Developing portfolio assessment in English and Mathematics: Contrasting perspectives on the implementation of professional teaching standards

Year: 2004

Author: Doecke, Brenton, Bishop, Alan, Clarke, Barbara, Prince, Nike

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Professional standards are typically the product of the deliberations of small groups of teachers who are recognised experts in their field (Petrosky, 'Insiders and Outsiders', English in Australia, July, 1998). This has been the procedure followed by the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers and the Australian Association for the Teaching of English in collaboration with the Australian Literacy Educators' Association in developing subject specific professional standards on behalf of members. However, as products of specific discursive communities, these standards remain open to critique. Are such standards inclusive or do they exclude significant numbers of teachers? Do they promote reflection and professional renewal? In significant respects, the validity of these standards still needs to be tested, especially with respect to the way teachers who were not involved in formulating the standards interpret and apply them to their own teaching. The paper draws on research over the past two years, when a number of Mathematics and English Literacy teachers showed how they interpreted and applied the standards by preparing portfolios. Those portfolios were then assessed by teachers who originally participated in formulating the professional standards. We report on the experiences of those teachers who prepared portfolios, as well as the viewpoints of those teachers who assessed them.