Extending the borders of an evaluation project beyond the purposes of formative feedback and accountability: considerations of teacher confidence and competence in a curriculum change effort

Year: 2001

Author: Brooker, Ross, Macpherson, Ian

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Trialing new curricula in the Queensland secondary school context is a very formal process in which the curriculum making activity of teachers in the trial is monitored through a sponsored evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation is to provide feedback to the curriculum developers on the implementation of the new curriculum in the school context. The principal focus for the evaluation is the efficacy of the curriculum document in terms of its substance and the ability of teachers to translate it into teaching and learning programs for students. The effects of the trial process on teachers’ personal resources for curriculum making are rarely studied. In a recent two-year study of the implementation of a trial senior secondary (years 11 & 12) school curriculum in Home Economics (Brooker & Macpherson, 2001), the borders of the formal evaluation process was extended to investigate the perceptions of teachers about their competence and confidence in curriculum-making. Drawing on the analysis of data collected from 35 teachers in 24 schools over a two year period, this paper reports on how teachers perceived their levels of competence and confidence during the trial and on the factors which influenced those levels. Implications are drawn for the curriculum-making process in schools. The study reported in this paper is, therefore, an example of professional practice research which sought to go beyond the primary purpose of syllabus evaluation.