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how dominant media frames are likely to influence the cultural models

 A further concern is whether such software is being used appropriately given a student’s level of skill development. ForPage 235Suggested Citation:“6 Assessment in Practice.” National Research Council. 2001. Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Educational Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi:

instance, a drill-and-practice program may be appropriate for developing fluency and automatizing a skill, but is usually not as appropriate during the early phase of skill acquisition (Goldman, Mertz, and Pellegrino, 1989). It is also noteworthy that in an environment where the teacher dominates all transactions, the frequent evocation and use of feedback can make that dominance all the more oppressive

There is ample evidence, however, that formative assessment can enhance learning when designed to provide students with feedback about particular qualities of their work and guidance on what they can do to improve. Many studies that have examined gains between pre- and post-tests, comparing programs in which formative assessment was the focus of the innovation and matched control groups were used, have shown effect sizes in the range of 0.4 to 0. 7

When different types of feedback have been compared in experimental studies, certain types have proven to be more beneficial to learning than others. Many studies in this area have shown that learning is enhanced by feedback that focuses on the mastery of learning goals. This research suggests that other types of feedback, such as when a teacher focuses on giving grades, on granting or withholding special rewards, or on fostering self-esteem (trying to make the student feel better, irrespective of the quality of his or her work), may be ineffective or even harmful.

The culture of focusing on grades and rewards and of seeing classroom learning as a competition appears to be deeply entrenched and difficult to change. This situation is more apparent in the United States than in some other countries. The competitive culture of many classrooms and schools can be an obstacle to learning, especially when linked to beliefs in the fixed nature of ability Such beliefs on the part of educators can lead both to the labeling—overtly or covertly—of students as “bright” or “dull” and to the confirmation and enhancement of such labels through tracking practices.