Published on March 16, 2014
What philosophical assumptions drive the teacher/teaching standards movement today? Are standards dangerous? EDFD 663 - Week 4 @ferrytnt (FERRY TANOTO) S00140940
Falk, B. (2002). Standards-Based Reforms: Problems and Possibilities. The Phi Delta Kappan, 83(8): 612-620. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20440209
Standards can support better learning if they are used: • to direct teaching toward worthy goals, • to promote teaching that is responsive to the ways students learn, • to examine students in ways that can be used to inform instruction, • to keep students and parents apprised of progress, • to trigger special supports for students who need them, and • to evaluate school practices
How does standards-base reform help an increasingly diverse student population realize its academic and social potential and at the same time prepare teachers to meet this extraordinary challenge?
The standards-base reform can be different significantly: • in content, • in the types of assessment used, and • in the kinds of accountability systems employed.
Challenges of standards-based reform • Developing worthy standards • Teaching the way children learn • Assessing to inform and support learning
Problems in designing accountability policies that serve learning • Assessing new standards with old tests • High-stakes testing causes harm • Teaching to the test • Cheating on the rise • Teacher-proofing instructional programs • Investing in testing instead of teaching and learning • Relying on a single test for high-stakes decisions
Creating fair and equitable accountability systems • Standards for opportunities to learn • Standards for practice
Standards-based initiatives that serve teaching and learning • Clarifying goals and developing shared meanings • Guiding teaching with clear expectations. • Using evidence as the basis for evaluation. • Enhancing knowledge about how students learn. • Strengthening professionalism and facilitating change.
Standards and standards-based assessments will not support better learning unless they are carried out in the context of raising standards for the whole system. In this context, they can be catalysts for a range of improvements.
Standards can support better learning if they are used • to direct teaching toward worthy goals, • to promote teaching that is responsive to the ways students learn, • to examine students in ways that can be used to inform instruction, • to keep students and parents apprised of progress, • to trigger special supports for students who need them, and • to evaluate school practices.
The linkage of standards, assessments, and teaching practices can provide a guide for teachers and students to use in monitoring and taking responsibility for their own learning.
If the expectations are appropriate, the evaluations are fair, and the environment is kept risk- free, then teachers and children will feel comfortable and confident, and they will grow.
A variety of pathways to learning will be opened up. Success will be demystified and made attainable, and effort will be the primary requirement. This is what genuine accountability should be: a learning experience for all who are involved.
Tuinamuana, K. (2011). Teacher Professional Standards, Accountability, and Ideology: Alternative Discourses. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(12). http://dx.doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2011v36n12.8
What is the role of professional standards for teaching in the national education policy development?
In a British government-funded Cambridge Primary Review, Alexander (2010) goes on to say that “in many primary schools a professional culture of excitement, inventiveness and healthy skepticism has been supplanted by one of dependency, compliance and even fear; and the approach may in some cases have depressed both standards of learning and the quality of teaching” (p.7).
Robin Alexander (2010) refers this issue to as “collateral damage” where, in the UK experience for example, standardized tests and professional standards may have “yielded gains” but “at some cost, educationally, and professionally as well as financially” (p.7).
Controversies around the extent of teacher ownership in the design and implementation of teaching standards, and the imposition of the standards as controlling devices
A number of developed countries have not established a set of teacher professional standards.
Eurydice (as cited by Alexander, 2010) argues that Finland has “no national tests, no league tables, no national system of inspection, no national teaching strategies, and indeed none of the so-called ‘levers’ of systemic reform in which the British government has invested so much. Clear assessment criteria are written into the national curriculum and are regularly applied by teachers, but there is no national testing as such until the national matriculation examination at the end of secondary education” (p. 12).
Four discourses of standards: • Discourse of commonsense • Discourse of Professionalization and Quality • Discourse of the New Managerialism / Performativity • Discourse of ‘Strategic Manoeuvring’
#1 Discourse of commonsense Sachs (2003) suggests, the “purpose of a commonsense view of teacher professional standards is to present an uncritical view of professional standards ... that it makes sense to put in place a regulatory framework that provides for quality” (p.177)
#1 Discourse of commonsense Technical-rational ideology, which is embedded in the neoliberal global system of capitalism, is also referred to as ‘instrumental rationality’ as it is instrumental in nature, views the importance of controlling the teachers in any education or schooling problematic circumstances by set in place a system of control and measures via standards as a form of accountability so that the desired quality outcomes can be achieved.
#2 Discourse of Professionalization and Quality The teacher standards will act as a ‘professional’ status that teacher can aspire which in turn will lift the status of teachers in the public perceptions. According to AITSL (2011), “Teachers can use the Standards to recognize their current and developing capabilities, professional aspirations and achievements … *and+ contribute to the professionalization of teaching and raise the status of the profession”
#2 Discourse of Professionalization and Quality Teacher ownership of systemic reform depends heavily on the strong commitment from the profession. The notion of maintaining professional standards is generally acceptable however, there is some uncertainty about the extent to which they believe that an externally imposed framework of standards that tied to a performance management system will work.
A pilot project conducted by Education Queensland found that participants in the project support the use of the Standards as a tool to support professional learning. However, there are some critical evaluations on this issue: • Reduction in teachers’ autonomy • Obligatory participation in the project • Engagement constraint (limited interest and time) • Lack of time
There is a gap between rhetoric and reality in the implementation of the Standards that raises some issues: • The perceived value or non-value of standards across all curriculum areas, and the question of whether discrete-style standards can validly measure creativity and non-traditional forms of expression • Is ‘ownership’ of standards really a simple matter to achieve? • Will the issue of a lack of time and intensification of work brought about by increased external pressure on already heavy workloads be taken seriously by central bureaucracies?
#3 Discourse of the New Managerialism / Performativity The impact of managerialism that serves the neo-liberalism agenda has influenced teaching profession in the push for increased accountability and the production of ‘evidence’ of quality
#3 Discourse of the New Managerialism / Performativity • Comber and Nixon (2009) report that many of the teachers’ work was shaped by the corporate discourses of ‘reform’ and ‘quality’ associated with standardized testing, the quantification of ‘quality’, and the disciplinary discourses of surveillance and policing which resulted in their having to complete and lodge endless forms and records (p.339).
#3 Discourse of the New Managerialism / Performativity • Responsibility devolvement in the new managerialism aims to give the practitioners a sense of empowerment but in reality the real control and power remains at centralized locations through the new form of surveillance and self-monitoring.
Bloomfield (2006) argues that the new managerialism approach has the potential to encourage teacher to just “satisfy the demands of a political and policy climate that favours consistency, effectiveness and accountability”. In the 2000 Ramsey Review in Australia, it is highlighted that teachers may only work to ‘get by’ the standards rather than bring revitalization to the profession. It is referred to as ‘playing the game’ as they are fully aware of the external expectations of desired behavior (Tuinamuana, 2007).
#3 Discourse of the New Managerialism / Performativity Webb (2006) also noted similar responses to increased accountability, saying that “teachers’ fabrications were created to respond to the flow of surveillance used to monitor them” (p.206).
#4 Discourse of ‘Strategic Manoeuvring’ Anderson (2004) wonders whether it is at all possible to ‘attack’ the new managerialism by cooperating in the “development and dissemination of arguments that operate within the managerial discourse that they seek to overturn…. *utilising] this discourse in order to advance arguments against managerialism” (p.198).
#4 Discourse of ‘Strategic Manoeuvring’ In this way, she continues, it may be possible to “invoke the economic rationalist discourse that underpins managerialism in order to demonstrate that managerialism in universities is counterproductive, ineffective and uneconomic” (p.198).
#4 Discourse of ‘Strategic Manoeuvring’ There is a danger, of course, that immersing oneself in the dominant managerial discourse allows it to begin to shape one’s subjectivities, and that like neoliberalism “it has pervasive effects on ways of thought to the point where it has become incorporated into the common-sense way many of us interpret, live in and understand the world” (Harvey, 2005, p. 3). In other words, it is possible that we too may become embedded in the managerial discourse and performativity expectations.
Conclusion In a speech to Victorian principals in November 2010 on test-driven accountability, Brian Caldwell says that the issue today is not about testing per se, but about the “purposes that are served and the impact of the testing and reporting regimes” (p.6).
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