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Vocational teachers’ experiences of assessing vocational knowledge
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies. (YRK)
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies. (YRK)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7252-9657
2015 (English)In: Vocational teachers’ experiences of assessing vocational knowledge, 2015Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Assessment is described as a process that includes the collection, interpretation and presentation of data which leads to a defined decision (Nyström, 2004). In recent years, the models of formative and summative assessment have been frequently discussed and debated by school researchers such as Gipps (2001), Jönsson (2009), Korp (2011), Lundahl (2006, 2011), Moss, Girard and Haniford (2006), Pettersson (2011) and Wiliam (2006). Formative assessment is a smoothly flowing process of assessment and summative assessment is assessment of the student’s acquired knowledge at a certain time or an exam (see e.g. Black&Wiliam, 2003; Gipps, 2001; Moss et al., 2006; Wiliam, 2006). The discussion of assessment is often about how a teacher, based on curricular goals and knowledge requirements, can implement a similar and equivalent assessment of student knowledge (cf. ibid.). Equivalent assessment is a central concept in earlier research on grading and assessment (see e.g. Black&Wiliam, 2003; Gipps, 2001; Lundahl, 2006, 2011). Teachers’ assessment should not rest on their personal ideas of what knowledge they see as important for the education. Assessment must be based on established criteria (see e.g. Black&Wiliam, 1998) if students are to be assessed equally and fairly. Assessment takes place in an interaction between teachers, students, their environments, language, and the objects which are used in the process, such as or computers, and books (Moss et al., 2006). By assessing, teachers try to create opportunities for students to show what they can (Nyström, 2004).


Research on vocational education shows that the relationship between the vocational teacher and the students is very important in the formative assessment model (Asghari, 2014). Equally important is the vocational teacher’s feedback to the students (Öhman, 2015). In the summative assessment model, students’ vocational theoretical knowledge is often assessed (Lindberg, 2003). Studies of vocational teachers’ assessment practice can contribute to previously unknown views of teachers’ work (Lindberg, 2011). In the forthcoming article, which this presentation is a part of, two vocational teachers’ assessment practice when they talk about their experiences of teaching will be shown and discussed. Assessment can be discussed from many different aspects. It can serve as a way to motivate students in their learning, it can make students’ reasoning about the topic visible for teachers, it can create opportunities for feedback to students, and it can construct different identity formations in students (Moss et al., 2006). And identity formation is what the article, based on the studies of vocational teachers’ assessment practice, will focus on. The assumption is that vocational teachers’ assessment practice leads eventually to the students’ grades and those students can through their grades construct different identities in different contexts (cf. ibid.). It means that a non-passing grade can bring consequences in students’ lives, like losing their self-confidence, dropping out of school and education, and even in some cases, become gang members and get into crime. It appears from vocational teachers told experiences that students, through a pass grade, may identify themselves as students, who may have enough knowledge, are good enough as citizens and are proud to be skilled workers. It also appears that vocational teachers in such situations identify themselves as a caring teacher. Vocational teachers told experiences show different considerations that qualify for a pass-grade and may be categorized as “pass grade in advance”, “pass grade as praise”, “pass grade as a last chance” and “pass grade for being well behaved and socially competent”. These categories of assessment do not proceed from curricular goals and knowledge requirements, but they may be related to vocational teachers’ care for their students.



Asghari, H. (2014). Från uppväxt till lärargärning: En livsberättelsestudie med åtta yrkeslärare på industritekniska programmet. Doktorsavhandling, Karlstad: Fakulteten för humaniora och samhällsvetenskap, Pedagogiskt arbete, Karlstads universitet.

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education: Principles Policy and Practice, 5(1), 7-73.

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (2003). ‘In praise of educational research’: Formative assessment. British Educational Research Journal, 29(5), 623-637.

Gipps, C. (2001). Socio-cultural aspects of assessment. I G. Svingby & S. Svingby (Red.), Bedömning av kunskap och kompetens (ss. 355-392). Stockholms universitet: Institutionen för undervisningsprocesser, kommunikation och lärande.

Jönsson, A. (2009). Lärande bedömning. Malmö: Gleerup.

Korp, H. (2011). Kunskapsbedömning-vad, hur och varför. Stockholm: Myndigheten för skolutveckling.

Lindberg, V. (2003). Learning practices in vocational education. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 47(2), 157-179.

Lindberg, V. (2011). Betyg och bedömning i svensk didaktisk forskning 1990-2009. I V. Lindberg, L. Lindström & A. Pettersson (Red.), Pedagogisk bedömning: Att dokumentera, bedöma och utveckla kunskap (ss. 235-267). Stockholm: Stockholms universitets förlag.

Lundahl, C. (2006). Viljan att veta vad andra vet: Kunskapsbedömning i tidigmodern, modern och senmodern skola. Stockholm: Arbetslivsinstitutet.

Lundahl, C. (2011). Bedömning för lärande. Stockholm: Norstedts.

Moss, P. A., Girard, B. J., & Haniford, L. C. (2006). Validity in educational assessment. Review of research in education, 30, 109-162.

Nyström, P. (2004). Rätt mätt på prov: Om validering av bedömningar i skolan. Umeå: Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet.

Pettersson, A. (2011). Bedömning - varför, vad, varthänt? I V. Lindberg, L. Lindström & A. Pettersson (Red.), Pedagogisk bedömning: Att dokumentera, bedöma och utveckla kunskap (ss. 31-42). Stockholm: Stockholms universitets förlag.

Wiliam, D. (2006). Formative assessment: Getting the focus right. Educational Assessment, 11(3-4), 283-289.

Öhman, A. (2015) Cykler och loopar i Salongen: En studie av återkoppling i frisörklassrummet. Licentiatuppsats, Karlstad: Fakulteten för humaniora och samhällsvetenskap, Pedagogiskt arbete, Karlstads universitet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Vocational education, VET-teachers' assessment practices
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Educational Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41791OAI: diva2:922072
IV International Conference: Vocational Education & Training - Emerging Issues? Voices from Research. 11 - 12 maj 2015, Stockholm
Available from: 2016-04-21 Created: 2016-04-21 Last updated: 2016-07-07Bibliographically approved

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