Middle school teachers’ use of a formative feedback guide in mathematics problem solving instruction Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/jw827d94d

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  • The purpose of this study was to address the implementation fidelity of one part of a professional development model developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL). Specifically, this research investigates middle school teachers’ use of a formative feedback guide developed by NWREL staff, examining the reliability with which teachers use the guide and how its use influences the follow-up instructional decisions they make. The subjects of the study were ten middle school mathematics teachers who participated in the NWREL professional development and the subsequent classroom problem solving activities. The primary data collected for the study were student solutions to problem solving tasks, teacher evaluations of student performance using the NWREL formative feedback guide, and teacher plans for sharing student work in a follow-up class. Wiliam and Black et al provide frameworks for considering formative assessment that influenced this study, particularly around the nature of formative assessment practices that positively influence student learning. Stein et al’s pedagogical model for sharing student work in classroom discussions formed the basis on which follow-up instruction was considered in this study. The results of this study suggest that the NWREL formative feedback guide functions more as a summative than a formative assessment guide. Teachers did not use the guide with high levels of reliability. The rationales teachers provided for selecting pieces of student work to share in follow-up classroom discussions were almost always related to aspects of mathematical problem solving, especially to show students a variety of strategies. While those rationales were usually reflected to some degree in the student solutions chosen, the comments that teachers wrote for students less frequently reflected the rationales. Based on these results, three new guides are proposed for future professional development efforts for this component of the NWREL program: 1) a formative assessment written comment guide, 2) a scaffolding guide, and 3) a student work selection and sequencing guide.
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