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Chicken or egg: links between approaches to gathering data through authentic assessment activity and ways of supporting sustainable assessment of creative performance

By Kay Stables, Susan McLaren and Jenny Bain

Abstract

This paper draws on research conducted to explore issues of creativity and sustainable assessment in the context of primary/secondary transition. The research project (Capability and Progression in Transition through Assessment for Learning in Design and Technology: CAPITTAL-DT; McLaren et al. 2006) was undertaken in associate primary and secondary school settings in 2 local authorities in Scotland and was funded by the Determined to Succeed division within Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED). \ud \ud The research undertaken had two drivers. The first was evidence from within Scotland that both teaching and learning of Design and Technology was identified as weak (e.g. HMIE 2002, Dakers 2005), that of particular concern was the tendency for teachers to focus on making products rather than on thinking skills and creative processes and that assessment as part of learning and teaching was “good or better in only 24% of schools” (HMIE 2004). The second driver was research that had just been completed for the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) that explored approaches to assessing creativity within Design & Technology (the Assessing Design Innovation project, Kimbell et al. 2004). This research utilised an approach to authentic summative assessment that indicated additional potential to contribute to assessment for learning. These two drivers combined to provide both a research need and a research opportunity. \ud \ud The study involved learners from 7 schools. The participants (n=225) were in Primary 6 (10-11years old), Primary7 (11-12years old) and Secondary 1 (12-13 years old). Intervention and control research cohorts were created to take a quasi-experimental approach. The research gathered baseline and follow-up data before and after transition (either from Primary 6 to Primary 7, or from Primary 7 to Secondary 1) and, for intervention cohorts, tracked curricula experiences in the intervening 9-month period. \ud \ud The baseline and follow-up data was gathered through authentic assessment activities adapted and developed from the Assessing Design Innovation project. The dataset was created from: \ud - a ‘Learner Attitudes Towards Creativity’ questionnaire; \ud - an authentic assessment activity structure (Stables & Kimbell, 2000; Kimbell et al., 2004); \ud - a ‘learner evaluation’ questionnaire. \ud \ud A range of data was created by the study: \ud - quantitative performance data derived from a creativity assessment rubric (Kimbell et al, 2004); \ud - quantitative attitudinal and evaluative data; \ud - qualitative guided and free response data that was analysed using derived content analysis; \ud - qualitative data derived from semi-structured interviews with teachers to provide illustrative accounts of the related learning and teaching that had been undertaken between baseline and follow-up data collection. \ud \ud This paper explores the relationship between the approaches used for data gathering, the findings from the data and the insights offered for further approaches to sustainable assessment. Analysis of the data showed links between the creative performance of learners, their attitudes to creativity, the level of sophistication they demonstrated in self and peer reflection and, most importantly, how these changed over the transition period. The ability to gather and relate these data was created by the use of the authentic assessment activity as the core stimulus for the data. This paper will provide an insight into how this was undertaken and explore the potential the approach offers other curriculum areas

Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.gold.ac.uk:317

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Citations

  1. (2004). Assessing Design Innovation: a research and development project for the Department for Education and Skills and the Qualification and Curriculum Authority, Technology Education Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London
  2. (2001). Enriching Literacy Through Design & Technology Evaluation Project: Final Report,Goldsmiths College,
  3. (2005). Technology Education in Scotland: an Investigation of the past twenty years

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