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Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean

Examining the ‘Discourse’ behind the Grade Four Literacy Test: Evidence from Two Primary Schools in Jamaica

Publication Date: 
March 2011

This paper forms part of a larger research study which examined the role of discourse in the changes made to the administration of the Grade Four Literacy Test (G4LT) in 2009 in Jamaica. The literacy test was modified from a classroom-based assessment to a high-stakes nationwide examination. While the broader study focused on changes at the policy level, and how the test changes were discussed in the print media, this paper will focus on how the modifications to the G4LT influenced changes at the level of the school. This paper examines how two schools responded to the change, that is, how teachers supported their students who had to retake the G4LT in December; and the extent to which the teachers' behaviours and their instructional activities were influenced by the revised administration of G4LT. Based on observations and interviews, the G4LT had an impact on the organization of the grade five classes, as well as the activities and behaviours of the teachers in the two case study schools.

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