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Breaching the standardised assessment boundary : assessment for learning as a field of exchange

Connolly, Stephen (2011) Breaching the standardised assessment boundary : assessment for learning as a field of exchange. In AARE Annual Conference, 2011: Researching Across Boundaries, 27 November - 1 December 2011, Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, TAS.

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Abstract

The introduction of the Australian curriculum, the use of standardised testing (e.g. NAPLAN) and the My School website are couched in a context of accountability. This circumstance has stimulated and in some cases renewed a range of boundaries in Australian Education. The consequences that arise from standardised testing have accentuated the boundaries produced by social reproduction in education which has led to an increase in the numbers of students disengaging from mainstream education and applying for enrolment at the Edmund Rice Education Australia Flexible Learning Centre Network (EREAFLCN). Boundaries are created for many young people who are denied access to credentials and certification as a result of being excluded from or in some way disengaging from standardised education and testing. Young people who participate at the EREAFLCN arrive with a variety of forms of cultural capital that are not valued in current education and employment fields. This is not to say that these young people’s different forms of cultural capital have no value, but rather that such funds of knowledge, repertoires and cultural capital are not valued by the majority of powerful agents in educational and employment fields. How then can the qualitative value of traditionally unorthodox - yet often intricate, ingenious, and astute - versions of cultural capital evident in the habitus of many young people be made to count, be recognised, be valuated? Can a process of educational assessment be a field of capital exchange and a space which breaches boundaries through a valuating process? This paper reports on the development of an innovative approach to assessment in an alternative education institution designed for the re-engagement of ‘at risk’ youth who have left formal schooling. A case study approach has been used to document the engagement of six young people, with an educational approach described as assessment for learning as a field of exchange across two sites in the EREAFLCN. In order to capture the broad range of students’ cultural and social capital, an electronic portfolio system (EPS) is under trial. The model draws on categories from sociological models of capital and reconceptualises the eportfolio as a sociocultural zone of learning and development. Results from the trial show a general tendency towards engagement with the EPS and potential for the attainment of socially valued cultural capital in the form of school credentials. In this way restrictive boundaries can be breached and a more equitable outcome achieved for many young Australians.

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ID Code: 48877
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: Assessment, Assessment for learning, Bourdieu sociology, sociocultural theory, Assessment for learning as a field of exchange
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. Economics Business and Management) (130205)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 29 Feb 2012 08:17
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2013 14:42

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