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Effects on student motivation and performance by increased transparency in assessment: EARLI-konferensen
Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Research environment Learning in Science and Mathematics (LISMA). Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Avdelningen för matematik- och naturvetenskapernas didaktik. (LISMA)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3251-6082
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research has shown that sharing explicit assessment criteria with student may positively affect student performance, reduce anxiety, as well as support students’ use of self-regulated learning strategies (Panadero & Jonsson, 2013). Furthermore, it is suggested that students’ motivation for learning is positively affected by their understanding of learning goals and performance criteria (Ellis & Tod, 2015). But there are also indications of students becoming more performance oriented, as opposed to learning oriented, when being provided with explicit assessment criteria. Other fears voiced against the practice of sharing criteria with students is that students may not understand the criteria or that the use of criteria may turn students’ attention away from productive learning towards surface strategies and “criteria compliance” (e.g. Sadler, 2009; Torrance, 2007).    

Since there is a lack of studies systematically investigating how students are influenced by the use of explicit criteria, it is currently not fully understood under which circumstances it is productive for student learning and motivation to share explicit assessment criteria. Furthermore, there is a lack of studies making a distinction between how students with different goal orientations are affected by the use of explicit criteria. The aim of this study is therefore to investigate the influence of increased transparency in assessment on student motivation and performance, with a specific focus on students’ goal orientations.

The overall design of this study is an intervention study, where the use of transparency in assessment is increased successively over four teaching sequences. During the first sequence, students are provided with feedback based on criteria, but the criteria are not shared with the students. During the second sequence, students are provided with exemplars, which are chosen to exemplify the criteria. But again, the criteria are not shared with the students. During the third sequence, students are provided with rubrics, which include explicit criteria. Finally, during the fourth sequence, students are provided with both rubrics and exemplars.

The study uses a complex design, with a total of eight groups of students from four different primary schools (students 12-13 years old; n = 145). On each school, the same teacher teaches two classes of students. During the first sequence, all students are taught the same (science) content and experience the same level of transparency. During the second sequence, all students are also taught the same content, but while the level of transparency is increased for six of the groups, two groups remain on the first level. Similarly, during the third sequence, all students are taught the same content, but the level of transparency is increased for four of the groups, while two remain on the second level and two on the first. Finally, during the fourth sequence, all students are taught the same content, but the level of transparency is increased for two of the groups, while two remain on the third level, two on the second level and two on the first.

Data collection will be carried out in relation to the four teaching sequences, which are spread over the academic year of 2016-17. For all of the groups, performance tests and motivation questionnaires are distributed before the intervention and after each sequence. The performance tests are composed of items from previous national tests in science, addressing a content similar (but not identical) to the sequence taught. The motivation questionnaire is composed of scales for self-efficacy, performance orientation, and self-regulation (except for one of the self-regulation scales, which has a low alpha value, internal consistency is acceptable for all scales used). There are also shorter questionnaires, with only six items, distributed during each teaching sequence, which target students’ perceptions of transparency.

Data from performance tests and motivation questionnaires is analyzed with descriptive statistics, as well as with ANOVA based models, in order to track changes within each group, but also to compare between the groups. Analyses will be made with students’ goal orientations both as a dependent variable and as a moderating variable.

Initial analyses show that:

  1. The correlations between students’ perceptions of transparency and self-efficacy/self-regulation are moderate to strong.
  2. One of the schools in the sample differs significantly from the others with respect to self-efficacy, self-regulation och achievement goals (i.e. means are lower on these scales). Since this is the school that will hold a constant (low) level of transparency during the study, it can be assumed that this observed difference will increase.
  3. Students generally rate their self-efficacy and perception of self-regulation strategies as relatively high (4.72 and 4.53 respectively, on a 6 point scale). Furthermore, according to the pre-test questionnaire students’ ratings on the achievement goals scale is substantially higher (5.38) as compared to the performance goals scale (3.14). If the use of explicit criteria makes students more performance oriented, this relationship is expected to change. According to previous research, ratings on the self-efficacy and self-regulation scales should also be expected to increase.

Despite the widely spread practice of sharing explicit criteria with students, for instance in the shape of scoring rubrics, few studies have systematically addressed the question of how students are influenced by transparency in assessment. This study therefore have great significance for both future research and educational practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-18489OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-18489DiVA, id: diva2:1238545
Conference
EARLI 2017, Tammerfors, Finland
Available from: 2018-08-14 Created: 2018-08-14 Last updated: 2018-10-22Bibliographically approved

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