Examining Score Report Language in Accountability Testing

The purpose of this study was to examine patterns of language use in score reports within a North American context. Using a discourse analysis approach informed by conversation analysis, we explored how language was structured to express ideas or (re-)produce values, practices, and institutions in society. A sample of 10 reports from the United States and Canada within the domain of accountability testing was selected. Observed patterns of language represented micro-discourses embedded within broader discourse related to accountability mandates within each country. Three broad themes were identified within and across the score reports—Displays of Information, Knowledge Claims, and Doing Accountability. Within each of the broad themes were sub-themes—word choice, and visual representations, script formulations, hedging, establishing authority, and establishing responsibility—that characterized more fine-grained textual features. Future research may explore empirical evidence for the social dynamics identified through this study's textual analysis. Complementary lines of research on cognitive, affective, and socio-cultural factors of score report interpretation and use are encouraged.

Publication Date:
Jun 19 2018
Date Submitted:
Jun 28 2019
Frontiers in Education
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 Record created 2019-06-28, last modified 2019-08-05

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