Publications & Resources

Tensions Between Competing Pedagogical and Accountability Commitments for Exemplary Teachers of Mathematics in Kentucky

Nov 1998

Hilda Borko and Rebekah Elliott

This paper presents a focused case study of Ann and Kay, a team of exemplary elementary teachers, as they worked to modify their mathematics instruction to be consistent with the goals of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) and Kentucky Instructional Results Information System (KIRIS, its innovative high-stakes assessment system). At the time of our work with Ann and Kay, the mathematics component of KIRIS included three types of measures: open response items, multiple choice items, and mathematics portfolios (in a research and development phase), which together assessed students’ understanding of concepts and procedures, as well as their ability to use this understanding to solve problems in other disciplines and real life. Ann and Kay’s efforts to guide students’ creation of mathematics portfolios and prepare them for the open response item format focused on increased attention to problem solving, mathematical communication, and connections to real world situations. They often found themselves faced with tensions and struggles as they attempted to put policy into practice without compromising their pedagogical goals and beliefs. In this case study, we discuss how they worked with these tensions to create a successful reform-based mathematics program in their 4-5 classroom.

Borko, H., & Elliott, R. (1998). Tensions between competing pedagogical and accountability commitments for exemplary teachers of mathematics in Kentucky (CSE Report 495). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).