Administrators' and teachers' perceptions of the formative assessment process used to evaluate students' level of proficiency and ongoing instruction in reading
Miller, Natalie Boren
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Administrators commonly lead the implementation of one universal reading screening assessment three times per year to formatively compare student progress. Frequently, this same screening tool is facilitated by principals and implemented by teachers one time per month to monitor students' progress. With the increased attention on testing, educators report that they are fearful they are not using all of the data wisely that they are collecting (Peverini, 2009). Furthermore, it is not enough to know whether students are performing proficiently or below grade level standard; it is important to diagnose the type of learning difficulty that is standing in the way of mastery so that teachers can appropriately plan ongoing instruction (Chappuis, 2014). The motivation for this study is the notion that principals who lead in transformational and collaborative ways that focus on high-impact instructional methods experience grade level proficiency that is three to four times greater than when limiting instructional leadership to that of promoting only a focus on the implementation of the school's mission and vision (Buffum et al., 2012; Robinson, Lloyd, & Rowe, 2008). The purpose of this quantitative and qualitative multimethods study was to identify administrators' and teachers' perceptions of the overall formative assessment process in reading and to determine their perceptions of effective formative assessment practices commonly used to indicate students' level of proficiency with reading standards and to plan ongoing instruction. Overall, teachers and administrators shared similar perceptions of the formative assessment process and its use. Teachers and administrators agreed that classwork and observations are essential for identifying a student's zone of proximal development, essential for planning ongoing instruction, and effective evidence of student progress toward standard mastery. Moreover, during reading instruction, teachers and administrators indicated that encouraging and corrective feedback should be provided for students against clear learning goals. To lead the formative assessment process in reading effectively, it is critical for administrators to be high-impact transformational and instructional leaders.