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MirandaNet Fellowship Casestudy

Membership List | Publications | Research | Specialist Area List | Braided Learning Ejournal

ICT and its Assessment

An Enquiry into the Perceptions of Year 11 Students

Pete Bradshaw

Year of posting: 2011



This study, conducted between 2006 and 2011, enquired into student perceptions of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and its assessment at aged 16. The prevailing orthodoxies amongst writers, commentators and educationalists are that the subject does not reflect the learning and use made by young people of technology. The voice of the learner, so often lauded in aspects of school democracy and in formative assessment, has not been heard in respect of the high-stakes assessment at the end of Key Stage (KS) 4 in schools in England. This research was a step in filling that void.

Taking an interpretive phenomenological approach three phases of empirical data collection were used each building on the previous ones. To bring the student perception and voice to the fore a repertory grid analysis was initially used to elicit constructs of learning and assessment directly from the students. This was followed by a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews across a sample of state-funded schools in England. The use of a multiple-phase data collection allowed phenomena to be distilled with successively more depth at each phase.

Three phenomena emerged as central to the students' views. Firstly students identified ICT as a subject that was predominantly about their future lives. They equated what they were doing in school with their perceptions of the needs of future education, employment and as a tool for life. Secondly they, in common with many commentators, saw creativity and ICT as being intrinsically linked. Thirdly their views were dominated by the culture of the school in which they were studying. The institutional habitus gave an enculturation to their perceptions which coloured everything else. Thus they valued creative and open-ended activity in the use of technology, but only where that contributed to formal, in-school, learning.

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