Teachers’ practices in science learning environments and their use of formative and summative assessment tasks

Abstract

This study was aimed at detecting the most frequently-used teaching and assessment activities in secondary school science classes, identifying links between these variables, and revealing possible challenges in these processes. To this end, data were gathered from 155 secondary school science teachers in 56 Israeli public schools and 380 grade eight and nine students from 22 of these using the What Is Happening In this Class? Teachers were also asked to indicate their perceptions of the extent to which they used formative assessment tasks provided by the curriculum and to specify, in their own words, the reason for insufficient usage of these tasks. Task orientation was highly used in science classes, whereas investigation was the least employed activity, according to both teachers’ and students’ perceptions. The most-frequently used tasks to evaluate students were final tests and quizzes. Path model analysis revealed that teachers who tended to use teacher-based approaches also employed traditional assessment tools, whereas teachers who allowed students to cooperate rather than compete with one another tended to use formative assessment tools. Implications limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

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Correspondence to Dorit Alt.

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Alt, D. Teachers’ practices in science learning environments and their use of formative and summative assessment tasks. Learning Environ Res 21, 387–406 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-018-9259-z

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Keywords

  • Formative assessment
  • Science education
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Teaching practices
  • What Is Happening In this Class? (WIHIC)