ERIC Number: ED437332
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Nov
Teachers and Tests: Elementary and Secondary School Teachers' Perceptions of Changes in the New York State Testing Program.
Grant, S. G.
This paper uses data collected through focus group interviews over two years to explore the relationship between teachers and tests. In the first year of data collection, two focus groups were organized; one group was composed of 7 elementary school teachers and counselors and the other group was composed of 12 high school teachers. The participants, with varied teaching experiences, represented a cross section of urban, suburban, and rural school districts in western New York State. Each of the 2-hour focus group interviews was tape recorded and transcribed. During the second year of data collection, separate elementary and secondary focus groups were organized. Post-interview evaluations were completed by participants. All data were analyzed from an interpretive stance emphasizing the importance of context and the multiple ways individuals construct meaning. The three patterns synthesized from the data relate to the nature and substance of the tests, the professional development opportunities available to teachers, and the rationales for and the consequences of the state examinations. Analysis suggests that teachers see the New York State tests as a mixed bag. Teachers across grade levels and subject areas express an uneasy combination of hope and fear, anticipation and dread. The focus group teachers reported that school-, grade-, and/or department-level professional development activities generally were more useful than state or district efforts. Findings suggest that teachers need to be much more involved in the process of changing state assessments and professional development needs to be more attuned to the different needs teachers have. (Contains 48 references; focus group protocol is appended.) (BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York