Rodgers, Pamela England (2003-05). What goal is of most worth? The effects of the implementation of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills on elementary science teaching. Doctoral Dissertation.
This qualitative, narrative study centered on the effects of the implementation of
the science portion of the fifth grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)
on the instruction of science at the elementary level, grades one through five. Fourteen
teachers and five administrators were interviewed at two elementary schools
(kindergarten through grade four) and one middle school (grades five and six).
Classroom observations of each of the teachers were also conducted.
The study focused on the effect of the implementation of the science TAKS on
the amount of time spent on science as well as the instructional methods utilized in the
elementary science classroom. Lower grade levels were found to have changed little in
these areas unless strong administrative leadership ?? emphasizing curriculum alignment,
providing adequate materials and facilities, and encouraging sustained, content-based
professional development in science - was present in the school. At the fifth grade level,
however, the amount of time spent on science had increased significantly, although the
instructional methods utilized by the teachers were focused more often upon increasing
ratings on the test rather than providing the research-based best practice methods of hands-on, inquiry-based science instruction. In addition, the study also explored the
teachers?? and administrators?? perceptions of the state and local mandates concerning
science instruction and preparation for the TAKS.
Other topics that came to light during the course of the study included the
teachers?? views on accountability and the effects of the state assessments on children in
their classrooms. It was found that most teachers readily accept accountability for
themselves, but are opposed to one-shot high-stakes tests which they feel are damaging
for their students emotionally and academically ?? adversely affecting their love of