How Administrators’ Messages Influence Teacher Practice

  • How Administrators’ Messages Influence Teacher Practice

    Richelle Marynowski
    Teachers react to pressure and expectations as they prepare students for high-stakes exams.
    Many students in the United States, Canada, and around the world are required to take externally developed examinations. In many cases, these examinations are considered high stakes (Brady 2008; Dager Wilson 2007; Volante 2006; Webber et al. 2009), and thus teachers spend time in class ensuring that their students are ready for the tests. After speaking with secondary math teachers about their experiences, I realized that even though many teachers may use the phrase “preparing students to take an exam” to describe what they do in their classrooms, they may have different motivations for doing this task. This article presents case studies of two teachers, Marla and Vanessa, who use the same language of “preparing their students” to take an external math examination. These teachers talk quite differently about their motivations, which are influenced by messages about student performance they receive from their school administrators. Implications provided by these case studies for teachers and school administrators follow.
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