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Teacher Perception Toward Assessments in Saudi Arabia Proposal

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Updated: Dec 19th, 2020

Assessments are important in implementing effective learning strategies (Estes, 2014). They are particularly useful in Early Childhood Development (ECD) because they provide education stakeholders with vital information for improving the development and growth of young children. According to Navarrete (2015), six types of assessment tools are used in early childhood education. They include formative, ipsative, diagnostic, summative, evaluative, and informative.

The formative assessment technique works by interpreting a child’s progress and tailoring the curriculum to improve their learning experience (Navarrete, 2015). This assessment tool differs from the ipsative technique because the latter is tailored towards a child’s needs as opposed to the importance of adapting to the external environment, which influences their educational growth and development (Navarrete, 2015).

The summative assessment technique is useful in evaluating a child’s progress within a limited time (Navarrete, 2015). Comparatively, the evaluative assessment technique is more focused on the effectiveness of curriculum development more than any other aspect of ECD implementation (Navarrete, 2015). Lastly, the informative assessment method is preoccupied with gathering information about a child’s educational growth and development to share it with parents or ECD stakeholders (Navarrete, 2015).

Based on the sheer importance of undertaking assessments, the perception of teachers towards such reviews is likely to influence the success of ECD. This research proposal seeks to investigate teachers’ perceptions towards assessments in early childhood education in Saudi Arabia. The purpose statement and research questions that will guide the proposed study appears below.

Purpose Statement

To explore and identify teachers’ perceptions toward assessment processes in early childhood centers in Saudi Arabia.

Research Questions

  1. What are the main assessment tools used in early childhood special education?
  2. What are the main promoters that help teachers before, during, and after assessment processes?
  3. What are the main factors that prevent teachers from undertaking successful assessments?

Hypotheses

  1. Formative and summative techniques are the main assessment processes used in ECD in Saudi Arabia.
  2. Parent, management, and legal support are essential in building a positive attitude about assessment processes.
  3. Time is a major constraint in the completion of assessment processes.

Theoretical Rationale

The theoretical rationale for undertaking the proposed study is premised on the cognitive theory of learning. This theory stems from several disciplines, including humanism, positivism, and rationalism (Kalpana, 2014). Harinie, Sudiro, Rahayu, and Fatchan (2017) say that the cognitive theory supports the active engagement of learners throughout an assessment process. In other words, proponents of the cognitive theory are preoccupied with how children make sense of the world around them.

According to Kolodziej (2015), the cognitive theory pay a lot of attention to prior learning when undertaking assessments. Within the broader understanding of its basic tenets, the cognitive theory is adapted to formative assessments as the preferred technique for review because it recognizes the need to understand children’s mental models of learning (Munafo, 2016). Comparatively, summative assessments are also associated with this theory, but their integration is on an experimental basis.

In the context of understanding how the cognitive theory of learning fits within the ECD practice, the theory combines teaching and practice to achieve a common learning or assessment goal. Particularly, the focus is on bridging the gap between current and future learning processes.

Literature Review

As highlighted in this paper, assessments allow early childhood educators to develop a record of growth in specific tenets of ECD, such as cognitive and language development. Such assessments are also important in identifying children who may need special attention to improve their learning experiences. Based on this background, assessments provide teachers with vital information about a child’s educational development, which they may use to develop individualized instructions for children who are in the same developmental stages. However, different researchers have tried to guide how these assessments should be done.

For example, Navarrete (2015) says that a comprehensive assessment should include formative and summative techniques. Here, formative assessment is regarded as a planning tool, while the summative assessment is regarded as a model for understanding a child’s learning capacity, within a specific period (Navarrete, 2015). A combination of both techniques not only gives evaluators a model for recognizing a child’s academic achievement but also their learning potential.

Navarrete (2015) developed these findings from a qualitative study, which sought to find out the views of teachers towards assessment procedures in Ireland. The researcher interviewed eight early childhood educators who worked in eight different early childhood centers in Ireland.

In a different study, Puteh and Ali (2013) investigated teachers’ perceptions towards assessment techniques used to evaluate the language and literacy proficiency of preschool children and found that they held positive views about them. The findings were developed after sampling the views of 60 teachers from four agencies, which provided pre-school education (Puteh & Ali, 2013). The Malaysian-based study was quantitative in nature and emphasized the need to use assessment methods to provide teachers with knowledge regarding children’s learning experiences (Puteh & Ali, 2013).

In a different study, Basman and Tavsancil (2016) sought to find out the relationship between self-efficacy perception and teachers’ attitudes towards assessment. The researchers established a positive relationship between self-efficacy and assessment techniques (Basman & Tavsancil, 2016). To come up with these findings, Basman and Tavsancil (2016) used a quantitative research method to survey 277 teachers who worked at Marmara University, which is in Istanbul, Turkey. Here, it is important to point out that the findings of the study mostly related to the views of teachers in higher institutions of education regarding assessment procedures.

Comparatively, Navarrete (2015) used a qualitative research approach to investigate the views of American-based teachers towards assessments in early childhood education. Particularly, the study focused on understanding the values that teachers held when implementing successful assessment techniques in early childhood education. The data collection process included a sample of the views of eight teachers. The findings showed that educators had mixed views regarding assessments (Navarrete, 2015). Navarrete (2015) also reported that teachers valued time and structural factors as important attributes for conducting good assessment processes. Additionally, they said that a teacher’s qualifications and training influenced the ease of conducting assessments (Navarrete, 2015).

In a quantitative study conducted by Ndalichako (2015) to find out the perceptions of Tanzanian teachers towards assessment, it was established that 50.7% of the teachers held positive views regarding assessment because it was a tool for helping educators to make decisions regarding teaching and learning. The study also showed that most of the teachers were supportive of the country’s assessment processes because it provided them with useful feedback about their teaching skills (Ndalichako, 2015). These views were gathered from a sample of 4,176 teachers who worked in different high schools within Tanzania (Ndalichako, 2015).

A different study conducted by Halali, Singh, Saeed, and Making (2017) analyzed the perceptions of teachers towards assessment and found that most of them held positive views about it. These findings related to the perceptions of teachers towards classroom-based assessment processes. The study was quantitative in nature and included the views of 28 teachers who worked as elementary school employees in Klang Valley, Malaysia (Halali et al., 2017).

Another quantitative study, which was authored by Boateng and Boadi (2015) sought to find out the perspectives of teachers towards assessment in adult education – distance learning. The researchers sampled the views of 50 teachers and found that they held favorable views regarding formative and summative assessment procedures (Boateng & Boadi, 2015). The respondents also registered the highest support for assessment processes that were premised on well-written objectives and for levels of assessment techniques that measured learners’ experiences and behaviors (Boateng & Boadi, 2015).

In a different quantitative study, which was designed to understand the perspectives of teachers towards assessment processes, Lyonga (2015) found that many teachers perceived assessments as an opportunity to construct their core images about the teaching practice. Since the study sample comprised of student teachers, the respondents viewed assessment processes as a validation of their future identity as certified teachers (Lyonga, 2015). Lyonga (2015) developed these findings after sampling the views of 52 final year student teachers who studied in a Cameroonian teacher’s college.

The perceptions of teachers towards assessment were also investigated in a study, which was authored by Saeed, Tahir, and Latif (2018). The researchers found that assessment techniques were associated with the quality of instruction teachers gave children in ECD (Saeed et al., 2018). The study findings also showed that most teachers favored the summative assessment method more than any other technique (Saeed et al., 2018). There was also a moderate support for formative assessment procedures among the sample population (Saeed et al., 2018). The study was quantitative in nature and included the views of 500 teachers, who worked in a Pakistan city – Lahore.

In a Saudi Arabian doctoral thesis developed by Alaudan (2014), it was established that, although Saudi Arabia had largely adopted the summative assessment technique for undertaking assessments, there was considerable support for the formative assessment process. The study also suggested that the existence of mixed capability classrooms and time limitations significantly impeded the ability of teachers to undertake effective assessment processes (Alaudan, 2014). The findings were developed after interviewing 11 student teachers in a qualitative study (Alaudan, 2014).

Summary

This literature review shows that several research studies have explored teacher perceptions towards assessment procedures. However, most of the investigations have not focused on explaining teachers’ perceptions towards assessment processes in early childhood education. Evidence of this gap in the literature is manifested in the fact that most of the studies sampled in this review have investigated the views of teachers who are in secondary or tertiary institutions of education.

In addition, no Saudi-based studies focused on understanding the perspectives of teachers towards assessments in ECD. Indeed, there was only one study from Saudi Arabia highlighted in this literature review and it did not focus on ECD. Therefore, there is a gap in literature, which emerges from the failure of researchers to investigate teachers’ perspectives towards assessments in ECD in Saudi Arabia. This gap will be filled by the proposed study. The techniques that will be use by the researcher to undertake the study appear below.

Methodology

Research Design

According to Mason (2017), a research design refers to an overall strategy for integrating the different components of a study in a logical manner. The research design for the proposed study will be based on the qualitative interview method, which typically measures subjective variables (Patton, 2014). The qualitative technique will be used in the study because it integrates well with the interview method, which provides a platform for gathering in-depth information from respondents (Mason, 2017; Eyisi, 2016).

For example, it is expected that this technique will provide the researcher with an opportunity to understand the teachers’ experiences, expected outcomes, and benefits of assessments (Patton, 2014). The qualitative interview method is selected for the proposed study because it provides a basis for conducting a focused review of teacher perceptions about assessments in ECD.

Participants

The researcher will interview six early childhood intervention teachers from Saudi Arabia. The researcher will recruit the respondents from several education centers in Saudi Arabia that provide early childhood education. The administrators of these centers will link the researcher with teachers who will be the research informants.

Sampling Method

A purposeful sampling method will be used to recruit the informants. According to Emmel (2013) and Palinkas et al. (2015), the purposeful sampling technique uses a researcher’s judgment to identify people who will take part in a study. In other words, the purposeful sampling method gives researchers the discretion to select who should participate in a study based on their knowledge about the study topic and the targeted population (Mukhopadhyay & Gupta, 2014). This type of sampling technique was selected for use in the study because it gives researchers an opportunity to identify and select the target population quickly and precisely (Emmel, 2013; Palinkas et al., 2015).

Procedure

The respondents’ views will be collected using semi-structured interviews as the main data collection instrument. The interview technique will be adopted as the main data collection method because of its capability to sample in-depth data (Queiros, Faria, & Almeida, 2017; Shakouri, 2014).

Instrumentation

The interviews will be designed in two separate sections. In the first part, the respondents’ demographic information will be sought. The demographic data to be collected will include the respondents’ gender, work experience, number of years worked as ECD educators, and the educational qualifications of the teachers. In the second part, the informants will be asked to respond to the main guiding questions about the study. These guiding interview questions will be divided into two parts. The first one will be for special education teachers and the second one will relate to assessments.

Design

The interview protocol that will be used to ask the questions is adapted from the work of Yao (2015). See appendix 1.

Data Analysis Plan

As highlighted in earlier sections of this document, the main data collection method for the proposed study will be qualitative research. The thematic method will be used to analyze the data because it is helpful in identifying the main characteristics of the study (Eyisi, 2016). Bhushan and Pandey (2015) define the thematic method as that which “sharpens, sorts, focuses, discards, and organizes data in such a way that conclusions can be drawn and verified” (p. 5).

The thematic method of analysis will be employed in the study as a framework that contains six steps, which include familiarization with the data, generating initial codes, searching for themes, reviewing themes, defining themes, and undertaking the final write-up (Maguire & Delahunt, 2017).

Anticipated Results

As mentioned in this paper, the focus of the proposed investigation is to investigate the perspectives of teachers toward assessment procedures in ECD. Within this analysis, attempts will be made to identify assessment tools in early childhood education, highlight factors that help teachers to complete the assessment process, and investigate factors that hinder their efficiency. Based on the findings deduced in the literature review process, I expect that formative and summative techniques will be the main assessment processes used in ECD in Saudi Arabia and that parent, management, and legal support are essential in building a positive attitude about assessment processes. Lastly, I expect that time will be a major constraint in the completion of assessment processes.

References

Alaudan, R. M. (2014). . Web.

Basman, M., & Tavsancil, E. (2016). Self-efficacy perceptions and the attitudes of prospective teachers towards assessments and evaluation. International Scholarly and Scientific Research & Innovation, 10(3), 951-956.

Bhushan, B., & Pandey, S. (2015). Exploring the dynamics of network characteristics for Indian high technology entrepreneurial firms. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, 5(12), 1-20.

Boateng, J. K., & Boadi, C. (2015). Teachers’ perception on assessment strategies for continuing education. International Journal of Economics, Commerce and Management, 3(3), 1-13.

Emmel, N. (2013). Sampling and choosing cases in qualitative research: A realist approach. New York, NY: SAGE.

Estes, W. K. (Ed.). (2014). Handbook of learning and cognitive processes: Linguistic functions in cognitive theory. New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Eyisi, D. (2016). The usefulness of qualitative and quantitative approaches and methods in researching problem-solving ability in science education curriculum. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(15), 91-100.

Halali, A. A., Singh, H. K., Saeed, I. M., & Making, Z. (2017). Teachers’ perception towards the use of classroom-based assessment in English reading. International Journal of Education and Research, 5(11), 153-168.

Harinie, L. T., Sudiro, A., Rahayu, M., & Fatchan, A. (2017). Study of the Bandura’s social cognitive learning theory for the entrepreneurship learning process. Social Sciences, 6(1), 1-6.

Kalpana, T. (2014). A constructivist perspective on teaching and learning: A conceptual framework. International Research Journal of Social Sciences, 3(1), 27-29.

Kolodziej, L. (2015). Model-directed learning. Albert Bandura’s social cognitive learning theory and its social-psychological significance for school and instruction. New York, NY: GRIN Verlag.

Lyonga, N. A. (2015). Student teachers’ attitudes and perceptions towards assessment during an initial teacher’s education programme in Cameroon. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 5(1), 11-18.

Maguire, M., & Delahunt, B. (2017). Doing a thematic analysis: A practical, step-by-step guide for learning and teaching scholars. All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 8(3), 3351-33514.

Mason, J. (2017). Qualitative researching. New York, NY: SAGE.

Mukhopadhyay, S., & Gupta, R. K. (2014). Survey of qualitative research methodology in strategy research and implication for Indian researchers. Vision, 18(2), 109-123.

Munafo, C. (2016). The role of the social constructivism in physical education. International Journal of Science Culture and Sport, 4(4), 489-497.

Navarrete, A. (2015). Assessment in the early years: The perspectives and practices of early childhood educators. Web.

Ndalichako, J. L. (2015). Secondary school teachers’ perceptions of assessment. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 5(5), 326-330.

Palinkas, L. A., Horwitz, S. M., Green, C. A., Wisdom, J. P., Duan, N., & Hoagwood, K. (2015). Purposeful sampling for qualitative data collection and analysis in mixed method implementation research. Administration and Policy in Mental Health, 42(5), 533-44.

Patton, M. Q. (2014). Qualitative research & evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice (4th ed.). New York, NY: SAGE Publications.

Puteh, S. N., & Ali, A. (2013). Preschool teachers’ perceptions towards the use of play-based approach in language and literacy development for preschool. Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction, 10(1), 79-98.

Queiros, A., Faria, D., & Almeida, F. (2017). Strengths and limitations of qualitative and quantitative research methods. European Journal of Education Studies, 3(9), 369-387.

Saeed, M., Tahir, H., & Latif, I. (2018). Teachers’ perceptions about the use of classroom assessment techniques in elementary and secondary schools. Bulletin of Education and Research, 40(1), 115-130.

Shakouri, N. (2014). Qualitative research: Incredulity toward metanarrativeness. Journal of Education and Human Development, 3(2), 671-680.

Yao, Y. (2015). Teacher perceptions of classroom assessment: A focus group interview. SRATE Journal, 24(2), 51-58.

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