One University's Pathway to a Change in Practice

One University's Pathway to a Change in Practice

Renee Moran (East Tennessee State University, USA), Karen Keith (East Tennessee State University, USA) and Huili Hong (Towson University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9929-8.ch004
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This chapter focuses on the process of implementing problem based assessment at the college/university level in teacher education. Past research points to an overemphasis on factual information, lecture, and paper and pencil tests in higher education. Performance based assessment is discussed as an alternative and a measure that calls for students to demonstrate more active participation, critical thinking, and work that aligns more closely to what they will actually be engaged in in the field of education after graduation. Particularly, a case study of one university's path in the implementation of performance based assessment is highlighted. The process of implementing three specific performance based assessments are considered as well as roadblocks, assets, and specific methods found to be beneficial and/or challenging.
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As Dr. Moore finished grading the last exam in the large stack of papers before her, she took a moment to reflect on the purpose or perhaps the futility of her efforts. She had data before her, didn’t she? Couldn’t she easily divide her class into stacks of high, middle, and low achievers and make sound data based judgments about their abilities from there? Or could she? Dr. Moore considered whether a series of multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions could truly be representative of her teacher candidates’ performance in the dynamic and ever changing world of the elementary age classroom. Dr. Moore’s ponderings led to a larger discussion amongst peers about altering the manner of assessments promoted in their teacher education program and eventually to a departmental change which focused heavily on the use of performance based assessments for their teacher candidates.

In this chapter we will consider the literature base surrounding the implementation of performance based assessments in teacher education including the benefits and challenges documented. Perhaps most importantly, we will provide a case study of one university’s path in making a change in this direction. We will consider roadblocks, assets, and specific methods that we found to be beneficial and/or challenging.

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