09 SES 03 C, Individual Education Plans: Evaluating Practices and Perceptions
Parallel Paper Session
This study is based on an analysis of a sample of so called Individual Education Plans (IEP) from 233 Swedish students in grade five. It addresses three questions:
· What forms of knowledge and modes of learning are focuses in the EIP:s?
· How can the information in the IEP:s be interpreted in terms of its potential contribution to students’ learning and control over their learning?
· Does the potential contribution of the IEP:s to students’ learning and agency vary between schools according to the parents’ education, the proportion of students with foreign background, the proportion of students that passed the national assessment and to whether the IEP is digitalized.
The framework involves sociological theories (e.g. Bourdieu and Bernstein), as well as educational theories about assessment and learning. The results will also be discussed in regard to the wider issue of performativity in a European context (e.g. Ball, 2003).
Formally the IEP serves two purposes in the Swedish school system – to summarize the students’ achievements in regard to objectives and standards for each subject in order to inform the students and their parents, and to guide future learning. Unlike in most countries, the IEP:s are mandatory for all students in the Swedish compulsory school system – not only students with special educational needs.
The IEP should be elaborated and revised in a parent-teacher conference twice a year, but should, according to policy, be used by the students and the teachers throughout the school year in planning, guiding and evaluating learning. Thus, the idea of IEP is well in line with the notion of assessment for learning, which stress that assessments in regard to pre-specified criteria that mirror learning objectives are powerful in enhancing students’ achievements, self-efficacy and motivation.
There is much empirical evidence that assessment for learning indeed have these effects, and moreover that students from educationally and economically less privileged families, second-language learners and students with weak school results tend to benefit the most (William, 2010; Hattie & Timperley, 2007). However, for assessments to have these effects, they must meet certain criteria, e.g. for feedback to be clearly related to the target, detailed and concrete, directed at the process and supportive (Shute, 2007). Conversely, assessment/feedback that focuses on students’ personality, is judgmental or compares students to one another, are likely to debilitate students’ motivation, self-efficacy and future achievements (Harlen & Deakin Crick, 2002).
Morover, IEP can, through its gentle and student-centered appearance also reinforce the control function of the school at the expense of the students’ power and control, and particularly so for students whose cultural and social background have made t them less prepared to interpret the school’s “hidden curriculum” (Bunar, 2001; Dovemark, 2004).
Thus, the consequences of the use of IEP-practice is contingent, since in theory it seems to hold the potential to empower students (in general and students with weak cultural capital in particular) as well as the opposite – to disempower them.
Andreasson, I. (2007). Elevplanen som text: om identitet, genus, makt och styrning i skolans elevdokumentation. Göteborg: Acta Universitas Gothoburgensis. Ball, S.J. (2003). The teachers’ soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Education Policy, 18 (2), 215-228. Bunar, N. (2001). Skolan mitt i förorten: fyra studier om skola, segregation, integration och multikulturalism. Diss. Växjö : Univ., 2001. Eslöv. Dovemark (2004). Ansvar – flexibilitet – valfrihet: en etnografisk studie om en skola I förändring. Göteborg: Acta. Harlen W, Deakin Crick R (2002) A systematic review of the impact of summative assessment and tests on students' motivation for learning. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. Hattie, J. & Timpeley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77, s. 81-112. Shute, V.J. (2008). Focus on Formative Feedback. Review of Educational Research. Vol. 78, No. 1, (s.153–189). William, D. (2010). An Integrative Summary of the Research Literature and Implications for a New Theory of Formative Assessment. I Andrade, H.L. & Cizek, G.J. (red.) Handbook of formative assessment. New York: Routledge.
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