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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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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 103 Number 3, 2001, p. 398-426
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10763, Date Accessed: 12/17/2017 7:05:52 AM

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About the Author
  • S.G. Grant
    State University of New York at Buffalo
    E-mail Author
    S. G. Grant is associate professor of social studies education, State University of New York at Buffalo. He studies the intersection of curriculum and assessment policy and teachersí classroom practice. He is the author of Reforming Reading, Writing, and Mathematics: Teachersí Responses and the Prospects for Systemic Reform (Lawrence Erlbaum, 1998) and co-author (with B. A. VanSledright) of Constructing a Powerful Approach to Teaching and Learning in Elementary Social Studies (Houghton Mifflin, 2000).
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