Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

It has been argued that teachers are a critical factor in explaining what matters for student learning. What teachers know, do, and care about when they interact with students seems to determine the quality of teaching, what students learn, and what students can transfer to new contexts. In this related paper set session, we present four studies focusing on different angles of quality of teaching in 19 fifth‐grade science teachers and how these practices are related to student learning.

Comments

The studies are part of a larger project, Developing and Evaluating Instructionally Sensitive Assessments – DEISA. In the DEISA project, through a three‐tryout iterative process, we have studied: (a) an approach to develop instructionally sensitive assessment that can capture whether students can transfer what they are learning in their science classes; and (b) the empirical evidence to support the validity of the assessments. DEISA has at its core assessing transfer of learning linked to another closely related aspect, quality of instruction. In measuring transfer of learning, it is important to consider the role of the quality of learning experiences that students received (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999). It is in this context that the DEISA team has focused on gathering information about quality of teaching. We have collected empirical evidence that supports the validity claim that the assessment items we have developed are indeed instructionally sensitive. Instructionally sensitive assessments are defined as assessment items that: (a) represent the intended and enacted curriculum (material covered by the test has actually been taught), (b) reflect the quality of the enacted curriculum (the quality of teaching) in ways that support students to transfer what they have learned, and (c) have formative value; if items are sensitive to instruction, teachers must be able to use the assessment information to adjust instruction (Ruiz‐Primo & Li, 2008). In this paper session, we focus on the second defining aspect of assessments that are instructionally sensitive: the quality of teaching that takes place in the classroom.

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