An Uncertain Lever: Exploring the Influence of State-Level Testing in New York State on Teaching Social Studies
by S.G. Grant ó 2001
In this paper, the author presents case studies of two high school social studies teachers and the influence of state-level testing on their teaching practices. Based on classroom observations of a unit on the U.S. civil rights movement and teacher interviews before and after that unit, he examines the role the eleventh-grade New York State Regents test in U.S. History and Government plays in each teacherís instructional planning, delivery, and assessment. His analysis suggests that while the state test figures into each teacherís instruction, it does so by interacting with a range of other factors, especially the teachersí views of subject matter and learners. From these findings, he argues that state tests may be an uncertain lever and that, while reformers continue pinning their hopes on new tests, faith in tests as a means of instructional change may be hard to sustain.
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