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Title: Investigating English teachers' beliefs and practices in relation to the Continuous Assessment reform in the Sultanate of Oman
Author: Al Sawafi, Omar S. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 6971
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis presents the findings of a study, which investigated the beliefs, and practices of teachers of English with regard to the Continuous Assessment (henceforth CA) reform in the assessment system in the Sultanate of Oman. The study also examined how teachers’ beliefs and other contextual factors influence the way teachers interpret and implement the CA reform. The ultimate aim of the study was to develop an understanding of the relationship between teachers’ beliefs and their actual CA practice, which as a result extends our understandings of the implementation of CA and the challenges that influence the process of implementation. The study adopted a triangulation design in which both quantitative and qualitative methods complemented each other. It started by exploring the beliefs and practices of 237 teachers of English in a questionnaire. It then explored those beliefs and practices of CA in the follow-up interviews with six working teachers of English, and through observations of specific classroom assessment practices. Finally, it probed the cognitive bases of their practices through post-observation interviews. The analysis of the data pointed to a large gap between teachers’ stated beliefs about CA and their actual assessment practices. Although in the questionnaire they generally expressed strong positive beliefs about the value of CA as an assessment approach and re-affirmed those beliefs in the follow-up interviews, they mostly showed a limited uptake of CA implementation in real practice. The study highlighted complex relationships amongst the CA reform, teachers' practices, teachers’ beliefs, and certain contextual factors. The study revealed that these contextual factors are interrelated and collectively widen the mismatch between teachers’ stated beliefs about CA and their actual practice and to the limited uptake of CA implementation. This study illustrates the value of studying the relationship between teachers’ stated beliefs and their actual practices in order to develop an understanding of the implementation of assessment reforms, what teachers do while implementing them and how their beliefs and other contextual factors influence the way they interpret and implement such major educational reforms.
Supervisor: Borg, Simon ; Lamb, Martin ; Green, Simon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available