Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Education Theory and Practice

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 245 pages) : color illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jianwei Zhang

Committee Members

Heidi Andrade, Alandeom Oliveira


Formative assessment, knowledge building, science, Knowledge, Theory of, Discussion, Group work in education, Science, Education, Elementary

Subject Categories

Educational Technology


The purpose of this study is to design and evaluate a technology supported collaborative formative assessment for knowledge building to help students reflect on the progress of their knowledge advancement and to sustain deeper inquiry. Guided by the knowledge building theory ( Scardamalia & Berieter, 2003; Scardamalia & Berieter, 2006) and the formative assessment framework (Wiliam & Thompson, 2007), a two-phase design based research was conducted to test and refine the assessment design in the six-grade science classrooms at a Chinese elementary school. The assessment was designed as a technology supported, student-directed formative assessment which focused on three major attributes of knowledge building: community knowledge advancement, social dynamics change, and individual cognition development. The results showed that unlike assessment to other inquiry practice that use the feedback of formative assessment to inform the inquiry moving toward fixed inquiry goals, in knowledge building the community collaboratively identify the emerging deeper/expanded goals through knowledge building discourse. The feedback about how to reach further toward these deeper goals continually direct the community’s immediate next step inquiry in the large picture of long-term outcomes. The results also suggested that with teacher’s sufficient guidance and support, the collaborative assessment practice was positively associated to the improvement of students’ knowledge building discourse, social network pattern and individual understanding.