Literacy assessment practices: Moving from standardised to ecologically valid assessments in secondary schools
Whitehead, D. (2007). Literacy assessment practices: Moving from standardised to ecologically valid assessments in secondary schools. Language and Education, 21(5), 434-452.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3383
SSLI test protocol data revealed the dominance of 'central' literacy measures and 'local' subject-specific measures aligned to institutional requirements, curriculum and national examination content. These measures initiate secondary students into a pervasive culture of assessment that generally fails to support further learning; a culture antagonistic towards the use of assessment that reflect how expert teachers address subject-specific literacies. In a culture of content-focussed, high stakes assessment, the use of ecologically valid formative assessment that reveal what students can do with what they know, and that empower teachers to test like they teach, is marginalised. Consistent with Neisser's claim that some experimental measures may not reflect reality, the pedagogy and assessment protocols of many secondary schools fail to reflect the use of literacy and thinking tools, and so fail to reflect best evidence about teaching. Changes in school culture, teachers' pedagogical knowledge and the use of ecologically valid assessments are associated with shifts from transmission to co-construction approaches. Consistent with the work of David Corson the use of ecologically valid assessment that reflect the use of literacy and thinking tools is an inclusive, future-focussed literacy event, but the use of 'central' curriculum and institutional-linked measures is exclusive.
This article has been published in the journal: Language and Education. ©2007 D. Whitehead
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