Evaluating design-based formative assessment practices in outdoor science teaching

Rikke Hartmeyer*, Matt P. Stevenson, Peter Bentsen

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde
11 Citationer (Scopus)


Background and purpose: Research in formative assessment often pays close attention to the strategies which can be used by teachers. However, less emphasis in the literature seems to have been paid to study the application of formative assessment designs in practice. In this paper, we argue that a formative assessment design that we call Eva-Mapping, which is developed on the principles of design-based research, can be a productive starting point for disseminating and further developing formative assessment practices in outdoor science teaching.

Sample, design and methods: We conducted an evaluation of the design, based on video-elicited focus group interviews with two groups of experienced science teachers. Both groups consisted of teachers who taught science outside the classroom on a regular basis. These groups watched identical video sequences which were recorded during lessons in which teachers applied the formative assessment design. These sequences focused on formative assessment in pairs, in small groups, or in whole class sessions. Afterwards, the teachers discussed each sequence. These discussions were audio recorded and later transcribed. The transcriptions were analysed using content analysis.

Findings: By analysing the interview data, we identified two categories of context-determining factors that influenced the formative assessment design (namely, Resources or Lack of Resources and The Outdoors) and three mechanisms that influenced the assessment process (namely, Teacher Involvement, Structure in Peer Assessment and Knowledge Sharing). Finally, we identified four perceived outcomes of the formative assessment design: Enthusiasm, Knowledge Application, Acquirements and Insight into the Learning Processes.

Conclusion: We suggest that knowledge within the identified categories can provide useful guidelines for the future development of formative assessment in science teaching that integrates the outdoors. This is because such knowledge forms part of teachers’ perceptions regarding the acceptability and utility of the formative assessment design. In addition, our study contributes to evidence within an underexplored aspect of formal outdoor science education.
BogserieEducational Research
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)420-441
Antal sider22
StatusUdgivet - 1 okt. 2016
Udgivet eksterntJa


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