Students stories about their feelings of getting grades in school year 6 – a matter of high stake?
2016 (English)In: Book of Abstracts, 2016, 140-141 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
This paper investigates students ́experiences of getting grades and explores the identities as students that take shape in their stories. Recently, grades from school - year 6 instead of year 8 were introduced in Swedish schools. However, granting their importance in students´ life, little is known abo ut the personal meaning of grades to students, especially the feelings and understandings that students hold about grades both in a present tense as well as in a future tense. One main function of grades is to select students into higher levels in the educ ational system but they are also expected to motivate students to learn more and provide information about learning outcomes. Previous studies have shown that grades in early years contribute to stable perceptions of student selves over time and to pessimi sm in terms of possible change (Kasanen & Räty, 2002; Kärkkäinen, 2008). Often, issues of “high stake” deal with questions of tests and grades as objective gatekeepers for students ́ future possibilities to education. However, in this paper, we consider “hi gh stake” as a subjective matter linked to students ́ feelings and future dreams. The overall aim of the paper is to problematize “high stake” as a matter of objectivity by stressing students ́ subjective feelings in their stories about grades and grading. O ur research questions are: How do the students talk about the possibilities to influence their grades now and in future? What feelings take shape in the students’ stories about their experiences of grades? Students from eleven different schools in five di fferent municipalities were interviewed with the purpose of obtaining a great variety of student experiences. In total we have conducted 80 interviews with 195 students. The students were interviewed in a group of students (n=2 - 5) and asked to refer to the ir experiences and feelings of grades. We listened to the interviews and read the transcripts and conducted a narrative analysis of the students’ stories. Some students express feelings of pressure and say that the grades are deemed important for their po ssibilities to get a job in the future. This we regard as an expression of grades as “high stake”. Other students express more relaxed feelings and talk about a limited value of grades in school - year 6 for their future plans. To them the grades do not stan d out as “high stake”. Several studies indicate that younger students seem to see grades as labels that are hard to change. From this perspective all grades are “high stake” in a kind of objective sense. However, this study indicates that the grades are no t “high stake” to all students when considering their feelings and future dreams. Many of the students in this study talk about future in terms of possibilities to change their grades or find grades and grading not an important issue yet. To them the grade s might be “high stake” later on – or not.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. 140-141 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-125998OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-125998DiVA: diva2:912635
NERA/NFPF 2016, Helsinki, Finland, 9-11 March 2016