Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Project goals  
The research project aims at an analysis of interactive practices and processes of school selection within everdy life in school lessons and the social context of the class.

Which routines, social practices and stagings appear in the context of achievement assessment?
How is the setting of mark announce-ments constructed and framed?  
What impact have these settings of marks announciation on the classrooms´ order?
Which particular attitudes concerning pupil assessment do appear in the context of peer cultural communication?    

The focus on the pupil´s perspective  
There have many studies which clearly show the important role of school assessment settings for the child´s social reference system. But – most of these qualitative publications seem to focus on the teacher´s perspective which represents a professional problem with pupils assessment. In contrast to this tendendy our project would like to focus especially on the pupils´ perspective and interactive dealing with marks. We are as well interested in the regularity and the variation in situations of being tested and receiving marks between the two school classes we observe.

By the means of ethnography we want to explore the performance of giving and receiving grades in everyday interaction. Our theoretical references are ethnomethodology and interactionism. What is to be explored first on the level of school performances, with a cultural analysis of the implicit and habitualized practices of the process of school assessment and selection. The second aspect of our investigation is the effect of structuring and differentiation of the social context of the classroom, analyze the differences in coping with assessment in general and how it is connected to social affiliation within the classroom.  We conduct several phases of participant observation in two contrasting classes in 5th and 6th grade. Within these two years we anticipate there will be fundamental differences in dealing with the practice of pupil assessment.

Duration: May 2005 - April 2009