How good teachers, as identified by their peers, implement and use classroom assessments

Date of Completion

January 2001


Education, Bilingual and Multicultural|Education, Tests and Measurements|Education, Special




This dissertation summarizes the research on classroom assessments; including why and how they are performed, their impact on teacher and student relations, the interactions in the classroom that result, their use with students with special needs and nontraditional learners and how preservice teachers are instructed to use them. This review of research found that teachers rely on classroom assessments while teaching, implement them in various ways, and that they affect teacher and student relations and interactions in the classroom. However, little research was found on how teachers use classroom assessments with students with special needs and nontraditional learners, and limited assessment instruction is provided for teachers at either the preservice nor inservice levels of teacher education. ^ To address this dearth of research, a qualitative study was conducted to examine how teachers use classroom assessments with students who have special needs or are nontraditional learners. Twelve teachers, recognized as “good” teachers by their peers from four elementary schools in a diverse urban school district, participated in this study. Ten of the teachers described common classroom communities in which all students are an integral part, expected to perform to the best of their ability, and assessed primarily through continuous informal assessments. The two other teachers described a different kind of classroom community in which students who were nontraditional learners or had special needs were not regarded as completely part of their classrooms and not expected to perform well. In addition, these two teachers assessed primarily through formal assessments and teacher intuitions. ^ This dissertation explains how the larger group of ten elementary classroom teachers conducted classroom assessments and created inclusive classrooms while teaching. These teachers reported that they used various classroom assessment methods including: observations of students' work and behavior while circulating the room and teaching; high expectations for all students; discussions with students about their work; and not being the sole problem solver in the room. The implications of these findings for inservice and preservice teacher instruction on classroom assessments are discussed. ^