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Report: Teachers don’t value state-required standardized tests

standardized testingAs public schools across the state wrap up the Maryland School Assessments this week, a new report shows that most educators nationwide do not see state-required standardized tests as an essential or very important gauge of student achievement.

 Ongoing assessments better performance measure

The 2012 Primary Sources asked more than 10,000 public school teachers in grades pre-K to 12 about the state of their schools, their classrooms, and their profession.

On the subject of standardized tests, only 28 percent of teachers say state-required standardized tests are “absolutely essential” or “very important” factors in measuring student achievement. Instead, teachers say such tests do not reflect student skill: Only 45 percent of teachers say their students take these tests seriously and perform on them to the best of their ability. The highest factor for measuring student performance, expressed by 92 percent of teachers surveyed, is formative, ongoing assessments. This is followed by classroom participation and performance on class assignments.

Overall, only 22 percent of teachers rate student academic achievement at their schools as “excellent.” And high school teachers believe only 60 percent of students in current classes could leave high school prepared to succeed in a 2- or 4-year college.

Primary Sources report

The 2012 Primary Sources report, a collaboration of Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, reveals teachers’ thoughtful, nuanced views on both their daily practice and critical issues at the heart of education reform–from teacher evaluations to quality curriculum, from the Common Core State Standards to standardized tests, from family engagement to strong school leaders, from the changing face of their classrooms to teacher tenure and salaries, from job satisfaction to future career plans.

Other key findings reveal:

  • Challenges facing students are significant and growing. Forty-six percent of veteran teachers say they are seeing fewer students prepared for challenging work than when they began teaching in their current schools. Fifty-six percent are seeing more students living in poverty, and 49 percent are seeing more students coming to school hungry.
  • Teachers welcome and are eager for more frequent evaluation of their practice from school leaders, peers, and even students. Plus, they welcome feedback from a variety of sources.
  • Teachers are open to tenure reform. Eighty percent of teachers agree that tenure should be regularly reevaluated, and on average, teachers say that consideration for receiving tenure should happen after 5.4 years of teaching.
  • Teachers work an average of 10 hours, 40 minutes per workday, three hours and 20 minutes longer than the average required teacher workday nationwide.
  • Family involvement is the highest ranked factor for improving student achievement, with 98 percent of teachers in agreement that it has a strong or very strong impact on student academic success. At the same time, 47 percent of veteran teachers report lower parental participation in their schools.
  • The majority of teachers are satisfied in their jobs. Eighty nine percent of teachers are either very satisfied (42 percent) or satisfied (47 percent) in their jobs and only 16 percent of teachers plan on leaving teaching. MetLife Foundation’s recent survey of 1,000 teachers had similar findings, however, their tracking data indicates that the percentage of “very satisfied” is lower than in previous years.
  • On average, teachers report that student achievement is negatively affected once class size reaches 27 students. The average number of students in the American public school classroom is 23.

 Read the full report at http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/primarysources.

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