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Expertise or 'Baggage'? What Helps Inspectors to Inspect Primary Mathematics?

Alison Millett and David C. Johnson
British Educational Research Journal
Vol. 24, No. 5 (Dec., 1998), pp. 503-518
Published by: Wiley on behalf of BERA
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1501556
Page Count: 16
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Expertise or 'Baggage'? What Helps Inspectors to Inspect Primary Mathematics?
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Abstract

There is an assumption that, under the Office for Standards in Education system, inspectors will, through training, learn to put aside their preferred ways of working and come to look at school practice unencumbered by 'baggage'. Yet primary team inspectors are allocated certain subjects for inspection, based on their previous experience and, to a certain extent, their chosen preferences. The research reported here focuses on the inspection of primary mathematics and provides evidence of the potential tensions between 'experience and expertise', and 'baggage', at different levels of the inspection process. It seems that some primary inspectors are less aware of problems arising from lack of expertise than of those arising from preferences for particular teaching styles or methods. It may be the case that the greater the expertise, the more likely it is that judgements will be related to mathematical criteria, rather than merely to general teaching criteria-is this then still baggage?

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