The utility of NAPLAN for improving teaching and learning

Thesis


Jackson, Christine Jennifer 2020. The utility of NAPLAN for improving teaching and learning. Thesis https://doi.org/10.26199/0ncj-m091
AuthorsJackson, Christine Jennifer
Qualification nameMaster of Education (Research) (MEd(Res))
Abstract

Internationally, assessment and the use of diagnostic data are recognised as critical capabilities for teachers. This is not a recent development, with assessment recognized for some decades as playing a significant role in informing learning and learners (Broadfoot, 2007; Rowntree, 1987; Sadler, 1986) while also “[serving] as a communicative device between the world of education and that of the wider society” (Broadfoot & Black, 2004, p. 9). Assessment is identified as a key competency for teachers in Australia and is recognised through the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers which specifies the need for teachers at graduate level to demonstrate their capacity to interpret and use assessment data to “evaluate student learning and modify their teaching practice” (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL], 2016, p. 9). The research question for the study is What is the utility of the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) for teachers and members of the school leadership team in informing teaching and improving learning? The question will be explored using a theoretical framework that deliberately draws on the conceptualisation of assessment as a social practice (Broadfoot & Black, 2004; Elwood & Murphy, 2015), drawing also on Wenger’s (1998) social theory of learning and nature of knowledge as a shared enterprise in a community of practice. The study will explore the notion of whether teachers are seen as legitimate participants, from the viewpoint that common power relationships (school leaders and teachers) exist as part of social structures within a community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991). The term legitimate, as it is considered in light of the sociocultural notion of legitimate peripheral participation, is understood to refer to a multidimensional but interconnected system that looks at how learning occurs as one engages in the social practices of a community (Lave & Wenger, 1991). This will be examined particularly in relation to the utility of NAPLAN data to inform teaching and student learning improvement. The study will draw on school leaders’1 and teachers’ accounts of NAPLAN data as they use it for informing teaching and student learning improvement. Data analysed in this study, specifically interview data, were collected in an ARC 2011-20142 grant. The analysis of the interview data is original, that is, these data have not been examined previously in the context of school leaders’ and teachers’ perspectives. The aim of this study is to provide an analysis of both school leaders’ and teachers’ accounts that looks to analogous and different perspectives of NAPLAN and the subsequent use of these data, through an examination of the differences and consistencies within each group and across both groups. The exploration of accounts will “reproduce and rearticulate cultural particulars grounded in given patterns of social organisation” (Silverman, 1993, p. 105), reflecting on school leaders’ and teachers’ accounts of access to and use of data. The study is set against the ‘Global Education Reform Movement’ (Sahlberg, 2011), acknowledging experiences from the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK) of the dependency on large-scale standardised testing to inform education policy and system evaluation and decisions (Darling-Hammond & Adamson, 2014). Scholarly literature, relevant Australian policy documents and school leaders’ and teachers’ accounts are explored to understand whether initial goals of large-scale standardised literacy and numeracy testing have been sustained and alternatively, if they have changed over time. Of interest are the official purposes of NAPLAN testing, reported benefits or evidence of improvement that have come as a result, and how the testing program connects with the original policy intent. An examination of the research literature and reported NAPLAN data will be explored to identify what is currently known about opportunities for using NAPLAN data for improving learning and informing teaching and reported barriers to data use.

Year2020
PublisherACU Research Bank
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26199/0ncj-m091
Research GroupInstitute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE)
Publisher's version
Publication dates28 Jan 2020
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/85zq7/the-utility-of-naplan-for-improving-teaching-and-learning

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