The impact of NCEA through the eyes of secondary level ESL teachers in Dunedin
Since 2002, secondary level English as a Second Language (ESL) education in New Zealand has existed and operated within the assessment framework that is the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). This thesis examines the impact that this framework has had upon the domain of ESL education from the perspective of nine ESL teachers working at eight secondary schools in Dunedin, New Zealand. A review of Current NCEA-related academic literature, as well as of other public sources, reveals the implementation of NCEA to be a highly contentious issue, with far-reaching ramifications. The data for this thesis was collected via recorded oral interviews where participants were asked a series of open-ended questions. With no literary precedent to provide any specific categories or direction for analysis, transcriptions from these interviews were analysed via a grounded theory approach, whereby categories were built out of the themes of discussion that each of the participants revealed in their responses. Transcripts were then compared to one another so as to determine if any common themes existed. These subsequent dominant categories in turn became the major reference points for discussion and comparison to NCEA-related literature. The dominant categories that arose were as follows: • the comparative pros and cons of NCEA and IELTS • the high cost of NCEA and the question of its international credibility • co-operation between English and ESL departments • the status of secondary ESL • ESL teacher and student workloads • the impact of NZQA's use of the Internet to update NCEA standards assessment under NCEA • whether or not conditions under NCEA encourage student effort towards academic excellence • the impact of NCEA upon the practice of teaching ESL. The findings of this study in many ways echoed those of the literature review that preceded them: NCEA is an extremely contentious issue, with far-reaching ramifications. Some ESL teachers praised NCEA for setting more realistic assessment criteria, providing them with structure and, in part, serving as a catalyst for increased English and ESL departmental co-operation and the raising of the academic status of ESL. Many teachers however, claimed that NCEA has adversely impacted ESL education by lowering standards, failing to adequately prepare ESL students for tertiary education, encouraging students to do less rather than more, and cultivating a logistical quagmire of assessment and record keeping. This thesis has taken another step forward in illuminating the impact of NCEA upon secondary education in New Zealand, and provides a useful starting point for further research, especially into ESL education at secondary level in New Zealand.
Advisor: Stracke, Elke
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: English
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis
116 leaves ; 30 cm. Includes bibliography. University of Otago department: English. "July 2006."