Developing teacher formative assessment practices through professional dialogue: Case studies of practice from Queensland, Australia

Willis, Jill & Adie, Lenore (2016) Developing teacher formative assessment practices through professional dialogue: Case studies of practice from Queensland, Australia. In 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, 8-12 April 2016, Washington, DC.


A new national curriculum and standards-referenced assessment in Australia is enabling teachers to revisit formative assessment as a philosophy of interconnected pedagogic, curriculum and assessment practices through which students make meaning about their learning. This research investigated how Australian teachers made meaning of the new national assessment standards, as a prerequisite for the formative assessment practice of sharing expected standards with students in responsive ways that respect their diversity as learners. Formative assessment involves teachers and students recontextualising vertical discourses of official or schooled knowledge, and horizontal discourses of local knowledge that are “context dependent and specific, tacit, multi-layered” (Bernstein, 1999, p. 159). This research examined how teachers recontextualised new assessment standards by annotating exemplars to inform their planning prior to teaching. Data were collected through audio recording professional dialogues and interviews with teachers in five Queensland schools. Thematic analysis incorporated Bernstein’s (1999, 2000) concept of recontextualising to understand how teachers navigated between vertical and horizontal assessment discourses. Teachers needed to develop shared understandings of assessment standards grounded in student performances before their teaching commenced. Findings indicate that opportunities for facilitated professional dialogue need to be incorporated as an aspect of professional practice as teachers develop shared understandings of a) the policy context in which they work and b) the processes and practices that will include students in democratic processes of knowledge production and meaning making.

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ID Code: 98412
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Assessment policy, Assessment principles, Secondary assessment
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Education Assessment and Evaluation (130303)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 [Please consult the author]
Deposited On: 28 Aug 2016 22:41
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2016 18:10

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