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Development for assessment quality:. an education management perspective on Vygotsky. Nalize Marais Department of Education Management, School of Education University of the Free State Bloemfontein South Africa [email protected] I NTRODUCTION.

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Development for assessment quality:

an education management perspective on Vygotsky

Nalize Marais

Department of Education Management,

School of Education

University of the Free State

Bloemfontein

South Africa

[email protected]

University of the Free State

South Africa


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INTRODUCTION

“It is through others that we become ourselves – therefore, the only good kind of instruction is that which marches ahead of development and leads it.”

- Lev Vygotsky

University of the Free State

South Africa


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Development of

learning abilities

INTRODUCTION

Vygotsky

TRUE education

Not mere learning

of knowledge

and skills

University of the Free State

South Africa


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PROBLEM STATEMENT

Education development:

Influenced by international pursuit for quality

  • SA restructured the education system

  • Introduced OBE

  • Aligning SA education with recent quality

  • notion

University of the Free State

South Africa


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PROBLEM STATEMENT

The following media reports are evident of the problems

that are encountered in South African schools:

University of the Free State

South Africa


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PROBLEM STATEMENT

  • Quality teaching and learning in the Foundation Phase (6 – 10 years) phase forms the basis of all further education

  • assessment practices need to be developed with the prospect of improving the quality of teaching and learning

  • Vygotsky mentions "the other” through whom we can “become ourselves” .

Relationship between quality and Vygotsky?

Who is “the other” through whom the development has to take place?

University of the Free State

South Africa


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PROBLEM STATEMENT

Vygotsky’slearning mediator

Who facilitates progression:

Zone of Proximal development

Assessment leader to facilitate staff development

Quality:

demands continuous improvement (development)

Who is to mediate the improvement of assessment in the school?

What is expected from the principal as assessment leader?

PRINCIPAL

University of the Free State

South Africa


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PROBLEMSTATEMENT

Quality of education

MEDIATOR

  • The Draft Assessment Policy (DoE, 1998: 16) and the National Protocol on Assessment (DoE, 2005: 5) recognises the role-players that should be involved in classroom assessment, but does not assign the task of assessment leadership to any of them.

the “principal’s” contribution to ensure constant improvement

University of the Free State

South Africa


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POINT OF DEPARTURE

Vygotsky’s theories

on human learning and development

IMPLICATIONS

  • Processes by which individuals grow

  • Apply to the institutionalized education system

QUALITY PARADIGM

Continuous improvement of quality

Determined by customers

Org’s select processes which enables people to achieve the best

University of the Free State

South Africa


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POINT OF DEPARTURE

  • Quality paradigm can be translated into Vygotsky’s view on guidance towards learning:

    ”The person interacting with the learner, assumes most of the responsibility for guiding the problem solving, but gradually transfers this responsibility to the learner”.

Analogy to Vygotsky’s theory:

Growth/development through “others”/mediators by gradually enabling the person to become fully accountable

University of the Free State

South Africa


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POINT OF DEPARTURE

A parallel to Vygotsky’s theory of proximal development becomes valuable if applied to:

Leadership (mediation) towards quality (the Zone of Proximal development) in education

“cognitive skills and patterns of thinking are not primarily determined by innate factors, but are products of the activities practiced in the institutions in which the individual learns and continuously develops to reach a “zone of proximal development” (Rozycki and Goldfarb, 2000)

The theory of proximal development supports a

theory of mediation to enhance development

University of the Free State

South Africa


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IMPROVING ASSESSMENT IN SA SCHOOLS

  • Frustration among teachers

  • Implementation of outcomes-based assessment contained a devastating indictment of training, support and guidance

  • 63.78% of South African teachers regard their skills and knowledge of assessment as insufficient implying that a need for improvement is necessary.

University of the Free State

South Africa


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After 2002

86.96%

(19.35% of the sample)

IMPROVING ASSESSMENT IN SA SCHOOLS

  • The figure below portrays a descriptive analysis of the data concerning the attendance of workshops presented by the Department of Education on assessment for FP teachers

  • Supports the indictment on the unsatisfactory status of training in outcomes-based assessment

Before/during

2002

 13.04%

(3.54 % of the sample)

After 2002

 86.96%

(19.35% of the sample)

University of the Free State

South Africa


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IMPROVING ASSESSMENT IN SA SCHOOLS

FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM IN SA SCHOOLS

Changes in teaching practices

Lack in skills due to shortage in training

Discontent: the result of OBE

QUALITY PARADIGM

Leaders/managers should create opportunities for staff development - continuously improve assessment skills

University of the Free State

South Africa


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PURPOSE

This study primarily focuses on:

University of the Free State

South Africa


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RESEARCH DESIGN

Research Instrument

Questionnaire

  • Developed by researcher

  • Based on principles of quality, management and assessment

Section A

  • Demographic information

Section B

  • Teachers’ needs in terms of guidance and leadership in the school

Section C

  • Teachers’ assessment abilities

  • formative assessment, co-operative learning, problem-solving; appropriate tasks for assessing learners’ ability to analyse; methods to assess learners’ reasoning skills; authentic assessment; and grading scales

Section D

  • Open ended question: Teachers’ expectations regarding the principal’s assessment leadership

University of the Free State

South Africa


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RESEARCH DESIGN

Sampling

  • n = 332 (N = 4365 )

  • Female teachers in FP in Free State

  • disproportionate stratified sampling

  • Each stratum was large enough to secure adequate confidence levels and an error range estimate for individual strata

  • The respondents depict a practical representation of the foundation phase educator population (urban = 42.77%, township = 40.88% and rural = 16.53%), as there are more educators in urban and township areas, than in rural schools in the Free State.

University of the Free State

South Africa


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RESEARCH DESIGN

  • Items on development and leadership needs revealed a

    Cronbach Alpha coefficient of 0.8859,

  • Teachers’ expectations of their principals’ leadership has a Cronbach Alpha coefficient of 0.8607.

  • The variables concerning the principals’ empowerment actions revealed a Cronbach Alpha reliability coefficient of 0.9777

Reliability

External validity: the population of foundation phase educators in the Free State rightfully represents gender and location as fundamental strata of the target group,

Content validity: investigative questions had been guided by a grounded study on assessment and quality in education

Validity

University of the Free State

South Africa


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FINDINGS

Objective 1

The effect of the principals’ development activities on the teachers’ assessment skills

  • Frequency staff development in schools

  • The influence of staff development in schools on foundation phase

  • teachers’ assessment competence (t-test)

University of the Free State

South Africa


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Frequency of Staff Development in SA schools

University of the Free State

South Africa


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The influence of staff development in schools on teachers’ assessment competence

95% significant (p < 0,05): *

99% significant (p < 0,01): **

University of the Free State

South Africa


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Interpretation

Staff development that are focused on the development of assessment skills

Staff development results in noticeable improvement in assessment practices in our school

Teachers who indicated that they had been exposed to regular

assessment development activities initiated by the principal had a

noticeable improvement on assessment practices in their schools,

scored significantly higher in the assessment test.

t-value: 2.0282

t-value: 2.576

  • Critical t-values

  • 1.960 (p = 0.05)

  • 2.576 (p = 0.01)

  • (Cooper & Schindler, 2006: 672)

University of the Free State

South Africa


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Interpretation

  • The observed t-value of 2.8496 is higher than the critical t-value (2.576, p = 0.01) (Cooper and Schindler, 2006:672)

  • Reveals that staff development that takes place in the school, is a possible solution to improve teachers’ assessment competencies

  • The latter confirms that development in the school seems to be the most plausible method for continuously improving the assessment quality in classrooms

  • Could relieve their assessment frustration

When development within the school becomes a possible

solution, it implicates that the principal becomes an important role player in the process of teacher empowerment:

the necessity of the principal as learning mediator to satisfy the needs of the teaching staff (primary customers of the principal)

University of the Free State

South Africa


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Objective 2

Foundation phase teachers’ expectations regarding their school leaders’ contribution towards improving their assessment skills

  • A simple linear regression was used to reveal the relationship between the principal’s staff development actions and the perceived continuous improvement of assessment practices.

  • The perceived improvement of the teachers’ assessment practices as a result of development activities initiated within the school was measured by a Likert-scale.

University of the Free State

South Africa


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The relationship between the principal’s empowerment actions and perceived improvement of assessment practices (Pearson’s Test)

University of the Free State

South Africa


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Interpretation

  • The strength of a linear relationship is measured by the Pearson correlation coefficient (r)

  • The significance of the Pearson correlation coefficient may be determined by the t-value and the degrees of freedom

  • If the computed (observed) t-value is higher than the critical t-value (t = 2.576, p<0.01) the researcher may conclude that the correlation (relationship) is significant.

  • (Cooper & Schindler, 2006)

The computed t-values are significantly higher than the critical value (t = 2.576)

Implication:

correlations are significant beyond a 99% confidence level

University of the Free State

South Africa


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Interpretation

  • The strongest relationship is illustrated by r=0.5543 (p < 0.01), which indicates the relationship between the teachers’ perceptions of the improvement of their assessment practices and the principal who creates opportunities for staff development regarding assessment.

Strong linear relationships indicate that where the principal plays a decisive role in guiding and supporting the teachers, the teachers feel that it contributed to their improvement of their assessment skills and consequently to the quality of their assessment practices

University of the Free State

South Africa


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The relationship between the principal’s empowerment actions and perceived improvement of assessment practices (Pearson’s Test)

Continuous improvement of assessment practices

The principal creates opportunities for staff development

regarding assessment

University of the Free State

South Africa


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Interpretation

The items which exposed the strongest correlations with the perceived continuous improvement of assessment practices where:

  • the principal creates opportunities for staff development regarding assessment

    (r = 0.5543, p < 0.01);

  • the principal plays a fundamental role in the assessment practices of your school

    (r = 0.5016, p < 0.01);

  • the principal creates a culture for quality

    assessment practices in the school (r = 0.5008, p < 0.01);

  • the principal creates a culture for continuous improvement of teachers’ assessment skills by communicating quality principles

    (r = 0.4891, p < 0.01); and

  • the principal provides for easy implementation of the assessment policy (r = 0.4675, p < 0.01).

University of the Free State

South Africa


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QUALITATIVE FINDINGS

Qualitative findings on the teachers’ expectations of their leaders towards the improvement of their assessment skills

Qualitative data

teachers’ expectations of principal as leader / learning mediator

“under the skin”

These qualitative statements provided insight into the needs of teachers (to provide customer satisfaction) and confirmed the findings from the empirical investigation.

University of the Free State

South Africa


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Qualitative findings

  • Creating a culture for development and improvement

  • “Principals should create opportunities for development.”

  • “Principals should design assessment policies for their schools

  • Monitoring and control

  • “The principal must see to it that learners are effectively

    assessed – does the type of assessment that has a purpose?”

  • The principal should monitor assessment to ensure that it is

    done correctly in the respective classes.”

  • “He/she must ensure that the types of assessment which are

    applied fit the purpose.”

  • “It is the principals’ responsibility to ensure that assessment in

    the school measures up to a set standard, and that it is linked

    with the critical outcomes in the OBE system.”

University of the Free State

South Africa


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Qualitative findings

  • Guidance and support

  • ”The principal should clarify guidelines in the Assessment Policy

    and inform teachers of changes.”

  • “The principal should take supportive, as well as corrective

    actions.”

  • Teacher involvement

  • “He should be the one who encourages teachers to work and

    plan together and help one another.”

  • “Principals should be actively involved in the assessment of

    learners by having regular meetings with educators at grade level

    and decide on what is to be considered in assessment.”

University of the Free State

South Africa


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RECOMMENDATIONS

Objective 1: The effect of the principals’ development activities on the teachers’ assessment skills

  • The quantitative analysis revealed that principals play a decisive role in the quality of assessment practices in schools, they should be trained / empowered for their task as assessment leader.

  • The latter necessitates that the Department of Education should investigate the assessment needs of both teachers and principals – the development of assessment leadership should be a priority at provincial planning level.

Objective 2: Foundation phase teachers’ expectations regarding their school leaders’ contribution towards improving their assessment skills

  • School leaders need to determine the assessment needs of the teachers with regard to policy interpretation, clarification of terms, changes in classroom assessment practices and the construction of reliable assessment instruments in order to conduct staff development activities to optimalise teachers’ assessment competencies;

University of the Free State

South Africa


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CONCLUSION

Vygotsky’sconstructivistic learning theories

Every individual are in need of a learning mediator who provides opportunities to develop beyond capability and construct new meaning to existing knowledge and skills.

Continuous development, facilitated by a learning mediator enables individuals to develop proximally

Continuous improvement of assessment skills would enable foundation phase educators to improve the quality of their teaching and assessment practices

University of the Free State

South Africa


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