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For, With, By: Researchers and Teachers CREOLE, City of Bristol College & CfBT Education Trust Contextually Situated Research as a Driver Informing Policy,

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Presentation on theme: "For, With, By: Researchers and Teachers CREOLE, City of Bristol College & CfBT Education Trust Contextually Situated Research as a Driver Informing Policy,"— Presentation transcript:

1 For, With, By: Researchers and Teachers CREOLE, City of Bristol College & CfBT Education Trust Contextually Situated Research as a Driver Informing Policy, Practice & Theory Professor Pauline Rea-Dickins

2 Overview of Presentation Introduce the research: SPINE Stakeholder involvement & partnerships Research drivers, including the stakes & consequences: real world problems Some empirical findings from triangulated studies Some conclusions 2

3 3 What is SPINE? Student Performance in National Examinations: the dynamics of language in school achievement (SPINE) (ESRC/DfID RES ) Bristol team: Pauline Rea-Dickins, Guoxing Yu, Oksana Afitska, Rosamund Sutherland, Federica Olivero, Sibel Erduran, Neil Ingram, Harvey Goldstein Zanzibar team: Zuleikha Khamis, Abdulla Mohammed, Amour Khamis, Mohammed Abeid, Shumbana Said, Haji Mwevura

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5 Research Planning, Advisory Group Meetings Partnership Planning for the research Ministry of Education & Vocational Training SMT Members – Advisory Group National Launch c. twice yearly updates of key findings Discussion of research communication strategies/dissemination Channels for interaction, n.b. Znz Research Team 5

6 Why is MoEVT Interested? Supportive? Previous work by Bristol Institutional links and respect (e.g. doctoral training) Levels of achievement at end of Basic Education alarmingly low Interest in SPINE: Evidence of policy changes English as MoI to be brought in earlier at primary (std4) but commitment to raising children bilingually SUZA: universities do research 6

7 International Research Initiatives & Policy Decisions Examinations in English: high stakes real world problem Accommodations for ELL in US (e.g. Work of Abedi; Bailey & Butler; Rivera et al) Teaching & learning of Science and Maths through English: reversal of policy in Malaysia (see also Lan, 2010) Sri Lanka: at O and A level – students are using 2 languages to study & not compulsory to sit the exam in EL2: they can choose (Punch, 2009) 7

8 Policy Issues: The Stakes & the Consequences in SSA Sub-Sahara Africa: what is the impact of an unfamiliar language on learning progression & education outcomes? Research focus in sub-Saharan Africa more on classroom interactions & subject learning with less attention for the formal examining of this subject knowledge Examining: Formal examinations at end of 2 nd year of secondary in English > 50% of school aged children leave school at the end of Basic Education as unsuccessful learners: what does the evidence say? 8

9 Theory-focused Issues: Applied Linguistics L2 academic language development across school subjects Working bilingually in the classroom Monolingual (L1) examining Negotiating double constructs in examinations NS-orientation in examining; prescriptive vs supportive assessment modalities 9

10 10 SPINE: theoretical issues - assessment How valid: is the dominant view of assessment as quality measurement model vs. a supportive & context sensitive model (e.g. Pollitt & Ahmed 2009) + dynamic assessment research (Poehner 2008; Poehner & Rea-Dickins 2010) is the role of a dominant world language in LTA processes are current constructs, e.g. that assume NS norms, and monolingual performance as the normal context for language use

11 11 SPINE: EXEMPLAR FINDINGS (STUDY 5.1) What are the four things that man could resemble whales? 45 students took this item: –35.6% = no answer –26.7% = wrong answer –28.9% = partially correct answer – 8.8% = correct answer

12 12 Int: D1 – No response to Q3 explains (STUDY 5.1) D1:because I did not understand by this … this … resemble (lines ) Int:If I tell you that resemble means to look like … can you do the question now? D1:Yes Int:OK so whats the answer? D1:Man … is warm blooded … and whales also … whales have lungs and man also have lungs … ( )

13 Original Items: Summary of Findings (STUDY 5.1) Very low mean scores across subjects Student achievement lowest in Maths Significant differences in achievement across the subjects Strong correlation between English (exam + vocabulary test) & performance in other subjects Factors affecting performance from learner interviews: Not understanding the task, specific words & phrases or the meaning of tables and diagrams Partial knowledge of topic area & question type Low levels of students language proficiency 13

14 Modified Items - some findings (STUDY 5.1) Increase in student response rates Increase in accuracy of responses Correspondence between ability to provide a correct translation of task & ability to solve/provide partially correct answer Learners who had difficulty translating task generally performed poorly Evidence of linguistic factor + other factors 14

15 COURSEWORK ASSESSMENT : implementation issues (STUDY 4) Significant variability among teachers: the types of specific activities that constitute teacher assessment the number of activities from which they take marks for each month decisions on how to handle student absenteeism how to arrive at the CWA mark: some picked the one that students did better on, some picked randomly, and some averaged of all marks

16 16 Schools A-F – limited exposure to English Tests of significance: comparison of students performance across the 3 different versions and per subject (STUDY 5.3)

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18 18 Qualitative Analysis of Student Responses (STUDY 5.3) Top performing students Qn 5: Write about an animal you have studied Name of the animal: What does the animal look like? Where does the animal live? Describe how the animal eats?

19 Qualitative Analysis of Student Responses (STUDY 5.3) Top performing students Reaching potential: analysis of higher performing students (see handout) 19

20 20 Findings from National Form II Data: summary of the multilevel modelling analysis (STUDY 2) It is very clear that ENGLISH language proficiency is a significant and substantial predictor of the students performance in MATH, BIO & CHEM. But: the school-level variances explained in the cons models as well as in the models including ENGLISH as the single explanatory variable demonstrated that a substantial proportion of the variance is attributable to school factors

21 21 CONSEQUENCES: High stakes classroom assessment - the realities & impact Impact/Potential Disadvantage Consequences/Injustice Teachers do not use full range of LTA procedures & processes Use of inappropriately constructed assessment frameworks Inaccurate CWA of learners CWA implemented as a series of tests Learners not fully supported in their language & content knowledge development & fail to reach potential Test performance valued over learning Leave school with poor educational outcomes Inadequate d-base for decision making about student & learning progression

22 22 Enhancing Learning & Social Justice Impact/Potential Disadvantage (examples) Consequences/Injustice: (examples) Learners do not engage or respond poorly in examinations Subject area (e.g. Biology, maths) construct can only be assessed where a linguistic construct has been successfully negotiated Loss of self-esteem & motivation for learning Learners fail to reach their potential (glass ceiling effect) or fail altogether Leave school as unsuccessful (e.g. at end of Basic Education) Unequal access to available resources, educational experiences & work opportunities Unskilled & unable to join the workforce in turn contributing to social & economic deprivation

23 Research Evidence as Driver for Change? For Awareness Raising? (1) For policy: Potential through partnership: SUZA, MoEVT Triangulated evidence, progressively focused studies All learners affected, not only lower achieving learners For professional practice Stakeholder engagement with findings e.g. through workshops For community Through media, e.g. Kiswahili press 23

24 Research Evidence as Driver for Change? For Awareness Raising? (2) For Language Testing and Assessment Community/International Examining Boards What evidence is there of the impact of research findings such these on actual testing and assessment policies and practices? (e.g. Shohamy) Time to overthrow the dominant & unquestioned role that EL1 has in many examining contexts: time for a coup! Time to reconceptualise constructs: NS orientations Investigate supportive & context sensitive approaches to assessment 24

25 Research Evidence as Driver for Change? For Awareness Raising? (3) Where is the most impact likely? –For policy? –For professional practice? –For community? –For LTA/Applied Linguistics community –For International Examining boards? Where do partnership strengths lie? 25

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