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Title: Key Stage 2 teacher assessment of writing : exploring aspects of validity
Author: Clarkson, R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 9352 5454
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis presents an exploration of aspects of the validity and reliability of the current teacher assessment of writing at the end of Key Stage 2, in England. By focusing on statutory curriculum and assessment documents and guidance materials for teachers, and by investigating the views and practices of teachers, this research aims to contribute to knowledge of the underlying constructs of writing and understandings of writing achievement and explore how these may affect the assessment. Utilising key theoretical thinking from research on summative assessment and writing development, writing assessment will be considered under a wider lens that encompasses both cognitive and sociocultural perspectives. The research utilises data from content and thematic analysis of the National Curriculum Programme of Study in English (2013), the 2017 teacher assessment writing framework and the exemplification materials. Interviews with 10 Year 6 teachers and observations of them carrying out assessment on pieces of written work using a think-aloud protocol were conducted. Interview questions relating to what teachers believed signified writing achievement, the teaching of writing in their schools and their approach to assessment were analysed using both deductive and inductive coding methods. Deductive coding based on Ivanic’s six discourses of writing was used to look at areas of conflict and agreement between the perspectives presented in the documents and those of teachers. Inductive coding was used to explore teachers’ approaches to the assessment. The analysis of the documents showed that a skills discourse construct of writing achievement predominates in the writing programme of study and the assessment framework; however, this is at odds with the exemplification materials and the views of teachers. The research also found that teachers’ constructs of writing achievement were varied and that they seemed to be working with multiple constructs – assessment, pedagogical and personal. Teachers valued different qualities in writing and had different degrees and areas of conflict with the documents. Assessment practices and approaches also varied between, and even within, schools. The findings support earlier research that has shown teachers in conflict with statutory national curricula and assessment. It also supports studies that have drawn out teachers’ concepts of writing as varied and multi-layered, and those projects that have demonstrated the varying practices of assessment. The study is significant in offering an insight into the conflicting concepts of writing achievement and how these may affect the assessment of writing. It also provides insights into the differing practices and approaches to assessment. The findings highlight some threats to the validity, particularly construct validity, and the reliability, especially in terms of generalisability, of the KS2 teacher assessment of writing.
Supervisor: Myhill, D. ; Jones, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: writing assessment ; discourses ; KS2 ; alignment ; teacher assessment