Assessment for learning in design and technology: An ethnographic study in Mauritius state secondary schools
Boodhoo, C. (2018). Assessment for learning in design and technology: An ethnographic study in Mauritius state secondary schools (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12092
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12092
Research advocates that it is the teacher’s role to support learners to take the next steps in their learning. ‘Assessment for learning’, considered as a bridge between teaching and learning, not only provides teachers with multiple possibilities to enhance students’ learning, but can also transform their own practice. Despite research interest in educational assessment, teachers’ ‘assessment for learning’ behaviours and perceptions are under-researched. This study investigated Design and Technology teachers’ ‘assessment for learning’ practices in state secondary schools in Mauritius since little is known about this context. A constructivist epistemology, naturalistic interpretative perspective and an ethnographic methodology was used to understand the participants’ ‘assessment for learning’ practices in their natural settings. The study was underpinned by sociocultural theory, Foucault’s and Bourdieu’s critical theories, and Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model as theoretical frameworks. A three-stage mixed methods research design was adopted, which involved multiple methods of data collection, including questionnaires, interviews and observations along with field notes and secondary documents. The participants involved were 29 Design and Technology teachers and 16 students (14-year-olds) from schools of three educational zones. The results of this study indicate that Design and Technology teachers did not enact ‘assessment for learning’ strategies to enhance their teaching and student learning. Despite the introduction of a new curriculum and the policy initiatives of the Mauritius Ministry of Education to adopt learner-centred approaches to assessment, Design and Technology teachers focused on syllabus coverage, using traditional assessment approaches and teaching students to sit for end-of-year examinations. The findings of this study have important implications for policymakers, teacher educators, principals and Design and Technology teachers. Key implications associated with ‘assessment for learning’ include the need to develop: teacher education programmes that cover concepts and theories, and evidence of best practice; and professional learning and development programmes that complement the national curriculum, and explore the relationships between beliefs and practices and influences of contextual factors.
The University of Waikato
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