Teacher and administrator perspectives on formative student assessment in career and technical education: for career and technical teachers and administrators

The purpose of this study was to investigate career and technical education teachers’ level of knowledge and use of formative student assessment practices in the classrooms and laboratories of comprehensive high schools and technical education centers across West Virginia. In addition, this study examined factors identified by teachers as supports or barriers to implementation of formative student assessment. Finally, this study described administrator perspectives on teachers’ knowledge and use of formative student assessment practices and explore administrator perspectives on identified supports and barriers to their teachers’ implementation of formative student assessment practices.

A researcher-developed survey was used to collect data from teachers (n = 397). The study population included career and technical education teachers engaged in teaching a program in one of the sixteen nationally recognized career clusters offered in West Virginia’s public schools. Administrator interviews (n = 15) were conducted from a sample of building level administrators who directly supervise career and technical education teachers.

In general, West Virginia’s CTE teachers described their level of knowledge regarding the individual 20 formative student assessment practices as good to very good. When asked to describe their frequency of use of the same individual 20 formative student assessment practices, teachers most often reported a use level of fair to very good. There were significant differences in levels of knowledge found in 19 separate formative student assessment practices across five independent variables. Significant differences in levels of use were found in 18 separate formative student assessment practices across five independent variables.

Major factors which support the implementation of formative student assessment practices are WVDE / CTE initiatives and administrative and peer teacher support. The factor most often identified as a barrier to the implementation of formative assessment practices is lack of sufficient time. Administrators rated their teachers’ knowledge of formative student assessment as fair to good. The same administrators rated the level of use as sometimes to regularly. Administrators identified quality professional development, adequate time, and adequate support as factors which support their teachers’ implementation of formative student assessment practices. Administrators identified insufficient time, teachers’ lack of understanding and knowledge, and lack of professional development specific to formative assessment as barriers to teachers’ efforts to implement formative student assessment.

Study findings provide a foundation for career and technical education administrators and teacher educators to address formative student assessment practices in teacher induction and professional development programming. Findings describe the levels of knowledge and use of formative student assessment practices from a statewide sample of teachers. Insight from this study will provide a foundation for administrators to include formative student assessment as a key component in teacher training and professional development efforts.