Perceptions of Test Score Pollution Stemming From COVID-19 and State Testing: An Exploratory Case Study

Elif Kalemdaroglu-Wheeler 1 *

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp. 95-118

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The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to explore teachers’ and administrators’ perceptions of test score pollution deriving from COVID-19-related issues that may affect students’ test scores on state-mandated standardized tests for grades six through 12 in a state along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Four research questions were devised to investigate participants’ perceptions of factors stemming from COVID-19-related issues that may alter students’ performance on state standardized tests, commonly referred to as test score pollution. The conceptual framework centered around Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Campbell’s Law, and Kane’s Validation Model. A purposeful stratified sampling method was utilized for participant inclusion criteria. The study sample included four middle school teachers in grades six through eight, two high school teachers, two middle school administrators, and two high school administrators. The data collection method included semi-structured interviews. Data analysis was conducted in unison with memoing, member checking, In Vivo, Descriptive, Focused, Axial, and Process Coding methods. The following themes emerged through data analysis: (a) inadequately preparing students for state standardized tests, (b) de-valuing of education, (c) understanding students’ emotional well-being, (d) providing data-driven support, (e) questioning test validity, and (f) recognizing magnified disparities among students.

Keywords: Campbell’s Law, COVID-19, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Kane’s Validation Model, state standardized tests, test score pollution.