Towards a culture of caring: formative assessment interactions to improve teaching and learning for developmental studies students in a community college

Date

2009-05-15

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand how formative assessment interactions in developmental education reading, writing, and mathematics courses at a community college were experienced by both students and faculty members and how they were perceived to impact learning and teaching. The specific assessment technique studied involved a series of one-on-one, out-of-class Feedback Intervention (FI) interactions that focused on discussions regarding students? strengths and weaknesses in relation to their course learning outcomes. In using a case study approach, I interviewed students and faculty members in focus group and individual settings. Using constant-comparative qualitative analysis, I examined their perceptions in order to better understand the impact student-faculty interactions had on students? learning and faculty members? teaching experiences. Questionnaires were also used to corroborate findings. The following research questions were used: (1) What are the contexts and learning experiences of developmental studies students? (2) How has formative assessment, specifically out-of-class interactions with their instructors, affected perceptions of their learning experiences? (3) How have these interactions affected developmental studies faculty members? perceptions about their teaching? When I considered the overall impact of the student-faculty interactions, one overarching theme emerged: the FI interaction did have a positive impact on learning, and to a lesser degree, teaching. This theme was supported through two main findings related to learning: the interaction increased students? motivation to learn and improved their learning strategies. In regards to teaching, the main finding was that facilitation of the FI interaction affected faculty members in that they became more learner-centered in their teaching strategies and methodologies. These findings confirmed a connective, dynamic learning process for both students and faculty members.

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Keywords

Formative Assessment, Community College

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