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  • Public defence: 2018-12-14 13:15 Weber, Växjö
    Johansson, Annelie
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Swedish Language.
    Lärares bedömningsspråk: Språkhandlingar, bedömning och språklig utformning i grundskolans skriftliga omdömen2018Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis studies elementary school teachers’ language use in written assessments of students, and problematises the relation between teachers’ experiences of written assessment and the institutional and social expectations of professional language use.

    The study is based on three types of material: questionnaires answered by 39 teachers, interviews with 3 school principals and approximately 2,200 assessments of students, written according to three different templates. The assessments are analysed using methods derived from stylistics and textanalysis. The analyses of the texts focuses on speech acts, the content of the assessment and linguistic choices. The teachers’ testimonials in the questionnaires and the principals’ perspectives provide contextual information necessary for the understanding of the various forms of language used in the assessments.

    The theories applied are critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, e.g., 1992), Roberts & Sarangi’s model of language usage in professional practices (1999,2003), Bernstein’s theory of discourses in pedagogical practices (1990, 1996) and Gerrevall’s (2008) theory of assessment practices.

    The results indicate that the teachers’ language use positions them on a scale from formal to informal, and reflect different conditions for writing assessments. The templates for assessments, the statements of teachers and principals illustrate a wide range of institutional, collegial and personal language use. Teachers use six macro speech acts in their assessments: they inform, evaluate, summarise, guide, express feelings and attitudes, and seek dialogue. The content of the assessments focuses on the students’ achievements, processes, personal qualities and behaviour, but also on psychosocial evaluation, which promotes self-esteem and enhances selfregulation ability. In the assessments, teachers often reproduce parts of previously used texts, switch between formal, institutional, and bureaucratic language and context-bound, informal, and dialogical language use. The results show four typical roles that a teacher can assume: the reporter, the processor, the educator, and the coach. Teachers embrace these roles, and switch between them when navigating between institutional and social expectations of form, function and focus of the assessments, which can partly be explained by the influence of New Public Management on teachers’ documentation practices.