Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Rethinking Student Teacher Feedback: Using a Self-Assessment Resource with Student Teachers

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Rethinking Student Teacher Feedback: Using a Self-Assessment Resource with Student Teachers

Article excerpt

Introduction

Successful novice teachers need formative assessment to build their professional repertoire and enhance their content and pedagogical knowledge (Seely, Fry, & Ruppel, 2011). They also need ongoing feedback to inform them of what they are doing well and what they need to improve (Hattie, 2009; Marshall, 2009). However, administrators can only observe and evaluate a teacher a limited number of times, if at all. Likewise, a university can only hire so many assistants and retired administrators to provide feedback to student teachers, many of who may not be adequately equipped to give productive guidance. Given these limitations, what else can be done to improve teacher development?

Self-assessment gives the teacher the ability to have formative assessments without depending on outside administrators. However, not all self-assessment resources are created equal. Most are based exclusively on the teacher s own perceptions, in the form of teacher questionnaires, checklists, diaries, or goal reflections. Although useful, something else exists that can further enhance self-assessment: student feedback.

The purpose of this study is to explore a pedagogical self-assessment resource that incorporates student feedback, called the Person-Centered Learning Assessment (PCLA; Freiberg, 1994-2017). It does so in the context of preservice student teachers. As explained in the "Method" section, the PCLA is different from most current self-assessment practices. It is not a static assessment created by administrators or supervisors based purely on a teacher's self-perceptions. Instead, it is a teacher-directed, multi-step, dynamic process that incorporates external sources, in the form of digital audio recordings and student feedback. Essentially, the teacher first chooses areas to examine (called Descriptors, from a list in a resource called the Learning Framework) and defines Observable Indicators that detail what an observer would see being utilized in his or her classroom. The teacher then audio records a lesson, self-assesses his or her own effectiveness based on the Descriptors and Observable Indicators, collects anonymous student feedback, and then compares the self-assessment with the feedback. Finally, the teacher takes this analysis (PCLA I), repeats the entire process with a new lesson (PCLA II), and compares the results.

Ultimately, the PCLA enables teachers to get closer to answering this vital question: How am I doing in the classroom? As Rogers and Freiberg (1994) explained, "Knowledge is power, but knowledge about self is the greatest power" (p. 119).

Background of the Study

The origin of this study came about during my (Snead) seventh year of teaching, while I was also a graduate student in a class taught by Freiberg. At the time, my district had stopped requiring me to complete formal evaluations because of many successful administrative appraisals. This is a common practice in many school districts in the state in which this research occurred (Allen, 2017). I did not receive formal feedback about my classroom management, lesson delivery, or student-teacher interactions. As a result, I continued to teach in the manner I believed worked best.

However, this subsequently changed while I was a graduate student in Freiberg's class, in which the PCLA was a key element. I utilized the PCLA to assess my teaching, using both student feedback and audio recording of the same lesson. It was during this experience where I realized that my students did not always perceive my lessons in the way I intended. For example, I believed that I was differentiating learning to meet the varying needs of my students, but their feedback showed otherwise. For the first time in my career, I realized that I lacked the ability to sufficiently self-evaluate and improve my teaching. The PCLA helped fill these gaps and provided insights into what I needed to change.

Theoretical Perspectives

Understanding the PCLA requires a brief examination of four principles of theoretical research: self-reflection, assessment, self-assessment, and person-centered learning. …

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