Master Marte Monsen
Avhandlingens tittel er:
Great Expectations? Teachers beliefs and knowledge about standardized Reading tests.
The importance of reading tests has increased in Nonvegian schools recently. The role of such tools for evaluation is a recurring subject for political discussion. The national reading tests may be perceived as means of holding schools and teachers accountable for student results. In political discourse on education, however, the value of the tests as instruments for Teachers and schools to improve student learning is emphasized. This study is situated within the field of Language and Art education, and examines the beliefs and knowledge teachers have of standardized reading tests. To shed light on this issue, I have conducted a multiple-case study on the eighth grade teams of teachers at three secondary schools. The data consist of individual and group interviews with teachers, six test tools and national and local documents relating to the test system. The analysis and discussion of the data rests on theoretical foundations from research on literacy tests, as well as theories about teachers' beliefs and knowledge.
Teachers' expectations with regard to how the tests should work as tools for improving student learning are comprehensive, but marked by uncertainty and ambivalence. The intended consequences of the tests they describe are few, while there are several unintended consequences. Partly the great expectations, uncertainty and ambivalence can be explained by the test documents. Many tests also lack transparency with regard to the construct that are measured. This may explain why most of the teachers seem to be fairly unknowledgeable about what the tests measure. As for immigrant students, it seems that the reading test results to some extent are understood as expressions of these students' general knowledge. Teachers have great confidence in the test tools, but less confidence in the school administration and local school authorities' attention towards and follow-up of the tests. The test system is also described as a threat to teachers' autonomy.
The results indicate, among other things, that we need to clarify what the main function of the reading tests is, and that increased use of standardized tests should imply an increased focus on developing knowledge of such tests among teachers and school administrators.
This work has been carried out at the Faculty of Education, University of Oslo. My work place throughout the research process has been Hedmark University College