Caught In-Between: The Impact of Different Forms of Mandated National Assessment for Qualifications on Teacher Decision-Making in Year 12 History in New Zealand, 1986-2005
This case study takes an historical perspective to explore the curriculum decision-making of History teachers in New Zealand. It is argued that between 1986 and 2005, Year 12 History teachers were caught in-between curriculum reform on one hand, which encouraged teacher autonomy, and on the other hand, assessment reform which reduced teacher autonomy. While teachers in this study utilised the autonomy provided by internal assessment to develop engaging class and assessment activities, they largely avoided topics in Māori, Pasifika and Women’s history which were promoted through the syllabus. Factors which contributed to teachers' decisions concerning curriculum topics included teachers' perceptions of the nature of disciplinary History, personal interest and resource availability. The primary focus on this thesis is an assessment of the impact of changes to national assessment for qualifications on Year 12 History programmes. It argues that mandated assessment for qualifications is the single-most determining factor on classroom practice. It is also argued that the assessment style which emerged for Year 12 History through the National Certificate of Educational Achievement disconnected History assessment from the intentions of its written curriculum which emphasised disciplinary History's underlying and interconnected process of gathering, analysing and presenting historical information. In some cases, the NCEA hindered rather than enhanced the development of a school-based curriculum at this level.