Merely getting rid of standardized tests is unlikely to significantly elevate the quality of teachers’ lessons without other reforms,.
In an analysis of hundreds of videotaped teacher lessons, a pair of researchers found that explicit test-prep strategies were linked to declines in instructional quality—but not consistently across several school districts, and generally, not severely.
But the study throws cold water on the idea that better tests will lead to more-consistent, higher-level instruction in classrooms—a common refrain among testing advocates. In fact, teachers working in districts with more-sophisticated testing regimes also taught weaker lessons when they engaged in test prep. The study drew on surveys of about 300 4th and 5th grade teachers, each of whom had submitted three to 10 lessons for analysis.
A version of this article appeared in the October 25, 2017 edition of Education Week as Testing