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Assessing students’ learning of primary science in the multicultural context of Singapore: Considerations influencing task selection for formative assessment
Formative assessment
Task selection
Primary school science
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Paper presented at the 37th Annual Conference of the International Association of Educational Assessment (IAEA) on “Assessment and the Challenge of Globalization”, Manila, Philippines, 23 – 28 November 2011
This research reports the considerations influencing task selection for formative assessment among 30 primary school science teachers. Education and assessment are high stake enterprises in this multicultural city-state of Singapore. The 39 participants were chosen through random sampling from six primary schools located at different parts of Singapore. The participants responded to an instrument comprising of activities on the concepts of electrical circuits and conductors. The activities, set in different contexts but based on the same learning outcomes, were presented to the participants as possible tasks to assess students' learning. The participants’ responses to the questions were analysed. The findings revealed that the teachers prioritised students' abilities and their learning over and above other factors. The writers argued that the teachers' focus on students’ abilities may work against the current initiative of inquiry approach towards teaching and learning. While studies on teachers' conceptions on assessment have been undertaken, the contribution of this paper lies in illuminating influences on the implementation of formative assessment in Singapore primary science classrooms.
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