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Teachers' Pedagogical Design Capacity for Embedded Formative Assessment: A Case Study of Master Teachers Implementing a New Practice

Weatherhead, Andrew (2018) Teachers' Pedagogical Design Capacity for Embedded Formative Assessment: A Case Study of Master Teachers Implementing a New Practice. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study is concerned with how teachers use data about students’ ideas in science, elicited from
embedded formative assessment probes, to make decisions about next steps in instruction. Since
Black and Wiliam’s (1998) seminal work on formative assessment, researchers and practitioners
alike concerned themselves with formative assessment and its potential benefits to instruction
and student achievement. However, the literature shows that a significant hindrance for educators
is their ability to plan next steps in instruction in response to data elicited from formative
assessment. This study drew upon the concept of pedagogical design capacity and the Design
Capacity for Enactment framework (Brown, 2002) as a means to better understand what
resources teachers both identify and take advantage of when making decisions about formative
assessment outcomes.

The study took a qualitative approach and employed a case study methodology. I engaged
two fourth grade teachers at an independent laboratory school in Pittsburgh. These teachers
implemented two different formative assessment probes twice. The study collected data from
five sources. Observations with video and audio recordings captured teachers working with
information elicited from probes in planning sessions as well as planning documents dedicated to
science. Teachers annotated unit and lesson plans. Lastly, teachers were interviewed individually
multiple times throughout the study and at the end. Analysis of the data collected utilized
analytic memo writing and first and second cycle coding.

The study found that teachers drew heavily on personal resources (pedagogical content
knowledge, subject matter knowledge, and beliefs and goals) when making instructional
decisions about next steps in instruction. Teacher response to data from the formative assessment
probes became increasingly responsive to student misconceptions as the unit progressed. Early in
the animal unit not many changes were made; later, every lesson was adapted or improvised in
response to the data.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Weatherhead, Andrewadw69@pitt.eduadw69
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAnsell, Ellenansell@pitt.eduansell
Committee MemberKokka, Karikokka@pitt.edukokka
Committee MemberSuzik, Jeffreyjsuzik@pitt.edujsuzik
Date: 24 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 July 2018
Approval Date: 24 September 2018
Submission Date: 24 September 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 121
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Formative Assessment Science Education Elementary Education Instructional Design Professional Development Pedagogical Design Capacity
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2018 21:23
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2018 21:23


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