Source: The Teacher Educator, 44: 275–284, 2009
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This paper discusses the development and implementation of a technology-supported
student teacher performance assessment that supports integration with a larger electronic assessment system.
This paper focuses on the following questions:
1. Is the instrument comprehensive to the extent that it can be used across all program disciplines?
2. How did the use of mobile technology influence the communication between supervisors and student teachers?
3. Do the supervisors support the continued use of electronic assessment supported by mobile technology for the supervision process?
Two groups of participants were recruited for the two major phases of this project. The first consisted of eight faculty members from a cross section of licensure areas who revised the performance assessment instrument. The second group of participants was 20 field supervisors who were invited to field test the revised tool.
Field Test Group
Of the participating 20 supervisors, 18 completed the survey and 8 participated in the focus group. This group was diverse in terms of gender (9 males and 9 females), technology tested (10 PDA users and 8 laptop users), faculty status (7 full-time faculty members and 11 part-time), and years of supervision experience (1–5 years = 8; 6–10 years = 6; more than 10 years = 4). Of the 8 PDA users, 2 were frequent users owning their own devices. The diversity of the participants, most importantly, included these disciplinary areas: secondary education— mathematics, language arts, science, and social studies; middle childhood education;
multi-age education, which includes foreign language, art education, and health education;
and early childhood.
Sixteen of the 18 respondents (89%) thought the revised instrument was more comprehensive than those on the old paper forms, while all but one thought the new assessments were more accurate.
Most (89%) thought that the updated assessments worked well for their disciplinary areas. However, many struggled with the new technology and its impact on their workload and work habits, both of which impacted their ability to communicate with their respective student teachers.
Despite the difficulties experienced with the technology, workload, work habits, and observation logistics, there was an overwhelming sense that electronic observation using mobile devices was a good thing and that the college should continue pursuing this path. A slight majority (56%) of the supervisors expressed satisfaction with their respective devices.
Most were willing to continue using mobile devices in their observations.