Examining the Assessment Opportunities for Cultural Connectedness for Student Learning : A Sociocultural Analysis
Keywords130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation
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AbstractThe disparity that exists between the highest and lowest achievers together with deficit approaches to teaching, learning and assessment raise serious equity issues related to fairness, validity, culture and access, which were analysed in a recent Australian Research Council funded project. This chapter explores the potential that exists for teachers to work with Indigenous Teacher Assistants (ITAs) to secure cultural connectedness in teaching, learning and assessment of Indigenous students. The study was a design experiment, which 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, principals, teachers and Indigenous Teacher Assistants. Classroom observations and document analyses were also conducted. This corpus of data was analysed using a sociocultural theoretical lens. The use of a sociocultural analysis helped to identify cultural influences, Indigenous students’ funds of knowledge and values. The information from this analysis was made explicit to teachers to demonstrate how they could enhance their pedagogic and assessment practices by embracing and extending the cultural spaces for learning and teaching of Indigenous students. The way in which teachers construct their interactions for greater cultural connectedness and enhanced learning would appear to rely on relationship building with Indigenous staff, Indigenous students’ cultural knowledge, and improved understanding of assessment and related equity issues.