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Elements of Proximal Formative Assessment in Learners’ Discourse about Energy
AIP Conference Proceedings (2012)
  • Benedikt W. Harrer, University of Maine - Main
  • Rachel E. Scherr, Seattle Pacific University
  • Michael C. Wittmann, University of Maine - Main
  • Hunter G. Close
  • Brian W. Frank, Middle Tennessee State University
Proximal formative assessment, the just-in-time elicitation of students' ideas that informs ongoing instruction, is usually associated with the instructor in a formal classroom setting. However, the elicitation, assessment, and subsequent instruction that characterize proximal formative assessment are also seen in discourse among peers. We present a case in which secondary teachers in a professional development course at SPU are discussing energy flow in refrigerators. In this episode, a peer is invited to share her thinking (elicitation). Her idea that refrigerators move heat from a relatively cold compartment to a hotter environment is inappropriately judged as incorrect (assessment). The "instruction" (peer explanation) that follows is based on the second law of thermodynamics, and acts as corrective rather than collaborative.
  • proximal formative assessment,
  • energy,
  • professional development,
  • discourse
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© 2012 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.
The following article appeared in AIP Conference Proceedings 1413, 203 (2012) and may be found at
Citation Information
Benedikt W. Harrer, Rachel E. Scherr, Michael C. Wittmann, Hunter G. Close, et al.. "Elements of Proximal Formative Assessment in Learners’ Discourse about Energy" AIP Conference Proceedings Vol. 1413 Iss. 1 (2012)
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