ERIC Number: ED374551
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Statewide Testing and Local Improvement: An Oxymoron?
Corbett, H. Dickson; Wilson, Bruce L.
A Carnegie Foundation survey, conducted in 1988, found that teachers were critical of the education reform movement in general and standardized statewide testing in particular. This paper presents findings of a study that examined the impact of state-mandated testing programs on the work lives of teachers and students. It compares two states' testing programs--Pennsylvania's program with "low stakes" consequences attached to student performance, and Maryland's "high stakes" program. Data were collected in 3 phases: (1) interviews with administrators, teachers, and students at 12 sites (6 school districts in each of the states); (2) a survey of the central office administrator, principal, and teachers from 207 Pennsylvania districts and 23 Maryland districts; and (3) followup fieldwork. In each state, teachers perceived that the statewide testing programs offered relatively few benefits for students, particularly because they provided information that schools already possessed. Educators in Pennsylvania districts reported that they began to take the tests more seriously for political reasons but had reservations about whether the tests actually improved the lives of teachers or students. Under high stakes conditions, the following occurred: increased attention to improving test results; greater disruption of teacher' work lives; decreased reliance on teachers' professional judgment; and heightened concern about liability. Despite such programs' questionable educational value, they are politically popular because they are publicly available and easily understood. However, the press for uniform, quick success contradicts the nature of the school-improvement process. Three tables are included. Contains 18 references. (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Research for Better Schools, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
Identifiers - Location: Maryland; Pennsylvania