Students' cultural capital : a study of assessment for learning as a field of exchange

Connolly, Stephen Robert (2012) Students' cultural capital : a study of assessment for learning as a field of exchange. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This study was conducted within the context of a flexible education institution where conventional educational assessment practices and tests fail to recognise and assess the creativity and cultural capital of a cohort of marginalised young people. A new assessment model which included an electronic-portfolio-social-networking system (EPS) was developed and trialled to identify and exhibit evidence of students' learning.

The study aimed to discern unique forms of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1986) possessed by students who attend the Edmund Rice Education Australia Flexible Learning Centre Network (EREAFLCN). The EPS was trialled at the case study schools in an intervention and developed a space where students could make evident culturally specific forms of capital and funds of knowledge (Gonzalez, Moll, & Amanti, 2005). These resources were evaluated, modified and developed through dialogic processes utilising assessment for learning approaches (Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency, 2009) in online and classroom settings. Students, peers and staff engaged in the recognition, judgement, revision and evaluation of students' cultural capital in a subfield of exchange (Bourdieu, 1990). The study developed the theory of assessment for learning as a field of exchange incorporating an online system as a teaching and assessment model. The term efield has been coined to describe this particular capital exchange model.

A quasi-ethnographic approach was used to develop a collective case study (Stake, 1995). This case study involved an in-depth exploration of five students' forms of cultural capital and the ways in which this capital could be assessed and exchanged using the efield model. A comparative analysis of the five cases was conducted to identify the emergent issues of students' recognisable cultural capital resources and the processes of exchange that can be facilitated to acquire legitimate credentials for these students in the Australian field of education. The participants in the study were young people at two EREAFLC schools aged between 12 and 18 years. Data was collected through interviews, observations and examination of documents made available by the EREAFLCN. The data was coded and analysed using a theoretical framework based on Bourdieu's analytical tools and a sociocultural psychology theoretical perspective.

Findings suggest that processes based on dialogic relationships can identify and recognise students' forms of cultural capital that are frequently misrecognised in mainstream school environments. The theory of assessment for learning as a field of exchange was developed into praxis and integrated in an intervention. The efield model was found to be an effective sociocultural tool in converting and exchanging students' capital resources for legitimated cultural and symbolic capital in the field of education.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

628 since deposited on 13 Nov 2013
210 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 64434
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Klenowski, Valentina, Luke, Allan, & Brader, Andy
Keywords: alternative education, assessment, assessment for learning, capital, cultural capital, Efield, flexible learning, funds of knowledge, sociocultural psychology
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 13 Nov 2013 02:08
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2015 22:22

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page