I’ve written this post in response to ‘Tracy’s Troubles’ by jennifercolley
I haven’t met Jennifer in person but found her post interesting, and am keen to comment from the perspective of the material from Module D of Ed Foundations.
I completely agree with Jennifer when she says that the students at Tracy’s school are more likely to learn if the focus is taken off the exams and instead directed towards providing more engaging, experience-based learning activities. This view is supported by social cognition theory, which describes students as active learners whose motivation is closely linking to their self-efficacy (Churchill, 2011, p. 116).
It is possible that Tracy’s school, being new, is in the outer metropolitan areas and is traditionally in a lower-performing, lower socio-economic area. As a new school, they are concerned with promoting a good image to the local community and are putting effort into those aspects of education readily noticed by the wider public: uniforms and publicly available test results. However, if the school constantly focusses on improving standardised test scores, students are subtly being told that their current efforts are not good enough, resulting in lowered self-efficacy and lower motivation. Students who are told their results are poor are less likely to believe in their ability to succeed at other tasks.
This does raise the question ‘To whom am I accountable?’ – To parents and executive staff, who want numerical ‘proof’ that their school is successful, or to students, who deserve an education that is not only cognitively appropriate, but meets their social, emotional and motivational needs, or both?
Churchill, R. et al., (2011). Teaching: making a difference. Milton, Queensland: John Wiley & Sons.