د/ايمان زغلول قاسم

استاذ تكنولوجيا التعليم المساعد بكلية التربية بالزلفي

book B98

Feedback loops. AfL takes place in everyday practice; continuous dialogues and
feedback loops characterise the process, in which (immediate) feedback is used to direct
further learning (Stobart, 2008). Since assessments are integrated into the learning process,
assessment opportunities are plentiful, and feedback loops are usually short. Moreover,
students are stimulated to assess themselves and their peers, which, amongst other things,
stimulates students‘ understanding of what and why they are learning (Elwood & Klenowski,
2002). Based on the evidence gathered, continuous adaptation takes place to meet learners‘
needs. Thus, the majority of the feedback loops are interactive in nature, but retroactive or
proactive loops also occur.
Data-Based Decision Making, Assessment for Learning, and Diagnostic Testing in Formative
Assessment
163
7.2.5 Theoretical Underpinnings of DT
Making diagnoses originates from the field of physical and mental healthcare, which
aims to diagnose a disease or disorder and to advise on the treatment (Kievit, Tak, & Bosch,
2002). In education, diagnostic testing (DT) was initially used for identifying students who
were unable to participate in mainstream education due to their special educational needs
(Stobart, 2008). The DT approach still serves the above purpose, but is also acknowledged for
its possibilities to diagnose the educational needs of all learners (Wiliam, 2011).
Consensus regarding the definition of DT in educational contexts has yet to be
reached. In some of the literature, DT is used as a synonym for formative assessment (e.g.,
Black & Wiliam, 1998; Turner, VanderHeide, & Fynewever, 2011). However, similar to
DBDM, DT can be used for both formative assessment and summative assessment. The
assumption in DT is that how a task is solved is indicative of the developmental stage of the
learner. Collecting data about the procedural steps the learner takes during an assessment can
identify the learner‘s (inadequate) reasoning styles, and skipped or wrongly executed
procedural steps caused by misconceptions and prior knowledge, amongst other things (Crisp,
2012; Keeley & Tobey, 2011).
In DT, principles from cognitive psychology, subject pedagogy, and learning theories
are combined to draw inferences about student learning based on a student‘s task response
patterns. Using cognitive psychology makes it evident that DT is based on principles from
cognitivism (Leighton & Gierl, 2007a; 2007b). Furthermore, Stobart described diagnosing
student learning needs as ―… [identifying] how much progress can be made with adult
help…‖ (2008, p. 55) (i.e., zone of proximal development; Vygotsky, 1978). The fine-grained
process data obtained with DT are particularly useful for creating scaffolds that meet the
learner‘s needs. In this way, DT is related to Vygotsky‘s social cultural learning theory, where
assessment focuses on identifying the learner‘s strengths and weaknesses.
The aim of DT is to identify the learner‘s developmental stages by obtaining actionoriented,
fine-grained assessment data, also referred to as process data (Rupp, Gushta,
Mislevy, & Shaffer, 2010). By using cognitive theories, process data can be interpreted and
used to identify misconceptions and knowledge associated with the learner‘s developmental
stage. The intended small-grain size of the measurements in DT, compared to regular
assessments, makes it exceptionally useful for formative purposes.

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