Best intentions: Using convergent practices divergently

Barbara Maria Whyte, Penny Deane


Summative assessment and explicit teaching are on the increase in New Zealand primary and intermediate learning spaces; either, or both, frequently used by teachers to assist with requirements for National Standards. Combined use means learning destinations are set by teachers within convergent practice, allowing little room for student exploration, curiosity and questions. In contrast, the vision, values and key competencies in the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) promote teacher action towards more divergent practices that enable multiple opportunities for student input and negotiation. In this article we draw on collaborative observation and teacher reflection, to provide an example of an integrated curriculum approach effectively incorporating summative assessment and explicit teaching within a divergent learning programme, that enhances rather than constrains student learning autonomy.


Summative assessment; explicit teaching; student autonomy; integrated curriculum; divergent practice

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Copyright (c) 2017 Barbara Maria Whyte, Penny Deane