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Science Education and Test-Based Accountability: Reviewing Their Relationship and Exploring Implications for Future Policy

Abstract

"Assuming that quality science education plays a role in economic growth within a country, it becomes important to understand how education policy might influence science education teaching and learning. This integrative research review draws on Cooper's methodology (Cooper, 1982; Cooper & Hedges, 2009) to synthesize empirical findings on the relationship between science education and test-based accountability policies. Current accountability policy, particularly at the federal level, is intended to influence educators to more fully consider the needs of all students; however, research suggests that, under these policies, many research-based reform efforts in science become sidetracked, teacher practice becomes more fact based, science is taught less, teachers become less satisfied, and many students' needs are not met. Therefore, a clear understanding of educators' perceptions of the impacts of current test-based accountability policies should guide the development and implementation of the next generation of national science standards and subsequent large-scale assessments. By also delineating the limitations of the research into the perceived connections between test-based accountability and science education, this synthesis reveals further research to be done. Finally, this paper details what the reviewed research suggests for improvements to K-12 science education accountability policies."

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