Assessment conceptions and practices of first-year secondary mathematics teachers
Ducloux, Kanita Kimmons
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Research has indicated a disparity between teachers’ beliefs and their actual assessment practices. One suggested approach to understanding the mismatch is to examine the impact of teachers’ beliefs on their teaching practices. The purpose of this study was to understand the factors that influence teachers’ assessment practices. Using a framework developed by Ernest (1988) describing the impact of teachers’ beliefs on the teaching of mathematics; this study examined the assessment beliefs and practices of three beginning secondary mathematics teachers. Using case studies, the three teachers were observed and interviewed over a 12-week period. Data also included a collection of artifacts from each teacher. Findings indicated that some of the teacher’ beliefs were aligned with their assessment practices, and that a complex mix of influences and factors impacted the first-year teachers’ assessment practices. The influences included their beliefs about mathematics and its teaching and learning, the powerful influence of the social context of teaching, and their level of reflection. The findings suggested that preservice and inservice teacher could benefit from help implementing various assessment strategies, including alternative forms of assessment. More importantly, teachers need help developing reflective strategies so that they can improve the teaching, learning, and assessment of mathematics.