This article reports on a randomized controlled experiment examining the impact of a professional development intervention that helps teachers foster students’ historical thinking skills, social and ethical reflection, and civic learning.
This article analyzes the role of venture philanthropy in shaping teacher education policies in the United States, with a particular focus on the role of the New Schools Venture Fund in promoting the Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies for Teachers and Principals Act (GREAT Act).
This article explains the idea of a neopragmatic postmodernist test theory and offers some thoughts about what changing notions concerning the nature of and meanings assigned to knowledge imply for educational assessment, present and future.
Reprinted with permission from Transitions in Work and Learning: Implications for Assessment, 1997, by the National Academy of Sciences, Courtesy of the National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.
This paper makes 13 claims about what educational assessment must do if it is to remain relevant in the face of rapid and potentially dramatic changes in education and society.
The article provides a rationale for the focus on assessment for learning, that is to assist and improve performance, as opposed to the prevalent approach of assessment of learning, focused on time constrained summative judgments. In the article, we also discuss the likely changes wrought by new and unstable knowledge, technology, and global competition, in the light of democratic educational approaches.
In the present offering we challenge the presumption that the educational testing of students provides objective information about such students. This presumption largely rests on an empiricist account of science. In light of mounting criticism, however, empiricist foundationalism has given way to a social epistemology. From this standpoint, empirical data are only objective for those who share assumptions and values that are themselves without foundations. Thus, the major questions to be raised about testing are not in terms of whether test results supply the truth about those who are evaluated, but concern the utility of the tests for the full range of stakeholders. Who gains and loses as a result of testing practices, and in what ways? In the present offering we focus in particular on a range of adverse consequences. We first note the neoliberalist and individualist ideologies carried by current testing practices. We then discuss the impact on societal well-being, including the fostering of social division and distrust, the creation of hierarchies of worth, and the diminution of pluralism. We turn then to the impact of testing on the educational system, including the sacrifice of curriculum and pedagogy for the production of higher test scores, and the diminution of teacher motivation and engagement. Finally, in terms of community, there is a disregard for local needs and values, a loss in student motivation, and an increase in family tensions. We complete the paper with a discussion of possible alternatives to current testing practices, and recommendations for future policies.
This paper considers future educational assessment in terms of principles of evidential reasoning, focusing the discussion on the changes to the claims our assessments must support, the types of evidence needed to support these claims, and the statistical tools available to evaluate our evidence vis-à-vis the claims. An expanded view of assessment is advanced in which assessments based on multiple evidence sources from contextually rich situated learning environments, including unconventional data regarding human competencies, improve our ability to make valid inferences and decisions all education stakeholders.
Assessments of what others have just done is an ongoing concern in everyday interaction. What we have learned about the working of these assessments might help thing through the consequences of the more formal assessments associated with teaching and learning in schools.
The current study evaluates the relationship between access to school counselors and several critical indicators of student transitions between high school and college.
This interview study focuses on the role that teachers play in identifying and addressing the challenges faced by their high-poverty urban schools. We found that teachers grant their principal considerable discretion in setting the initial reform agenda but ultimately grant or withhold support based on whether their principal’s approach to teacher leadership has been inclusive or instrumental.
Teachers' perceptions of students' academic ability vary significantly by the race of the student. This study examines how students' test scores and teacher reports of students' social and behavioral skills explain black-white differences in teacher perceptions of students' academic ability. Using teacher fixed-effects models and the ECLS-K data from the fall and spring of kindergarten, this study finds that racial differences in teachers perceptions of students' academic ability are mostly explained by test scores, teacher reports of students' social and behavioral skills, and teachers' perceptions of academic ability from the beginning of the year. Behaving well at the beginning of the school year is especially important for teacher perceptions of black students' academic ability.
University faculty and Teach For America personnel codesigned a multiyear qualitative examination of their joint enterprise of developing urban teachers to promote equitable educative opportunities for all children. Analysis indicates the challenges and possibilities of collaborations through (a) contract negotiation, (b) communication, (c) procedural and pragmatic congruence, (d) response to constituent needs, and (e) creation of an authentic and sustainable partnership.
This paper uses data from the two most recent administrations of the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), a nationally representative survey of teachers, to investigate relationships between teacher preparation and teacher outcomes. We find generally positive effects of methods coursework and practice teaching on both teachers’ perceptions of instructional preparedness and retention. Additionally, effects of either dimension of preparation are significantly greater for teachers with less preparation on the other dimension. Effects of preparation are estimated to be similar across routes of preparation and to benefit teachers from more competitive colleges at least as much, if not more. Positive effects of preparation also tend to be greater for individuals who are male and teach mathematics and science. Moreover, teachers employed in urban, rural, and secondary schools seem more responsive to additional preparation. Implications for teacher preparation policy and practice are discussed.
In an era of educational accountability, elementary social studies is at risk of increased marginalization as it competes for instructional time with English/language arts, math, and science. This quantitative study incorporated multilevel modeling to examine the association among elementary practitioners’ sense of instructional autonomy, teaching context, and state-level testing policies on reported social studies instructional time.
Over the past 40 years, the composition of the professoriate has changed substantially across all institutional types with 70% being off the tenure track. In this article, we explore the following research question: What are the beliefs systems (logics) related to the changing professoriate of the key stakeholders (.e.g. disciplinary societies, unions, trustees) within the higher education organizational field? Using a policy Delphi method, we surveyed key stakeholders and identified four different logics related to the future desired faculty model. The divergence of views and lack of a coherence among the four logics, suggests why the neoliberal logic has taken such strong hold of the academy with minimal resistance among other powerful groups that could have played a role in countering this now transformational shift in the academy. Points of consensus in the four logics provide a potential area for convergence and action to counter the influence of neoliberalism.
This article explores the extent to which students’ precollege exposure to racial/ethnic difference within schools, neighborhoods, and friendship groups predicts their complex racial attitudes upon entering college.
This paper analyzes the political strategies of the early OECD stakeholders in transforming schooling from a cultural to a technological system. In doing so it focuses on the specific rhetoric these stakeholders used and how they were in need of standardizing different existing patterns of thoughts or institutional behaviors in the member countries.
The article analyzes the ideological and political context and mechanisms which have allowed OECD to become a major unchecked power in global educational policy making.
Epitomized in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the US government’s Race to the Top, “accountability” is becoming a pervasive normalizing discourse, legitimizing historic shifts from viewing education as a social and cultural to an economic project engendering usable skills and “competences.” The purpose of this special issue is to provide context and perspective on these momentous shifts. The papers point to historic antecedents, highlight core ideas, and identify changes in the balance of power between domestic and global policy makers.
This paper examines the history and development of the GED in order investigate the allure, promise, and pitfalls of the idea of contextless assessment and accountability. In doing so, this paper reveals the importance of quantification as a means of creating useful abstractions as well as the the inherent danger of the perceived certainty of these kinds of metrics. The U.S. experience with the GED offers important lessons and insights in a world where PISA continues the reign of contextless, test-based accountability systems.
Written by New York public school principals, Harry Leonardatos and Katie Zahedi, this article shares a shop-floor view of the impact of Race to the Top on New York Public Schools. The New York State Regents Reform Agenda involves mandated compliance with the federal legislation within Race to the Top (RTTT). Requirements related to an increase in student testing and the coupling of teacher evaluations to students’ scores on state tests is at cause in the deterioration the quality of public education in New York State. Imposed political directives are shown to have a role in creating confusion through untested policies, engendering a culture of distrust, diverting money sound educational practice that are dismantling public schools in favor of market models.
The global dissemination of the scientific–technical civilization takes local life-worlds out of their historically grown context. They lose their traditional legitimacy and have to assert their validity in the light of the ruling scientific knowledge. An example of this mechanism is the definition of educational standards through the OECD’s PISA test series. This process can be interpreted as a procedure that subjects nationally diverging educational traditions to a common, globally uniform concept of education. In this framework, local cultures of education are exposed to an international comparison with educational standards claiming legitimacy by scientific authority. The old paradigm of education as internalization of a cultural tradition embodied in accumulated knowledge is being replaced by a new model of investing in the development of globally useful human capital and competencies. This process is fueled by the establishment of transnational networks of educational researchers and the increasing definitional power of international institutions, particularly the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). They oust national actors like teachers’ associations and ministries of education from their ruling position. This transformation is facilitated by the fact that it acts like a self-fulfilling prophecy generating precisely those expectations and governance structures required to deepen the transformation.
PISA has come up with an ingenious solution to the problem of how to measure student achievement across national school systems with different curricula. Instead of measuring how well students learn what they are taught in each system, it measures a set of economically useful skills that no one teaches. This paper explores PISA as one type of educational accountability system, based on how well students demonstrate mastery of particular cognitive skills, and compares it with the current state-level accountability systems in the United States (NCLB), which are based on how well students demonstrate mastery of the formal curriculum. Both, I argue, are cases of how we are shrinking the aims of education. One approach focuses on mastery of skills that are relevant but not taught and the other on mastery of content that is taught but not relevant. Neither seems a sensible basis for understanding the quality of schooling or for making educational policy.
In this article, I examine the experiences of 22 postsecondary educators facilitating dialogues about racial issues in classroom settings. Findings reveal four main strategies participants employed: using group work and discussions, incorporating an integrated assortment of resources, inviting students to apply racial concepts to their lives, and having learners debrief following each dialogue session.