The role of virtual learning environments in a primary school context: An analysis of inscription of assessment practices

Authors

  • Monica Johannesen

    Corresponding author
    1. Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences and Department of Educational Research at Oslo University
      Ms Monica Johannesen, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Teacher Education, PO Box 4, St Olavs plass, 0779 Oslo, Norway. Email: monica.johannesen@hioa.no
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  • Monica Johannesen is an associate professor at the Faculty of Education at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences and a PhD student at Department of Educational Research at Oslo University. She works as a lecturer and researcher within the realm of ICT-supported learning, with a particular interest in ICT competence of primary and secondary school teachers.

Ms Monica Johannesen, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Teacher Education, PO Box 4, St Olavs plass, 0779 Oslo, Norway. Email: monica.johannesen@hioa.no

Abstract

Abstract

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) appear to be one of the most widely used computer-based technologies for teaching and learning, and may emerge as a potential tool for e-assessment. However, little is known about how VLE tools are used in various forms of assessment and what kinds of teaching practice the use of such technologies brings about. Based on interviews and personal diaries, actor-network theory is applied to describe and understand emerging teaching practices with VLE tools, such as multiple-choice tests, portfolios and collaborative writing tools. A tight relationship is found between the documentation of student attainment, the teacher-student-parent conference and the use of VLE tools, all constituting a network of aligned interests in assessment.

Practitioner Notes

What is already known about this topic

  • • The use of educational technology (e-assessment) brings about new assessment practices such as peer- and self-assessment.
  • • Most studies in e-assessment are related to higher education and further education.
  • • There is a growing interest in how e-assessment can foster new educational goals, such as metacognition, creativity, project work and communication skills.

What this paper adds

  • • A primary school perspective on e-assessment, in particular the implementation of e-assessment in a school system where traditional grading is not applied.
  • • An insight into how the virtual learning environment plays a part in establishing a new assessment practice.
  • • Deeper knowledge about the usefulness of actor-network theory in empirical educational research.

Implications for practice and/or policy

  • • There is a need for a critical perspective on virtual learning environments as tools for assessment and what kinds of pedagogical philosophies they can support.
  • • The use of a virtual learning environment can foster certain assessment practices, and has the potential to influence assessment policies at all levels of education.

Ancillary