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Meanings of Test Preparation

Mary Lee Smith
American Educational Research Journal
Vol. 28, No. 3 (Autumn, 1991), pp. 521-542
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1163147
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Meanings of Test Preparation
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Abstract

From a qualitative study of the role of external testing in elementary schools, a typology of meanings of test preparation was constructed. Based on long-term, intensive observation and interaction with two elementary schools and the analysis of clinical interviews, we found eight types of orientation toward preparing pupils to take mandated, high-stakes achievement tests. These included (a) ordinary curriculum with no special preparation, (b) teaching test-taking skills, (c) exhortation, (d) teaching content known to be covered by the test, (e) teaching to the test in format and content, (f) stress inoculation, (g) practicing test or parallel test items, and (h) cheating. Meanings of teachers are contrasted with meanings of test preparation held by school administrators, testing experts, and school critics. The structure of meanings is analyzed with some concepts of micropolitics.

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