data concerning how students are currently performing and how this could be impacted when teachers utilize formative assessments will be gathered. Two schools were selected for the investigation, and in each of them, two classes were identified to help answer the research question. After that, preparations were made before the start of the data collection.

The first step is determining the focus of the process. One thinks about the evaluation questions they want to answer via the method and selects a few focus areas to gather information. For instance, one may desire to understand how the curriculum is being implemented in the classroom (Johnson et al., 2019, p.2420). The areas might also be interactions between learners and educators and the latter’s skills, knowledge, and behavior.

The second step is designing a system for collecting the data. Once one has focused the evaluation, they are supposed to think about the particular items for which they want to gather information and then establish how they will accomplish that. There are various ways of obtaining data during the observation procedure (Fabiano et al., 2018, p.293). These techniques can be brought together to cater to data collection needs. They include recording sheets and checklists and checklists, observation guides, and field notes.

On the one hand, the first technique is the most standardized method of gathering observation information and includes both preset queries and their answers. Recording sheets and checklists are characteristically utilized for data collection that can be easily described earlier. On the other hand, observation guides list the interactions, behaviors, or processes to be observed with space to denote open-ended narrative information (Granberg et al., 2021, p.100955). Lastly, field notes are the least standardized and do not include preset queries or responses.

These are open-ended narrative data dictated onto a shape recorder or written. One issue that may be encountered during the use of observation is that it is susceptible to the observer’s bias. The other is that it can be time-consuming in contrast to other methods. This is why the interview method could be utilized in data collection in this study. However, the interviewees, that is, the teachers and learners, cannot be trusted to offer unbiased information (Irons and Elkington, 2021). Additionally, some of the students may fail to understand the essence of the research and the overall impact on the education system. The issue one may face during data collection include dishonest participants whereby teachers and school management would tell the students to behave a certain way so that they appear different. Assessment can help to gather information by looking at a student’s performance over the years when the formative assessment tool was not used and when introduced.

Reference List

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