Children’s experience of therapeutic assessment techniques within school-based assessment

Date

2012-08

Authors

Kuhlman, Jamie Thomas

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Abstract

This dissertation examined students‘ experience with school assessment infused with Therapeutic Assessment (TA) techniques. Nine assessors from the school district were assigned to one of two groups, TA-infused group and the assessment-as-usual group. Those in the TA-infused group were trained in collaborative assessment practices based on Finn‘s model of TA with children (TA-C), specifically collaborative interviews, extended inquiries, and collaborative oral and written feedback (Finn, 2007). Thirty-three students from a medium sized public school district in central Texas completed the study in its entirety. It was hypothesized that those in the TA-infused group, compared with the assessment-as-usual group, would report learning more about themselves, experiencing a more positive relationship with the assessor, feeling more positive about the assessment process, feeling more collaborated with, and having greater perceptions of parental understanding. It was also hypothesized that those in the TA-infused group would report an increase in positive feelings and a decrease negative in feelings about themselves and their challenge when compared with the assessment-as-usual group. Additionally, it was hypothesized that those in the TA-infused group would report an increase in positive attitudes toward school after the intervention when compared with the assessment-as-usual group. Outcomes were measured by the Child‘s Experience of Assessment Survey (CEAS), the Children‘s Positive and Negative Affect Scale (CPNE-S), and the Attitude to School (ATS) subtest of the BASC-2-SRP. A descriptive discriminate analysis was conducted using the five subscales of the CEAS to measure the first hypotheses. RM ANOVAs were run on the CPNE-S and the ATS to analyze the second and third hypotheses. Additionally, a qualitative interview was conducted with participants. Analyses yielded no statistically significant results between the groups. Qualitative interviews indicated that both groups were satisfied with the assessment process. Additionally, those in the TA-infused group all reported positive reactions to the collaborative written feedback. Specifically, those that received a fable reported liking the fable and feeling that it related to their lives. Those that received a letter reported learning more about themselves, appreciating a written record of the feedback, and feeling positively about their relationship with the assessor. Further research is needed to understand the effects of collaborative techniques within school assessments, particularly the effects of the different forms of written feedback.

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