Examining teacher ethical dilemmas in classroom assessment
Pope, N., Green, S., Johnson, R., & Mitchell, M. (2009). Examining teacher ethical dilemmas in classroom assessment. Teaching and Teacher Education , 25 (5), 778-782.
Pope, Green, Johnson, & Mitchell (2009) suggest that we need further research and discussion around ethics and assessment in the classroom. Many ethic dilemmas are faced by teachers however little has been researched around ethics and assessment. Teachers spend one third of the time in assessment related activities and do so with no clear guidelines of the ethical dilemmas involved. There is a need for pre-service teachers to undertake training and discussion around ethical conflicts and dilemma around assessment as it appears that ethical reasoning does not develop on the job. The group study of in service teachers highlighted the dilemmas around ethics and assessment. In discussing a scenario where there is no right or wrong answers teacher responses were grouped based on two principles of ‘do no harm’ and ‘score pollution’. Although responses varied greatly, score pollution rated highest with institutional requirements vs. students needs being the greatest concern around conflicting elements. Ethical conflict based around institutional expectations is described as unavoidable, as institutions deal with the abstract and teachers deal with the person. Within Institutional requirements teachers see ethical conflict where rules from the governing body do not match with what the teachers sees as meeting the need of the student. As demands of large-scale assessment increase so does the focus on the practice. Students need to be the priority and teacher’s lack formal training. Research, clear guidelines, and discussion around ethics need to be implemented. We need clear guidelines around score pollution and the ethical dilemmas involved.
The authors being affiliated with American Universities and having prior published research allows for confidence in credibility of the article in an academic sense. Dr. Nakia Shane Pope is assistant dean at Winthrop University, with interests in areas of philosophy and social foundations of education (Winthrop University, 2011). However, the evidence gathered for the report was from a small group of in-service teachers undertaking further study at two universities, and may be subjective, the authors themselves warn against generalisation of the findings.
The report’s aim is to document the specific ethical conflicts faced by teachers in assessment and expand prior research undertaken by Green, Johnson, Kim, & Pope, (2007) & Johnson, Green, Kim, & Pope (2008). However there may be bias, as the respondent’s ethical understanding may naturally be towards institutional conflict as an area that has been given media attention. Secondly, as noted by the authors, the teachers own ethical stance will influence the outcome. Another consideration...