ERIC Number: ED453008
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
Cultural Standards and Test Scores.
Barnhardt, Ray; Kawagley, Angayuqaq Oscar; Hill, Frank
Sharing Our Pathways: A Newsletter of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative
Two features limit the value of legislatively mandated high-stakes tests such as Alaska's Benchmark and High School Graduation Qualifying Exam as accountability tools in the current standards-driven environment. First, the sheer numbers of tests administered have led to a reliance on multiple choice and short-answer questions, with only minimal use of more useful, performance-based approaches to assessment. This has left the harder-to-measure aspects of the standards in the background. Teachers are left to choose between teaching the full range of learning outcomes, or teaching to the test. The second problem is that when high-stakes tests are used to determine things such as grade-level promotion, eligibility for graduation, teacher reward/punishment, and school ranking, test-makers design the tests around legal defensibility rather than educational considerations. When there are significant group variations in test performance, as in cross-cultural situations found in rural Alaska, it is important not to fall into the trap of blaming the victim and respond by intensifying the current curriculum, extending schooling, or sending students to boarding schools. The Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative (AKRSI) has demonstrated that an education system with a strong foundation in the local culture produces positive effects in all indicators of school success, including test scores. AKRSI has developed cultural standards to assist schools that regard cultural considerations as an important part of the design of their educational programs. (TD)
Descriptors: Alaska Natives, American Indian Education, Culturally Relevant Education, Educational Change, Evaluation Methods, High Schools, High Stakes Tests, Politics of Education, Rural Education, State Standards, Student Evaluation
For full text: http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/sop/SOPv5i4.pdf.
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA. Office of Systemic Reform.
Authoring Institution: Alaska Univ., Fairbanks. Alaska Native Knowledge Network.
Identifiers - Location: Alaska