The influence of Natural Sciences teachers’ assessment beliefs on grade 9 learners’ self-directed learning behaviour
Kamanga, Effiness Harawa
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Evidence from literature shows that learners who are self-directed in their learning are more effective towards achieving their learning goals, based on their improved academic performance. Therefore, it is crucial that more attention be given to aspects that can enhance learners’ self-directed learning behaviours. Aspects such as teachers’ assessment beliefs are considered to have an influence on the way teaching and learning is approached. However, studies reporting on the influence of teachers’ assessment beliefs on learners’ self-directed learning (SDL) behaviour are limited. This apparent research gap prompted the researcher to centre the current study on how grade 9 Natural Sciences (NS) teachers’ assessment beliefs may influence learners’ SDL behaviour. A qualitative multiple case study approach was utilised to achieve this goal. Face-to-face individual semi- structured interviews were conducted to obtain NS teachers’ assessment beliefs, by utilising Brown’s (2004) conceptual framework of assessment beliefs, and data on grade 9 learners’ SDL behaviours were obtained through focus group interviews. The individual Interviews were conducted with five purposively sampled teachers from five different schools located around the Bojanala school district, and in each school, five randomly selected learners participated in the focus group interviews. The findings revealed that teachers’ assessment beliefs were more focused on the improvement of teaching and learning, learner accountability and less on teacher accountability and irrelevance to teaching and learning. The influence of teachers’ assessment beliefs on learners’ SDL behaviours were conceptualised based on Weiner’s (2000) interpersonal theory of motivation and the findings revealed that the belief that assessment improves teaching and learning has a positive impact on learners’ SDL behaviours. Learners’ SDL behaviours were influenced by the belief that assessment improves teaching, including willingness to take responsibility for learning; ability to use effective learning strategies; increased motivation; displaying effort attributions; and engaging in self-evaluations.
- Education