Teaching to the Test: How Federal Mandates Affect Elementary Educators’ Teaching Styles
Recent mandates created by the federal government have placed a large emphasis on standardized testing in elementary schools. Educators now face the challenge of how to best prepare their students for these tests. In this qualitative case study research project, I collected data from four third grade teachers to determine how recent governmental laws impact their teaching styles; in this article I tell the story of two of those teachers. Interviews and classroom observations were conducted in a medium-sized, public elementary school outside a large metropolitan city in the Southeast. Preferred and perceived teaching styles as reported by the teachers during interviews were compared with their actual teaching styles as evidenced during observations. Results suggest that government mandates are affecting teaching styles directly and indirectly. It appears that government mandates have had a negative impact on teachers, their preferred styles of teaching, what curricula are emphasized, and how the curricula are taught.