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Investigating pre-service biology teachers’ diagnostic competences with a video-based assessment tool. effects of instructional support on professional knowledge as one component of diagnostic competences
Investigating pre-service biology teachers’ diagnostic competences with a video-based assessment tool. effects of instructional support on professional knowledge as one component of diagnostic competences
In order to be able to recognize and cope with critical situations of teaching and learning, teachers need diagnostic competences, which should already be fostered in teacher education at university. Diagnostic competences can be defined as teachers’ dispositions enabling them to apply their knowledge in diagnostic activities according to professional standards to collect and interpret data accurately in order to make appropriate decisions. In this definition, three components of diagnostic competences become apparent: the professional knowledge base, diagnostic activities, and diagnostic accuracy. The professional knowledge base consists of the facets pedagogical-psychological knowledge (PK), content knowledge (CK), and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). Pre-service teachers have to be able to apply knowledge in diagnostic contexts that are real or close to everyday life by using diagnostic activities. Diagnostic activities describe those activities that teachers execute to generate and evaluate data in order to produce a diagnosis. Additionally, their diagnosis has to meet qualitative demands in terms of diagnostic accuracy, which describes the adequacy of a person’s diagnosis in terms of objective criteria. It has not yet been systematically investigated how the components of diagnostic competences are interrelated. Furthermore, there is a growing debate about how to foster knowledge development in higher education. The investigation of different instructional approaches of knowledge presentation (e.g., by a lecturer, via texts, via video-based tools) can be connected to this debate. With regard to the demand to investigate professional knowledge as well as diagnostic activities using real-life diagnostic contexts, video-based tools are considered promising. Video-based tools can provide an authentic representation of the subject-specific professional everyday life of teachers and their tasks. That makes it possible to measure and promote specific components of diagnostic competences in a situated way. For biology teacher education, there is a lack of tools in which subject-specific relevant situations from the biology classroom are the subject of diagnosis. To close this gap, the video-based assessment tool DiKoBi Assess was developed in the project COSIMA (Facilitating diagnostic competences in simulation-based learning environments in higher education), which focused on the facilitation of professional knowledge and diagnostic competences of biology teachers and was funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation, NE-1196/8-1). In DiKoBi Assess (German acronym for diagnostic competences of biology teachers in biology classrooms), biology-specific challenges of different classroom situations have to be diagnosed with regard to dimensions of subject-specific instructional quality (i.e., level of students’ cognitive activities and creation of situational interest, dealing with (specific) student ideas and errors, use of technical language, use of experiments, use of models, and conceptual instruction). Overall, the present dissertation had three aims: (1) to validate the video-based tool DiKoBi Assess with respect to the integrated biology-specific challenges, the tasks used, and the construct of diagnostic activities (i.e., the activities generating evidence, evaluating evidence, and drawing conclusions) used for analysis. The validation process is completed by comparing the construct of diagnostic activities with the construct of professional vision (regarding the included aspects description, explanation, and prediction) established in video-based teacher research. Further aims were (2) the investigation of the relationships between the three components that constitute diagnostic competences, and (3) the analysis of the effects of different types of instructional support on professional knowledge as one component of diagnostic competences. The three aims were addressed in the first funding phase of the COSIMA project. Following a preliminary study with five in-service biology teachers, in which the validity of the video-based tool was tested, two main studies with pre-service biology teachers took place. Data was collected in both Study 1 (N = 90 pre-service teachers) and Study 2 (N = 103 pre-service teachers) in a pre-post design. In both studies, professional knowledge was assessed with paper-pencil tests, diagnostic activities and diagnostic accuracy were assessed with the video-based tool DiKoBi Assess. The validation of DiKoBi Assess showed that the embedded biology-specific classroom situations were perceived as authentic, that biology-specific challenges in the respective classroom situations were diagnosable by in-service biology teachers, and that the integrated tasks triggered specifically the three targeted diagnostic activities generating evidence, evaluating evidence, and drawing conclusions. Thus, with DiKoBi Assess, specific diagnostic activities can be triggered and measured. Moreover, as a result of comparing the constructs diagnostic activities and professional vision, it was possible to identify and describe categories relevant for diagnosing the biology-specific classroom situations presented in DiKoBi Assess. The identified categories could then be used for analysis in the subsequent main studies. The evaluation of the two main studies showed that especially PCK was important for the application of the diagnostic activities and for diagnostic accuracy. In addition, a relationship between PK and diagnostic activities was found. Both main studies also indicated an impact of the work with DiKoBi Assess on the development of PCK. Furthermore, the use of the video-based tool in combination with instructional support provided by a lecturer can be considered effective. While for the development of CK, a non-integrated instruction might be beneficial, PCK benefited slightly more from the integrated instruction of the knowledge facets. However, the results suggest that diagnosing instructional quality is more effective for knowledge development than instructional approaches such as text interventions, but that in terms of PCK development, for example, greater linking of knowledge facets may also be advisable when instructing curricular content. Overall, it can be concluded that DiKoBi Assess is a valid measurement instrument for studies on diagnostic competences of pre-service biology teachers. Furthermore, the results of this dissertation suggest that working with DiKoBi Assess and diagnosing instructional quality can promote subject-specific knowledge (PCK), which in turn is a critical component of biology teachers’ diagnostic competences and therefore requires explicit support. Existing instructional methods of teacher education, in which knowledge acquisition is promoted via texts or lectures, should therefore be enriched with practice-oriented examples. This can be done via video-based tools that could be conducive to the development and stronger interlocking of the more practice-oriented knowledge facets PCK and PK. In addition, such tools can also be beneficial to address the knowledge facets in an interrelated way and to enhance linking between the knowledge facets. However, explicit specialized seminars addressing subject content still seem useful for developing a sound CK base.
professional knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, diagnostic competences, teacher education, video-based assessment, biology education
Kramer, Maria
2021
English
Universitätsbibliothek der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Kramer, Maria (2021): Investigating pre-service biology teachers’ diagnostic competences with a video-based assessment tool: effects of instructional support on professional knowledge as one component of diagnostic competences. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Biology
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Abstract

In order to be able to recognize and cope with critical situations of teaching and learning, teachers need diagnostic competences, which should already be fostered in teacher education at university. Diagnostic competences can be defined as teachers’ dispositions enabling them to apply their knowledge in diagnostic activities according to professional standards to collect and interpret data accurately in order to make appropriate decisions. In this definition, three components of diagnostic competences become apparent: the professional knowledge base, diagnostic activities, and diagnostic accuracy. The professional knowledge base consists of the facets pedagogical-psychological knowledge (PK), content knowledge (CK), and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). Pre-service teachers have to be able to apply knowledge in diagnostic contexts that are real or close to everyday life by using diagnostic activities. Diagnostic activities describe those activities that teachers execute to generate and evaluate data in order to produce a diagnosis. Additionally, their diagnosis has to meet qualitative demands in terms of diagnostic accuracy, which describes the adequacy of a person’s diagnosis in terms of objective criteria. It has not yet been systematically investigated how the components of diagnostic competences are interrelated. Furthermore, there is a growing debate about how to foster knowledge development in higher education. The investigation of different instructional approaches of knowledge presentation (e.g., by a lecturer, via texts, via video-based tools) can be connected to this debate. With regard to the demand to investigate professional knowledge as well as diagnostic activities using real-life diagnostic contexts, video-based tools are considered promising. Video-based tools can provide an authentic representation of the subject-specific professional everyday life of teachers and their tasks. That makes it possible to measure and promote specific components of diagnostic competences in a situated way. For biology teacher education, there is a lack of tools in which subject-specific relevant situations from the biology classroom are the subject of diagnosis. To close this gap, the video-based assessment tool DiKoBi Assess was developed in the project COSIMA (Facilitating diagnostic competences in simulation-based learning environments in higher education), which focused on the facilitation of professional knowledge and diagnostic competences of biology teachers and was funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation, NE-1196/8-1). In DiKoBi Assess (German acronym for diagnostic competences of biology teachers in biology classrooms), biology-specific challenges of different classroom situations have to be diagnosed with regard to dimensions of subject-specific instructional quality (i.e., level of students’ cognitive activities and creation of situational interest, dealing with (specific) student ideas and errors, use of technical language, use of experiments, use of models, and conceptual instruction). Overall, the present dissertation had three aims: (1) to validate the video-based tool DiKoBi Assess with respect to the integrated biology-specific challenges, the tasks used, and the construct of diagnostic activities (i.e., the activities generating evidence, evaluating evidence, and drawing conclusions) used for analysis. The validation process is completed by comparing the construct of diagnostic activities with the construct of professional vision (regarding the included aspects description, explanation, and prediction) established in video-based teacher research. Further aims were (2) the investigation of the relationships between the three components that constitute diagnostic competences, and (3) the analysis of the effects of different types of instructional support on professional knowledge as one component of diagnostic competences. The three aims were addressed in the first funding phase of the COSIMA project. Following a preliminary study with five in-service biology teachers, in which the validity of the video-based tool was tested, two main studies with pre-service biology teachers took place. Data was collected in both Study 1 (N = 90 pre-service teachers) and Study 2 (N = 103 pre-service teachers) in a pre-post design. In both studies, professional knowledge was assessed with paper-pencil tests, diagnostic activities and diagnostic accuracy were assessed with the video-based tool DiKoBi Assess. The validation of DiKoBi Assess showed that the embedded biology-specific classroom situations were perceived as authentic, that biology-specific challenges in the respective classroom situations were diagnosable by in-service biology teachers, and that the integrated tasks triggered specifically the three targeted diagnostic activities generating evidence, evaluating evidence, and drawing conclusions. Thus, with DiKoBi Assess, specific diagnostic activities can be triggered and measured. Moreover, as a result of comparing the constructs diagnostic activities and professional vision, it was possible to identify and describe categories relevant for diagnosing the biology-specific classroom situations presented in DiKoBi Assess. The identified categories could then be used for analysis in the subsequent main studies. The evaluation of the two main studies showed that especially PCK was important for the application of the diagnostic activities and for diagnostic accuracy. In addition, a relationship between PK and diagnostic activities was found. Both main studies also indicated an impact of the work with DiKoBi Assess on the development of PCK. Furthermore, the use of the video-based tool in combination with instructional support provided by a lecturer can be considered effective. While for the development of CK, a non-integrated instruction might be beneficial, PCK benefited slightly more from the integrated instruction of the knowledge facets. However, the results suggest that diagnosing instructional quality is more effective for knowledge development than instructional approaches such as text interventions, but that in terms of PCK development, for example, greater linking of knowledge facets may also be advisable when instructing curricular content. Overall, it can be concluded that DiKoBi Assess is a valid measurement instrument for studies on diagnostic competences of pre-service biology teachers. Furthermore, the results of this dissertation suggest that working with DiKoBi Assess and diagnosing instructional quality can promote subject-specific knowledge (PCK), which in turn is a critical component of biology teachers’ diagnostic competences and therefore requires explicit support. Existing instructional methods of teacher education, in which knowledge acquisition is promoted via texts or lectures, should therefore be enriched with practice-oriented examples. This can be done via video-based tools that could be conducive to the development and stronger interlocking of the more practice-oriented knowledge facets PCK and PK. In addition, such tools can also be beneficial to address the knowledge facets in an interrelated way and to enhance linking between the knowledge facets. However, explicit specialized seminars addressing subject content still seem useful for developing a sound CK base.