ERIC Number: EJ722944
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: 39
Conflicting Demands: Assessment Practices in Three South African Primary Schools Undergoing Desegregation
Curriculum Inquiry, v35 n4 p461-481 Win 2005
Recent educational reforms in South Africa have been framed by an outcomes-based education (OBE) policy. One of the assumptions underlying this nationally directed educational reform process is that teachers will be both willing and able to adapt their teaching and assessment practices accordingly. Yet, there is considerable evidence to suggest that this is not so (Harley & Wedekind, 2004; Jansen, 2001; Jita, 2002; Sieborger & Nakabugo, 2001; Vandeyar & Killen, 2004a). The change in educational policy has set new and more challenging demands on teachers, which are often in conflict with their beliefs and value systems. These conflicting demands are twofold in nature: a change in assessment policy and a change in learner target population. To explore this issue, this article examines data from a larger study that set out to investigate teacher assessment practices in multilingual classrooms in South African primary schools. This article is about the process of policy appropriation or misappropriation by agents mediating between policy and its actual practice on the classroom floor. In this case, the policy in question is OBE-related assessment policy. The mediators between policy and practice in the classroom are teachers. Using a conceptual framework that advocates an approach to educational changes that Proudford (1998) terms as emancipatory (p. 139), this article attempts to describe how teachers cope with conflicting demands on their assessment practices. The emancipatory approach is conceptualized in terms of three key dimensions: professional confidence, professional interpretation, and professional consciousness (Proudford). The findings of this study are twofold. First, teachers mediate the external pressures upon them through the filter of their own professional identities. Second, the process of assessment is not merely technical, but it is not merely social and personal either; it is both.
Descriptors: Educational Policy, Educational Change, Outcome Based Education, Primary Education, Elementary School Teachers, Multilingualism, School Desegregation, Teaching Methods, Evaluation Methods, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Primary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa