High-stakes literacy tests and local effects in a rural school

Comber, Barbara (2013) High-stakes literacy tests and local effects in a rural school. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 36(2), pp. 78-89.


High-stakes literacy testing is now a ubiquitous educational phenomenon. However, it remains a relatively recent phenomenon in Australia. Hence it is possible to study the ways in which such tests are reorganising educators’ work during this period of change. This paper draws upon Dorothy Smith’s Institutional Ethnography and critical policy analysis to consider this problem and reports on interview data from teachers and the principal in small rural school in a poor area of South Australia. In this context high-stakes testing and the associated diagnostic school review unleashes a chain of actions within the school which ultimately results in educators doubting their professional judgments, increasing the investment in testing, narrowing their teaching of literacy and purchasing levelled reading schemes. The effects of high-stakes testing in disadvantaged schools are identified and discussed.

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11 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 59272
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Literacy, accountability, testing, educational disadvantage, teachers' work, institutional ethnography, policy analysis
ISSN: 10381562
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE ESL and TESOL) (130204)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 ALEA
Deposited On: 24 Apr 2013 04:40
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2014 03:11

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