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ERIC Number: EJ907910
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-0311-6999
Students, Teachers and Alternative Assessment in Secondary School: Relational Models Theory (RMT) in the Field of Education
Bagley, Sylvia Stralberg
Australian Educational Researcher, v37 n1 p83-106 Apr 2010
The quality and types of relationships formed between students and teachers has been shown to play an essential part in the personal and academic success of students (Davis, 2003; Pianta, 1999). Little, however, has been done to determine the role that assessment plays in teacher-student relationships. Drawing upon the work of cultural anthropologist Alan Fiske (1991), I explore the ways in which certain basic forms of relationships (known as "Relational Models") are initiated and maintained in secondary school through the use of alternative assessment methods--narrative evaluations, portfolios, rubrics, and end-of-year presentations--in place of traditional letter grades. In his Relational Models Theory, Fiske posits that human relationships and social systems are culturally-specific implementations of four elementary Relationship Models: "Authority Ranking", "Communal Sharing", "Equality Matching", and "Market Pricing". Here, I discuss how the non-traditional assessment methods used at a progressive secondary school in California allow relationships between students and teachers to shift away from an exclusively authority-based system (the Relational Model of Authority Ranking), towards a more nuanced model of negotiation (Market Pricing) and communal input (Communal Sharing)--ultimately leading to more empowered and involved students.
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE). P.O. Box 71, Coldstream, Victoria 3770, Australia. Tel: +61-0359-649-031; Fax: +61-0359-649-586; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California