Storying teacher education policy: Critical counternarratives of curricular, pedagogical, and activist responses to state-mandated teacher performance assessments

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Abstract

The rise of high-stakes, standardized, teacher performance assessments (TPAs) is central to the industry being created out of the regulation, policing, and evaluation of university-based teacher education In addition to reinforcing a narrow and counter-critical framework, TPAs can shift responsibility for the evaluation of teacher candidates from university-based teacher educators with a comprehensive and nuanced fluency in candidates' preparedness to external scorers trained to standardize and depersonalize effective practice. In this article, four social justice-oriented teacher educators from three different states examine the practical and political effects of TPAs in their local contexts. By analyzing the curricular, pedagogical, and political implications of this high-stakes standardization of their field, they speak back to a policy landscape that too often marginalizes the voices of the teachers and students it purports to serve. Throughout, they examine the dilemmas of practice created by TPAs, as teachers and teacher educators seek to redefine what it means to enact justice-oriented professional agency in an increasingly regulated context. A critical counternarrative methodological approach was used to collect and process the authors’ lived stories and then to collaboratively reflect upon each other’s personal/professional experiences with TPAs. Several strategies are identified for enacting agency in response to TPAs, including curricular acts of resistance, resistance through participation in state legislative processes, policymaking within teacher education programs, the production of activist scholarship, and refusal to participate at all. Ways are suggested for teacher educators to minimize, mitigate, and resist unjust policy through curricular, political, and scholarly activism.

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How to Cite
Henning, N., Dover, A. G., Dotson, E. K., & Agarwal-Rangnath, R. (2018). Storying teacher education policy: Critical counternarratives of curricular, pedagogical, and activist responses to state-mandated teacher performance assessments. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26, 26. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.26.2790
Section
Navigating the Contested Terrain of Teacher Education Policy and Practice
Author Biographies

Nick Henning, California State University, Fullerton

Nick Henning is an associate professor in the Department of Secondary Education at California State university, Fullerton. His research areas include teacher education for effective urban classroom teaching, urban schooling, teacher collaboration, social justice education and teaching, social studies education, and K-12 Ethnic Studies.

Alison G. Dover, California State University, Fullerton

Alison Dover is an assistant professor in the Department of Secondary Education at California State University, Fullerton. Her research areas include literacy education, social justice-oriented teacher agency in K-12 and higher education, and strategies for promoting equity and justice in school curriculum, policy, and practice.

Erica K. Dotson, Clayton State University

Erica K. Dotson is an associate professor of Teacher Education and French at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. Her research agenda has combined her interests in second and foreign language pedagogy, multicultural curriculum, and social justice.

Ruchi Agarwal-Rangnath, University of San Francisco

Ruchi Agarwal-Rangnath is an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of San Francisco. Her research and teaching interests include urban education, teacher preparation, social studies education, social studies, and critical literacy.

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