State-Mandate Testing and Teachers' Beliefs and Practices

  • Cimbricz S
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Abstract

In this article, I examine the relationship between state-mandated testing and teachers' beliefs and practice. The studies reviewed suggest that while state testing does matter by influencing what teachers say and do, so, too, do other things, such as teachers' knowledge of subject matter, their approaches to teaching, their views of learning, and the amalgam of experience and status they possess in the school organization. As a result, the influence state-mandated testing has (or not) on teachers and teaching would seem to depend on how teachers interpret state testing and use it to guide their actions. Moreover, the influence state testing may or may not have on teachers and teaching expands beyond individual perceptions and actions to include the network of constructed meanings and significance extant within particular educational contexts. Consequently, although a relationship between the state-mandated testing and teachers' beliefs and practice does exist, testing does not appear to be an exclusive or a primary lever of change. There is further suggestion that it might not be a substantive one either. Studies that provide a richer, more in-depth understanding of the relationship between state-mandated testing and teaching in actual school settings, therefore, not only point toward important directions for future research in this area, but are greatly needed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • standard based reform
  • teachers knowledge

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Authors

  • Sandra Cimbricz

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