holloway-schooltestingculture-2020.pdf (1.17 MB)
School testing culture and teacher satisfaction
journal contributionposted on 2020-11-01, 00:00 authored by W C Smith, Jessica Holloway
Teachers, as frontline providers of education, are increasingly targets of accountability reforms. Such reforms often narrowly define ‘teacher quality’ around performative terms. Past research suggests holding teachers to account for student performance measures (i.e. test scores) damages their job satisfaction, including increasing stress and burnout. This article examines whether the relationship between test-based accountability and teacher satisfaction can be, in part, explained by the emphasis of student test scores in teacher appraisals. Although historically used for formative purposes, recent research demonstrates that across a large range of countries, nearly all teachers work in a system where their appraisal is based, in part, on students’ test scores. Using data from the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey, we pool data from 33 countries to evaluate the direct and indirect effect of school testing culture on teacher satisfaction. Results suggest that there is a direct relationship between the intensity of the testing culture and the satisfaction of teachers, as well as an indirect relationship with test score emphasis in teacher appraisals suppressing potential positive effects of appraisals on teacher satisfaction.