Informal Teacher Leaders: Secondary School Teachers’ Perceptions of How They Collaboratively Construct and Implement Classroom Assessment Policy and Practice
Clarke, Kristen A
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Secondary school teachers enact informal teacher leadership to move their instructional and assessment practices forward by leveraging existing structures and navigating micropolitical contexts. Leadership cannot be oversimplified as the work of an individual because of the complex and interwoven nature of schools and the current political climate of educational settings. Informal teacher leaders (ITLs) co-create roles based on needs that focus on supporting learning for students, for colleagues, and for themselves. This study used a constructivist lens and inquiry methodology to explore perceptions of informal secondary school teacher leaders as they collaboratively construct and implement classroom assessment policy and practice. The study highlights the perceived purpose and nature of informal teacher leadership; organizational factors and conditions that ITLs face when working collaboratively to improve assessment practices; and strategies that these teachers leverage to navigate changes in assessment practice and policy. (Note: a provincial review of assessment was conducted during completion of this dissertation.) This qualitative study explored informal teacher leadership and assessment practice and policy through semi-structured interviews, focus groups, document analysis, and memoing. The research encompassed 28 participants, 11 of whom are ITLs in a suburban school district in Ontario. Findings reveal how ITLs structure their roles to be responsive, reciprocal, reflective, and results oriented. Recommendations are provided to inform educators and policy developers at the provincial, district, and school level for both supporting informal teacher leadership and developing assessment literacy.