Developing standards using the language of teaching and learning

  • Heidi Bolton


A recent paper by the author argued that educational standards inhered at least partly in the competence levels of learners, and that these competences mirrored those of their teachers. In the paper, the development of standards through quality teaching and learning were addressed, attempting to show that certain teaching-and-learning features have been linked to learner success across a range of contexts, including secondary school arts and science classrooms and a vocational course across a variety of social class contexts. Evidence was presented for the argument that the explication of evaluation criteria was central in all the teaching-and-learning practices linked to high levels of learner competence in a number of studies, and that five additional features were present in these practices serving to make possible elaboration of the necessary criteria. The current paper presents an in-depth linguistic analysis of some of the ways in which teachers have elaborated evaluation criteria, examining the relationship between instructional and regulative discourse in the classroom and how particular configurations of the two serve to enable clarification of qualities to be assessed, for learners. The paper closes by pointing to some implications for policy and practice.

Author Biography

Heidi Bolton
Dr Heidi Bolton is the Director: Research at the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). She oversees SAQAs long-term research partnership projects towards implementation and further development of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), assessing the effectiveness of the NQF, and generating research-based advice for the Minister of Higher Education and Training. She also oversees ‘current-response’ projects, publishing and work-shopping research findings; and organizing national NQF research events. Email address: