ERIC Number: ED245353
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Jun
Beyond Standardization: State Standards and School Improvement.
Wise, Arthur E.; Darling-Hammond, Linda
This paper focuses on ways in which one state policy for improving education--standard-setting through testing mechanisms--affects the classroom teacher-learner relationship. That uniform policy-making is problematic is clear from observations of 43 Mid-Atlantic school district teachers. Responding to three types of standards, 45 percent found minimum competency testing objectionable because a single measure cannot allow for student, resource, and goal differences. Likewise, standardized testing for decision-making about students was typically viewed as curriculum narrowing. The strongest reaction stemmed from competency-based approaches to teaching and learning that require test-passing for each discrete skill before moving on. Teachers generally found it difficult to adapt standard policies to the disparate needs of students, though many recognized the usefulness of a common educational direction. The need for dual accountability--to students and administration--is a problem that could be partially rectified through ensuring competency among teachers. Nonetheless, teachers familiar with the competency-based teacher certification idea recently advanced by policy-makers again tended to oppose it: like teaching itself, learning to teach is a complex activity requiring behaviors varying from student to student, an attitude research confirms. Paper and pencil competency tests were also viewed skeptically; 60 percent of teachers opposed tests for recertification. In sum, policymakers must realize the collective impact of such policies since they may make teaching less attractive and thus work against themselves. (KS)
Descriptors: Academic Standards, Achievement Tests, Educational Facilities Improvement, Educational Improvement, Educational Legislation, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Improvement Programs, Minimum Competency Testing, Politics of Education, Scores, Standard Setting (Scoring), State School District Relationship, State Standards, Student Evaluation, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Certification, Teacher Motivation, Teaching Conditions, Test Validity, Testing, Testing Problems, Work Environment
Publication Type: Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Dingle Associates, Inc., Washington, DC.
Note: Paper prepared for the National Institute of Education Conference on State and Local Policy Implications of Effective School Research.