Current educational policy and practice asserts that increased standardized student testing is the key to improving student learning and is the most appropriate means for holding individual schools and teachers accountable for student learning. Instead, it has become a tool solely for summarizing what students have learned and for ranking students and schools. The problem is standardized tests cannot provide the information about student achievement that teachers and students need day-to-day. Classroom assessment can provide this kind of information.
Formative assessment to inform instruction and guide student learning is being underutilized. Many students are not given feedback that is effective in helping them see where they are in regard to reaching the learning goals or that provides plan for moving them forward to achieve that goal. Students are not always given the opportunity to take an active role in the learning process by regularly assessing themselves and their peers as they work to achieve their learning goals. The purpose of this study is to determine how the use of formative assessment with immediate feedback using student response systems will impact student learning. This study will also investigate the effect that student involvement in self-evaluation has on learning.
Background and Significance of the Problem
Working as an Instructional Technology Specialist for the past seven years has provided many opportunities to observe teachers and students in a classroom setting. During this time teachers have been in the process of phasing in a new standards-based curriculum with an emphasis on student mastery of these standards. New technology tools have also been incorporated in many classrooms including student response systems (SRS). All of these changes should have resulted in classrooms that reflect a different teaching and learning environment. Few classrooms have successfully implemented high quality, effective formative assessments that drive instruction, provide immediate feedback to student to inform them of their progress, or involve students in self-reflection of learning.
Many of the observations are of teachers who have been a part of state Title II-D grants that provide a team of teachers with technology tools, 100 hours of on-site instructional and technical support, and 100 hours of professional learning over a two year period. The state grant has slightly different guidelines each year, but the goal of the grant is always the same; to improve student learning. Because the learning needs are not the same for each school, the school is able to customize the grant based on needs specific to that school. Thus the support and professional learning are tailored to the team and individual teachers’ needs.
Georgia has 13 Educational Technology Centers (ETCs) that manage Title II-D grants. This includes providing professional learning and onsite support for grant schools. The participants for this study...