An Auto-Ethnography Exploring the Influence of Formative Assessment on Student Self-Efficacy in Reading
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The aim of this study was to observe the changes in the self-efficacy of Grade 2 and 3 students when using formative assessment techniques in reading, including setting learning goals, self-assessment, and providing students with descriptive feedback. By engaging in an autoethnography, the researcher had the opportunity to reflect on how her involvement in implementing formative assessment affects student self-efficacy. The study was carried out over the length of a ten month school year, with the researcher journaling her decisions, reflections, observations of, and interactions with students. The journals were analyzed and coded to reveal four key themes: using formative assessment to set learning goals, developing trust, the effect of feedback on self-efficacy, and the effect of master experiences on self-efficacy. The results presented evidence that providing students with formative assessment including learning goals and descriptive feedback can have a positive impact on self-efficacy, especially in conjunction with mastery and vicarious experiences. The results correlated with literature exploring how self-efficacy can be influenced and the positive effects formative assessment can have on student achievement. A result that emerged but was not present in the literature was a fluctuation in self-efficacy that a student could have for a specific goal. The results provide an opportunity for the researcher to reflect and make changes to improve her practice to better facilitate student learning and self-efficacy in other subject areas. As well, the results of the study give other educators a window into the successes and struggles of a typical teacher, and invite them to reflect on their own practice and understanding of self-efficacy and formative assessment.