Fostering low-achieving students' productive disciplinary engagement through knowledge-building inquiry and reflective assessment

Yuqin Yang, Kaicheng Yuan, Xueqi Feng, Xiuhan Li*, Jan van Aalst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Supporting productive disciplinary engagement (PDE) in low-achieving students is an important but challenging goal in education. This study used a knowledge-building inquiry approach augmented by reflective assessment to facilitate low-achieving students' PDE. A quasi-experimental design method was employed to examine the effects of reflective assessment in supporting low-achieving students' PDE. The experimental class of tenth graders (n = 20) conducted inquiries in the visual arts in a knowledge-building design augmented by reflective assessment, while the comparison class of tenth graders (n = 14) conducted inquiries in a regular knowledge-building design without reflective assessment. This study lasted approximately 4 months and the primary data source was the online discourse. A comparative analysis of the knowledge-building discourse characteristics and the sequential patterns of the discourse moves revealed higher cognitive, emotional and epistemic engagement in the experimental class compared with the comparison class. Epistemic network analysis showed that reflective assessment facilitated low-achieving students' collective reflection, monitoring and regulation, as shown by their metacognitive discourse moves. Their metacognition further helped them to achieve higher levels of cognitive, emotional and epistemic engagement than the comparison class. This study provides insights into the connections between inquiry, engagement and assessment. Moreover, it has implications for designing technology-supported collaborative inquiry environments to support low-achieving students' engagement and higher-level skills. Practitioner notes What is already known about this topic Supporting low-achieving students' productive disciplinary engagement (PDE) is an important but challenging goal in education and limited research has focused on it. Knowledge-building inquiry design augmented by reflective assessment is promising in supporting low-achieving students' PDE. Little research has examined the effects of reflective assessment-augmented knowledge building inquiry on low-achieving students' PDE and the mechanism through which reflective assessment supports their PDE. What this paper adds Reflective assessment-augmented knowledge-building inquiry is effective in supporting low-achieving students' PDE. Portfolio-supported Reflective assessment in Knowledge Forum facilitated low-achieving students' enactment of collective reflection, monitoring and regulation, and these metacognitive processes further helped low-achieving students to achieve higher levels of cognitive, emotional and epistemic engagement. This study provides insights into the connections between inquiry, engagement, and assessment. Implications for practice and/or policy It is crucial to create a collaborative and reflective community culture to help low-achieving students gradually gain agency. It is critical to help low-achieving students to develop a productive belief that idea improvement and reflection is a continuous and iterative process. The effectiveness of reflective assessment requires face-to-face knowledge-building discussion and collaborative reflection opportunities scaffolded by assessment tools and analytics that encourage low-achieving students to engage in meta-level discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1511-1529
Number of pages19
JournalBritish journal of educational technology
Volume53
Issue number6
Early online date23 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • knowledge building
  • low-achieving students
  • metacognition
  • productive disciplinary engagement
  • reflective assessment
  • n/a OA procedure

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