Formative assessment practices for secondary mathematics have been advocated as valuable for students, but difficult for teachers to learn. There have been calls in the literature to increase the emphasis on formative assessment in mathematics teacher preparation courses. This study explored the use of peer-assessment strategies for helping pre-service secondary mathematics teachers (PSTs) cultivate formative assessment principles and practices for assessing school students. Twenty-seven PSTs participated in a peer-assessment cycle comprised of: sourcing a rich mathematics task; constructing an assessment rubric for it; and collecting and analysing a selection of secondary student responses to the task. Each PST then provided written and verbal feedback to a peer on his/her rubric and student solution assessments. We draw on theoretical conceptions of Teacher Assessment Literacy in Practice to characterize the PSTs’ perceptions of their experience of formative assessment processes for learning to assess school students, in terms of cognitive and affective dimensions of their conceptions of assessment. The cohort evidenced a wide range of levels of confidence with the various aspects of formative assessment practices but on average less confidence in assessing school student task responses themselves than in assessing peer work. In addition to highlighting specific changes to different types of assessment knowledge, the PSTs also evidenced an awareness of shifts in their attitudes, in coming to view student task responses with more appreciation and humility.
- Formative assessment
- Peer assessment
- Pre-service teacher education
- Rubric construction
- Secondary mathematics