ERIC Number: EJ1072998
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Taking and Teaching the Test Are Not the Same: A Case Study of First-Year Teachers' Experiences in High-Stakes Contexts
Brown, Christopher P.
Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, v21 n8 p1026-1044 2015
Background: Policymakers' use of high-stakes exams to improve students' academic achievement affects teachers and their tenure in the field at all levels of schooling. Novice teachers now being inducted into the field have been educated almost exclusively in these high-stakes learning environments. Yet, how their familiarity with these contexts combined with their experiences in their own classrooms affect novices' induction into the field of teaching has not been fully examined. Aim: This article presents findings from an investigation into the experiences of two first-year teachers who were educated and trained to be teachers in the same high-stakes education system in which they taught. It examines how these first-year teachers viewed policymakers' reforms affecting their teaching and tenure in the field. Methods: This qualitative case study centers on the experiences of two first-year teachers working in the same high-stakes standards-based accountability teaching context in which they were educated--the case. This study provides insight into the issue of how novices' familiarity with high-stakes reform combined with their experiences in their own classrooms impacts their conceptions of their teaching and their tenure in the field. Outcomes: The findings from this case study reveal how policymakers' high-stakes reforms impacted the development of these novice teachers in significant ways. Not only did they have to learn how to teach as they taught, but they also had to ensure they were teaching all of their students to pass the high-stakes exams. Their varied experiences also demonstrate how these high-stakes exams can "test" beginning teachers out of the classroom. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that first-year teachers' familiarity with policymakers' high-stakes reforms is not enough to prepare them for the expectation that they immediately improve students' academic achievement on high-stakes exams. Such findings not only challenge what it means to be a educator in these contexts, but they also shed light on how larger political and economic forces impact the teaching and tenure of novices. To support new teachers, teacher educators and mentors should rethink the education and induction processes while helping novices understand as well as prepare for the role context plays in their teaching and development as professionals.
Descriptors: Case Studies, High Stakes Tests, Context Effect, Beginning Teachers, Teaching Experience, Investigations, Educational Policy, Policy Analysis, Tenure, Qualitative Research, Accountability, Familiarity, Novices, Educational Change, Educational Practices, Teacher Improvement, Interviews, Observation, Academic Achievement, Predictor Variables, Cost Effectiveness, Teacher Education Programs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
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