Master Hege Hermansen
Title of dissertation:
Knowledge work in the teaching profession: Opening up the black box of teachers' engagement with Assessment for Learning.
This article-based thesis examines knowledge work in the teaching profession in settings where teachers work collaboratively with new resources, and considers the implications of teachers' knowledge work for efforts aimed at practice development.
Teachers' engagement with Assessment for Learning (AfL) is used as an empirical case for examining knowledge work. The primary data consists of video observations of teachers who are working with assessment-related resources in three different team settings: grade level teams, subject specific teams and so called AfL project groups. The observations were conducted at three lower secondary shools and the local education authority (LEA), and were complemented by interviews with teachers, shool leaders and LEA employees.
Cultural-historical theory and social practice based perspectives inform the theoretical position and analytical framework. The empirical analysis traces how the teachers collaboratively approach and develop AfL resources, and how they support the integration of AfL practices at their respective schools. More specifically, three aspects of teachers' knowledge work with AfL are examined: 1) how teachers open up AfL for exploration and place existing practices under scrutiny; 2) how teachers develop and adapt specific AfL resources to local settings; and 3) how organisational roles and routines inform teachers' knowledge work with AfL, at the school level.
The findings identify and describe different forms of analytical and constructive work that the teachers enacted to develop their assessment practices, and address how teachers' knowledge work might provide direction for practice development and for the constitution of teachers' roles and responsibilities. The implications of these findings are discussed with reference to three areas of research: research on teacher collaboration, on assessment for learning, and on knowledge in the teaching profession.