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Title: Curriculum integration and knowledge representation in practical learning environments : continuing dilemmas for physical education in Scotland
Author: Thorburn, Malcolm S.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2009
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Analysis of assessment results at national level indicated profound annual imbalances between students’ practical performance and analytical abilities (as assessed by written examination answers). Therefore, the central research question examines the reasons why there is such a marked imbalance in the attainment profile of students. The first phase of research collected evidence from 40 semi-structured teacher and group student interviews, completed in ten high schools. Results highlighted marked differences in the pedagogical practices teachers adopted when attempting to deploy practical experiential learning approaches. There were some schools where the short-term assessment pressures were determining the methodology and quality of student learning experiences. There were other schools were prescriptive assessment answers had been developed and lastly schools which were characterised by a high level of teacher expertise for practical experiential teaching. Crucially, students in these schools completed the written assessment answers in the divergent open manner expected. The second research phase tracked the development of students’ learning in six of the original ten schools, with schools being selected from each of the types of schools previously identified. Analysis of students’ assessment evidence revealed that while some schools results had improved, year-on-year improvements have proved difficult to achieve in many schools. Throughout both research phases the dominant attribution of teachers in explaining students’ under-performance was the nature of the written assessment instrument used in examinations. The third phase compared oral and written assessment procedures in order to learn more about the accuracy and authenticity of both methods of assessment. Evidence showed that while the higher levels of attainment anticipated by many teachers were not realised, there were encouraging indications that oral assessment could enhance the quality of students’ learning and assessment experience, and inform teachers’ curriculum decision-making. Major professional issues associated with teaching, learning and assessment are considered prior to reviewing how professional development opportunities for teachers could be improved.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available