This article analyzes the effects of mandated accountability testing, teachers' knowledge and beliefs, and teachers' milieu on the work of four social studies teachers in one middle school in Texas. The article argues that more comprehensive and holistic research efforts are needed for researches to be able to more fully understand and communicate to readers the combination of factors that impact teachers' work.
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 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.
This introduction is a brief reflection on the import of the Gordon Commission’s work to future considerations of assessment and learning.
Analysis suggests that value-added modeling (VAM) is not reliable or valid for the purpose of identifying and replacing low-performing teachers and is not cost-effective for the purpose of raising student achievement.
This paper addresses the still-contested understanding of the relationship between teaching and mandated accountability testing. Based on two years of fieldwork and grounded in the narrative inquiry tradition, this paper presents a fine-grained analysis of the influence testing has on teaching in one social studies teacher’s classroom. Contrary to the position that mandated testing breeds “multiple-choice teaching” and a “just the facts, ma’am” approach to social studies, this study finds that deep and authentic teaching and learning are not incommensurable with mandated testing.
This article examines high schools’ responses to exit testing policies through in-depth case studies of five low-performing high-poverty high schools across five school districts in Texas.
High-stakes accountability policies such as the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation require districts and schools to use data to measure progress toward standards and hold them accountable for improving student achievement. One assumption underlying these policies is that data use will enhance decisions about how to allocate resources and improve teaching and learning. Yet these calls for data-driven decision making (DDDM) often imply that data use is a relatively straightforward process. As such, they fail to acknowledge the different ways in which practitioners use and make sense of data to inform decisions and actions.
Standards-based accountability policies that include high-stakes testing are currently the dominant school reform approach in the United States. These policies are designed to raise students’ educational outcomes and reduce race and class achievement gaps by linking students’ test scores to rewards and sanctions for both schools and students. Such policies are based on a straightforward set of assumptions: Educators will improve instruction and students will learn more if (1) policymakers clearly articulate rigorous standards, (2) a curriculum that is aligned with the standards is developed and implemented, (3) regular assessments are taken to determine if students are meeting the standards, and (4) rewards and sanctions for schools and/or students based on these test results are imposed. By establishing a clear set of goals, motivating educators and students through incentives, and providing schools with objective data on student learning outcomes, these policies are designed to create more educational equality.
One assumption underlying accountability policies is that results from standardized tests and other sources will be used to make decisions about school and classroom practice. We explore this assumption using data from a longitudinal study of nine high schools nominated as leading practitioners of Continuous Improvement (CI) practices.
In this article, we present profiles of two high school English teachers and their classrooms as the teachers responded to mandated high-stakes test accountability.
This study examines the extent to which teachers believe they are modifying instructional uses of computers for writing in response to state testing programs.
What I have tried to do in this chapter is identify some of the important challenges that lie ahead as performance-based accountability polices are put into effect. The challenges are both technical and political and, indeed, in practice the two are related, as I discuss. But before trying to speculate about what accountability policies portend for education, it may be useful to review briefly the current state of such policies.
Standards-based reform was proposed as a means to bring coherence to the education system and trigger reforms and investments targeted at greater learning. These benefits have materialized in some states but not others, depending on their strategies for change. This article proposes mid-course corrections needed to ensure that standards-based reforms support student success, rather than punishing those who are already underserved.
This commentary considers the contradiction of using standardized tests to assess authentic learning.
This chapter looks at how schools, school districts, and states are responding to the current push for performance based accountability. Data from a three-year study of ten states, twenty-three school districts, and fifty-seven schools, as well as national surveys of state policies, are used to address two sets of questions. First, what are the key design elements of state accountability systems and how do they vary across states? Second, what do accountability systems look like at the school and district level? What are the similarities and differences in these systems in diverse state policy environments?
An examination of the impact of the mode of test administration on student performance
Based on interviews and observations, the authors suggest that some of the complaints about high stakes testing are overstated. Yet, they doubt that such stakes will influence pedagogical practice without more learning opportunities for teachers.
A commentary on the new Regents Exams in New York
The reponses of students asked to draw themselves as test-takers in Massachusetts raise questions about the policy assumption that all students will respond in a uniform and positive manner to high stakes testing.
A study of students' self-portraits as test-takers in Massachusetts stimulates discussion of the variation in students' responses to high-stakes testing according to individual idiosyncracies, grade level, and school context.
Discusses the negative impact of teacher certification testing on African-American teacher candidates, noting the Supreme Court's Wards Cove versus Antonio decision which may foreclose previously successful court settlements regarding the impact of teacher testing on minorities. The article reviews procedures for establishing test validity and major cases addressing such procedures.
Educational reforms enacted through federal policies are directly impacting the voice of children, teachers, and teacher educators. The recently introduced bi partisan bill "Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies for Teachers and Principals Act" frames a plan for state accreditation for teacher training academies based on student achievement. The newly introduced Race to the Top (RTT) competition, focused on early childhood, includes motivating states to receive some of the $500 million allotted to create ratings systems to score early childhood programs, write standards and related standardized tests, and expectations of what an early childhood teachers should know. Both the proposed bill and RTT competition are positioned to regulate with market driven ideology, reinforcing and reproducing social injustice and undermining democratic ideals.
High-stakes tests and testing policies are now being reinforced with value-added teacher assessment. But gains in tests scores from one year to the next are not the only value that teachers add. Forty years of data from the National Opinion Research Center suggests that teachers' own values may help stabilize our increasingly unsteady democracy.