Improved Science Assessments Using Student Perceptions
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An instrument to assess secondary students’ perceptions of assessment was developed in a three-stage study. In the first stage, following a review of literature, a six-scale instrument was trialed with a sample of 470 students from grades eight, nine and ten in 20 science classrooms in three schools. Based on internal consistency reliability data and exploratory factor analysis, refinement decisions resulted in a five-scale instrument that was named the ‘Student Perceptions of Assessment Questionnaire’ (SPAQ). In the second stage, the SPAQ was used with five scales of the ‘What is Happening in this Class’ (WIHIC) questionnaire, an attitude scale, and a self-efficacy scale. This survey was administered to a sample of nearly 1,000 students from 40 science classes from the same grades as in the first stage. Statistical analyses confirmed the validity and reliability of the SPAQ. Based on the survey results exemplary teachers were identified. In the third and last stage interviews with teachers and students were conducted. The classes of these exemplary teachers were also observed.
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