hig.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
New Regimes of Assessment, Grading and Accountability: Analysing Reform-based Dilemmas in Educational Settings
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Educational Sciences, Curriculum studies. (Forskargruppen Induction)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5592-2964
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Educational Sciences, Curriculum studies. (Forskargruppen Induction)
2011 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper is based on a meta-analysis of earlier research relating to how the last decade’s reforms in Sweden concerning national tests, earlier grading and an increased focus on criterion-referenced grading changes the prerequisites for teachers’ work and their professional development, identity and relations, and, more specifically, how such reforms lead to dilemmas that affect their everyday work. Ironically, rather than solving a certain kind of problem or dilemma, inconsiderate political proposals and “easy-fix” whims at policy level that are not always applicable to teachers’ work sometimes cause new dilemmas (cf. Biesta, 2007; Convery, 2009; Kubler LaBoskey, 2006; Norwich, 2010). The difference between a problem and a dilemma is that the former can be solved to satisfaction, whereas the latter cannot be satisfactorily solved but leaves some kind of reminder (Denicolo, 1996; Berlak & Berlak, 1981).

The theoretical framework draws on the concept of dilemmatic space and aims to offer a more complex understanding of dilemmas and their positioning and relations (cf. Honig, 1996). Approaching educational settings through the lens of dilemmatic space implies always considering teachers’ work in relation to the dynamics of individual, social, political and contextual factors. Seen as a wider system, the concept of dilemmatic space analytically opens additional dimensions, such as possibilities to connect the dilemmas of teachers’ everyday work with the influences, constraints and considerations of the local community and with reforms, intentions or statements at different policy levels.

We argue that dilemmas should not be regarded as specific events or situations, but as being ever present in people’s living “spaces”. That is, people do not just acknowledge dilemmas as specific situations to react to, but always “react” in relation to “dilemmatic spaces.” As a consequence, dilemmas are not “out there” per se, but are social constructions resulting from political decisions that underlie contextual conditions. The concept of dilemmatic space makes it possible to approach what individuals construe as dilemmatic. Such an analytical move also makes it possible to visualise how dilemmas emerge in a space between individuals and a specific context (Fransson & Grannäs, submitted). For teachers, it means that in their work they sometimes find themselves in dilemmatic situations that are characterised by micro-political manoeuvres and where their judgment forms the basis for relational work expressed e.g. through negotiations and the positioning of others (cf. Frelin, 2010).

In this paper we analyse how the last decade’s reforms of national tests and earlier grading and an increased focus on criterion-referenced grading in a goal-oriented approach have changed the prerequisites for teachers’ work, professional development, identity and relations.

The findings showed that educational reforms change boundaries and positions, e.g. between teachers, pupils, head teachers and parents. Criterion-referenced grading increases the power of pupils to scrutinise the grading, which then causes dilemmas for teachers as to how to find an appropriate balance between learning activities and administrative issues related to assessment and grading (Vetenskapsrådet, 2010). Furthermore, the emergence of “extremely credit-focused pupils” leads to conflicts between teachers, pupils and head teachers over non-graded school tasks (Fransson & Grannäs, forthcoming).

National tests reveal some imbalance between the grading that teachers do and national test scores (Skolverket, 2009). This leads to teachers’ professionalism being questioned and the establishment of groups of national experts to re-examine teachers’ grading. Research indicates that politicians change the assessment system to demonstrate efficiency (Lundahl, 2006). Micro political negotiations also lead to aspects other than achievement influencing the grading process (Klapp Lekholm & Cliffordson, 2008) and external pressure like this can result in grade inflation (Wikström, 2006) – all of which results in a call for teachers’ professional development.

Teachers and head teachers are thus expected to manoeuvre in dilemmatic space and deal with dilemmas like learning activities, assessment, grading, public reputation and professional autonomy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
Keyword [en]
Assessment, dilemma, dilemmatic space, teacher, national test
Keyword [sv]
Dilemma, dilemmatic space, kunskasbedömning, lärare, nationella prov
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-9985OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-9985DiVA, id: diva2:438112
Conference
The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), 13-16 september 2011, Berlin, Tyskland. Network: 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations, Session: 01 SES 06 B, Professional Learning, Assessment, and Diversity,
Projects
Didaktiska perspektiv på nya lärares professionella utveckling
Note

The results from the conference paper has been published under the title Dilemmatic spaces in educational contexts – towards a conceptual framework for dilemmas in teachers work, for further information see http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-7600.

Available from: 2011-09-01 Created: 2011-09-01 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Other links

FulltextPublished article

Authority records BETA

Fransson, GöranGrannäs, Jan

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Fransson, GöranGrannäs, Jan
By organisation
Curriculum studies
Pedagogy

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 722 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf