Exploring notions of assessment through three vocational education sites in the Western Cape
Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: With the coming of a new education and training dispensation in 1994 came the idea that equal opportunities for all learners could be created within different learning institutions - via the creation of new institutional and qualifications framework - and in so doing encourage equal opportunities through proper articulation, portability, and mobility within the different phases of the various education bands. As education and training provision and learning is complexly intertwined with its appraisal, assessment was regarded as one of the main processes to find out whether learning had taken place, on the goal and quality of that learning, as well as pointing to the kinds of ways in which teaching and learning could be further improved. In my study I focused on how educators and trainers within the differentiated Further Education and Training (FET) Band spoke about and understood assessment, with the aim of the study being to analyse how assessment is understood in three different sites of provision within the FET band. The main goal was to better understand challenges at the ground level of policy implementation. A further goal was to explore some of the ways in which the role and function of assessment in our contemporary society was understood, and whether, in its present formulation, it served the purposes that much of the policies and reform statements claimed. The study’s main claim is that educators and trainers in the FET Band in South Africa mainly experience assessment processes, criteria, and frameworks as a form of jargon, and that they translate ‘the jargon’ into ‘judgements of value’ about learning and knowledge that lead to quite different approaches being followed at different sites. It is argued that this scenario would be acceptable in terms of different work settings - producing different kinds of skills for the economy- were it not that the education and training infrastructure in South Africa remains perhaps too preoccupied with achieving a principle of similarity across the FET Band.