Assessment and Culture: Examining the possibilities for embracing and extending the learning spaces for cultural connectedness

Year: 2012

Author: Klenowski, Val

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


To address the disparity that continues to exist between the highest and lowest achievers, and the deficit approaches to teaching, learning and assessment, equity issues related to fairness, validity, culture and access were analysed in a recent ARC Linkage project.  This study was a design experiment (Brown 1992; Kelly 2003), and together with related research (Luke et al. 2011), this paper explores how teachers work with Indigenous Education Workers or Indigenous Tutors to embrace cultural spaces to enact cultural connectedness in teaching, learning and assessment of Indigenous students.  The ARC Linkage project was conducted in seven Catholic and Independent primary schools in northern Queensland and involved semi-structured focus group interviews with Year 4 and 6 Indigenous students and interviews with principals, teachers and Indigenous Education Workers.  Classroom observations and document analyses were also conducted.  This corpus of data, together with research data from related studies were analysed using a sociocultural theoretical lens to identify cultural influences, funds of knowledge and values, which were supportive for teachers to enhance their pedagogic and assessment practices to embrace and extend the cultural spaces for learning and teaching of Indigenous students.  The way in which teachers constructed their interactions for greater cultural connectedness and enhanced learning appeared reliant on relationship building with Indigenous staff, with Indigenous students' cultural knowledge and improved understanding of assessment and related equity issues.


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Kelly, A. (2003). Research as design. Educational Researcher, 31(1), 3-4.

Luke, A., Cazden, C., Coopes, R., Klenowski, V., Ladwig, J., Lester, J., MacDonald, S., Phillips, J., Shield, P., Theroux, P., Tones, Villegas, M. Woods, A. (2011) A formative evaluation of the Stronger Smarter Learning Communities Project. 2011 report. SSLC Project Committee, Queensland University of Technology and Dept. of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Brisbane , Qld. & Canberra, A. C. T.