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ERIC Number: EJ1020157
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 32
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1467-9620
Teaching to and beyond the Test: The Influence of Mandated Accountability Testing in One Social Studies Teacher's Classroom
Neumann, Jacob
Teachers College Record, v115 n6 2013
Background/Context: The nature of the impact of state-mandated accountability testing on teachers' classroom practices remains contested. While many researchers argue that teachers change their teaching in response to mandated testing, others contend that the nature and degree of the impact of testing on teaching remains unclear. The research on the relationship between testing and teaching in social studies follows this pattern. For example, some researchers argue that mandated testing fosters a "just the facts, ma'am" approach to teaching social studies. Others, however, contend that factors such as teachers' personal beliefs about social studies and about what learners need to know are equally, if not more, determinative influences on teaching as are testing pressures. Focus of Study: This article presents an extended and fine-grained analysis of the influence of state-mandated accountability testing on one social studies teacher's classroom practice. Research Design: Grounded in the narrative inquiry tradition, this case study spans approximately two and a half years of fieldwork, including approximately 110 days of observations of one eighth-grade U.S. history classroom. Conclusions: The findings from this study shed light on the problems and frustrations that one teacher faces when confronted with a testing apparatus that limits her instructional time with students and an accountability exam that emphasizes a "bare bones" approach to content. While no generalizable conclusions are intended to be drawn from this study, the data presented in this article nonetheless add support to the viewpoint that while state-mandated accountability testing does influence classroom teaching, teachers' beliefs about subject matter and their goals for students play an equal, if not larger, role in shaping their classroom practices.
Teachers College, Columbia University. P.O. Box 103, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3774; Fax: 212-678-6619; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 8; Middle Schools; Junior High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Texas Assessment of Academic Skills; Texas Assessment of Basic Skills; Texas Educational Assessment of Minimum Skills
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A