Bridging the gap between theory and practice : what impact do the national curriculum exemplars and the associated matrix have on teaching and learning in science? : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education at Massey University
Formative assessment continues to be influential in shaping teaching and learning. A National Assessment Tool, the Exemplars and associated Matrix have been designed and provided for teachers to support formative assessment practice. While considerable research exists on formative assessment, the impact of the exemplars and matrix on teaching and learning in science is unknown, therefore this Participatory Action Research study explores the impact on teaching and learning, assessment and the resultant teacher-–student interactions in science learning. Two schools were involved in the action research project in 2004. Seven teachers participated in the research study. The students ranged in age from five to nine years. Through in-depth classroom observations, planned interventions and semi-structured interviews, two major themes emerged: the teacher participants' science knowledge and pedagogy; and, their formative assessment practice and knowledge. Two sub-themes emerged and impacted on the major themes: the 'teacher as a learner', and the research/professional development model. The matrix and exemplars were the vehicles for change and the findings of this research study, clearly show evidence of improvement to teaching and learning in science.