|dc.description.abstract||This thesis addresses New Zealand’s unmet need for additional teacher professional learning opportunities in assessment. It reports on a yearlong, multi-case study involving the teachers at three New Zealand primary schools. This study investigated whether teachers, working within the National Standards context, could use their participation in social moderation to help the sector meet the need for professional learning in assessment. It asked: how and what do teachers learn about assessment through their involvement in social moderation? Drawing upon both social constructionism (Crotty, 1998) and Wenger’s (1998) social theory of learning, the study used observations, interviews, and a questionnaire to produce data about teachers’ experiences of social moderation. The analyses of these data, which utilised key elements of grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006), yielded important insights into how involvement in social moderation can strengthen teachers’ assessment capability. The study identified that teachers were able to use their participation in social moderation to improve their understandings of assessment for learning principles and practices. It also demonstrated that taking part in social moderation enabled the participating teachers to learn about factors that can affect the dependability of student assessment information. Moreover, it showed that teachers believed that involvement in social moderation had contributed positively to their assessment capability.
This study also found that the teachers at the three participating schools garnered qualitatively different learning opportunities from their experiences of social moderation. These differences were linked to a series of school-specific conditions. These conditions included the amount of time that schools committed to moderation, the types of moderation activity that teachers engaged in, and the nature of the rationale that teachers developed to sustain their involvement in moderation. These school-specific factors shaped the extent to which participation in social moderation enabled teachers to take part in the formation of a school-wide, assessment-focused community of practice. The findings from this study indicate that using involvement in social moderation to develop such a community of practice increases the likelihood that all teachers are afforded opportunities to learn about assessment. The recommendations that arise from this study are intended to help schools strengthen their social moderation processes in ways that should enable teachers to harness additional, assessment-focused professional learning opportunities.||en_NZ