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ERIC Number: EJ815965
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-1464-7893
Power in Operation: A Case Study Focussing on How Subject-Based Knowledge Is Constrained by the Methods of Assessment in GCE A Level Dance
Sanders, Lorna
Research in Dance Education, v9 n3 p221-240 Nov 2008
The General Certificate of Education (GCE) A Level Dance specification, offered by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), is the only GCE course of study in the UK that focuses solely on dance. Acquisition of subject specific knowledge is a feature of its aims, while assessment, as constructed by its objectives, is assumed to be a transparent process. In this paper I address the character of the interaction between knowledge and assessment in the GCE through a textual analysis of a pertinent range of AQA documentation. What is revealed is that assessment methods, rather than being objective, external judgements that measure understanding, appear to constrain and limit subject-based knowledge at a conceptual level. The relationship between knowledge and assessment is shown to be not one of contingency--in which independent and pre-existing subject knowledge is at the core--but one of power, in which assessment is a strategic effect. I draw on two theorists in particular. Derrida provides support for the textual analysis in order to help unpack the constructed character of knowledge in the specification. A Foucauldian perspective exposes the operation of power. Autonomous, hermeneutic epistemological assumptions, which underpin the belief that separately existing universalistic subject knowledge is simply reflected in curricula statements, are destabilised. To achieve this, I demonstrate that the micro context of the technology of the specification must be explored and that an in-depth analysis of the ramifications across a range of associated documents is required. It is suggested that educators and designers of examinations endeavour to trace how power constructs their subject in order to militate against its effects, one of which is to mask its own presence. This case study provides a model they may find useful for this task. (Contains 2 figures and 36 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom