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Teachers' Classroom Assessment Practices: Challenges and Opportunities to Classroom Teachers in Pakistan.

Byline: Sajjad Hussain, Nasir Shaheen, Nasir Ahmad and Saif Ul Islam

Keywords: Assessment tools; Learning; English; Challenges; Opportunities

Introduction

Classroom assessment practices of teachers connect curriculum, instructional mechanism and students learning outcomes, which is one of the essential elements of teaching learning process.

Teachers use classroom tests, presentations, questions answer sessions, projects, and group activities to enhance student's learning. These practices enable students to practice learning contents, develop thinking patterns, activate their neurons and enhance their confidence on attained skills and knowledge.1

Classroom tests and presentations provide hands-on opportunities to students to practice and reproduce the learned concepts and skills. Furthermore, it also enhances students' critical thinking as these tests ask for the implementation of learned concepts in a variety of situations. Question answer sessions, group discussion and group activities bring together the students and develop cooperation and coordination among them.2 It plays leading role in instructional decisions. Students' strengths and weakness along with their learning styles are identified through these practices which results in changing the instructional method, medium of instruction, adopting alternative channel of teaching.

Moreover, it facilitates the teachers to understand their own instructional strengths and weakness and obtain relevant information which are indispensible for academic decisions. The assessment of students, understanding of subject matters with poor assessment tools may influence teacher's decisions.3

The paramount importance of classroom assessment practices sensitized the importance of teacher's competencies in assessment practices. Teacher understanding and proper implementation of assessment strategies are directly linked to assessment results and instructional decisions.4Therefore, teacher's familiarity with a variety of essential assessment tools, principles, strategies and procedure are indispensible. Similarly, they need to be skillful in designing assessment tools, development of rubrics, analysis of results and using assessment results for instructional purposes.

Assessment practices provide foundation for students' academic achievement in the form of scores they attained in written or oral examination. On one side it illustrates students' academic potentials and on the other it motivates them for further studies.5 Classroom assessment practices concentrates on the improvement of students learning and teachers' teaching. The results of these practices provide evidences to teachers concerning students' level of understanding, progress towards the desired goals and areas of students' strengths and weakness.

Further, research studies also showed that formal assessment techniques which include; written weekly/monthly term tests, presentations, individual projects and experiments has close relationship with students' anxiety.6 On the contrary, informal assessment techniques which includes; rubrics, portfolios, group work and classroom discussion used in classroom assessment have positive contribution to students' achievement.7 Gronlund8 classified these tools into traditional and alternate types of tools. Traditional tools such as objective type tests (MCQs, fill in the blanks, true false and matching items). These tools are traditional as it needs less time and difficulty level is low as compared to alternate tools-portfolio, observation and other performances type tests which ask for more time and are more complex in nature. Results of studies revealed that students are intrinsically more motivated for alternate tools of assessment.

The results also showed that majority of teachers carried out assessment practice without understanding these practices properly which negatively influence students' achievement and teachers' performances. Therefore, experts demanded teachers for more sophisticated skills and knowledge of assessment practices.9

Similarly, students are assessed before, during and after the instructional process aimed to assess students' learning progress.10 The assessment take place before the instruction helps the teacher to understand the true status and requirements of students which enable the teacher to lead the instructional plan accordingly. Assessments during instructional process focus on the improvement of instructional quality, students' interest, their involvement in the learning process and hands-on practices at classroom level. On the other hand, the assessment practices take place at the end of the instructional process in term of written test, oral examination and performances aimed at grading students performances, measuring students mastery of learning contents which are used for certain instructional decisions11.

Keeping in view the multiple uses of assessment experts recommend classroom teachers to use multiple assessment tools to collects evidence of students' performances.12 The alignments of recommended and practiced assessment tools have significantly negative relationship with students' academic achievement. Furthermore, students' familiarity regarding grading policy is imperative, as to motivate them for adjustment and overcome the gap in teacher and students perceptions. Experts are also of the view that in grading policy none-achievement factors such as neatness, classroom attendance and students attitude. Keeping in view the above literature this study intended to investigate classroom assessment practices and the challenges teachers' faces during the process.

Research problem and objectives of the study

Classroom assessment practices enable the teachers to use its' results for students' promotion, planning the instruction, informing parents and other stakeholders about students' educational achievement. Therefore, the current study investigated the challenges and opportunities to teachers in classroom assessment practices at secondary level in the subject of English.

The objectives of the study were;

1. To investigate the prevailing classroom assessment practices of secondary school teachers in the subject of English

2. To identify the challenges faced by secondary school teachers in classroom assessment practices

3. To pinpoint the available opportunities for secondary school teachers' for enhancing classroom assessment practices and

4. To compare the public and private sector teachers' classroom assessment practices, challenges and available opportunities in classroom assessment practices

Procedures and Methodology

The study was descriptive in nature. All secondary school teachers teaching English to grade 10th of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa constituted the population of the study. The study was delimited to districts Swat and Mardan. The respondents of the study were teachers from public sector as well as from private sector.

A four likert scale questionnaire was used to investigate the research problem. The reliability co-efficient of the questionnaire was I = .78 as calculated after pilot study. After that the data were collected from 235 English teachers of district Mardan and Swat. The collected data were analyzed through Mean, Std Deviation, and independent sample t-test.

Results

The questionnaire was framed on four options Likert format. Therefore, the mean scores interpretations was based as followed;

4.00###to###3.51###Strongly Agreed

3.50###to###2.51###Agreed

2.50###to###1.51###Disagreed

1.50###to###1.00###Strongly Disagreed

The demographic information of the respondents was;

Table No 1 Teaching Experience of the respondents

Ranges###Frequency###Percent###Valid###Cumulative

###Percent###Percent

1 to###05 years###79###33.6###33.6###33.6

6 to###10 years###78###33.2###33.2###66.8

11 to###20 years###41###17.4###17.4###84.3

21 to###Above###37###15.7###15.7###100.0

Total###235###100.0###100.0

The teaching experiences of respondents were categorized in four intervals. In first interval there were seventy nine teachers which were 33.6% of the sample. In the second interval there were seventy eight teachers which were 32.2% of the total sample. In the third interval there were forty one teachers which were 17.4% of the sample group while the last interval which was comprised of the teachers who has more than twenty or above years teaching experience they were only 15.7% of the total sample group.

Table No 2 Training of teachers in classroom assessment

###Cumulative

Ranges###Frequency###Percent###Valid Percent

###Percent

Nil###196###83.4###83.4###83.4

One week###27###11.5###11.5###94.9

Two to five week###8###3.4###3.4###98.3

More than five week###4###1.7###1.7###100.0

Total###235###100.0###100.0

Table No 2 illustrates in-service teachers' training in classroom assessment. An astounding majority of one hundred and ninety six respondents which is 83.4% of the total sample group had not attended any in-service training in classroom assessment. Only 11.5% of the respondents attended one week in-service training, 3.4% respondents attended two to five weeks training and 1.7% of the total sample group attended more than five weeks in-service training in classroom assessment. To conclude majority of teachers had not attended any training in classroom assessment.

Table No 3 Major Classroom Assessment Practices Public and Private Secondary Teachers

###Mean###Std###P

Classroom assessment practices###t value

###Scores###deviation###value

Paper pencil tests###2.44###.929###-.908###.365

Objective type tests###3.34###.675

Extended response /essay tests###2.93###.816

Non-participants observation###2.43###.780

Question answering###3.47###.622

Students' oral presentations###3.17###.617

Home work/ assignments###3.36###.577

Group or individual project###1.21###.246

Portfolio assessment of students###1.14###.211

Written class summaries###2.20###.747

Table No 3 shows the mean scores of major classroom assessment practices of secondary school teachers. Objective type tests (3.34), question answers (3.47), students' oral presentation (3.17), home work/assignment (3.36) were the major practices that majority of teachers have adopted for students' assessment.

Non-participant observation/ checklists (2.43), paper pencil tests (2.44) and written class summary were those assessment practices which were not followed by majority of teachers while portfolio assessment and group/individual projects were those assessment practices which were strongly disagreed by majority of the respondents. The standard deviations of all values were less than 1.00 which shows that all the responses were not scattered from their mean scores.

Further, there was no significant difference in the mean scores of public and private secondary school English teachers classroom assessment practices. The t value is -.908 which is not significant as the p value is higher than .05.

In nutshell, majority of the respondents were following traditional classroom assessment practices where question answer sessions between teacher and students were on the top of assessment practices which was followed by students' homework and oral presentation. Furthermore, there were no significant differences between the public and private sector teachers' classroom assessment practices.

Table No 4 Challenges in classroom assessment practices Public and Private Secondary Teachers

###Std###t###P

Challenges in classroom assessment###Mean

###deviation###value###value

Individualized assessment###3.15###.767

Coping students' exam anxiety###2.52###.823###-.672###.502

Using assessment results for modifying###3.04###.649

instruction

Analyzing students' scores###2.82###.975

Psychometric properties of test###2.44###.938

Assessing overcrowded classes###2.89###.944

Scoring of students' assessment###2.66###.829

Table No 4 shows the most frequent challenges that teachers faced in classroom assessment practices. Majority of the respondents were agreed that students' individualized assessment (3.15), exam anxiety (2.52), using students' assessment results for instructional modification (3.04), statistical analysis of students' assessment performance (2.82), assessment in overcrowded classrooms (2.89) and scoring students performance (2.62) were the most frequent challenges that teachers faced in classroom assessment practices as indicated by the mean scores. The standard deviations of all values were less than 1.00 which shows that all the responses were not scattered from their mean scores.

Further, there was no significant difference in the mean scores of public and private secondary school teachers' classroom assessment challenges. The mean scores were almost equal and the mean difference is low, the t value was -.295 which is not significant as the p value is higher than .05.

Laconically, individualized assessment, assessment in overcrowded classrooms and the statistical analysis of students' assessment scores were the challenges that most of the teachers faced. Similarly, there was no significant difference between the public and private sector teachers' classroom assessment practices.

Table No 5 Opportunities for enhancing students' classroom assessment practices, Public and Private Secondary Teachers

###Std###t###P

###Opportunities###Mean

###deviation###value###value

Assessing students through rubrics###2.73###.753

Peer assessment practices###3.01###.610

Feedback on assessment tools###3.24###.610###.518###.605

Consensus between students and teachers###3.36###.540

Share scoring criteria with students###3.43###.611

Online resources in assessment###3.31###.533

Table No 5 shows the opportunities available for making the classroom assessment more productive. Peer assessment practices (3.01), feedback from school colleagues (3.24), consensus between students and teachers (3.36), the sharing of scoring criteria with students (3.43) and online resources on classroom assessment practices were the opportunities which can enhance the effectiveness of teachers' classroom assessment practices. In overcrowded classrooms the most reflective and effective assessment practice is peer assessment which not only reduce time factor but also enhance students' critical thinking.

To conclude, sharing scoring criteria with students, consensus between students and teachers on classroom assessment practices with online resources are the best opportunities that might be utilized for effective classroom assessment practices. Furthermore, the t value .518 which was not significant as the p value is higher than .05 illustrates that there is no significant difference between public and private sector teachers in these available opportunities.

Discussions

Majority of teachers were found untrained in classroom assessment practices which is considered the most devastating element of teacher's professional life. The attained assessment knowledge and skills by the teachers is based on trial and error, no formal training in classroom assessment have lead the teachers into falsified assessment beliefs which has negative impacts on the learning outcomes of students. All these lead to increase gap between the recommended and applied methods of assessment.13

Classroom assessment practices were the most important aspect of classroom instruction. Results illustrates that majority of teachers followed traditional assessment practices that was question answer, objective type tests, oral presentation and home work of students. Gronlund14 in his work on educational assessment revealed that traditional assessment practices needs less time and low level thinking of students which has less impacts on students academic. Besides, students were less motivated and interested for traditional assessment practices.

On the contrary alternate assessment practices such as portfolio assessment, use of rubrics for the scoring of students' performances and checklist/non-participant observations were not found in-practice in the classrooms. Alternate assessment practices were closely related to students learning, students interests and competence in the contents.15

Teachers who follow alternate assessment practices involves students in practical work, develop students' thinking patterns and stimulate the students for further studies16.

Teachers faced different challenges while implmenting classroom assessment practices, due to different reasons teacher faced problems in statistical analysis of students performances, implementing self and peer assessment practices, exam anxiety, assessment of overcrowded classrooms and ensuring the psychometric properties of assessment tools. The statistical analysis of students performances and its use for instructional modification aimed to enhance students learning outcomes.17 Formal assessment practices results in students exam anxiety which has negative effects on students. Furthermore, the assessment of overcrowded classrooms and its checking is difficult for teachers which sometimes leads to careless attitude in marking and unable to ensure the psychometric properties of assessment tools which most of the time leads to wrong data and ends in worng decesions.18

Recommendations

As shown by the results teachers were found untrained in classroom assessment which reflects their incompetence in classroom assessment practices. It is therefore, recommended that in-service trainings may be arranged for teachers in classroom assessment practices with the support of Provincial Institutes of Teacher Education (PITEs), Regional Institute of Teacher Education (RITE) and Institutes of Education and Research of universities.

As majority of teachers were following traditional assessment practices which has been identified a factor that has low contribution in students' learning outcomes. The reason for following traditional classroom assessment practices might be lack of knowledge and skills, lack of training, restricted access to online resources and lack of professional forums for teachers to share their successes and experiences. It is therefore, recommended that easy access to online resources on assessment may be provided to teachers and teachers' professional forums for the sharing their experiences may be established which may be helpful for teachers' professional development.

There is no significant difference between public and private sectors teachers responses related to classroom assessment practices, challenges and available opportunities to enhance students learning outcomes. This study was conducted at secondary level; therefore, future researchers recommended to investigate the same study at primary or university level with a variable change such as assessment beliefs and practices or assessment environment.

Notes and References

1 Alkharusi, Hussain. "Effects of Classroom Assessment Practices on Students' Achievement Goals." Educational Assessment 13, no. 4 (2008): 243-266.

2 Popham, Willaim James. Test Better, Teach Bette; The Instructional Role of Assessment. Alexandria, Virginia USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development , 2003.

3 Ateh, Comfort M\. "Science Teachers' Elicitation Practices: Insights for Formative Assessment." Educational Assessment 20, no. 2 (2015): 112-131.

4 Furtak, Erin Marie, and Deb Morrison. "Challenges in Developing Classroom Assessments Linked to Multidimensional Learning Progressions." National Association of Research on Science Teaching Annual International Conference. Denver: School of Education and Human Development University of Colorado Denver, 2013. 1-28. See also; Ateh, Comfort M\. "Science Teachers' Elicitation Practices: Insights for Formative Assessment." Educational Assessment 20, no. 2 (2015): 112-131.

5 Wiliam, Dylan, Clare Lee, Christine Harrison, and Paul Black. "Teachers developing assessment for learning: impact on student achievement." Assessment in Education 11, no. 1 (2004): 49-65.

6 Hama Karim, Barzan Hadi. "The Impact of Teachers' Beliefs and Perceptions about Formative Assessment in the University ESL Class." International Journal of Humanities Social Sciences and Education (IJHSSE) 2, no. 3 (2015): 108-115.

7 Wiliam, Dylan, Clare Lee, Christine Harrison, and Paul Black. "Teachers developing assessment for learning: impact on student achievement." Assessment in Education 11, no. 1 (2004): 49-65.

8 Gronlund, Norman Edward. Assessment of Students' Achievement. 8th. Michigan USA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, 2006.

9 Ateh, Comfort M\. "Science Teachers' Elicitation Practices: Insights for Formative Assessment." Educational Assessment 20, no. 2 (2015): 112-131.

10 Popham, Willaim James. Test Better, Teach Bette; The Instructional Role of Assessment. Alexandria, Virginia USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development , 2003.

11 Wiliam, Dylan, Clare Lee, Christine Harrison, and Paul Black. "Teachers developing assessment for learning: impact on student achievement." Assessment in Education 11, no. 1 (2004): 49-65.

12 Stiggins, Richard J, David A Frisbie, and Philip A Griswold. "Inside High School Grading Practices: Building a Research Agenda." Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice 8, no. 2 (1989): 5-14.

13 Furtak, Erin Marie, and Deb Morrison. "Challenges in Developing Classroom Assessments Linked to Multidimensional Learning Progressions." National Association of Research on Science Teaching Annual International Conference. Denver: School of Education and Human Development University of Colorado Denver, 2013. 1-28.

14 Gronlund, Norman Edward. Assessment of Students' Achievement. 8th. Michigan USA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, 2006.

15 Wiliam, Dylan, Clare Lee, Christine Harrison, and Paul Black. "Teachers developing assessment for learning: impact on student achievement." Assessment in Education 11, no. 1 (2004): 49-65

16 Popham, Willaim James. Test Better, Teach Bette; The Instructional Role of Assessment. Alexandria, Virginia USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development , 2003. See also: Alkharusi, Hussain. "An Evaluation of the Measurement of Perceived Classroom Assessment Environment." International Journal of Instruction 8, no. 2 (2015): 45-53.

17 Popham, Willaim James. Test Better, Teach Bette; The Instructional Role of Assessment. Alexandria, Virginia USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development , 2003. See also: Stiggins, Richard J, David A Frisbie, and Philip A Griswold. "Inside High School Grading Practices: Building a Research Agenda." Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice 8, no. 2 (1989): 5-14.

18 Marshall, Bethan, and Mary Jane Drummond. "How teachers engage with Assessment for Learning: lessons from the Classroom." Research Papers in Education 21, no. 2 (2006): 133-149.
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Title Annotation:secondary school teachers in the subject of English
Author:Hussain, Sajjad; Shaheen, Nasir; Ahmad, Nasir; Islam, Saif Ul
Publication:The Dialogue
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 31, 2019
Words:3584
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