Assessing Self-Directed Learning at School Level

Assessing Self-Directed Learning at School Level

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2613-1.ch003
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Chapter 3 describes the development of an inventory to assess primary school support for inquiry. First, there is a discussion of the role played by the school environment in primary students' learning, and its importance in SDL in particular. Next, there is a description of a framework of a primary school inquiry environment on which is based the assessment instrument, the Primary School Characteristics Inventory (PSCI). This assessment is based on the external (other) influences shown in the model of effective learning in primary students (Chapter 2 Figure 1). The process of pre-testing and trialing the inventory is outlined before the revised version of the inventory was sent to 100 schools across the state of South Australia. Following this, there is an outline of the Primary School Characteristics Inventory used in an intervention study on self-directed learning.
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Describing And Assessing Learning In Constructivist And Inquiry Classroom Contexts

The constructivist approach emphasizes that learner beliefs and attitudes have an important influence on their learning. In constructivist classrooms learning is depicted as a process in which experience plays an important role. In this context the role of the teacher is to encourage higher level thinking, engage with students in dialogue about their learning, and encourage them to participate in dialogue with each other. Instructional practices, such as these, work to sustain the motivation of students for classroom learning. Pintrich (2003) urged that these processes should be examined in constructivist and inquiry classrooms.

There are instruments available that assess various dimensions of school contexts, such as the ‘School Characteristics Inventory’ (SCI), developed by Sternberg (2000) which describes school characteristics as they relate to the modifiability of the school environment in response to restructuring plans. Sternberg’s inventory described the school environment in terms of its ethos, organization, classroom tasks, and roles of teachers and students.

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