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Edit Tóth: Teachers’ Views of Learner Assessment Programmes

In recent decades, numerous developed countries have increased their expenditures on education. However, educational performance measured by schoolchildren’s knowledge has improved in very few countries (Barber and Mourshed, 2007). This phenomenon has prompted governments to take various steps to improve results among both learners and teachers. First of all, educational management has been reconceptualised and accountability systems have been introduced. Schoolchildren’s performance has become a core element in accountability programmes that monitor public education in an ever growing number of countries. In our study, we analysed elementary school teachers’ opinions of learner performance measures on the basis of the results of a national representative questionnaire survey. After examining teachers’ views on the efficacy of system-wide, national and international measures, we narrowed our focus to teachers’ opinions on certain aspects of Hungary’s National Assessment of Basic Competencies, since this serves as a basis for the country’s performance-based accountability system and provides stakeholders with feedback on the effectiveness of the work carried out in schools on the basis of test scores. The feedback and publication of the results also affect teachers’ work. Our results show that teachers find system-wide measures important, but they harbour doubts about the generalizability of the conclusions that can be drawn from these results. Of the various measures used at different levels, respondents expressed the greatest concern about the National Assessment of Basic Competencies and also felt pressurised by results from international assessments. Numerous stakeholders – mostly school management and local education authorities – place pressure on teachers to ensure that their pupils achieve good test results on the National Assessment. Teachers have changed many aspects of their practice: they seek out more effective teaching methods and pay closer attention to both meeting professional development requirements and improving components of the competencies measured. Results suggest that teachers accept system-wide measures of learner performance since they have become part of our educational culture. At the same time, the most important task is to facilitate teachers’ work with feedback from the measures.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 111. Number 3. 225-249. (2011)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Tóth Edit, MTA-SZTE Képességfejlődés Kutató¬csoport, H–6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30–34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia