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Developing Preservice Teachers’ Expertise in Equitable Assessment for English Learners

Abstract

This study illustrated a pathway of growth that a preservice teacher might traverse when learning to use and develop equitable assessments (EA). The study is rare in that it looks at the development of preservice teachers’ understanding and ability to design EA. I examined the understanding and implementation of EA of 23 secondary preservice teachers within two classes. The methods classes focused on the academic content area of science. Participants’ journals, teaching philosophies, and inquiry-based science units served as data sources. Participants progressed from a simple view of EA as “fairness” to a more sophisticated view of EA, including: ways to increase fairness, the importance of challenging students, and using assessments for learning. Results also showed changes in preservice teachers’ views of learners and the purpose of assessment. While understanding developed robustly, teachers’ assessment plans in their units were not as strong. Teacher education programs need to place more emphasis on developing critical understanding of EA practices to meet the needs of diverse learners.

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Acknowledgments

Thanks to Antonio J. Castro for comments on an earlier draft of this article and Cathy Wissehr for research assistance. This study was partially funded by a grant from the MU Research Council.

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Correspondence to Marcelle A. Siegel.

Appendix

Appendix

Excerpt of Laura’s Unit

  1. 1.

    Interactive Lecture Formal Assessment:

Explain an oxidation/reduction reaction that takes place around you (outside of a battery cell). Include how you know that the reaction is oxidation/reduction, and what is going on in the reaction on a molecular level. Use drawings if need be!

  1. 2.

    Student Presentations of Hybrid Energy Formal Assessment:

Objectives

Students evaluate their own understanding and the understanding of their peers. Students apply knowledge to new situations, and compare and contrast two similar battery systems.

Materials

Depends on how students wish to present. Possibilities include a smart board, white board, powerpoint, poster, chalkboard, large post-it pad, and many other options.

Student Assessment Directions:

  1. 1.

    Use the student WorkGuide to conduct the internet activity.

  2. 2.

    In your small group, compile all information, and decide on the most important aspect(s) that you feel should be included in your presentation.

  3. 3.

    Discuss all positive and negative points of view, and come to a decision on a group recommendation.

  4. 4.

    Create a multimedia presentation that presents: The evidence you have collected, as well as objective reasoning for a final group decision and recommendation.

Note:

Scaffolding was provided in the “Student WorkGuide,” and the rubric provided additional support for making the expectations clear.

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Siegel, M.A. Developing Preservice Teachers’ Expertise in Equitable Assessment for English Learners. J Sci Teacher Educ 25, 289–308 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-013-9365-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-013-9365-9

Keywords

  • Assessment
  • English language learner
  • Preservice secondary education