Date of Award

12-2016

Level of Access

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

Advisor

George Marnik

Second Committee Member

Catharine Biddle

Third Committee Member

Sarah Mackenzie

Additional Committee Members

Abigail Garthwait

Karen Kusiak

Abstract

Choice-based assessments are classroom activities in which students are given some element of choice in how they meet defined learning objectives. As educators seek to adequately prepare students for the rapidly changing world that they will enter after high school, they have placed a greater focus on the types of assessment practices used in the classroom. Choice-based assessments, particularly when used with a 1:1 technology device, may have the impact of increasing student motivation to learn and enhancing the development of skills that they may need after high school (Schwartz & Arena, 2013; Tapscott, 2008). To date, there has been minimal research on what choice-based assessments look like in the high school classroom.

This study builds upon this research by describing the phenomenon of choice-based assessments in classrooms with 1:1 technology devices through the perceptions of students and teachers at one Maine high school. A particular focus of this study is to make sense of variety of ways that choice can occur, both in describing the value of each choice behavior, but also the overall assessment activity. Another focus of the research was how technology can facilitate the presence of high-value choice.

This study provides four main findings. First, the study found that technology can be used to increase the impact of choice-based assessments. Second, this study suggests that teachers play a critical role in creating opportunities for student choice to occur in classroom assessments. Third, the study sheds light upon the positive impact on student motivation that can result when a teacher structures the assessment to include elements of student independence but still provides direct feedback to students during the assessment. Finally, the study found that the variety of choice that can occur during assessments can be organized through the Choice-based Assessment Scale, an instrument that may contribute to education research by being utilized to organize and make sense of this variety, in both type and value that choice can occur. The findings of this study may also benefit teachers and educational leaders by providing useful starting points for both instructional design and professional development in order to increase choice-based assessments at their school.