Pre-Service Teachers' Utilization of a Self-Assessment Measure to Identify Implications for Student Teacher Self-Assessment
Snead, Lauren Oropeza
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Teacher development of pedagogical implementation begins in the student-teaching phase. In the current models of student teaching, feedback comes primarily from their cooperating teachers and university supervisors, both of which represent external sources of feedback. There is a gap between this feedback and a more engaged source of feedback in which the student teacher plays a more significant role. Self-assessment may have the potential to provide a resource for self-reflection of classroom teaching and learning for student teachers (Dewey, 1910; Freiberg & Driscoll, 2005; Houston & Warner, 2000). A lack of time and financial resources in schools often limit opportunities to provide today’s teachers with quality professional feedback. Frequently neophyte teachers, including student teachers, need to wait for other educators to answer the question: “How am I doing” (Freiberg & Driscoll, 2005)? While student teachers need formative and summative assessments to develop further through their profession, there is a growing requisite to build models that incorporate self-assessment as a tool for professional learning. Self-assessments can be used to provide student teachers other ways to reflect on their development (Goh & Matthews, 2013; Rogers & Freiberg, 1994). This exploratory study examined the use of a teacher self-assessment measure called the Person-Centered Learning Assessment (PCLA, (Freiberg, 2001-2013)). The PCLA is a formative self-assessment instrument used to complete the feedback loop in teacher learning. The PCLA instrument was selected for its design that enables the student teachers to assist in building the PCLA by selecting 8-10 Descriptors from a pool of 37 in four areas including the educator, learner, resources, and curriculum. The student teachers also describe Observable Indicators for each Descriptor they have selected. Once developed, the student teachers teach a lesson (PCLA I) using the PCLA instrument and then follow-up after analyzing their PCLA data with a second lesson (PCLA II). They also audio record the lessons, organize the feedback ratings, and review the written comments by their students. The PCLA contains three primary components that form a triangle of feedback creating opportunities for self-reflection. The three components include 1) student feedback using the PCLA 2) audio recordings of two PCLA lessons, and 3) the educator’s self-assessment after analyzing PCLA data and the audio recordings of the PCLA lessons (J. Freiberg, personal communication, July 1, 2014). The research questions for this study explore the role that PCLA self-assessment can play during the student teaching experience: 1) Does using the PCLA modify the student teacher’s self-assessment from the first to the second lesson? 2) Why do the student teachers choose their particular indicators as part of the PCLA? 3) Does student feedback of the student teacher’s lessons on the PCLA change from lesson one to lesson two? The study explores these questions by utilizing the PCLA with ten student teachers at a large urban university. The data sources included the triangle of feedback identified above, as well as a total of 20 researcher student teacher interviews (two each) conducted after PCLA I and PCLA II. To analyze these data sources, the study uses critical ethnographic methodologies established by Carpsecken(1996) to explore the use of self-assessment with student teachers during the study. Specifically, Carspecken’s model of reconstructive analysis was used to identify themes, codes, and topic domains to provide insight into the student teacher’s use of the PCLA instrument. Using these methodologies, student teacher reflections and interviews were analyzed. It also follows Carspecken’s(1996) Interview Protocol model by intentionally formatting interviews based on research data. The data analysis revealed several important insights into the PCLA. Study findings indicate that the 10 student teachers were able to describe ways in which self-assessment enabled them to reflect on the data provided by the PCLA. As a result, eight student teachers made changes to their teaching between their first and second lessons. Reasons as to why each student teacher chose to create their self-assessment in their unique manner was explored. Nine of the student teachers used the PCLA as an avenue for understanding the student perspective in the classroom. Nine of the student teachers also included Descriptors in an effort to understand their own teaching better. In responding to question three, study data showed that nine out of ten student teachers discussed change in their student feedback. The student teachers primarily discussed positive improvements based on student feedback from PCLA I to PCLA II. In conclusion, the use of self-assessments in teacher preparation can be helpful, providing multiple sources of feedback in addition to the traditional cooperating teacher and university supervisor. The findings of this study have the potential to influence higher education teacher preparation programs and the way student teachers acquire information about their teaching.