The enduring concern to improve students' outcomes from schooling is often seen as a problem of improving standards. While there are few people that would argue against improving standards, there are also few people that are able to suggest how to define and address these issues in effective ways. Improving classroom practice is clearly a key factor. Here we agree with Black and Wiliam's (1998: 148) argument, that ‘standards can be raised only by changes that are put into direct effect by teachers and pupils in classrooms’. A complicating factor is that issues of standards are linked to questions of how the goals and purposes of schooling are understood, and these understandings are always politically contested. In this chapter we frame the issue of improving students' outcomes through a consideration of the nature and purposes of schooling as well as improved classroom practice. Although understandings of the nature and purpose of schooling are often articulated by policy makers and politicians, we contend that locally developed and rearticulated understandings should inform the pedagogical and assessment work of teachers in schools, as they attempt to meet the day-to-day demands of preparing young people for changing and challenging futures. We hope here to inform this important aspect of teachers' work by putting forward a broad set of indicators of the types of outcomes we believe students
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Publication information: Book title: Teachers & Schooling Making a Difference: Productive Pedagogies, Assessment and Performance. Contributors: Debra Hayes - Author, Martin Mills - Author, Pam Christie - Author, Bob Lingard - Author. Publisher: Allen & Unwin. Place of publication: Crows Nest, N.S.W.. Publication year: 2006. Page number: 127.
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