The impact of national agenda on a local education authority's website: a visual semiotic analysis
This paper reports an analysis of the website of an education authority in the state of Queensland, Australia during the changeover from a state-based curriculum to a national curriculum. The paper's value lies in the capture of an exact moment of change. Kress and van Leeuwen's grammar of visual design is employed to analyse the changes to the Queensland Studies Authority's website from 2009 to 2010. The significant changes to the site show the impact of policy that has been borrowed from the UK and the USA around testing and accountability, and as such has bearing on the international policy environment. The impact of these testing and accountability measures is twofold. First, that regimes of accountability and testing outweigh the significance of changes to curriculum and pedagogy and, second, that this understanding has implications for teacher education and teacher professionalism. We argue that borrowed policy from the international sphere, through a national agenda and then on to a local education authority, has hollowed out and narrowed the provision of education information and assistance available to readers of the site. This is most notable in the shift we observe from informed teacher professionalism through links to professional development available on the site in 2009 to prescription most notably evident in the absence of professional development hyperlinks on the site in 2010. The inference we draw, for example, is that teachers in the state of Queensland are to follow the prescriptions on the web page without access to policy learning through professional development. This has implications for teacher education and teacher professionalism.
Cambridge Journal of Education