The ambiguous influence of high-stakes testing on science teaching in Sweden

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Tests convey messages about what to teach and how to assess. Bothof these dimensions may either broaden or become more uniformand narrow as a consequence of high-stakes testing. This studyaimed to investigate how Swedish science teachers wereinfluenced by national, high-stakes testing in science, specificallyfocusing on instances where teachers’ pedagogical practices werebroadened and/or narrowed. The research design is qualitativethematic analysis of focus group data, from group discussions withSwedish science teachers. The total sample consists of six teachers,who participated in 12 focus group discussion during threeconsecutive years. Findings suggest that the national testsinfluence teachers’ pedagogical practice by being used as asubstitute for the national curriculum. Since the teachers do notwant their students to fail the tests, they implement new contentthat is introduced by the tests and thereby broaden their existingpractice. However, when this new content is not seen as alegitimate part of teachers’ established teaching traditions, theinterpretation and implementation of this content may replicatethe operationalisations made by the test developers, even thoughthese operationalisations are restricted by demands forstandardisation and reliable scoring. Consequently, the testssimultaneously broaden and narrow teachers’ pedagogical practices.

Sidor (från-till)1926-1943
TidskriftInternational Journal of Science Education
StatusPublicerad - 2019

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