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Examining the effects of alternative assessment on student motivation and self-efficacy

Dissertation
Author: Dana Zimbicki
Abstract:
Although teaching methods have developed to include student choice, teaching on each student's individual levels, and making learning more meaningful, assessment methodologies have not kept pace. Students' motivation levels appear to diminish as many social studies teachers still use traditional assessment methods consisting of objective and essay style tests to evaluate student progress. The purpose of this qualitative action research study was to determine the effects alternative assessment have on students' motivation levels and self-efficacy. Seventy-two 7 th grade students participated in this study and engaged in a variety of assessment methodologies including oral testing, performance assessment, cooperative learning, product assessment, interactive lessons, and the creation of portfolios. Data collection and analysis were concurrent, and examined for emergent themes and patterns. Data were further categorized, coded, and compared across methods of data collection: observations, survey data, individual and focus group interviews, and students' work. Three themes surfaced regarding self-efficacy: sense of confidence, sense of accomplishment, and freedom of choice. Five themes emerged regarding motivation: enjoyment, challenge, relevance, receiving immediate feedback, and working cooperatively. The research suggests that motivation levels and self-efficacy reached higher levels when students were engaged in alternative assessment. Results of this research may promote the incorporation of alternative assessment techniques into social studies curricula. Implementing alternative assessment will replicate real world situations and better prepare students to function at higher levels.

TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................vi LIST OF FIGURES..........................................................................................................vii SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION........................................................................................1 Background.....................................................................................................................1 Problem Statement..........................................................................................................5 Nature of Study...............................................................................................................8 Research Questions.........................................................................................................8 Purpose Statement...........................................................................................................9 Theoretical Framework...................................................................................................9 Definition of Terms......................................................................................................12 Assumptions..................................................................................................................13 Delimitations.................................................................................................................13 Limitations....................................................................................................................14 Significance of the Study..............................................................................................15 Implications for Social Change.....................................................................................15 Summary.......................................................................................................................16

SECTION 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE............................................................18 Introduction...................................................................................................................18 History of Assessment..................................................................................................19 Literature on Alternative Assessment...........................................................................22 Motivation.....................................................................................................................25 Self-Efficacy.................................................................................................................28 Types of Alternative Assessment.................................................................................30 Self-Directed Learning..............................................................................................30 Defining SDL........................................................................................................32 The Role of the Educator......................................................................................34 Parents’ Role.........................................................................................................35 What the Research Indicates.................................................................................36 Learning Theories.................................................................................................38 Relationship Between SDL and Citizenship.........................................................44 Advantages............................................................................................................45 Drawbacks.............................................................................................................46 Self-Assessment........................................................................................................47 Student Portfolios......................................................................................................50 How to Increase Motivation.........................................................................................52 Active Learning Strategies........................................................................................52 Self-Assessment and Motivation..............................................................................55 Cooperative Learning and Motivation......................................................................56 Effects of Alternative Assessment on Motivation....................................................62

iv Relationship between SDL and Motivation..............................................................64 Alternative Assessment through Professional Development........................................65 Cadre Training..........................................................................................................66 Piloting......................................................................................................................67 Rubrics......................................................................................................................69 Portfolios...................................................................................................................70 Lesson Study.............................................................................................................71 Effective Leadership Skills.......................................................................................73 Using Data Collection in Professional Development...............................................74 Critical Analysis........................................................................................................77

SECTION 3: METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................83 Introduction...................................................................................................................83 Research Design...........................................................................................................84 Population and Sample.................................................................................................87 Instrumentation.............................................................................................................87 Data Collection Procedures..........................................................................................89 Data Analysis................................................................................................................93 Limitations....................................................................................................................95

SECTION 4: RESULTS...................................................................................................96 Introduction...................................................................................................................96 Background Information...............................................................................................96 Participants....................................................................................................................98 Part 1.............................................................................................................................99 Observations.............................................................................................................99 Personal Interviews.................................................................................................102 Focus Group Interviews..........................................................................................102 Survey.....................................................................................................................104 Artifact Examination (Portfolio).............................................................................105 Themes as Related to the Theoretical Frameworks................................................106 Part 2...........................................................................................................................108 Research Question 1...............................................................................................108 Feeling of Confidence.........................................................................................109 Sense of Accomplishment...................................................................................127 Personal Choice..................................................................................................141 Part 3...........................................................................................................................152 Research Question 2...............................................................................................152 Enjoyment Increases Motivation........................................................................152 Relevance Increases Motivation.........................................................................167 Cooperative Work Increases Motivation............................................................177 Challenge Increases Motivation..........................................................................187 Feedback increases motivation...........................................................................196 Part 4...........................................................................................................................205 Research Question 3...............................................................................................205 Summary of Preferences.....................................................................................206

v Discussion of Triangulation for Preferences.......................................................207 Summary of Descriptive Indicators....................................................................209 Discussion of Triangulation for Descriptive Indicators......................................210 Summary.....................................................................................................................211

SECTION 5: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION, AND RECOMMENDATIONS..............213 Introduction.................................................................................................................213 Major Findings............................................................................................................215 Findings Related to the Literature..............................................................................216 Implications for Social Change...................................................................................225 Recommendations for Future Research......................................................................226 Challenges of the Study..............................................................................................227 Strengths of the Study.................................................................................................228 Researcher’s Reflections.............................................................................................229 Conclusions.................................................................................................................232

REFERENCES...............................................................................................................234 APPENDIX A: CONSENT/ASSENT FORMS..............................................................244 APPENDIX B: IRB APPROVAL..................................................................................248 APPENDIX C: MOTIVATION SURVEY....................................................................249 APPENDIX D: OBSERVATION SHEET.....................................................................252 APPENDIX E: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS..................................................................253 APPENDIX F: STUDENT REFLECTION SHEET......................................................254 APPENDIX G: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ASSIGNMENT.....................................256 APPENDIX H: ORAL TESTING..................................................................................258 APPENDIX I: MONGOL HALL OF FAME.................................................................260 APPENDIX J: MOVIE PROJECT.................................................................................262 CURRICULUM VITAE.................................................................................................264

vi LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Preferred Form of Assessment..........................................................................206 Table 2. Adjectives Used to Describe Experiences with Alternative Assessment...........209

vii LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Diagram of themes concerning self-efficacy and alternative assessment.......109 Figure 2.Themes for motivation levels when alternative assessment is experienced....152

SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION Background There are countless studies regarding the use of alternative assessment (Inger, 1995; Martens, Gulikers, & Bastiaens, 2004; Stiggens, 2002); however, this research focuses on teacher perceptions of what alternative assessment methods accomplish for students. To date, a few studies have focused on student perceptions of alternative assessment. A quantitative study conducted by Mintah (2003) focused on two aspects regarding alternative assessment. The first aspect concerns the number of teachers who regularly use alternative assessment in their physical education classes. Secondly, the study measured the teachers’ perceptions concerning the impact of alternative assessment on motivation and self-concept. The results, as calculated through a chi-square test and a one-sample t test, indicated alternative assessment had a significant impact on self- concept, student motivation, and skills achievement in the physical education class. Through the use of a MANOVA analysis, “no significant interaction effect was found for gender and grade level on perceived impact on self-concept, motivation, and skill achievement” (p. 169). Alternative assessment is becoming more popular in the classroom as the majority of teachers in this study regularly assessed their students using alternative means. Additionally, the results of the study determined a significant relationship between alternative assessment and self-concept/motivation levels of the students. Teachers reported students were more likely to be involved and participate when alternative assessment is used. This study only outlined the perceptions of the teachers; it did not include perceptions of the students.

2 Needham (2002) conducted a qualitative study to determine how often alternative assessment strategies were used in foreign language classrooms and how alternative assessment was implemented within the curriculum. Six foreign language teachers were interviewed, and their perceptions regarding the effectiveness of alternative assessment in foreign language classrooms were measured. The study involved using an array of alternative assessment techniques including role-playing, story telling, special projects, skits, and portfolios. Additionally, teachers believed that by using a variety of alternative assessment methods they were able meet each of the students’ individual learning needs. Carroll and Leander (2001) completed an action research study using qualitative methods in which they measured the impact of using active learning strategies such as group work, portfolios, oral presentations, skits, and special projects to measure students learning. Fifth-grade students were surveyed and interviewed after being exposed to the strategies. The results indicated students had attitudes that were more positive in respect to their learning about social studies. Additionally, students’ confidence, motivation, and cooperative skills improved as well as their grades. A mixed methods study conducted by Moon, Brighton, Callahan, and Robinson (2005) reported students seemed to be excited and enjoyed using alternative assessments and differentiated assessments. Additionally, students seem to be actively involved and appeared to internalize the newly learned information. One teacher reported, “Students did above and beyond, did beautiful, beautiful work” (p. 127). Countless studies have been written on the role of motivation in learning (Blomster, 2001; Carroll & Leander, 2001; Cluck & Hess, 2003; Corder, 1999; Martin, 2003; Stipek & Seal, 2001). However,

3 there appears to be a void regarding research linking the use of alternative assessment to student motivation. Few studies have specifically examined the link between regularly using alternative assessment and the effects on student motivation. Brookhart and Durkin (2003) examined various types of alternative assessments to determine which assessment activity had the most positive results among the students. The mixed methods case study focusing on 12 classroom assessment events suggested performance assessment engaged students, allowed students to set goals, and increased both the student’s intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Brookhart and Durkin’s study also suggested “for performance assessments, the students who were more likely to report using active learning strategies and concentrating on their work were less likely to report using superficial learning strategies, whereas this was not the case for the tests” (p. 50). This study began to touch on the link between motivation and alternative assessment, although more research is necessary. Veronesi (1997) conducted a qualitative descriptive case study using a phenomenological perspective, which examined the views of both teachers and students regarding alternative assessment. The study indicated students worked toward learning goals when an extrinsic reward such as points or a letter grade existed. In contrast, Veronesi claimed students felt they did their best when they worked in cooperative learning situations, took fewer tests, did more projects, used active learning strategies, and experienced fewer teacher lectures. Veronesi’s results indicate students need some type of extrinsic reward, but once they begin to participate in alternative assessments, intrinsic motivation will prevail, and students will continue to perform because they feel

4 connected to the their learning, see relevance in their learning, and enjoy the activity. Students participating in this study also suggested they were more comfortable with the teacher evaluating their work as opposed to using peer- or self-evaluation methods. Rennert-Ariev (2005) examined the impact of alternative assessment on the teacher and the students through a qualitative case study. Through the examination of data, the following three categories emerged: technical, practical, and emancipatory interests. The overall findings indicated the students felt empowered and in control of the assessment when alternative means of testing were used. Additionally, alternative forms of assessment allowed the students to reflect more on their learning and use their personal voices to express their thoughts and feelings. Rennert-Ariev’s study confirmed that students are able to determine their own educational goals and work towards the goals with a sense of ownership. Chung’s (2000) quantitative study suggested elementary students’ self-efficacy increased significantly after the use of self-assessment, but middle school students had the highest increase in self-efficacy after engaging in self-assessment. These findings imply a relationship between alternative assessment and student motivation. In conclusion, the literature clearly suggests the benefits of alternative assessment on academic success. However, the lack of information on the impact of alternative assessment on student motivation and self-efficacy warrants a closer look at this relationship, thus the purpose of this study.

5 Problem Statement The seventh-grade social studies curriculum in a middle school located in the Northeastern corridor of the United States contains a variety of constructivist strategies, but little thought is given to the assessment portion of the curriculum. Students in this middle school continue to lack motivation to take control of their learning when traditional testing is regularly used. Assessment is meaningless to the students when it consists of a variety of objective-style questions. Traditional assessment is simply a regurgitation of facts, which lacks meaning. This consequently affects the students’ motivation to perform in the classroom. In constructivist classrooms, students become active learners, social learners, and creative learners (Perkins, 1999). Twomey-Fosnot (2005) suggested challenging, open-ended questions needed to be posed to students in order to encourage critical thinking and meaningful learning experiences. Additionally, Twomey-Fosnot recommended incorporating reflection and dialogue as part of the learning process. Requiring the students to be responsible for defending, justifying, and communicating their ideas allows the learning to become meaningful and personal for the students (p. 34). This approach allows for each student follows a different path in his or her search for meaning (Brooks & Brooks, 1999). Teachers use different instructional techniques to reach each learner and guide the students to search for meaning. In constructivist social studies classrooms, historical events are not studied in isolation. Instead, students learn to connect the past to their own lives by role-playing, predicting, reflecting, and creating. This myriad of activities designed by the constructivist teacher enhances students’ motivation and interest in the content.

6 Contrary to constructivist teaching and learning, most social studies assessment remains very traditional (Brookhart & Durkin, 2003; Moon et al., 2005; Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 156). Mastery of the content often is evaluated through paper-and- pencil tests, which sends mixed messages to the students, thereby inhibiting students’ intrinsic motivation to fully demonstrate their knowledge. When testing is based strictly on recall of facts, many students will soon forget what they have learned, thereby finding little meaning and purpose in the assessment which results in decreased motivation for the next task (Jensen, 2005). It is counterproductive to learning to assess students using a paper-and-pencil test that is strictly monitored (Brooks & Brooks, 1999). On the contrary, using alternative means of assessment (portfolios, performance assessment, product assessment, oral testing) allows students to delve into topics more deeply, increasing the opportunities for meaningful learning. This process requires students to use more cognitive energy and increases motivation (Brooks & Brooks). Motivated students become life-long learners (Kohn, 1998). Basing the social studies curriculum and methods of assessing students’ understanding of the content on meaningful learning experiences has many benefits. Assessment strategies that match constructivist-teaching strategies empower choice and self-reflection, and encourage connections to prior knowledge (Good & Brophy, 2000). Morris (2001) described the importance of implementing drama within the social studies classroom in order to increase interest and to provide opportunities for students to analyze and visualize historical events. A constructivist social studies curriculum that focuses on using alternative assessment provides students more opportunities to express

7 their knowledge using higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy (Jacobsen, Eggen, & Kauchak, 2002). Testing students using multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank tests only measures knowledge at the lowest levels of Bloom’s taxonomy and provide little evidence of critical thinking (Costa & Kallick, 1995c). Traditional assessment falls short in determining deep understanding (Moon et al., 2005). Integrating alternative means of assessment with constructivist teaching strategies has become increasingly more important in an age where critical thinking skills are essential. Lewin and Shoemaker (1998) declared, “Curriculum and assessment, like the two faces of a coin, are inseparably fused and directly related to each other” (p. 3). Engaging students in meaningful learning experiences and using alternative assessment throughout the learning process may have a significant impact on motivation and self-efficacy. Educators and administrators must make it a priority to educate students in an environment that deepens students’ aspirations to learn (Kohn, 1998). Teachers need to de-emphasize performance on traditional paper-and-pencil tests, and instead use authentic forms of assessment making learning more relevant and meaningful to students. Educators must look deeper into the questions, “How do we motivate children to learn?” “What should students be learning?” and “How should they be learning?” Children need to see value and have personal interest in their learning in order to be intrinsically motivated. Students need to participate in assessment activities that provide them with opportunities for success for a better realization of their intellectual development. Tomlinson (1999) proclaimed, “Assessment always has more to do with helping students grow than with cataloging their mistakes” (p. 11). When educators focus

8 on the students’ strengths and encourage each student to work to his or her greatest potential, motivation and self-esteem increase (Marzano, 2003). This is a cumbersome task for educational professionals. Nature of Study An action research study using qualitative methods measures the effects of alternative assessments on student motivation levels and self-efficacy. Students were representing students an array of cultural and academic backgrounds made up the purposeful sample. Seventy-two students participated in the study. All participants were students in the researcher’s social studies classes. A variety of data collection techniques were used in order to triangulate the data. The researcher conducted personal interviews with 10 students and a focus group interview with 12 participants. Observations of the 72 participants spanned over 4 days and occurred while the students were engaged in alternative assessment activities. The 72 participants responded to a motivation survey of the researcher’s design. The survey consisted of 20 Likert scale questions. Students’ portfolios were also examined for evidence of motivation. Section 3 presents a detailed description of the methodologies and data analysis procedures used in this study. Research Questions 1. How will using alternative assessment as opposed to traditional assessment methods affect the self-efficacy of the students? 2. How will the use of alternative assessment methodologies affect the motivational levels of the students?

9 3. What are the students’ perceptions about the different types of alternative assessment? Purpose Statement The purpose of this action research study using qualitative methods was to explore the effects alternative assessment had on student motivational levels and self- efficacy. Incorporating effective alternative assessment techniques into the seventh-grade social studies curriculum, and aligning the assessments to the state’s newly revised Core Content Standards, may increase motivation to learn. A revised curriculum containing alternative assessment activities would complement constructivist instructional activities. This revision would allow the curriculum to move from a traditional assessment to an alternative and authentic form of assessment. The goal of this action research study was to determine the effects of implementing a curriculum rich in alternative assessment on student motivation and self-efficacy. Theoretical Framework The link between alternative assessment and motivation in this study was built upon three theories: constructivist learning theory, theory of motivation, and brain-based learning. Constructivist learning theory advocates learners are active participants in the learning process, not merely the recipients of knowledge (Brooks & Brooks, 1999). In constructivist settings, students can fulfill their desire for freedom, power, and satisfaction. Constructivism calls for students to build upon the knowledge they receive and integrate it into their daily lives. Twomey-Fosnot (2005) declared, “a constructivist view of learning suggests an approach to teaching that gives learners the opportunity for

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concrete, contextually meaningful experience through which they can search for patterns; raise questions; and model, interpret, and defend their strategies and ideas” (p. ix). The use of alternative assessment requires students to learn, to think for themselves, to develop strategies, and to take action to improve as learners (Costa & Kallick, 2004). Therefore, in constructivism, assessment becomes a part of the learning process in which students have opportunities to assess their own progress, thereby eliminating the need for traditional tests (Brooks & Brooks). When students take control of their learning, they become active participants, and increased motivation follows (Brooks, 1987). Substantial research shows active engagement in learning may lead to increased motivation, better retention and understanding, and an increase in the application of knowledge (Perkins, 1999). When students participate in constructivist assessment, they are fulfilling their need for freedom of choice. For example, reflective journaling allows students to monitor their progress, build upon strengths and recognize their weaknesses. When students experience the freedom of choice, their self-efficacy increases because they are working in their comfort zone (Brooks & Brooks). Marzano’s (2003) theory was the focus of this study. Marzano derived his theory and the link to academic achievement by reviewing the drive theory, attribution theory, self-worth theory, emotions theory, and self-systems theory. According to Marzano’s theory of motivation, characteristics of motivated people focus on choosing to grow personally, being creative, accepting challenges, having high self-esteem, working with and participating in groups, and accepting opportunities to learn. Johnson and Johnson (2002) concur and confirm when students are provided with powerful assessment

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experiences their self-efficacy increases; therefore, their motivation and desire to complete the next learning activity or assessment also increases. When students felt better about themselves, their motivation increased. Marzano suggested motivation would increase when the students were provided with feedback, engaged in their learning, given time and choice in their construction of knowledge, and had opportunities to reflect upon their work. When educators focus on the students’ strengths and encourage each student to work to his or her greatest potential, motivation and self-esteem increase (Marzano). Johnson and Johnson (2002) suggested powerful learning experiences are those that are cooperative in nature, require reflection and critical thinking, and provide meaning to the students (p. 17). Brain-based learning occurs when the brain seeks patterns and meaning (Caine & Caine, 1995). Learners are encouraged to analyze patterns in their learning which will lead to an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Jensen (2005) described nine steps that need to occur for in order to take advantage of what the brain can do to promote deeper learning. First, an environment that is nurturing and promotes a feeling of safety need to be created. The learners need to be engaged emotionally in the learning by making the learning relevant, important, and compelling. Students need to acquire new knowledge, skill, values and experiences, and then deepen the learning through trial and error, feedback, and active processing. Student need to connect the learning to other content, prior knowledge, and personal interest. Finally, the learning needs to be internalized by revisiting what has been learned and using it (p. 145). Gibbons (2002) corroborated brain-based learning requires reflection and other aspects of active learning

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such as self-assessment. Teachers may facilitate active processing by encouraging self- assessment and reflection throughout learning. Self-assessment requires each learner to reflect on their work, make modifications, reflect again, and continue the process of self- modification thus yielding skills of independence. Definition of Terms For the purpose of this study, the following terms are used: Alternative Assessment:“Any and all assessments that differ from the multiple choice, timed, one-shot approaches that characterize most standardized tests and many classroom assessments” (Marzano, Pickering, & McTighe, 1993). Assessment:methods to determine students’ level of understanding and knowledge Constructivist Strategies:methods that make learning meaningful to the students and allow students to make connections (Twoney-Fosnot, 2003) Motivation:the love of learning and the love of challenge; students desire to perform to the best of their ability, to be actively engaged in class, and to enjoy learning (Dweck, 1999; Kohn, 1998) Portfolio:a sample of the students’ work that involves the use of rubrics, self-assessment, peer assessment, and reflection (Rolheiser, Bower, & Stevahn, 2000) Self-directed Learning (SDL): students assume responsibility for their learning by controlling the teaching and learning techniques they experience (Costa & Kallick, 2004) Self-efficacy:the belief that one has the capability to achieve a desired outcome (Marzano, 2003)

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Traditional Assessment:tests which involve multiple choice questions, true and false questions, and completion questions, which focus on the lower levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Marzano, Pickering, & McTighe, 1993). Typologies: a system of classification used to generalize and condense characteristics so concepts and perceptions can be compared (Patton, 2002). Assumptions There are several assumptions regarding this action research study. First, the 72 students who participated in this study are representative of the total population of 750 seventh graders at the researcher's school located in the Northeastern United States. All responses from the interviews and surveys accurately represent the attitudes and feelings of the students. All students were utilizing alternative assessment on a regular basis in their social studies class. Lastly, all questions answered by the participants were answered openly and honestly. Delimitations This qualitative action research study occurred December 2006 through January 2007 at a suburban middle school in the Northeast region of the United States. Seventy- two seventh grade students representing a diverse social, cultural, and academic population participated in the study. Data collected for this action research using qualitative methods was comprised of active participant observation, passive observation, surveys, and artifacts through the examination of student portfolios. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding, formal structured interviews including a focus group and individual interviews occurred. The focus group was comprised of 12 students

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representing a diverse academic and cultural population. Approximately 10 additional students participated in individual interviews. All students who participated in this study were actively engaged in alternative assessment on an on-going basis. Motivational levels and attitudes regarding alternative assessment within the social studies classroom were measured. A professional relationship between the student participants and the researcher exists as the researcher teaches the student participants. Therefore, the researcher is in a position of authority over the students. Extreme care was taken to ensure all student participants felt comfortable participating in the study. Limitations Since the study was limited to 72 students of the researcher, the results cannot be generalized to all middle school social studies students. The small number of students interviewed and observed is too small to represent the entire population of middle school social studies students. If the study was to be replicated, a larger sampling for the interviews could provide deeper perspective regarding student perceptions of alternative assessment and the link to motivation and self-efficacy. In future studies, the motivation survey created by the researcher, needs to be fine-tuned in order to match the theoretical framework in a more thorough manner. In future studies, more attention should be given to the portfolio examination as a method of data collection. Frequently, the portfolio data was inconclusive due to the lack of student response on the reflection sheets. Additionally, the researcher may have inferred conclusions while interpreting the data since alternative assessment is of extreme personal interest. Since the students who

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participated in the interviews were students of the researcher, they may not have answered truthfully since they did not want to be seen in a negative light by the researcher. Significance of the Study Once the members of the social studies department in this middle school discuss this study, a deeper understanding and appreciation of alternative assessment may occur. Consequently, the members of the department may collaboratively create alternative assessment activities in order to ensure a greater diversity of assessment methods. Social studies teachers can be trained through professional development during staff development days on how to effectively implement the use of alternative assessment into the seventh-grade social studies curriculum. The social studies curriculum enhanced with alternative assessment methods can serve as a teaching tool for both novice and veteran teachers. The focus of the training will be to move teachers’ thinking from strictly pen- and-pencil testing to alternative, formative means of assessment (Costa & Kallick, 2004; Johnson & Johnson, 2002). In addition, a crucial element of action research is the opportunity for teachers to discuss their ideas and experiences, reflect on teaching methods, and extend their knowledge of innovative practices (Good & Brophy, 2004). This curriculum, containing alternative assessment techniques, can also become a model for other social studies departments in New Jersey as well as other academic departments. Implications for Social Change While adding to the literature on alternative assessment as a method of evaluation, this study will be of particular interest to teachers and researchers who seek to understand

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how assessment methods affect students’ self-efficacy and motivational levels. By using alternative assessment, students take control of their own learning, use self- and peer- assessment, reflect on their learning, and manipulate new information in a manner that demonstrates deep knowledge of the content. This will empower more students to think critically, an essential skill for the 21 st century. Many professions require employees to solve problems, analyze issues, and use higher-level cognitive skills. Ross, Rolheiser, and Hogaboam-Gray (2000) emphasized studies show when students learn to self-evaluate and set goals achievement is higher than students who do not. Implementing alternative assessment will replicate real world situations and will better prepare students to function at higher levels within society. This study will promote the utilization of new formative methods of assessment and then monitor how the assessments affect student motivation and self-efficacy. Once the study is completed, it may be relevant to explore which methods of alternative assessment have the greatest impact on student understanding and on student motivation. Additionally, a subsequent study may focus on the effects of alternative assessment on academic performance. Summary Section 1 provided insight to the motivational issues experienced by students in the social studies classes. After implementing alternative forms of assessment within the social studies curriculum, this study will measure the effects alternative assessment methods have on student motivation levels and self-efficacy. The relationship between alternative assessment and motivation was explored using the following theoretical

Full document contains 278 pages
Abstract: Although teaching methods have developed to include student choice, teaching on each student's individual levels, and making learning more meaningful, assessment methodologies have not kept pace. Students' motivation levels appear to diminish as many social studies teachers still use traditional assessment methods consisting of objective and essay style tests to evaluate student progress. The purpose of this qualitative action research study was to determine the effects alternative assessment have on students' motivation levels and self-efficacy. Seventy-two 7 th grade students participated in this study and engaged in a variety of assessment methodologies including oral testing, performance assessment, cooperative learning, product assessment, interactive lessons, and the creation of portfolios. Data collection and analysis were concurrent, and examined for emergent themes and patterns. Data were further categorized, coded, and compared across methods of data collection: observations, survey data, individual and focus group interviews, and students' work. Three themes surfaced regarding self-efficacy: sense of confidence, sense of accomplishment, and freedom of choice. Five themes emerged regarding motivation: enjoyment, challenge, relevance, receiving immediate feedback, and working cooperatively. The research suggests that motivation levels and self-efficacy reached higher levels when students were engaged in alternative assessment. Results of this research may promote the incorporation of alternative assessment techniques into social studies curricula. Implementing alternative assessment will replicate real world situations and better prepare students to function at higher levels.