A bridge to migrants’ knowledge
The Augmented Assessment Project aims to address the gap that exists in assessing newly arrived migrant students’ prior knowledge in the fields of Science and Mathematics, by utilising augmented reality for assessment. This will be achieved by developing and piloting an innovative augmented toolkit in the form of an online library and a training course for teachers that will equip them with the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge for assessing newly arrived migrant students’ prior knowledge.
Landscape and obstacles
Despite the fact that Europe faces the challenge of the integration and the inclusion of newly arrived and other migrants, it seems that monolingual policies are reinforced in European education systems. Language proficiency in the dominant societal language arises as a key factor to schooling success. Several researchers across the world provide evidence and conclude that monolingual policies and practices affect students’ assessment and that language proficiency appears to affect negatively students’ resultsin subjects in which knowledge is not necessarily connected with the language, e.g. Science and Mathematics. There is strong evidence that even multilingual second-language learners’ knowledge in Science and Mathematics is often underestimated when tests use the dominant language. Based on the above, it seems very likely that newly arrived migrants, who have extremely limited linguistic skills in the language of the host country, do not find the appropriate channels to communicate and express their knowledge to their teachers. If teachers and students had the opportunity to overcome that lack of communication, students’ knowledge would be more accurately assessed by educational professionals, and they would be placed in a grade level that matches their actual competence level. Therefore, when this happens, students will be more motivated to participate in the everyday classroom life and the inclusion of the migrant students will be smoother and easier for both students and teachers. This argument aligns with relevant research as identified challenges involve: teachers’ unpreparedness and/or lack of support to deal with diversity in the classroom; inappropriate grade placement; and language provision that is not adapted to the needs of students with a different mother tongue.
In the above mentioned framework, teachers seem to need new approaches and tools to build communication bridges to assess newly arrived (and other) migrants’ knowledge and to include them in their everyday classroom life.
Representation, Multimodality and Immersive technologies
The project will address the above challenge by combining the representational tradition of Mathematics and Science with the multimodality that characterises immersive technologies.
On the one hand, research and practice in Science and Mathematics education emphasizes the important role of visual representation in understanding and learning. On the other hand, it is also emphasized that immersive technologies, such as Augmented Realityprovide a variety of multimodal means that can address diverse students’ needs, concerning different learning styles, motivation, gender, language, culture, disabilities. This combination could provide to teachers a solution in their attempt to communicate, include and assess the knowledge of newly arrived (and other) migrant students.
The response of the project is an approach which promotes assessment for inclusion, combining:
█ visual representations,
█ multimodal assessment and
█ immersive technologies
in the field of Science and Mathematics.
During the project, an online Library containing pools of augmented questions with the use of representations for Science and Mathematics will be created. This online Library will provide the questions in order to assess the prior knowledge needed for each grade based on the curriculum. Complementary to this, a professional development program for teachers will be designed and implemented that will contribute in the successful implementation of the online Library in real school environments and the future sustainability, replication and scaling up of the proposed practice.
The project focuses on the age group of 9-15 (4th to 6th and 7th to 9th Grade). This particular age group was chosen because it is mainly these students who are inappropriately placed at a school grade. For migrant students of the first grades of Primary Education (1st-3rd) it is easier to be included either in 1st,2nd or 3rd grade since the developmental stage of the children’s age allows an easier transition between the early grades, while for migrant students above 16 years old it is more difficult to be placed and included in the appropriate grade if educational professionals are not aware of students’ competencies.