Reconsidering the intensive use of standardised testing: Incorporating student feedback in K-12 grades by improving teachers' self-image and reflective thinking

Year: 2017

Author: Finefter-Rosenbluh, Ilana

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

For years, educators and policymakers deliberated whether student perception surveys (SPS) can comprise a component of teacher evaluation in K-12 grades. Remarkably, while most research on SPS has focused on the surveys' accuracy, reliability, and validity (E.g., Looney, 2011; Wallace, Kelcey & Ruzek, 2016), little is known of teachers' perceptions of SPS, and it is unclear what teacher preparation needs to transpire before effectively incorporating such surveys, if at all.
Meanwhile, numerous countries/states have adopted educational policies focused on standardised-testing to evaluate teachers (NAPLAN, 2008; Race to the Top, 2015) despite the latter being subject to a variety of criticisms (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Polikoff & Porter, 2014) which include a growing concern over the rapid deterioration in PISA outcomes (Riddle, 2016). Nonetheless, politicians and policy makers keep promoting test-based policies rather than finding ways to effectively incorporate and enhance student voice in teaching and learning processes, which was found to help improve teaching practices (E.g., MET Project, 2012).
The purpose of this study, therefore, was to identify when teachers may be open, or conversely, reluctant, to the use of SPS in schools. This study drew upon 20 interviews with teachers who were selected due to having the most positive/negative perceptions of SPS from among 157 teachers who completed a Support for Student Perception Survey questionnaire.
Findings showed that teachers' self-image appears to be associated with teacher-student relationships and may affect teachers' perceptions of SPS. Additionally, teachers' deep reflective thinking can play a critical role in the formation of positive perceptions of SPS. As such, the study suggests incorporating reflective-based teacher programs that focus on improving teacher self-image and teacher-student relationships, and enhancing deep reflective thinking prior to implementing SPS in schools.