Promoting inclusive education : a case study of assessment in two rural schools

Hamilton, Joanne (2003-12)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--University of Stellenbosch, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: An outcomes-based education (OBE) approach was introduced into South African schools in 1998 in order to align education with the democratic values of the new government. The transition to OBE has not been an easy process for many stakeholders. Teachers, in particular, have had to review their own philosophies and practices of teaching and learning. This paradigm shift required by OBE was, however, underestimated in teacher training. The recent addition of an inclusive education approach may arguably be seen as a natural, anticipated extension of the transformation of South African education. This is stated because the principles and practices of inclusion are endorsed and actualised by OBE and the Constitution of South Africa. Based on this inference, this research study explores how assessment, an integral part of the teaching and learning process, can contribute towards the promotion of inclusive education. The research was conducted at two rural mainstream primary schools near Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. The research methodology was based on the principles and beliefs of the qualitative paradigm as this study explored the teachers' constructed realities and experiences of assessment in OBE and inclusive education. A case study research method was employed in order to produce 'thick' descriptions and contextualised interpretations of their constructions. Following Creswell's (1994) dominant-less dominant design model, the data in the study was produced via both qualitative and quantitative research methods. A selfadministered questionnaire consisting of closed-ended and open-ended questions was given to all of the teachers at both schools to enable an initial inquiry into the area of research interest. The responses to the closed-ended statements produced the quantitative data in the research study and the responses to the open-ended questions formed part of the qualitative data. Following an analysis of the data produced, two volunteer teachers at each school were then interviewed to gain further insight and clarification. The qualitative and quantitative data produced in each case study were first analysed separately (within case analysis) and then compared and combined in a cross-case 'study analysis. This approach enabled a thorough understanding of the research question and the production of quality research. The findings of the research indicate that, although the teachers in the case studies do not see a connection between assessment and inclusion, their assessment practices and principles do contribute towards the promotion of inclusive education. The research found that assessment in OBE has encouraged these teachers to view their learners as individuals with different abilities and needs. Consequently, some of the teachers have adjusted and modified their assessment methods to accommodate these factors. It was also found that not all of the teachers seem to have made a paradigm shift required by OBE. This lack of internalised understanding might contribute towards the confusion, insecurity and skepticism reported by some teachers with regards to assessment and inclusive education. Due to the importance of a paradigm shift in OBE and inclusive education, it is strongly recommended that teachers receive the necessary assistance and training that engenders this transition.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: 'n Uitkomsgebaseerde onderwys (UGO) benadering is in 1998 in Suid-Afrikaanse skole bekendgestel ten einde onderwys in lyn te bring met die demokratiese waardes van die nuwe regering. Die oorgang na UGO was vir menige rolspelers nie 'n maklike proses nie. Veral onderwysers moes hulle filosofie en praktyke rondom onderrig en leer hersien. Hierdie paradigmaskuif, wat 'n vereiste vir UGO is, word in onderwyseropleidingsprograrnme onderskat. Die onlangse toevoeging van 'n inklusiewe onderwys benadering mag moontlik gesien word as 'n natuurlike, geantisipeerde verlenging van die verandering in Suid- Afrikaanse onderwys. Dit word genoem omdat die beginsels en praktyke van inklusiewe onderwys deur UGO en die konstitusie van Suid-Afrika onderskryf en geaktualiseer word. Op grond van hierdie aanname, ondersoek hierdie navorsingsprojek hoe assessering as 'n integrale deel van die onderring en die leerproses kan bydra tot die bevordering van inklusiewe onderwys. Die navorsing is by twee landelike, hoofstroom primêre skole naby Stellenbosch in die Wes- Kaap geloods. Die navorsingsmetodologie is gebaseer op die beginsels en praktyke van kwalitatiewe navorsing, aangesien die studie onderwysers se vertolking van die werklikheid en ervarings van assessering in UGO en inklusiewe onderwys ondersoek. 'n Gevallestudie as navorsingsmetode is gebruik om gedetailleerde, presiese beskrywings en gekontekstualiseerde interpretasies van die betrokke onderwysers se belewenisse te lewer. Deur Creswell (1994) se 'dominant-less dominant design model' as riglyn te gebruik is data van hierdie studie op beide 'n kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe navorsingsmetode geproduseer. 'n Vraelys wat geslote- en oop-einde vrae bevat het en self deur alle onderwysers van beide skole voltooi is, is gebruik om die aanvanklike narvorsingsbelange te identifiseer. Kwalitatiewe narvorsingsdata is verkry deur die response wat gelewer is op oop-einde vrae en kwantitatiewe data is geproduseer deur middle van die geslote-einde vrae. Na 'n analise van die data is onderhoude met twee vrywillige onderwysers van beide skole gevoer om meer inligting en duidelikheid te verkry. Die kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe data wat geproduseer is, is eers afsonderlik geïnterpreteer en daarna in 'n kruis-gevallestudie analise vergelyk en gekombineer. Hierdie benadering het tot deeglik, deurdagte insigte rakende die navorsingsvraag en die daarstel van kwaliteit navorsing, gelei. Die narvorsingsbevindinge het getoon dat, alhoewel die onderwysers wat betrokke was by die gevallestudies nie 'n verband kon sien tussen assessering en inklusiewe onderwys nie, het hulle assesseringspraktyke en -beginsels wel 'n bydrae gelewer tot die bevordering van inklusiewe onderwys. Die navorsing het bevind dat assessering in UGO die onderwysers aangemoedig het om hulle leerders as individue met unieke vermoëns en behoeftes te sien. Gevolglik het sommige onderwysers aanpassings en veranderings In hulle assesseringsmetodes gemaak om hierdie faktore te akkommodeer. Daar is ook bevind dat nie al die onderwysers die paradigmaskuif wat UGO vereis, gemaak het nie. 'n Onvermoë om die beginsels van UGO te internaliseer mag moontlik bydra tot die verwarring, onsekerheid en skeptisisme oor assessering en inklusiewe onderwys wat deur sommige van die onderwysers gerapporteer is. Weens die belangrikheid van 'n paradigmaskuif in UGO en inklusiewe onderwys, word daar ten sterkste aanbeveel dat onderwysers die nodige ondersteuning en opleiding ontvang om hierdie oorgang te bewerkstellig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53562
This item appears in the following collections: