Educational Leaders’ Perceptions of the Implementation of Formative Assessment Strategies on Enhancing Students’ Results in the MAP Exams in American Private Schools in the United Arab Emirates

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Assessments are considered as a significant component in the process of improving education all over the world. Formative assessment helps teachers to enhance students’ learning skills and develop their academic progress. Nowadays, for educational accountability, countries, schools and teachers are evaluated based on students’ progress results in various types of assessments. Benchmark tests and specifically the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) is one of the external benchmark assessments in which students are not performing well according to the required targets of the UAE National Agenda 2021. Therefore, the purpose of the current study is fourfold (1) to investigate teachers’ perceptions about the implemented formative assessment strategies, (2) to investigate teachers’ perceptions about the effect of using formative assessment strategies on enhancing students’ skills, (3) to explain grade eight students’ progress in science MAP exams in the light of formative assessment strategies implemented, (4) to explore science leaders’ beliefs about how grade eight teachers implement formative assessment strategies in preparing students for the MAP exams. Guided by the perspectives of Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory, constructive alignment theory, self-determination theory, and depth of knowledge model. An explanatory sequential mixed method design was used in this research study. Teachers’ questionnaires, document analysis of students’ results in the MAP exams and science leader’s interviews were administered in this study. The participants included 163 teachers who implement formative assessment strategies in their daily lesson plans, 250 grade eight science students from both genders and 10 science leaders. The findings revealed many important results: 1) most of the teachers are knowledgeable and aware regarding the importance of using formative assessment strategies in their science classes 2) Think-Pair-Share, Problem-Based Learning, Self-assessment, Exit-Card, Feedback and questioning strategies are the most effective strategies that can help students to improve their results in science benchmark exams 3) according to the use of various formative assessment strategies, students’ results in the MAP science exam in the fall 2019 were better than in the fall 2018. These results indicated that using formative assessment strategies may have a positive effect on enhancing students’ results in the MAP exams.
Educational tests and measurements., MAP exam, students’ skills, students’ results, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Measure of Academic Progress (MAP)