Teacher cognition and assessment practices

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This presentation reports the results of an investigation of teacher cognitions and assessment. We sought to understand how teachers develop their cognitions and how these cognitions influence classroom practice.
Teachers’ cognitions and beliefs are frequently cited as exerting a powerful role in shaping their decisions, judgements and behaviour (see, for example, Borg, 2006; Kagan, 1992). Therefore, exploring teachers’ cognitions may help develop understanding of the factors which promote or prevent effective assessment, and thus contribute to more targeted teacher education.
A qualitative approach was adopted and methods used included questionnaire, interview and observation with follow-up interview. The questionnaire focused on experiences of assessment and currently held beliefs relating to assessment. The questionnaire was inspired by Borg and Burns’ (2008) survey of teacher beliefs about teaching grammar. In order to enrich the questionnaire data, ten follow up interviews were held to explore the reasoning behind the responses given on the questionnaire. The third data collection method was observation and interview. Five classroom observations were conducted, with a follow up interview with the teacher after each observation. The observations focused on classroom-based assessment practices.
We found that experiences of assessment at school influenced the teachers’ assessment practices but not in the way we had expected. Rather than replicating the assessment types they had experienced which included traditional pen-and-paper grammar tests the teachers made a conscious decision to use other assessment activities which were more learner-centred. We believe that viewing assessment through the prism of cognition we enrich our understanding of assessment practices.
Period18 Jan 2019
Event titleLanguage Teacher Cognition Research: Theoretical Stances and Methodological Choices: BAAL/Routledge Development Workshop
Event typeWorkshop
LocationExeter, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational