Primary teachers' understanding of science inquiry: influences on their teaching and formative assessment practice

Serret, N. ORCID: 0000-0002-8105-1699, Harrison, C., Correria, C. and Harding, J., 2016. Primary teachers' understanding of science inquiry: influences on their teaching and formative assessment practice. In: J. Lavonen, K. Juuti, J. Lampiselkä, A. Uitto and K. Hahl, eds., Electronic Proceedings of the ESERA 2015 Conference: Science Education Research: Engaging Learners for a Sustainable Future, Part 14, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, 31 August - 4 September 2015. Helsinki: University of Helsinki, pp. 2349-2359. ISBN 9789515115416

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In England, recent changes to the National Curriculum for primary science (Great Britain, DfE, 2013) have tried to respond to the legacy of national tests set at the end of primary schooling (10-11 years old) and establish a better balance between formative and summative assessment practice. Within this context, we have developed a professional development programme that aimed to support primary teachers in their teaching and assessment of science inquiry. Our research aims to investigate what kinds of professional development approaches support the formative assessment of primary science inquiry and how these are reinterpreted into teacher practice. This paper reports on the preliminary findings emerging from our study. Our data sources include written teacher reflections, audiorecordings of the professional development meetings and observed lessons and semistructured post lesson interviews. We draw from a multi-step, open-coding analysis of selected lesson observations and substantiate this with teacher discussions arising from the professional development sessions to extend our understanding of effective ways to guide teachers in transforming their teaching and assessment practice of scientific inquiry. Our preliminary analysis suggests that providing primary teachers with strategies to engage their learners with specific inquiry skills over a number of different contexts for inquiry enables the teachers to introduce more open approaches to dialogue in their inquiry lessons. These structures equip them with sufficient understanding of what to target and look for in children’s answers that enable them to go beyond accepting or rejecting answers and, instead, facilitate discussion which allows children to share their ideas with others. We are still in the process of data collection and analysis. Further findings will have implications for professional developers and pre-service teaching. The findings also generate debate about professional learning and understanding of pedagogy and assessment in inquiry classrooms.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Creators: Serret, N., Harrison, C., Correria, C. and Harding, J.
Publisher: University of Helsinki
Place of Publication: Helsinki
Date: 2016
Volume: 14
ISBN: 9789515115416
Divisions: Schools > School of Education
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 22 Mar 2016 13:34
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2019 15:09

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