My university research paper focused on classroom formative assessment. The research question was: which methods of formative assessment do trainee foreign language teachers find helps them best with their ongoing studies that consequently has a bearing on them using formative assessment as new teachers?
My intention was to gather knowledge of the students’ learning, be it positive or negative, to further their studies and also help improve my teaching as a whole. I also sought to observe and study the students performing each formative assessment focusing on them working with pairs, groups, and individually. I was hoping that it would show me how the students collaborated and gave peer-to-peer knowledge and encouragement that would enhance each of their ongoing development. All this would have to be done in an environment that was conducive to asking questions, acquiring answers, and problem-solving. Students would be asked to contribute where honest answers were given (within pairs, groups, and the class), but not to the detriment of those students, but wholeheartedly to a mentality that all participants help create a better learning environment.
I feel this research and the methods I adopted for it proved that formative assessment is a viable and very important part of each of the students’ classroom sessions. The large proportion of positive feedback and data I retrieved showed that students were benefiting from the experience of each of the formative assessments. I feel this showed that the values of formative assessment far outweigh, for example, summative tests that just test what the students have learnt at the end of the term (and methods like this) that do not highlight where the students are going wrong or having trouble and how to rectify this. I believe the students showed they were aptly able to perform the formative tasks and marry their knowledge with other people thus encouraging dialogue that was better for all involved.
The expectation of the research was to further my knowledge of the students’ learning and to further their progression in formative assessment and the session subject matter. The goal of the research was to gather vital feedback on methods used to aid the students in contributing to their advancement by formative measures that highlighted material that developed their studies; notwithstanding specific missing information in their ongoing studies. Various formative methods were used to help the students’ knowledge. The importance of formative assessment pushes the boundaries of the scope of the knowledge the teacher has of their students’ learning that reflects upon their ongoing development of their presentation of each lesson and the approach to the students’ learning. I firmly believe this additional impact of knowing so much more about all factors within a class adds so much value to the existing store of knowledge that the teacher has of their students and the teacher themselves. This deeper understanding has so many positive contributions to all.