Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Roz Stooke


This thesis presents findings that were investigated using Institutional Ethnography (IE) into teachers’ accountability work in four Ontario primary classrooms. Informed by the writing of Dorothy E. Smith (1987, 2005, 2006), my thesis documented and analyzed curriculum work using IE strategy to explore the social relations organizing the teachers’ accountability work. Specifically my study asked: What work do primary teachers carry out as they engage in literacy assessments? How are literacy assessments implicated in the coordination of teachers’ curriculum work? How is this work coordinating and being coordinated with the work of students, administrators and policy makers at local, national and international levels? My investigation of teachers’ assessment work explores curriculum as an ongoing process in which people’s actions are coordinated. I also sought to bring visibility to work that teachers carried out in order to meet accountability requirements: the ways in which they scheduled activities and organized their curriculum to accommodate assessments and to respond to assessment data. The analysis is based on field notes from classroom observations, artifacts, teachers’ accounts of their work, and interviews with principals and school board administrators. I explicate ways in which required reading and writing assessments were mediating a hidden curriculum. My findings present and discuss the literacy assessment texts that organized the teachers work. I show how the work contributes to the alignment of classroom curriculum with accountability practices at a national and international/transnational level.