Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 9, Issue 1, Article 2 (Jun., 2008)
Utilization of attitude maps in evaluating teachers' attitudes towards assessment

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Teachers are expected to integrate assessment and instruction, and to employ alternative forms of assessment that provide opportunities for learning improvement by revealing what students know and to determine the skills students need to work on. According to Haney, Czerniak, and Lumpe (1996), attitude towards behavior is a primary factor that influences teachers’ intentions to implement science reform recommendations. Therefore, investigation of teachers’ attitudes towards assessment is essential.

In the literature review, teachers’ attitudes are categorized mainly as traditional and constructivist. In order to define traditional and constructivist attitudes towards assessment, it might be useful to briefly mention how the assessment would look when based on traditional epistemology and constructivist epistemology. 

Wilson (1994) describes assessment in both traditional and constructivist forms. She states that while in traditional model of assessment, the primary purpose is to rank students according to certain traits; the purpose of assessment in constructivism is to determine the nature of a student’s constructions. The “traditional form of assessment tends to ask this question: Did the student master whatever objectives were set for him? Rather, a constructivist must ask this question: Where is the student in the process of constructing his/her knowledge about this concept?” (Wilson, 1994, p. 6). Thus, the goal of assessment in constructivist epistemology is to create more accurate models of student thinking. She adds “In order to produce the most valid inferences about what a student knows or understands; the teacher must necessarily gather evidence from multiple sources” (Wilson, 1994, p. 7). “The idea of administering an externally set instrument composed of multiple-choice questions and, based upon that single instrument rank ordering students, is anathema to a constructivist” (Wilson, 1994, p.9). Stiggins (1999) also emphasizes the importance of using varied assessment strategies by pointing out that “Various assessment users need different information in different forms at different times to make their decisions” (p. 26). Furthermore, researchers (Pilcher, 2001; Sluijsmans, Brand-Gruwel, van Merrienbore & Bastiaens, 2003; Wilson, 1994) agree that effective assessment approaches based on constructivist views promote integration of assessment and instruction.

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