An Investigation of Three Greek Mathematics Teachers’ Conceptions of the Assessment of Pupil Attainment in Mathematics and its Socio-political Dimension
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
In order to allow time for papers drawing on my thesis to be published.
The present study is located within a broader problematic of how inequality is generated and legitimated within schools. It has as its centre of focus three Greek mathematics teachers who are seen as mediating forces between state curricular intentions and the learners. Having social justice as my primary motive for conducting this thesis research, I use the critical theoretic research paradigm as a guiding framework in order to investigate the teachers’ conceptions of the socio-political dimension of the assessment of pupil attainment in mathematics. Through an analysis of the socio-political role of educational assessment I argue that the investigated issue may be considered as a privileged window that can provide a broad perspective from which I can observe how the participants of this study are positioned with respect to the role of mathematics education in the reproduction of unequal class relations. To obtain answers to my assessment-related research questions, through a series of interviews I examine the teachers’ theoretical positions but in addition to that I observe their classroom cultures in the formation of which they play a protagonistic role. Through the teachers’ discourses and their annotated actions, I try to uncover the ways they respond to the contradictions and the dilemmas that might be posed to them by the given educational reality, as well as the tensions they might experience whenever they perceive the incompatibility of what they espouse and what they can achieve. Moving beyond the cognitive and psychological approaches that characterise most of research literature on teacher beliefs into the realm of ideology critique, I use Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis to depict teacher discourses as parts of social practices that are conditioned by social-historical factors and try to show what reproductive effects these discourses can have on social structures, sustaining them or contributing to their transformation.
Doctor of Education in Mathematics Education