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ERIC Number: ED539613
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 327
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2672-1650-2
Participatory Formative Assessment in an Environment of High-Stakes Testing: An Autoethnography
Johnson, Karin Pogna
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Texas State University - San Marcos
The purpose of this study was to describe my experiences as a campus principal in facilitating the use of participatory formative assessment (PFA) in an environment of accountability and high-stakes testing. The methodology I employed was autoethnography (Chang, 2008; Ellis, 2004; Reed-Danahay, 1997; Stinson, 2009). I kept journals over a period of two years and recorded my perceptions as I journeyed on the path of PFA implementation. My journal entries are shared throughout this report as a way to keep my story more authentic and personalized. I also added some of my original artwork and biographical artifacts to further place myself at the center of this study. My research also included conversations with students and teachers as well as samples of PFA adapted or developed by teachers. The findings show that given enough time and support, teachers were able to use and adapt PFA strategies and tools to involve students in their learning. Through these adaptations, other strategies and tools emerged, including reflection and journaling, progress monitoring, rubrics, small group instruction, and student feedback. Also, PFA benefited students in their learning; they were able to articulate the PFA processes, and they learned more about the content and themselves. Many students also gained confidence in their abilities. On the other hand, as the statewide achievement tests approached, teachers put reflection tools and strategies on hold in order to cover the remaining curriculum and practice skills and objectives that might appear on the test. The pressure felt by teachers prior to the upcoming tests was unwittingly passed on to the students. The students stated that their teachers were stressed, rushing through curriculum, spending time with "drill and kill" worksheets. Teachers seemed to recognize that PFA enhanced student achievement. However, it was important for me as principal to allow time for planning, discussion, and sharing to implement effectively. Also, I needed to listen to teachers' concerns that PFA was one more thing added to their plates. I realized that any new initiative would be stressful for the teachers, but I also knew that we needed to continue the discussion and sharing, and celebrate the little accomplishments, or the teachers would cease to use the reflection folders. I am acutely aware of how hard our teachers work, and the crushing pressure of high-stakes testing and accountability. Teachers want to ensure that students learn, but our system forces teachers to move through content on a more superficial level and at a rapid pace. As a result, teachers often feel they must abandon successful instructional and assessment strategies because they already feel that they are moving too slowly. They fear that if too much time is taken on frequent formative assessments, they will not be able to finish teaching the skills they are required to teach. PFA can be supported by encouraging those who are successful to share strategies and tools with others and to arrange classroom visits or panel discussions so teachers can see that there are people who are successfully using PFA. This report also includes suggestions for principals interested in implementing PFA on their campuses, as well as recommendations for future research. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A