About this Research Topic
The aim of this Research Topic is to examine teacher classroom assessment practices and their decision making. One of the characteristics of effective teachers is their ability to identify, develop, and implement a range of assessment strategies to collect assessment data, from informal contingent formative strategies to more formal summative strategies, including high-stake tests, and then analyze and interpret it to make critical decisions related to student learning. This ability of teachers to gather and reflect on assessment data and use them to inform learning, teaching, and future assessment activities has strong theoretical and empirical support to enhance student learning. Despite its prominence, however, this construct is understudied.
This Research Topic is timely as there is a strong pressure on schools to support teachers to implement evidence-based decision-making. This is based on a range of research evidence demonstrating that high-performing schools draw on a variety of assessment information, ranging from teacher anecdotal records to large-scale assessment data, at every level of decision-making regarding student learning. Research has demonstrated that when teachers monitor student learning, students learn more and become more aware of their own performance. Teachers who can make sense of any assessment data can identify trends and patterns and recognize areas of concern about their individual students and can respond to this effectively to keep students on target.
Despite the growing evidence of the importance of teacher-decision making, research shows that teachers are overwhelmed by the concept and tend to disengage in the process. This is due to the fact that this construct is not well-defined, with little understanding of the skills involved in decision-making, the sources and types of evidence, the processes involved and the ways to ensure the trustworthiness of any decisions made. More significantly, there is growing acknowledgment that the research on teacher decision-making needs to move beyond building teacher knowledge and skills in analyzing data from summative/high-stake assessments. There should also be a strong focus on building their assessment for learning literacy which requires them to establish learning goals, provide feedback, monitor student learning, and align future learning and teaching activities with the needs of the students. Although the effective use of summative assessment data is important, teachers also regularly need to make informed decisions based on how they make sense of ongoing classroom assessment data so that they know exactly where each student is at in terms of their development and can implement more strategic learning and teaching activities. Furthermore, teachers need to develop their knowledge and skills in triangulating all assessment information to develop an overall picture of student learning and development.
For this Research Topic on classroom assessment practices and teacher decision making we welcome brief research reports of empirical and theoretical research as well as mini-reviews, policy briefs, perspective papers, and articles. We also encourage submissions of anecdotal narratives and descriptions of cases and incidents that illustrate the principles of on-going classroom assessment decision-making. We are particularly interested in papers that explore the multidimensional and diverse aspects of teacher decision-making, including the influence of different disciplinary contexts, school settings, student cohorts and teacher backgrounds on the knowledge and skills required to make highly contextualized and trustworthy decisions to effectively support student learning. We are also interested in the extent to which teacher decision-making processes differ when dealing with informal assessment data and standardized test results. Finally, we are interested in papers that highlight various factors that influence teacher decision-making and the role of the school leaders in helping teachers develop and evaluate their decision-making processes.
Keywords: Assessment Literacy, Teacher Professional Learning, Assessment, Decision-making, Classroom Assessment Practices
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.