Teachers assessments of students learning of mathematics

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In this journal, the focus message of Buhagiar and Murphy is that, learning can be improved, if teachers are more knowledgeable about their students' understanding of mathematics and this can be possible if teachers apply more effective classroom assessment strategies. The motivation for choosing Buhagiar and Murphy's paper came from the fact that teachers are often less aware of students' learning as Best (1992) (cited in Somers, 2000, p.106) mentions that

"A teacher needs to know whether, and to what extent, his or her students are understanding and learning, and to achieve such knowledge is assessment .To fail to assess is to fail to teach. What form that assessment should take is, of course, another matter".

The problem identified by Buhagiar and Murphy (2008) is about the students' lack of learning in mathematics education due to teachers' improper teaching practice. According to the authors, teachers do not know what their students are understanding and learning and they have belief that the top priority of their teaching profession is only to prepare the students for the final examination. To accomplish their target they leave the open task question and focus only particular exam questions, which provide just necessary surface knowledge to the students and teachers are unable to know what actually their students learn. Buhagiar and Murphy argue that, mostly teachers employ traditional ways in teaching, which only provide the surface knowledge of the subject and then vanished when practice ceased. Moreover the authors investigate about what teachers actually know about their students learning and understanding of mathematics

The Study:

The basic study, in this journal, was conducted over three years and there was not any fixed time to stop the collection of data. The study was empirical in which 12 sixth form college mathematics teachers from Malta were the participants. Most of participants had not proper teachers' qualification but had mathematics contents knowledge up to Bachelor's degree level. The data was gathered from three different sources, (1) in-depth interviews of each teacher on three different occasions, (2) Both internal and external mathematics classroom observations which were recorded, and (3) Both formal and personal written documents from assessment interviews which were conducted in last year of the study. During interviews, teachers were asked about their perception and belief of their students learning.

The findings are exhibited in three sections. The first section includes teachers' priorities, belief and practice. In second section, the authors explore the actual teachers' knowledge about their students' learning. In third section the authors examine the teachers' claim about being able to predict students' exams result as the evidence of their students' learning.

What is assessment?

Black and William (1998) define the assessment and state that " all those activities undertaken by teachers, and by their students in assessing themselves ,which provide information to be used as feedback to modify teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged"(p.2)

Assessment is an integral part of learning and is performed to know about the learning of the students and it has a strong influence on the lives and future careers of students(Ebbutt, 2006). Shepard(2000) states that assessment is a dynamic procedure, which can be used to improve the teachers' knowledge about their students' learning.

There are several purposes for the use of assessment in contemporary education system. In order to have a deep understanding of assessment, I will discuss the two approaches of assessment. That is, assessment of learning (summative) and assessment for learning (formative).

Assessment of learning:

The usual approach of assessment which is widely employed in educational institutes is assessment of learning and it is also known as summative assessment (Rehmani, 2003). Assessment of learning has been employed in education since long and it has been accepted by parents and public because students are granted the degrees or certificates on the basis of summative assessment, which have a great worth in their professional career (Earl, 2003). The major drawback of this form of assessment is that, students cannot get the feedback about how their work can be improved because it takes place at the end of the learning unit (Black and Wiliam, 2003). So with only summative assessment, teachers are often unaware of students learning, which is the major problem discussed in Buhagiar and Murphy's article. Black and Wiliam, (2003) define the two contemporary purposes of assessment of learning, these are; 'to help make schools accountable and to provide students with certificates' (p.1) The problem discussed in this focus work is about the real and deep understanding of the subject, which enable the students to employ their knowledge in practical field, not just to receive the certificates and make the schools accountable. Many educational researches believe that only summative assessment is not the proof of students deep understanding and learning, assessment must be formative to some extent (Earl, 2003)

Assessment for learning:

The strategy which Buhagiar and Murphy suggest in the focus work is about 'assessment for learning', which enables the teacher to be well informed with students' learning. 'It is considered to be one of the most powerful educational tools for promoting effective learning' (Rehmani , 2003, p.6). In assessment for learning, teachers are able to understand where the students need help, what are their weaknesses and strengths? White (2010) defines assessment for learning as:

"Assessment for learning means using evidence and feedback to identify where pupils are in their learning, what they need to do next and how best to get achieve this. In practice, this means obtaining clear evidence about how to drive up individual attainment; understanding between teachers and pupils on what they need to improve, and agreement on the steps needed to promote sound learning and progress." (p.1)

Black and Wiliam (2003) indicate that assessment for learning provides feedback which is not only helpful for the learners but it also important for the teachers. "An assessment activity can help learning if it provides information to be used as feedback by teachers, and by their pupils in assessing themselves and each other, to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged." (QIA, 2008, P.2)

Assessment for learning is also called formative assessment. There are different purposes of formative assessment which are related to each other and the major purposes are as follows:

'It supports in teaching and learning process, it gives feed back to learner and teacher, it improves the teaching and learning, it promotes higher order skills, it develops meta-learning and cognition, and it enhances understanding of the subject'.(Rehmani , 2003, P.7)

Good evaluation enables students to adopt different ways for learning, with the passage of time they excel in their learning by using their own knowledge and with the fact that they can identify their own learning needs and develop ways to address those needs (Earl, 2003).

The idea of learning is that the students will be able to make sense of what they acquired by learning and be able to define it on the basis of their previous experience through actively involving in this process, they should realise that it's up to them to identify their own learning needs, this is called as cognitive or constructional model of learning in which students are allowed to rearrange and restructure their learning (Rehmani, 2003) 

Buhagiar and Murphy (2008) state that the use of formative assessment helps the individual growth of the students and at present it lies at the heart of contemporarily emerging assessment culture. Currently many countries are adopting the policies of deep learning; by applying such strategies students will be able to use their knowledge in their coming professional life. It is also mentioned in the study of Buhagiar and Murphy that current Maltese government is also focusing on formative assessment in local schools, to achieve the target of deep knowledge of mathematics.

Formative assessment allows the students to express their thinking in various different methods and enable the teachers to make sound opinion about students learning and identify what students might achieve with the help of zone of proximal development (Black et al., 2003). "Indeed, formative assessments that make students' thinking visible and that are ongoing and integrated into instruction are the hallmark of an assessment-centred classroom" (Heritage and Niemi , 2006, p.266). Due to the procedure of formative assessment, teachers can make the decision about students understanding and learning of particular subject, and consequently students' achievement will enhance (Black & Wiliam, 1998).

After more than forty researches, educationist found that there is an immensely positive effect by using formative assessment in the class, the ratio of previous students result divided by the new student result is called the effect size and "typical effect sizes of the formative assessment experiments were between 0.4 and 0.7" (Black and Wiliam, 1998, p.4)

What is happening inside the classroom?

Black and Wiliam (1998) use the term black box for the classroom, where particular external inputs are provided in the form of students, 'teachers, other resources, management rules and requirements, parental anxieties, tests with pressures to score highly'(p.1). The output of this black box is sometimes in the form of knowledgeable and competent students with their better results and more often, just those students who have degree at the end, without deep understanding of the subject (Shepard, 2000). As Buhagiar and Murphy (2008) state that currently examinations are, for school promotion or certification purposes, and no one focus what is going inside the classroom and the authors give an example of Andrew (a participant of the study), who stated that 'When we enter the classroom, we just dash to the whiteboard and start writing on it!'(Buhagiar and Murphy , 2008, p.173) without any interaction with the students. The authors criticize such traditional teaching strategy, in which teachers keep some distance from the students and they explain it as "Although teachers and students share the same space, it seems like they live in two different worlds. The net impression is that of two sets of people regularly facing each other without actually interacting, if not only fleetingly - say, when the teacher or a student asks a question"(ibid, p.173)

That is why; Black and William (1998) raised the matter about the internal activities of the classroom and state that "How can anyone be sure that a particular set of new inputs will produce better outputs if we don't at least study what happens inside?"(Black and William, 1998, p.1)

Buhagiar and Murphy (2008) criticize the teachers that if they know the students learning then they can improve the standard of education , because the real meaning of learning is to understand the subject and solve the problem in the real life and it can only possible if students have deep understanding of the subject.

Black and Wiliam (1998) stated that mostly the blame is given to the teachers, but just teachers are not responsible for the betterment of the output, because "First, it is at least possible that some changes in the inputs may be counter-productive-making it harder for teachers to raise standards. Secondly, it seems strange, even unfair, to leave the most difficult piece of the standards-raising task entirely to teachers" (Black and Wiliam, 1998, p.1).

Impact of teachers' knowledge on students learning:

There is famous Chinese saying

"If you want to give the students a cup of water, you (the teacher) should have a bucket of water of your own" (Peng, 2007, p.289 )

This proverb significantly shows the importance of teacher's subject knowledge .The procedure of students' learning inside the classroom reflects the knowledge of teachers. Teacher's awareness with mathematics is the focal part of the entire activity which is running inside the classroom. Hill et al. (2005) argue in a different way and state that only some studies show that the subject knowledge of teachers is a predictor of student better learning achievement whilst most other studies predicted that teachers' verbal ability is more important for the better results of students learning outcomes. It reveals that teachers should have not only the knowledge of mathematics but they must know, the best way to express their knowledge in front of the class.

Teaching professionalism is a fundamental part in the education system. According to ARG (2002) formative assessment provides the opportunity for the teachers to become more professional, and consequently, it has a strong and positive impact on the students learning. In this contemporary education system , teachers need to demonstrate a large spectrum of knowledge, proficiency , skills and abilities in the classroom (Nunnery et al., 2009). Numerous educational researches show that the quality of teaching in the classroom reflects a significant improvement in students' learning outcomes and a student with very high quality teacher has achieved a high level of learning and a student with less knowledgeable teacher has achieved, a low level of learning (Nunnery et al., 2009).

Teachers' priorities and belief:

The three top priorities and beliefs which have been discussed in Buhagiar and Murphy's article are: finishing the course as soon as possible, aiding the general students to pass the final examinations and focusing on only those students who have realistic chance of passing the examination.

The above common beliefs are generally applied in every education system and teachers assume that the major reason for their job is to aid the students in such a way that they pass the examination (Korthagen,2004). With such beliefs, teachers provide only surface knowledge and avoid the deep learning strategies, which leave a negative impact on students learning. Many classroom and school decisions are supported by the teachers' opinion about their students' learning, including new instructional planning and study patterns .The authors criticize on such beliefs and emphasize on effective teaching strategies which help the students to improve the process of acquiring knowledge. Buhagiar and Murphy (2008) explain two different approaches which are practicing in many schools at present. One is the traditional way, which transfer the surface knowledge to the students and authors call it, the typical 'talk and chalk' approach, in which a teachers stand in front of the class on the whiteboard and starts solving the questions without any interaction with the students and students follow the teachers and act as a passive learner. Their focus is to finish the syllabus and prepare the students for the examination rather than focusing on what they have learnt. Repetition is one of the major parts of this practice. Such traditional way is usually employed in many educational systems around the world. Rehmani (2003) gives an example of Pakistani education system and criticize the teachers and state that most of the time, teachers focus on only the exams questions, generally, a textbook prescribed by the board of education is taken as a main source, and teachers put stress on students to memorise and cram the answers of typical exam questions from the textbook, these questions are repeated every three to five years in the examinations, and exams become more of a test of prediction rather than knowledge. One can easily predict from the guess papers, guides and model papers about the questions. As a result of which, the student's vision becomes narrower.

Zydney (2010) state that the conventional teaching style makes students to gather knowledge and learn the scientific facts by heart without realizing the basic idea , this can result in the wrong understanding of these concepts and these ideas are not easily changed by the conventional teaching methods

TEACHING AND LEARNING STRATEGY:

Another approach on which the authors have highlighted is the deep understanding of mathematics. Freudenthal (1973) also emphasize on the deep understanding of mathematics contents and relates them to real life. According to Freudenthal (1973) mathematics is a human activity. So it is the responsibility of the teachers to apply those pedagogies in mathematics, due to which students feel mathematics as a real life activity, with such pedagogies students will be able to solve the novel problems from practical life (Hill et al. ,2005).

Buhagiar and Murphy (2008) find out that, due to traditional pedagogies, the knowledge of teachers about their students learning of particular mathematics concepts is moderately narrow. Lampert (2005) states that generally teachers are not much familiar with the individual student's needs, they create totally wrong assumptions about their students and they continue their teaching, without knowing that whether students have learnt something or not. Black and Wiliam(1998) stated that ' learning is driven by what teachers and pupils do in classrooms and teachers have to manage complicated and demanding situation in order to help the students in learning and the standard of education can be raised if teachers can tackle this task more effectively' (p.1).

Scaffolding activities:

Buhagiar and Murphy(2008) stressed on teachers to develop the scaffolding activities and blame on the participants of their study that they were not familiar with scaffolding activities which "can provide them with the needed support and guidance to perform at a higher level (p.178) .The term 'Scaffolding' is used to create an activity in which the teachers make a temporary platform in order to achieve the target from students learning and understanding of the required topic. If the teachers or mentors do not know the weaknesses and requirements of their students, it cannot be possible for them to make temporary platforms or scaffolding, in order to facilitate the students. Grave et al. (1999) describe the two hypothesis of scaffolding and state that "one assumption underlying scaffolding is that a cognitive distance exists between what learners know and can do on their own and what they know and can do with the assistance of a more knowledge able person like teacher, another assumption of scaffolding is that interaction and dialogue between the teacher and the learner or between peers plays a central role."(p.901)

According to Zydney (2010) when students attempt to solve a problem using a single strategy especially when that strategy does not provide any sort of information about the concept they do not grasp the basic systems they are working in, and in order to solve such problem, teachers need to use some more scaffolding.

Buhagiar and Murphy (2008) states that to familiarise with the students' individual personal needs, teacher can develop more interactive relationship with the learner and create the Vygotsky's concept of the zone of proximal development. Zone of proximal development is that zone where learning and development take place. (Heritage and Niemi, 2006)

Allal & Pelgrims Ducret(2000) state that Zone of Proximal Development(ZPD) offers a framework for studying relationships between development and educational intervention. Vygostky (1978) (cited in Allal and Pelgrims ,2000, p.137) defines ZPD and stated that 'the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers'.

"The implication of this theory for instruction is that for students to make cognitive growth, teachers need to focus their instruction within their students' zone of proximal development and provide sufficient guidance for students to extend their current skills and knowledge to the point where the new knowledge is internalized and can be used independently(Heritage and Niemi, 2006)p.266)

THEORY OF ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING:

Now we will discuss some principles of assessment for learning, which are derived from the Assessment Reform Group (2002). They help to critically analyse the recommendations of Buhagiar and Murphy's article. Buhagiar and Murphy(2008) also demand such assessment, which provides authentic and rich account of students' learning and that is, 'assessment for learning'.

Assessment Reform Group (2002, p.2) define assessment for learning as "Assessment for Learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there."

Effective planning:

Effective planning is one of the principles of assessment for learning. Buhagiar and Murphy (2008) point out that teachers' lack of effective planning is one of the reasons of students' lack of learning. With effective planning, teacher should be able to address both new and emerging ideas and suggestions. It should offer chances for both student and teacher to get and use information about development towards learning aims. Planning must have the ways and means to make sure that students are well aware of both their aim and the criteria that will be used when their work is assessed. The planning should also include the details about how the students are going to get a feedback and their own role in monitoring their learning and also the fact that how will they be supported to excel further in their field.(Earl, 2003)

Improve student's learning:

Learning is a cognitive and constructive process, and its major aim is to enable the students to face and solve the novel problems (Buhagiar and Murphy, 2008). In assessment for learning the main focus should be to acquire knowledge and that should be the aim of both teacher and student. Students should not only be aware of what sort of knowledge they are acquiring but also how are they going to achieve it (Hill et al., 2005).

c)Plays principle role in classroom practice:

Assessment for learning can be simply explained as whatever teachers and students do in classrooms. The teacher asks the students various questions and gives them various commands which give the opportunity to learners to show their level of learning and expertise. At the same time teachers also keep an eye on students' behaviour towards learning and their potential thus they are able to guide them about how they can make their learning better. These kinds of assessment methods are a crucial part of daily classroom routine and it gives an opportunity to both the teachers and students to engage in reflection and decision making.(ARG, 2002)

d)Sensitive and constructive:

Formative assessment is sensitive and constructive. It is important for the teachers to understand that students' motivation and self belief, which can affected by the teachers' remarks and grades and thus the critique must be as helpful as possible, remarks should be directed more towards the student's work rather than his personality as it proves to have more positive effect on the enthusiasm and learning (ARG, 2002).

e)Enhance motivation:

Motivation is one of the key factors to achieve any target. Harlen (2006, p.61) define motivation as 'the conditions and processes that account for the arousal, direction, magnitude, and maintenance of effort' and motivation for learning as the engine that drives teaching and learning"

It has been seen that assessment for learning promotes acquiring knowledge, raise the level of enthusiasm by stressing on further development rather than non performance(Harlen, 2006). Sometimes teachers do tend to start comparing students with their fellows who are high achievers but the fact is that this comparison does not result in increasing their enthusiasm or inspire them any further, rather it can have a detrimental effect on their education process where they stop making progress in the fields where they are made to feel that they are week. Their enthusiasm and self confidence can be raised by those methods of formative appraisal which ensures the students' independence and offer them positive critique and enable them to be under their own control (ARG, 2002).

Learning can be improved by motivation and assessment plays a major role to enhance motivation. Buhagiar and Murphy's (2008) state that mostly teachers' blame their students for their lack of motivation and commitments in learning mathematics. Stiggins(2001)(cited in Harlen ,2006, p. 62) claims that "teachers can enhance or destroy students' desires to learn more quickly and more permanently through their use of assessment than through any other tools at their disposal."

The idea of behaviourist view of learning is to strengthen the desired behaviour with rewards and to discourage undesired attitude with penalties (Harlen , 2006). This learning view dominates most of our classrooms and the students' evaluation is used as a tool to apply this idea of reward and punishment.

A major reason of learning is judgement or assessment but for a large number of the students the important goal is to pass the test in order to get the reward. For these kind of students to achieve their aim performance is more important than learning and they try to find the easiest way to the required performance. In doing so there is more emphasis on passive in place of active learning , hence their learning remains superficial.

Develop understanding of aims and criteria:

The students should be clear in their mind about their aims in order to have the efficient learning. The learners tend to be more motivated and committed if they have got some part to play in establishing goals and deciding how the progress is going to be monitored. This monitoring standard should be conversed to the learners in a manner best understood by them in easy language and they should be given an opportunity to be involved in their own assessment.

In order to further enhance their knowledge the students require proper direction and thus plenty of information that can help them to move to their next level of learning. It is the responsibility of teachers that they should make students aware of their strong points and guide them to work on their strengths to help them excel further. At the same time they should also do a constructive critique and identify the gaps in their learning and direct them about ways to tackle the issues and thus give them a chance to increase the quality of their work.

Improve the role of self-assessment:

Self-assessment is also a part of formative assessment. With the help of such assessment, students can develop the ability to find novel knowledge and understandings. Learning for assessment allows the student to develop metacognition. Metacognition is the knowledge of one's own mind and thinking. Schraw (2001) (cited in Garrison, 2003, p.52) explains that "metacognition consists of knowledge and regulatory skills that are used to control one's cognition, the first includes knowledge of oneself and possible implementation strategies. Regulation of cognition, on the other hand, refers to a set of activities that helps students control their learning"

To improve learning, self-assessment is a very powerful tool for the students, and it is the teachers' responsibilities, to prepare the students to create the self-assessment ability.

Valid for all educational achievement:

Assessment for learning is valid not only in mathematics but it can be used to enhance learning in every educational field .After different experiments educationist found that there is an immense positive effect by using formative assessment in the class. Black and William (1998) define the effect size and state that the ratio of previous students result divided by the new student result is called the effect size and they found that "typical effect sizes of the formative assessment experiments were between 0.4 and 0.7 ."(p.4)

EQUITY OR FAIRNESS IN ASSESSMENT:

Another issue highlighted in Buhagiar and Murphy's article is about equity in education and assessment. The authors argue that mostly teachers' concentration is on sharp and intelligent students who have more chances of passing the examination and they neglect the non serious students, this matter opens up issues around equity in education and assessment. Gee (2003) (cited in Stobart, 2005, p.276) states that, 'If two children are being assessed on something they have not had equivalent opportunities to learn, the assessment is unjust'.

Baker and O'Neil (1994, p.11) described the term equity as:

"The term equity is used principally to describe fair educational access for all students; more recent judicial interpretations, however, have begun the redefinition of equity to move toward the attainment of reasonably equal group outcomes." and equal outcomes can only possible if the teachers teach the students equally.

"The embedded understanding that the division between those who can do mathematics and those who can't is perfectly natural and legitimate, works against the notion of equity which demands that each student is helped to realise his or her potential(Buhagiar and Murphy ,2008, p.174).

Baker and O' Neil (1994, p.12) state that "educational equity principle should result in students receiving comparable educations yielding comparable performances."

The concept of competition is contrary to equal outcomes; in a competition the person who proves himself to be best wins the reward thus it is not meant to provide the best possible result for every person. In fact for a contest to be fair , it has to provide same level of opportunities for each individual so that everyone has same level of preparation.(Gipps, 1995)

Gipps (1995) state that Equity does not mean uniformity of the results and also does not assume that everyone has the same experience as this is not realistic , the real idea of equity in assessment means that the way assessment is done and the way the outcomes are measured should be done in a manner that is equitable or fair for everybody. Equity ,thus not only considers how the assessments are done but also what exactly do we mean by achievement along with considering other parameters like attitude of teacher and expectations and motivation of students as these factors have got a major impact in defining achievement.

Though we must try hard to attain the real uniformity of opportunities, the uniformity of results is not always suitable aim. It is because various bunches of students have variable qualities and capabilities and thus any attempt to produce same kind of results e.g. by changing test process, may actually be detrimental for assessment of specific skill and will mask the natural differences in students( Baker and O'Neil 1994).

Recommendations

Policy makers:

After engaging with Buhagiar and Murphy's essay, I have realised that it is also the duty of policy makers to make such policies which help to raise educational learning. The authors also mentioned that teachers believe that their first priority is to finish the course because they have shortage of time to prepare the students for summative exams. Black and wiliam (1998, p.1) state that " if policy makers and others can give direct help and support to the everyday classroom task of achieving better learning, then surely these ways ought to be pursued vigorously."

Teachers:

Buhagiar and Murphy(2008) suggested that teachers can raise the standard of students' learning by using deep learning strategies. There are a lot of problems faced by the teachers, which can have some effect on their teaching. Teaching profession is no doubt a hard profession. To employ the deep learning strategy is time taken target and the teachers with stricter policies are forced to do more work and are expected to show more compliance for less pay. There is also a pressure of school authority and from the parents, to cover selected course within a specific time period. They have to develop expertise in their field , taking care of the curriculum targets they are expected to achieve , keeping in view that fact, that most of them are over burdened with their work and paid less than what they deserve (Hargreaves, 2000).

According to Hargreaves(2000) in many regions of world the process of teaching is undergoing a major change, the teachers are expecting their students to elevate their performance level, in view of these fast and unpredictable changes, the teachers are forced to work together in order to respond to such changes efficiently, now there is more requirement and pressure on students in different parts of the world, to equip themselves with new abilities like working as a part of team and efficient use of information technologies, this makes teachers to adapt different skills to deliver such kind of teaching which effectively means that they are expected to teach in a way which is quite different to what they were taught as students. Teachers are inspired to work more effectively with their colleagues in order to improve their skills that need improvement (Hargreaves, 2000).

Classroom assessment and teaching is a difficult task for the teachers because every time teachers need to face different students with different requirements, whom they have to deal with them because this is the job, they have assigned for (Earl, 2003),but still it is unfair with the teachers to leave all responsibility of standard raising on them(Black and Wiliam , 1998).

Teacher's Professional development:

In the article authors' mention that most of the participants were not qualified teachers, rather they have knowledge of mathematics up to degree level. But teaching qualification is must for teaching, because teachers learn the different ways for effective teaching. As Galbraith(2006) states that the success or failure of any teaching approach depends upon the teaching quality with which the teachers teach and students are engaged. Professional development courses can cover such deficiency, and teachers will be able to understand the students personal need and can create scaffolding in order to enhance students' learning.

CONCLUSION:

After engaging Buhagiar and Murphy's article, I personally believe that the problem raised by authors is valuable and significant. Currently in our education system, particularly in Pakistan, the predominant mode of assessment is summative. As Earl (2003) mentioned that mostly in traditional education systems the dominated approach of assessment is summative assessment or 'assessment of learning'. The teachers' believes which has been discussed in Buhagiar and Murphy's article, are mostly the same in all over the world, specifically in developing world. It is also mentioned in the article that currently Maltese government is also putting stress to apply deep learning strategies and the best approach, which has been discussed in this article, is assessment for learning. I have also discussed that there is evidence received from more than forty studies that by using formative assessment, the mean effect sizes of students' progress were between 0.4 and 0.7 , which is an enormous improvement in the students learning(Black et al., 2003) , but the problem is that, teachers do not focus on deep learning strategies. Their beliefs are still traditional. There top priorities are finishing the syllabus and prepare the students for summative exams, particularly intelligent and bright students, because they blame on the weak students that they are not serious in studies. This blame creates the inequality issue which is also discussed in the easy. The strategy which has been referred for the teachers is, 'assessment for learning' .By applying this approach, teachers will be able to understand students' personal need and where their learning stands. So according to the student's individual requirement, teacher will be able to develop the scaffolding and create the Vygotsky's zone of proximal development (ZPD), in which teachers can help the students to develop their learning abilities. But to comply such activities, teacher must be a master in his field, so that, he has knowledge about how to deal with different situations. For this purpose, I have highlighted the importance of teachers training and professional development courses. Furthermore it is also the responsibility of policy makers to make such policies, which improve the students deep learning as well as the problems of teachers, because as Black and Wiliam (1998) stated that it is not fair with the teachers to put all responsibility of raising standard on them. On the other hand if teachers perpetually avoided deep learning strategies then the consequences might be severed because students will be getting degrees or certificate without deep knowledge of their particular subject, which may have its negative effect on their professional life.

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