An Investigation into the Relationships among Middle School Teachers‘ Beliefs about Collaboration, Their Perceptions of Formative Assessment, and Selected Teacher Characteristics




Baynard, Liz R.

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The purpose of this descriptive study is to examine the relationships among middle school teachers‘ beliefs about collaboration, their rationale for using common formative assessments, and selected teacher characteristics that might help explain these beliefs and rationale. Previous research separately shows that collaboration and formative assessment practices each influence higher student achievement. Previous research also suggests that these practices are underused and usually not connected programmatically. This study aims to understand the gap between research supported education theory and classroom teaching practices. A parallel mixed methods design that merges interview data and survey data was used for this study. Seventy-six middle school teachers from two middle schools were purposefully selected to complete an online survey about teacher characteristics, collaboration, and common formative assessments. The school sites were selected because they have a mandate that requires teachers to use common formative assessments and to collaborate regularly in professional learning communities (PLCs), thereby ensuring that the participants have experience with the practices being examined. The findings indicate that teachers believe collaboration benefits instruction and assessment informs instruction. The findings suggest that age might play a role in the relationship between teacher beliefs and assessment. They also suggest that the degree to which teachers get along with each other influences the success of a collaborative group and that collaboration is not limited to structured meetings.



PLC, Professional learning community, Collaboration, Formative assessment, Assessment