Using Bernstein to analyse primary maths teachers' positions and identities in the context of national standardised assessment: the case of the ANAs

Peter Pausigere, Mellony Graven
This paper is informed by Bernstein's notion of pedagogic identity and Morgan's (Morgan, 1998, Morgan, Tsatsaroni and Lerman , 2002) study of mathematics teachers' orientations in assessment practice. These are used to identify primary maths teachers' positions and identities in the current South African education context characterised by an emphasis on monitoring through standardised national learner tests. The paper draws on data obtained from interactive interviews with nine sampled primary
more » ... ne sampled primary maths teachers who were participants in a numeracy in-service education community of practice. Using Bernstein's four pedagogic identity classes and relating these to Morgan's maths teachers' orientations we identify primary maths positions being taken up by the sampled teachers in relation to the Annual National Assessment (ANA) tests. The research indicates that most of the primary maths teachers' say that their practices are being influenced by the ANAs, although in different ways. We finally propose that primary maths teachers need to develop ways to 'critically align' their practices to national policies so as to maintain some agency while aligning with policy.