Gaye WalkFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Kenneth Tierce


At-Risk, Feedback, Formative Assessment, Middle School, Phenomenology, Self-Efficacy


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of middle school classroom teachers regarding the impact of formative assessments on the needs of at-risk students. A phenomenological approach was used to gain understanding of how the teacher works with at-risk students and how the steps of formative assessments meets the needs of at-risk students. The theory framing this study was Albert Bandura’s (1977) social cognitive theory and the self-efficacy belief system. Data collection took place with 12 middle school teachers and included a questionnaire, individual interviews, and a focus group. The study was guided by three research questions. First, how do middle school teachers perceive the steps of formative assessment? Second, what are the middle school teacher’s perceptions of the formative assessment theory and its practices? Third, how do middle school teachers perceive the impact of formative assessment on the needs of the at-risk student? Data analysis methods followed Moustakas’ (1994) model of transcendental phenomenology. Trustworthiness was verified through triangulation of data, member checking, and peer checking. Each participant’s identity was kept confidential using pseudonyms and by keeping the location of the study confidential to protect their privacy.