The persistence of vision

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The persistence of vision

There is a significant and growing body of research that indicates teachers’, conceptions of assessment affect their professional relationship to and literacy in assessment. This study examines how a graduate-level course on educational assessment influenced the beliefs, values,and attitudes (i.e., conceptions) held by a small but diverse sample of New York City pre-service and practicing teachers about the nature and purpose of assessment. This study employed a qualitative, phenomenographic approach to establish an understanding of the systematicvariations and consistencies in how participants experienced and understood assessment as teachers and as students. The prevailing conception of assessment participants had was negative. Although other conceptual categories emerged and developed between pre-and post-course interviews, this negative conception of assessment remained dominant in both pre- and postcourse interview sets, especially among practicing teachers. Both pre-service and practicing teachers indicated that assessment played a powerful role in personal history and pedagogy. The course appeared to be successful in contributing to teachers’, knowledge about assessment, butattitudes towards assessment remained largely unchanged and negative. The implications for ,assessment literacy, teacher education and practice posed by this disparity between change in ,knowledge and persistence in conceptions are explored.

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