Teachers Voices Interpreting Standards


  • Leo C. Rigsby George Mason University
  • Elizabeth K. DeMulder George Mason University




Reflective Thinking, Voice, Teacher Researchers


The State of Virginia has adopted state-mandated testing that aims to raise the standards of performance for children in our schools in a manner that assigns accountability to schools and to teachers. In this paper we argue that the conditions under which the standards were created and the testing implemented undermine the professionalism of teachers. We believe this result has the further consequence of compromising the critical thinking and learning processes of children. We argue this has happened because teachers’ views and experiences have driven neither the setting of standards nor the assessment of their achievement. We use data from essays by teachers in an innovative masters program to compare teachers’ experiences involving the Virginia Standards of Learning with ideal standards for professional development adopted by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. We argue that there are serious negative consequences of the failure to include dialogue with K-12 teachers in setting standards and especially in the creation of assessments to measure performances relative to the standards. We believe the most successful, honest, and morally defensible processes must be built on the experience and wisdom of classroom teachers.


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Author Biographies

Leo C. Rigsby, George Mason University

Leo Rigsby has conducted research on adolescent development, literacy, and more recently on teacher professional development. His current research focuses on reflective practice and professional development for teachers.

Elizabeth K. DeMulder, George Mason University

Elizabeth DeMulder's research concerns children's early education and development, and includes the study of how developing teachers’ reflective practice enhances teacher-child relationships and children’s learning. She is also involved in community-based action research in the immigrant community of South Arlington, studying ways that families, schools and communities can work together to support children’s healthy development.




How to Cite

Rigsby, L. C., & DeMulder, E. K. (2003). Teachers Voices Interpreting Standards. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 11, 44. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v11n44.2003