Exploring science teachers’ conceptions and efficacy of assessment in Manitoba schools: A case study.
Raji, Monsurat Omobola
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Contemporary classroom assessment practices have been identified as a promising pedagogical approach to improve students’ learning and the development of their metacognitive skills; however, the complexities inherent in assessment point towards the need for careful consideration of the educational context of such practices, as well as the numerous factors influencing teachers’ assessment practices. Research has established that such factors include teachers’ conceptions of assessment, particularly in terms of the purpose assessment plays in the classroom and teachers’ perceived self-efficacy. In science education and particularly in Manitoba, there is an opportunity to further investigate the relation between these concepts, especially since the publication of some provincial guidelines on assessment a little more than a decade ago. The purpose of this multiple case study research is to provide insights into three Manitoban high school science teachers’ conceptions of assessment, classroom assessment practices, and their perceived self-efficacy in developing and using contemporary assessments in their science classrooms. The data from one-on-one interviews with the three teachers and the assessment artifacts they shared were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results corroborate literature that indicates a strong connection between assessment conceptions, perceived self-efficacy and classroom practices, and suggest an interesting relationship to provincial assessment recommendations, despite teachers’ stated unfamiliarity with one of these documents. Implications of the study for science teacher’s practices, science education, policymakers, and future research are presented.