Academic journal article Australian Journal of Language and Literacy

Editors' Introduction

Academic journal article Australian Journal of Language and Literacy

Editors' Introduction

Article excerpt

This issue of The Australian Journal of Language and Literacy focusses on post-primary literacy, with three articles on literacy development and assessment in the lower secondary school and two articles dealing with ESL students at the upper secondary and tertiary levels.

While the emphasis in literacy education often falls on the primary years, it is thought provoking to look beyond this early phase and to consider the kinds of literacy demands made of students in later schooling and at university.

Ness Goodwin provides a fascinating insight into the nature of language development in the transition between primary and secondary school. As a parent and a teacher she was curious about the phenomenon of `marking time' often observed in the first year of secondary school, and undertook a longitudinal study, tracking one child's writing development over a two-year period. Goodwin's analysis provides teachers with useful pointers in identifying signs of linguistic maturity.

The article by Karen Moni, Christina van Kraayenoord and Carolyn Baker continues the theme of moving between primary and secondary school. The three authors examine in particular the notion that inconsistencies in assessment practices across the different levels of schooling can have a negative impact on students' progress. The study they conducted looked at how teachers and students perceive literacy assessment in the first year of secondary school in Queensland.

Wayne Sawyer also takes up the theme of literacy assessment in the first year of high school. In an interesting contrast with the school-based, integrated assessment of the Queensland schools, Sawyer critically analyses the external English Language and Literacy Assessment (ELLA) test currently used in New South Wales.

While Sawyer questions the way in which explicit, externally imposed criteria dicate what is considered appropriate or correct, Lesley Farrell looks at the ways more subtle judgments shape our views of what counts as legitimate English. …

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