Using DSE to ‘Notice, Recognize and Respond’ to Tools of Exclusion and Opportunities for Inclusion in New Zealand

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Missy Morton


curriculum, pedagogy, assessment


In this paper, I describe three ways that Disability Studies in Education (DSE) informs our work on curriculum assessment in New Zealand. First, DSE provides a framework for interrogating practices of exclusion in education. Education has a (long) history of being unequally available to all students. Traditionally, in New Zealand as elsewhere, the role of assessment (and expert assessors) has been to decide which students get access to which types of education. Traditional forms of assessment focus on the individual. DSE suggests how this focus on the performance of individual has unintended negative consequences. Second, DSE suggests possibilities for inclusive education. When learning is understood as co-constructed, new approaches to assessment are needed. In this paper I describe a New Zealand project to support teachers to use narrative assessment as an approach that supports teachers to notice, recognise and respond to students’ competences, with a developing understanding of learning as co-constructed. Narrative assessment supports teachers to get to know their students’ interests and strengths and use these to support learning; to build relationships with their students and their students’ families. I conclude by describing how DSE reminds us to be always vigilant to the pull of powerful normatizing discourses.  
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