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“Conveying your intelligence on paper”: How do three Year 12 learners negotiate the demands of writing for assessment at A Level?

Bownas, Kim; (2021) “Conveying your intelligence on paper”: How do three Year 12 learners negotiate the demands of writing for assessment at A Level? Doctoral thesis (Ed.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This exploratory case study, based in a socio-cultural view of literacy, centres on interviews with three Year 12 learners, who describe their writing for assessment at A Level. Entering a new arena of literacy practices, the learners understand that previously successful strategies for writing at GCSE need to be reconsidered due to different, more complex demands. Claiming “no time” for reading and writing outside their studies, they concentrate on becoming experts in examination essays, a genre of writing in itself. Thematic analysis of interviews given at three separate points in their first year of A Level study illustrates the extent to which the development of a “writerly voice” depends on how confidently they negotiate the two requirements of their writing tasks. The first, incorporating an emphasis on writing as a product, encourages an approach I identify as “writing competently”. The learners are placed in more passive “pupil”-like positions, in which adherence to structures and guidance established by school and examination boards is stressed. However, A Level essay mark schemes also reward the manipulation and evaluation of subject content, which favour a more process focussed view of writing. Identifying this as the second requirement, “writing critically”, I draw on Bereiter and Scardamalia’s (1987) model of writing as knowledge transforming. Seeing the generation of texts as problem-solving activities, learners consolidate and clarify their understanding in greater depth. Regarding writing in this way also places increased responsibility on learners to develop more autonomous “student”-like approaches, in which greater individuality of response is evident. The research suggests that more reflective writers, who relate their written tasks to perspectives separate to examination criteria, are likely to develop greater agency in their writing and learning. This has significant pedagogical implications across disciplines and at an earlier stage than during the high-stakes examination years of secondary education.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ed.D
Title: “Conveying your intelligence on paper”: How do three Year 12 learners negotiate the demands of writing for assessment at A Level?
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10130379
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