When Pandora's Box is Opened: A Qualitative Study of the Intended and Unintended Impacts of Wyoming's New Standardized Tests on Local Educators' Everyday Practices
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2013, 00:00 by Jeasik Cho
In the context of a newly adopted statewide assessment system, PAWS (Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students), this paper describes intended instructional changes and unintended outcomes in classrooms and schools as a result of an assessment policy involving an innovative online portion of the test. An elementary school was selected and prolonged qualitative fieldwork with in-depth and focus group interviews were conducted for 1 1/2 years. A constant comparative data analysis and interpretation from grounded theory methodology led to the following themes: adaptive implementation policy, teachers' dilemmas, instructional change, and school culture change. While observing an elusive role for teachers that involved external accountability factors, researchers also found a practical hope for future PAWS tests, foreshadowing the need for promptly delivered test results for realistic instructional improvement.