Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Conceptual Understanding of Science Teacher Candidates regarding the Reason for Measurement and Evaluation and for Determining Learning Change

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Conceptual Understanding of Science Teacher Candidates regarding the Reason for Measurement and Evaluation and for Determining Learning Change

Article excerpt

Over the last five years the teaching programs in our country, which had been developed within the frame of the European Union adaptation standards, have been restructured with regard to learning areas and approaches. Newer teaching programs, therefore, have improved natures/structures (Kurnaz & Çepni, 2012; Milli Egitim Bakanligi [MEB], 2007; Üstün, Eryilmaz, & Gülyurdu, 2008). Therefore, teachers and the operators of teaching programs have new important responsibilities with regards to the areas of learning and approaches to the program (Ates et al., 2009; Gunes & Tasar, 2006; Serin & Kanli, 2008). This implies that teachers are expected to assimilate these renewed learning areas and approaches into their teaching, such as the constructivist learning approach which requires that learners take responsibility for their own learning progress while the teachers act as facilitators or guides (Cobern, 1993; Karamustafaoglu, Costu, & Ayas, 2005; Kurnaz & Çalik, 2008, 2009; Mathews, 2000; Osborne & Wittrock, 1983).

For science and technology teaching programs, teachers are required to carry out diagnostic, formative, and summative measurement and evaluation (Kumaz & Çepni, 2012). Therefore, there needs to be a change in the way teachers perceive the measurement and evaluation process in parallel with the new teaching programs, a process which is clearly stated in the teaching programs (see also MEB, 2006, 2013). The key features of the diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments are shown in Table 1.

As shown in Figure 1, a teacher needs to first conduct a diagnostic assessment to determine a student's present knowledge. From the data obtained, a formative assessment is conducted to enable a deepening of the learning. Finally, a summative assessment is conducted to determine the student's acquisition, recognize the learning change, and identify learning gaps. What is new here is the need for the diagnostic assessment at the start of the learning process and determining the learning changes. As stated above, the diagnostic assessment is related to understanding the extent of a student's prior knowledge.

According to Hailikari (2009), prior knowledge is used for (I) determining the student's level, (II) determining the class aims, and (III) designing the student learning environment. In recent research, it has been observed that students' prior knowledge level should be considered for determining learning change (Hake, 2002a, 2002b; Ladd & Walsh, 2012; Meltzer, 2002; Thompson, 2008; Zeilik, 2012). The effect of prior knowledge has been observed as an obstacle in determining learning change if only a single test is held at the completion of the subject area, so an evaluation technique which is able to reveal the real effects of the learning environment through the comparison of pretest and posttest results is preferred. Hake (1998) suggested a normalized gain formula [g = (posttest score - pretest score) / (maximum score - pretest score)] for this process. According to this formula, normalized gain values fall between 0 (acquisition/no acquisition) and 1(all possible acquisitions/acquisitions gained). By determining the normalized gain, the real change in education can be revealed (Meltzer, 2002), a technique that has been discussed in a number of previous studies (see Hake, 1998, 2002a, 2002b; Kalkan & Kiroglu, 2007; Ladd & Walsh, 2012; Thompson, 2008; Zeilik, Schau, & Mattern, 1998). With reference to this diagnostic assessment, the conditions suitable for determining learning change are identified in this paper.

From the literature review, teacher candidate knowledge regarding new assessment and evaluation approaches activated within the curriculum (e.g., Birgin & Gürbüz, 2008; Saglam-Arslan, Avci, & Iyibil, 2008; Taslidere & Özsevgeç, 2012; Yesilyurt & Yaras, 2011), developed through training in assessment and evaluation (e.g., Arslan & Özpinar, 2008; Ugurlu & Akkoç, 2011) and promoted through self-sufficiency(e. …

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