Teacher scoring of large-scale assessment: professional development or debilitation?
This qualitative, multiple case study draws into question claims that teacher involvement in large-scale assessment is professionally debilitating. Four teacher-scorers of reading in the 1998 Council of Ministers of Education, Canada's School Achievement Indicators Programme national literacy assessment were interviewed pre-, during, and post-marking in terms of their personal and professional motivations for participation, their perception of the role of such evaluations in classroom practice, their self-concept as autonomous professionals, and the impact of such evaluations on their relationships with colleagues, students, and administrators. Teachers reported that active participation in marking served to clarify rather than corrode their pedagogical values, affirmed or improved their classroom assessment and instructional practices, validated their self-perceptions as professionals, and had a neutral or negligible impact on school relationships. It is concluded that involvement in low-stakes, large-scale assessments is not inconsistent with notions of professionalism.