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Tensions in literacy coaching in school organizations: An activity theoretical perspective

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With the reform of the Danish public primary and lower secondary school (2014), the expectations of using assessment data in order to improve school has increased in significance (UVM, 2015a). This reflects a belief among government and municipalities that use of assessment data (e.g. stand-ardized test) will qualify decision-making processes in teaching (EVA, 2017). Literacy coaches have a central role coordinating, analyzing and translating test and other learning-related data into concrete didactic measures to increase the quality of teaching and learning (UVM 2015b; Orland-Barak & Maskit, 2017; Marsh et al. 2015), and they are prioritized in all Danish schools (N=1200) (Pøhler & Kledal, 2011). However, very little is known about how this group use different kinds of assessment data in practice together with teachers. Literacy coaches are viewed as central to the school organization, as they are the link between teachers and leaders, and responsible for imple-menting management visions on increased data use. They hold a certain kind of expertise on read-ing and writing. However, there are different tensions both inside the schools’ activity system and between activity systems e.g. Municipality and Danish Ministry of Education. In this paper we fo-cus on tensions inside the school. The tensions occur in school, when the literacy coach tries to translate assessment data into didactics. The tensions are 1) different kinds of collegial resistance to what they do (Jacobs et al., 2017), 2) not having enough time to act like experts and lacking legiti-mation, 3) a lack of organizational routines supporting their coaching of colleagues and 4) difficul-ties transforming teachers teaching e.g. regarding learning materials. Though research shows that instructional coaches can improve the professional development of in-service teachers (Gibbons & Cobb, 2017; Woulfin & Rigby, 2017) we still have limited knowledge on the tensions involved in this activity. The purpose of the study is to contribute with new knowledge on tensions that the literacy coaches experience in their work as experts supporting colleagues in their instructional decision making with assessment data. Thereby we shed a light on tensions that challenge the organizational learning. The research question is as follows: Which tensions do literacy coaches experience when supporting colleagues’ use of assessment data in order to qualify their decision-making regarding teaching?
StatusUdgivet - 2020
BegivenhedECER 2020 - European Conference of Educational Research 2020 - Online
Varighed: 23 aug. 202028 aug. 2020
Konferencens nummer: 2020


KonferenceECER 2020 - European Conference of Educational Research 2020


  • organizational education, literacy coaching, activity theory, data use

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