In How People Learn, authors talk about how teachers design the learning environment (chapter 6). There are four perspectives that teachers can apply to their class; learner-centered, knowledge-centered, assessment-centered, and community-centered environments. Based on the teacher’s goals and topic, teachers are more likely to choose one over the others, but all other perspectives are needed to be considered simultaneously. In particular, the development of students’ self assessment ability should be also a big consideration to teachers because students’ information literacy will be effectively and continuously improved “when students are able to judge the quality of what they are producing and are able to regulate what they are doing during the doing of it.” (Sadler, 1989, p.121)
Education environment of Korea which I was born and raised is designed by a knowledge-centered perspective. And students’ information literacy is mainly measured by summative assessment, such as teacher-made tests given at the end of a unit of study and state and national achievement tests. However, according to Sadler, formative assessment is also fundamental part of education. His article gave me some useful ideas on how to develop formative assessment. For example, the combination of verbal descriptions and associated examples provide a practical and efficient means of externalizing a reference level; peer-review is one of good methods that students themselves can select from a pool of appropriate moves or strategies to bring their own performances closer to the goal.
But I also found out that creating formative assessment-centered environment is not a easy task to teachers in U.S either. I interviewed several teachers of English composition class for my project, and learned that they were struggling with students’ indifference about peer-review because students were not interested in peer-reviewing in the class or they did not know how to do it. How we promote students’ interest about self-assessment seems worth more exploration.