Mandated literacy assessment and the reorganisation of teachers’ work : federal policy, local effects

Comber, Barbara (2012) Mandated literacy assessment and the reorganisation of teachers’ work : federal policy, local effects. Critical Studies in Education, 53(2), pp. 119-136.

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This paper explores how mandated literacy assessment is reorganising teachers’ work in the context of Australia’s National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), which was implemented in 2008. Students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are tested annually, with school results publicly available. The wider policy context and the emergence of different forms of interconnected educational work associated with the testing phenomenon are described. Taking an Institutional Ethnography approach, the local effects of the federal policy regime are examined through a case study of one school. What mandated literacy assessment does to educators’ work in a culturally diverse low socioeconomic school community is discussed. Key themes include strategic exclusions of students from the testing process, appropriations and adaptations of literacy theory, work intensification, and ethical mediation of results. Questions concerning equity are raised about the differential effects of policy in different school contexts.

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ID Code: 54066
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: literacy , teachers’ work, policy, equity, Institutional Ethnography, standardised testing
DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2012.672331
ISSN: 1750-8487
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in the Critical Studies in Education © 2012 [copyright Taylor & Francis]; Critical Studies in Education is available online at:
Deposited On: 11 Oct 2012 05:31
Last Modified: 11 May 2013 03:16

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