Academic journal article Educational Foundations

Ethnic-Based Equity in Teacher Judgment of Student Achievement on a Language and Literacy Curriculum-Embedded Performance Assessment for Children in Grade One

Academic journal article Educational Foundations

Ethnic-Based Equity in Teacher Judgment of Student Achievement on a Language and Literacy Curriculum-Embedded Performance Assessment for Children in Grade One

Article excerpt

In today's American educational system, testing has increasingly become the preferred educational practice for measuring students' academic achievement. It is often seen as the most suitable means to raise academic achievement for students, by insisting on educational accountability among educators--teachers, school counselors, and administrators (Moore, 2003). Given the steady decline of school achievement among students in the United States, greater interest in public education now exists. Such interest extends beyond the walls of professional educators, district and building administrators, local school boards, and state education departments. Increasingly, business and political leaders are involving themselves in educational policy, in turn, to improve school achievement in America's public schools (Usdan, 2006). These leaders' involvement in public education evolved out of their concern that the United States may no longer be producing students who are able to compete in today's global economy (Friedman, 2005).

Because public education is commonly seen as the "driving force" of the country's economic prosperity, public education is an important topic of debate (Moore, 2003; Southern Education Foundation, 1995, 1999, 2000a, 2000b), and desperate measures are frequently offered to improve public education for all students (Moore, 2003), especially low-income students, students with disabilities, and students of color. Too often, students with these particular backgrounds find themselves in failing schools or educational systems that do not give them the skills needed to succeed in the "new" global workplace (Kozol, 1991; Sears, 2002). There are a number of variables that interact to impede school outcomes for these students. They range from chronic poverty, low teacher expectations, poor parental involvement, and inadequate school funding and resources (Flowers, Milner, & Moore, 2003; Ford & Moore, 2004; Kozol, 1991; Sears, 2002). Nevertheless, based on national statistics, it is quite clear that these students are being left behind in these schools, and society offers them few assurances that they will be able to compete in today's global economy. Therefore, the demands from business and political leaders to educators--teachers, school counselors, and administrators--to leave no child or group behind are seen as warranted. It is increasingly apparent, at least from these leaders, that public schools will not be able to reform themselves without assistance or force from outside entities (Usdan, 2006). This belief, of course, mirrors earlier calls for action to improve the quality of education in the United States (Cobia & Henderson, 2007).

Arguably, no other time in public education has generated as much attention on the quality of America's educational system than the seminal report A Nation At Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983). This document revealed that America is no longer leading the world in educating its citizens. The report further indicated that students in the United States lagged drastically behind their student counterparts in other countries (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983). In recognition of these educational trends, special efforts--from the business and political communities--are frequently given to reform or transform public education (Usdan, 2006). As an example of this focus, the National Governors' Association (1986) endorsed in Time for results: The governors' 1991 report on education high educational standards and adequate measures to determine whether students were meeting the identified standards. Consequentially, these standards evolved into "high stakes" testing (National Council on Education Standards and Testing, 1992). Testing, in other words, is seen "as a viable measure of academic achievement and a suitable means of accountability" (Cobia & Henderson, 2007, p. 35), which is the primary basis of the current No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (U. …

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