The development of assessment literacy in Chinese pre-service primary teachers

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Rachelle Hackett

First Committee Member

Marilyn Draheim

Second Committee Member

Elizabeth Keithcart


Over the past decades, there has been a growing consensus among researchers and teacher educators that more support and training should be provided for pre-service and in-service teachers in order to help them acquire basic assessment knowledge and competence. Using a quasi-experimental research design, this dissertation study examined the effectiveness of a backward-designed assessment training course for improving the assessment literacy levels of pre-service primary teachers who were participating in college-level teacher preparation programs in Shanghai. Two extant naturally formed classes, within which the eighty pre-service primary teachers from a private pre-service teacher education institution XT in Shanghai fit the participants recruiting criterion, were used to serve as the treatment and control groups. Framed by the design approach of Understanding by Design (UbD) developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (2005), an assessment training program was developed and provided for those in the treatment group during a 12-week period of time; in contrast, those in the control group were not provided with any assessment-related courses. For all the participants, their levels of assessment literacy were measured twice, before and after the intervention, by using the Chinese version of the Assessment Literacy Inventory (Mertler & Campbell, 2005) which I modified further to better meet the context of this study. Results of the study suggest that: 1) among the courses (excluding the intervention itself) provided for the pre-service primary teachers involved in this study, limited efforts had been made to prepare the pre-service teachers for their future assessing tasks; 2) due to the inadequacy of assessment training, most of the Chinese pre-service teachers being tested were not initially literate enough in their assessment knowledge or practice; and 3) whether or not one participates in the assessment training course is a statistically significant predictor of pre-service teachers' assessment literacy, with their previous assessment literacy controlled. In other words, with the embedded theoretical framework of UbD, the designed assessment literacy training course appears to have had a large positive impact on improving pre-service teachers’ assessment competency ( F (1, 77) = 135.91, p 2 partial = .638).





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