Will large-scale assessments raise literacy standards in Australian schools?
Mills, Kathy A. (2008) Will large-scale assessments raise literacy standards in Australian schools? Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 31(3), pp. 211-255.
In May, 2008, approximately one million students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 across 9,000 Australian schools must participate in the new National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy. The issue of standardised testing is central to discussions of education in politics and the media, and dramatically impacts the lives of educators, teachers, students and parents. This article examines some of the issues at the centre of the standards debate in Australia and globally. The effects of standardised testing are addressed in relation to literacy teaching, in particular, "teaching to the test", curriculum narrowing, curricular validity, and teachers' use of pedagogies. Additionally, its effects on literacy learning are examined, with particular attention to critical literacy, multiliteracies, and cultural diversity. Recommendations are provided for alternative forms of assessment that are based on current research, and which empower the professionalism and voice of teachers.
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