Instructional decisions guided by student performance: the case of an exemplary elementary science teacher
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The purpose of this research was to understand how an exemplary elementary teacher used classroom assessments to inform instructional decisions during the act of science teaching. Within the axioms of a naturalistic inquiry (see Chapter 3), a “bounded system” (Merriam, 2009) case study was used to conceptualize this inquiry: one elementary teacher and her third grade classroom. Guiding this study were two leading questions: (1) What are the features of classroom assessments that an elementary science teacher attends to when assessing student performance during science class instruction? and (2) How does an elementary science teacher use student performance to make instructional decisions within the everyday complexities of elementary science instruction? This study found three key features of student performance in response to assessments that impacted instructional decision-making: (1) completion of the task; (2) content; and (3) correctness of the student's performance. Three categories of instructional decisions emerged: (1) decisions of when to respond to a student's performance; (2) decisions of how to respond to a student's performance; and (3) curriculum decisions. Findings from this study have implications for research in teacher decision-making and classroom assessments, as well as practical implications for elementary teaching and elementary teacher education.
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