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ERIC Number: EJ1131009
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0268-0939
Sisyphean Neoliberal Reforms: The Intractable Mythology of Student Growth and Achievement Master Narratives within the Testing and TFA Era
Fisher-Ari, Teresa; Kavanagh, Kara M.; Martin, Anne
Journal of Education Policy, v32 n3 p255-280 2017
Neoliberal discourses defining and measuring "student achievement" and "teacher success" through myopic high-stakes testing-driven criteria for "accountability," can perpetuate the very inequities these reforms purport to address. Nested within a five-year inquiry using grounded theory to investigate experiences of Teach For America (TFA) Corps members learning to teach during a district-wide testing cheating scandal, the researchers used Atlas.ti, to analyze 5897 daily reflections written during a yearlong, field-based, initial certification course. Iterative phases of constant comparative analysis utilized a multi-rater/multi-stage/multi-year analysis. This manuscript focuses on the dominant theme of "Student Growth and Achievement," as defined, conceptualized, and experienced by 38 TFA novice teachers and the co-occurrences of this theme with other dominant themes within this data-set. Findings indicate circumscribed understandings of student growth and achievement which shaped teacher and student engagement, including: (a) narrowing of the scope of teaching by spending significant time atomizing testable skills, drilling students, and administering tests, (b) creating limiting expectations and deficit views of learners, families, and communities when the drill-then-test pedagogy did not produce high test scores, and (c), causing and exacerbating affective distress for teachers and students. Implications for policy-makers, TFA, and educational leaders worldwide are considered.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A