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Failure Procedures in Practicum: A Case Study of the Assessment Procedures at one Swedish Teacher Education Program
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2015 (English)In: ECER 2015, Education and Transition. Contributions from Educational Research, Network: 10. Teacher Education Research. Budapest, September 7-11, 2015, 2015Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The aim is to explore the assessment procedures in relation to student teachers’ knowledge during their school-based education (SBE, i.e. practicum). The study´s focus is directed to the procedures that come into play when student teachers are at risk getting a failure grade. The “assessment procedures” also include the written documents affecting the assessments.

Assessments are usually communicated to students as written or oral statements. A summative assessment utterance is an assessment statement of the knowledge a student has. On the other hand, a formative one is a statement of a student´s future learning possibility and ability. Thus, summative assessments often become visible in examination and grading activities, and formative assessment within mentoring activities as guidance (cf. Black & Wiliam, 2009).

Research results of assessments in SBE, in terms of the formative aspects, are extensive (Franke & Dahlgren, 1996; Ottesen, 2008; Sluijmans & Prins, 2006; Tillema & Smith, 2009). According to those studies assessment utterances from mentors and/or teacher educators during student-teaching conferences almost exclusively consists support and guidelines about student teachers’ learning possibilities, and very seldom a clear assessment of their present knowledge. Research on summative assessment issues in SBE can hardly be found, internationally or in Sweden (Goodwin & Oyler, 2008; Hegender, 2010; Hegender, Lindqvist & Nordänger, 2012). Additionally, these summative assessment procedures and outcomes seem to be very elusive and difficult to explore (Gardesten & Hegender, 2014; Goodwin & Oyler, 2008; Raths & Lyman, 2003). Gardesten and Hegender (2014) have examined summative assessment procedures and outcomes in SBE, and the results show that the assessment practices are very difficult for teacher education (TE) programs to manage and overview, and therefore, difficult for researchers to explore. For this reason, this study will explore one Swedish TE-programs’ assessment procedures during SBE.

Research results regarding summative assessment issues within SBE are very few. This is clearly stated in a review article by Goodwin and Oyler (2008). One explanation of this problem is the absence of criteria for teacher incompetence in SBE, identified and described by Raths and Lyman (2003). Another probably explanation is TE programs’ inability to clarify different assessment roles and responsibilities of the two different parts within SBE; teacher educators and mentors (Basmadjian, 2011; Fernandez & Erbilgin, 2009; Ryve, Hemmi & Börjesson, 2011; Yusko & Feiman Nemser, 2008).

A own research review performed 2012, (in connection to our own research project), shows a research picture similar to Goodwin and Oyler (2008).  A sort of pilot survey study, therefore was performed to all TE-programs in Sweden (N=25), directed to the TE-programs’ coordinators of SBE (Gardesten & Hegender, 2014). The coordinators were asked about the amount of failures, and about the procedures involved with failures in SBE (ibid.). The general results of all TE programs showed a mean value of 1 per cent failures. However, two programs had large amount of failures: eight and nine per cent. 

The aim is to explore the assessment procedures at one of these two programs. The tentative hypothesis is that this TE program could provide some interesting explanations about the failures in relation to their assessment procedures.

  1. What sorts of assessment procedures do the TE programs’ teacher educators describe are in play at the university and the schools, generally, and when PE student teachers are at risk of getting a failure during their SBE?
  2. How can the assessment procedures at the TE programs be understood in relation to the written documents that possible can affect the assessment procedures?
  3. Can the relatively higher number of student failures be explained by the assessment procedures and documents, and in that case how?

Method

At the studied program physical education (PE) student teachers are educated, and the amount of students admitted to the program annually is aprox. 200. The SBE coordinator at the program were contacted, i.e. one of the teacher educators. She recommended three more teacher educators who have experienced many SBE courses and the assessment procedures at the program. Consequently, four interviews with teacher educators were accomplished. Moreover, the program´s written documents were collected and analyzed in relation to the assessment procedures that the teacher educators communicated in the interviews (intended learning outcomes/criteria and examination assignments).

Expected Outcomes

Due to the research questions, and especially the third one (Can the relatively higher number of student failures be explained by the assessment procedures and documents, and in that case how?), are the study´s conclusion: probably Yes! The findings are only preliminary, further analytical work is necessary. Nevertheless, three preliminary explanations are given. 1) The teacher educators have a clearly proactive strategy when students are at risk getting a failure: calling and visiting the students, and there mentors, very often in order to assess them and their ”practical” teacher knowledge in schools. 2) The students are also assessed within seminars at the university: the school-based education is transformed to university-based education and the assessment is therefore also clearly based on students´ ”theoretical” teacher knowledge. 3) A fairly recently created rigorously structured system of assessment criteria with a clear progression about the learning of teacher knowledge is used at the program.

References

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (2009). Developing the theory of formative assessment. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 21, 5-31. Basmadjian, K. G. (2011). Learning to balance assistance with assessment: A scholarship of field instruction. The Teacher Educator, 46(2), 98-125. Fernandez, M., & Erbilgin, E. (2009). Examining the supervision of mathematics student teachers through analysis of conference communications. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 72(1), 93–110. Franke, A., & Dahlgren, L. O. (1996). Conceptions of mentoring: An empirical study of conceptions of mentoring during the school-based teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 12(6), 627-641. Gardesten, J., & Hegender, H. (2014). Underkännanden inom verksamhetsförlagd lärarutbildning: Resultat från en forskningsexpedition i svårframkomlig terräng [Failures within school-based teacher education: Results from a research expedition in difficult terrain]. Manuscript submitted. Goodwin, A. L., & Oyler, C. (2008). Teacher educators as gatekeepers. Deciding who is ready to teach. In M. Cochran-Smith, S. Feiman-Nemser, D. J. McIntyre, & K. E. Demers. (Eds), Handbook of research on teacher education: Enduring questions in changing contexts, (pp. 468-489). New York, NY: Routledge. Hegender, H. (2010). The assessment of student teachers’ academic and professional knowledge in school-based teacher education. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 54(2), 151-171. Hegender, H., Lindqvist, P., & Nordänger, U. K. (2012). Från samspråk om lämplighet mot förhandling om skicklighet? Bedömningssamtal i verksamhetsförlagd lärarutbildning [From talking about suitability to a negotiation of skills? Student-teaching conferences within school-based teacher education]. Pedagogisk Forskning i Sverige, 12(1-2), 61-79. Ottesen, E. (2007). Teachers ”in the making”: Building accounts of teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(5), 612-623. Raths, J., & Lyman. F. (2003). Summative evaluation of student teachers. An enduring problem. Journal of Teacher Education, 54(3), 206-216. Ryve, A., Hemmi, K., & Börjesson, M. (2011). Discourses about school-based mathematics teacher education in Finland and Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 55, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00313831.2011.623178 Sluijsmans, D., & Prins, F. (2006). A conceptual framework for integrating peer assessment in teacher education. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 32(1), 6-22. Tillema, H. H., & Smith, K. (2009). Assessment orientation in formative assessment of learning to teach. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and practice, 15(3), 391-405.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-48423OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-48423DiVA: diva2:883394
Conference
European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) 2015, Budapest, September 7-11, 2015
Available from: 2015-12-17 Created: 2015-12-17 Last updated: 2016-01-27Bibliographically approved

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