School testing culture and teacher satisfaction

William C. Smith, Jessica Holloway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Teachers, as frontline providers of education, are increasingly targets of accountability reforms. Such reforms often narrowly define ‘teacher quality’ around performative terms. Past research suggests holding teachers to account for student performance measures (i.e. test scores) damages their job satisfaction, including increasing stress and burnout. This article examines whether the relationship between test-based accountability and teacher satisfaction can be, in part, explained by the emphasis of student test scores in teacher appraisals. Although historically used for formative purposes, recent research demonstrates that across a large range of countries, nearly all teachers work in a system where their appraisal is based, in part, on students test scores. Using data from the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey, we pool data from 33 countries to evaluate the direct and indirect effect of school testing culture on teacher satisfaction. Results suggest that there is a direct relationship between the intensity of the testing culture and the satisfaction of teachers, as well an indirect relationship with test score emphasis in teacher appraisals suppressing potential positive effects of appraisals on teacher satisfaction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability
Early online date5 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Nov 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • teacher satisfaction
  • teacher appraisal
  • testing culture
  • accountability


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