by Anthony Kunkel

Teachers and Teaching

This study began with a question:

How much autonomy does a secondary English Teacher exercise in selecting curriculum and choosing instructional strategies?

The research that follows does not answer that question. Indeed, there is a void of research that is specific to that question. What is presented here provides a glimpse into the history of English Teaching, and then presents a body of research on high-stakes testing and the reforms that have misguided and misused the profession. Where possible, I've attempted to focus on teaching English, as Language Arts has been plagued heavily by the ever constant, ever changing standardized and high-stakes testing reforms. This study begins with a brief historical overview of English Teaching, but with high-stakes testing this study becomes a much broader topic, relevant to all teachers, at all levels, in all subjects. While my original research question is not answered in this study, the research put forth here suggests that the question of teacher autonomy has been an ongoing struggle for English teachers, and all teachers, for many, many years.