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Between heterogeneity and equality: representations and practices of primary‐level teachers

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In 1995 the political authorities of French‐speaking Belgium introduced a major reform in the structure of the kindergarten and primary curriculum. It prescribed cycles of study and forbade grade repetition within the stages, which last for 5 years and 4 years, respectively. In addition, the reform aimed to increase equality of results at school‐leaving and to promote equal opportunity. The paper presents an overview of the reform and offers an analysis of the modes of implementation of this reform by primary‐level teachers. This analysis, constructed on the basis of action research, highlights the inadequacy of educational prescriptions which conflict with teachers' representations of pupils in difficulties and with competition between schools in a quasi‐market environment.

Keywords: Belgium; equality; heterogeneous grouping; school reform

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-08-01

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