Investigating teachers’ and school principals’ enactments of national testing policies

Ann Elisabeth Gunnulfsen (Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway)
Astrid Roe (Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Publication date: 9 May 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine teachers’ reported experiences, practices, and attitudes on the use of national test results in a low-stakes accountability context. Whether the stakes are high or low, teachers and school leaders have different experiences, knowledge, and beliefs concerning how to use national test results to benefit individual student learning. This paper addresses how teachers experience school leadership and policy requirements for using national test results in local schools.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is part of a larger study conducted in a Norwegian educational context investigating school leaders’ and teachers’ enactments of policy demands via the use of national test results data. The sub-study reported in this paper is based on survey data from all lower secondary teachers (n=176) in one Norwegian municipality. Micro-policy perspectives and the concept of crafting policy coherence served as analytical tools.

Findings

Diversity between the schools was found in how teachers perceive the principals’ role. Practices and attitudes appeared restrained, somewhat conformed by, but still indifferent to the policy intention. However, there was a close relationship between the principals’ facilitation of national tests and the teachers’ practices of utilizing the results.

Originality/value

This study clarified how micro-policy works in local schools in a low-stakes context. A prominent difference was found between the policy intentions and local schools’ practice of using national test results.

Keywords

Citation

Gunnulfsen, A. and Roe, A. (2018), "Investigating teachers’ and school principals’ enactments of national testing policies", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 56 No. 3, pp. 332-349. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-04-2017-0035

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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