"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

1% of Teachers Find NCLB Effective Tool to Assess Quality of Schools

TeachersNetwork.org conducted a recent survey with 5,000 teachers in 50 states. Here is the link, and here is a summary of findings:

Survey results show how for the majority of teachers the emphasis of NCLB on high-stakes testing is not working. Only 37% of respondents found standardized tests "somewhat useful" but 42% deemed them "not at all" helpful to their teaching. Over 40% claim that these tests are encouraging them to use rote drill, and 44% report that the tests are pushing them to eliminate curriculum material not tested.

Over 40% believe that NCLB does not result in teachers making instructional decisions that are best for their students or that it's helping to reduce the achievement gap in education-its primary goal. And fewer (3%) agree that it encourages them to improve their teaching effectiveness with all students. Fewer still (1%) find it is an effective way to assess the quality of schools

Three-quarters of the teachers surveyed reported experiencing a great deal of pressure from NCLB to improve students' test scores due to NCLB, coming from the top down. Among the forces exerting pressure on teachers to improve student scores are state departments of education (60%), district administrators (57%), newspapers and other media (43%), and principals (39%). Only 10% said they felt pressure from parents.

What will be of real concern to policymakers will be our findings regarding teacher retention: 69% of survey respondents "strongly agree" that NCLB with its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals has contributed to teacher burnout.

The respondents were evenly distributed across the grade levels from kindergarten through 12 th grade. Slightly more than half of the survey takers (52.2%) were not from a school that has been identified as one in need of improvement in any academic area and/or with any disaggregated population of students. Teacher respondents ranged from 1-3 years experience (17.2%) to teachers with 25 or more years (16.5%). One-fifth of the teachers who responded have been teaching between 6-10 years.

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