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College of Education’s Aslihan Unal co-authors paper, wins national and state awards

College of Education faculty member Aslihan Unal, Ph.D., now holds two awards as co-author of the publication, “An examination of K-12 Teachers’ Assessment Beliefs and Practices in Relation to Years of Teaching Experience.”

Recently, Unal’s work was recognized by the American Educational Research Association as a top research paper for the year. Prior to that, she was named the recipient of the Distinguished Paper Award during the Georgia Educational Research Association (GERA) state conference.

An associate professor in the Department of Elementary and Special Education, Unal’s research focuses on assessment of teaching and learning, technology in education, classroom management and parental involvement.

“The major part of my teaching and research focus is on assessment in classrooms,” said Unal. “Assessment is a critical step in the learning process. It determines whether or not the learning objectives have been met. It also affects many facets of education, including student grades, placement and advancement as well as curriculum, instructional needs and school funding.”

In the paper, the authors detail a study in which they compare the beliefs and practices of K-12 teachers in relation to their years of teaching experience.

Data collected from 87 public school educators suggested that as teachers’ years of experience increase, the value they place in assessment increases as well. Experienced teachers hold a stronger belief that the assessment process impacts and improves students’ learning through determining students’ strengths and weaknesses, providing feedback and helping teachers modify ongoing teaching of students.

While they found that both beginning and experienced teachers use assessment practices in their classrooms, teachers with up to seven years of experience opt for more practical, easy-to-use assessment tools such as short answers and fill-in-the-blank type of quizzes. Teachers with more experience tend to prefer more original, teacher-created assessment practices such as individual student works, real-world tasks, group work and projects.

“The results of this study suggest that it is vital to have multiple lectures integrated into courses or a specific classroom assessment course or seminars and workshops to help the preservice teachers expand their knowledge on how to effectively use classroom assessment techniques,” said Unal. “I am pleased that my work has been recognized for contribution to the literature. It became another source of motivation to achieve my research goals. Of course, these are all possible thanks to my university, college and my colleagues.”


Posted in Faculty Spotlight, Press Releases