Enhancing technology literacy through assessment practices in the senior phase
The aim of this study was to explore the assessment practices senior phase Technology teachers employ in their classrooms to enhance technological literacy in the Motheo school district of the Free State province. The study analysed literature on Technology Education and assessment practices as a means to understand the nature of the subject and the teacher pedagogical knowledge required to enhance technological literacy (through assessment practices). Furthermore, the study explored the factors that influence the enhancement of technological literacy through the assessment practices that teachers employ in their Technology classrooms. A case study research approach was used to generate empirical data from the experiences of knowledgeable individuals in the Technology Education sphere, in an attempt to discover best practices. The case study research approach served as a suitable data generation tool for the study, as it enriched the study with multiple perspectives of Technology teachers’ teaching and learning assessment practices, because the participants have various technical and teaching backgrounds. The study employed bricolage as a theoretical lens. Bricolage is described as a process through which the likelihood of an outcome is affected by a variety of factors, among social life and norms, traditions and routines. Bricolage makes it possible for a researcher to analyse teacher understanding and application of discipline-specific assessment practices that have been designed to enhance technological literacy. In this study, the researcher observed and discussed the teaching and learning practices of two Technology teachers’ experiences; and information gathered through open-ended questionnaires and follow–up discussions with twenty three (23) Technology teachers. The researcher uncovered the best strategies employed by participants in the study with regard to assessment practices. The study analysed the assessment methods used by the participating Technology teachers and presents three common assessment methods used by teachers to cultivate and enhance technological literacy of senior phase learners in three Technology-related learning domains, namely, the cognitive, psychometric and affective. The study also offers insight into the choice of assessment, its design and its shortcomings. The study, therefore, calls for discipline- specific (Technology) teacher training and teacher development programmes that would enable such teachers to deliver the multiple assessment approaches they need if they are to be able to apply multiple assessment strategies while they engage in assessment practices.