Occasional Papers 26

Toward Meaningful Assessment: Lessons from Five First-Grade Classrooms

by Laura R. Kates

Occasional Papers 26This is a case study of six first grade teachers' responses to a performance assessment mandated in New York City Public Schools from 1998 to 2003. The study explores the nature of teachers' meaning making about reforms and its implications for the design of curriculum and assessment policy. The teachers came to see the assessment as a bureaucratic burden rather than as the rich resource for instructional improvement its developers intended it to be. The findings indicate that an emphasis on scrutiny and punishment is likely to diminish rather than enhance an assessment policy's potential to bolster teacher skill and student achievement. 

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Read commentaries on this essay by:

  • Martha Foote Founding Member, Time Out for Testing
  • Susan Freeman Co-author, California Standards for Teaching Profession
  • Marjorie Siegel Professor of Literary Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Watch videos related to this essay:

The Leadership Perspective

Laura Kates interviews Adele Schroeter and Daniel Feigelson
Laura Kates (right) interviews Adele Schroeter, principal of P.S. 59 M, former co-director of the Office of Research, Development and Dissemination at the NYC Department of Education and Daniel Feigelson, Network Team Leader, former co-director of the Office of Research, Development and Dissemination at the NYC Department of Education. Part 1 and Part 2.

The Classroom Teacher's Perspective

February 2011: Laura Kates interviews Renee Dinnerstein, Curriculum Consultant, kindergarten teacher at P.S. 321 in Park Slope for 18 years. Watch.

The Curriculum Consultant's Perspective

March 2011: Laura Kates interviews Maureen Morriss, Curriculum Consultant.