Renewing Assessment Practices: Literacy Teaching and Learning in Digital Environments

By Anne Cloonan, Kirsten Hutchison and Louise Paatsch.

Published by The International Journal of Assessment and Evaluation

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 3, 2016 $US5.00

Interpretations of “literacy” and approaches to literacy pedagogy and assessment are under renewal as meaning-making and learning are increasingly situated in digitized environments. While the implications of these shifts are in part technological, they are also relational, as students are increasingly positioned as interactive with participatory roles in self-knowledge and increased responsibility for their learning. However, while shifts are occurring in understandings of literacy and approaches to literacy pedagogy, the same cannot be said for the way in which assessments of digital literacies are undertaken. There is a lack of valid, reliable, and practical assessments of new literacies to inform and help students to become better prepared for study, work, and citizenship in digital environments. This article maps five characteristics of effective formative assessment in print-based classrooms with seven affordances in digital learning and assessment to suggest an analytical framework for examining teacher and student assessment in digital environments. Drawing on data from a research project in which a team of teachers introduced a one-to-one computing program and worked to renew their literacy assessment practices, this article discusses how each of the seven affordances are enacted in the assessment practices in a years five and six primary school classroom. The findings from this research project show that educational technologies have the potential to enable new approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment that better align with the needs of twenty-first century literacy learners. The findings also support approaches to formative assessment that value print and multimodality and engage students in more flexible and differentiated ways. They can enable teachers and students to be re-positioned as designers, knowledge producers, and collaborative learners. The seven affordances provide a framework that holds rich possibilities for teacher learning and planning as prompts to support reflection on formative assessment practices, critique habitual practices, and consider new opportunities.

Keywords: Digital Literacies, Digital Assessment, Primary Schooling

The International Journal of Assessment and Evaluation, Volume 23, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.13-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 3, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 826.528KB)).

Dr. Anne Cloonan

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Kirsten Hutchison

Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Louise Paatsch

Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia