ERIC Number: ED347188
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
External Examinations and the Curriculum: Do They Monitor or Control?
Wideen, Marvin F.; And Others
The impact of large-scale testing on curriculum policies at district and school levels and on science teaching at the classroom level was studied for British Columbia (Canada). Other factors affecting teaching practices were considered. In 1983, the Province reintroduced centrally set and graded province-wide examinations for grade 12, following a 10-year period without such examinations. The examinations studied were the grade-12 final examinations in secondary science and science assessments conducted in grade 10. Data were collected from teachers and students in grades 8, 10, and 12, and from principals and district and province administrators. Phase 1 data were collected from 24 teachers in 2 districts. Phase 2 data were collected from observations of and interviews with 56 teachers in 10 districts as well as several administrators. At grades 8 and 10, teachers reported little influence of the government examination. At grade 12, the examinations had enormous impact. Objections usually centered around the narrowing of curriculum, the psychological pressures of the examinations, the erosion of creative teaching, and the notion that some aspects of education were being ignored in science teaching. The grade-12 examinations used in British Columbia are not mere indicators of performance. Evidence indicates that these examinations have effectively frozen innovative practices in grade-12 science teaching. Alternatives to the current situation are discussed. Four figures, 2 tables, and 29 references are included. (SLD)
Descriptors: Achievement Tests, Curriculum Evaluation, Educational Innovation, Foreign Countries, Graduation Requirements, High Schools, Interviews, Science Education, Secondary School Students, Secondary School Teachers, Standardized Tests, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes, Test Results, Test Use, Testing Problems, Testing Programs
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario).
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: British Columbia; Curriculum Alignment; External Evaluation; Final Examinations; Large Scale Programs; Provincial Examinations; Teaching to the Test; Testing Effects
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 20-24, 1992).