Publication Date

2014-04-03

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2014-04-03

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense

2014-03-25

First Committee Member

Okhee Lee

Second Committee Member

Walter G. Secada

Third Committee Member

Jennifer M. Langer-Osuna

Fourth Committee Member

Jaime Maerten-Rivera

Fifth Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn

Abstract

High-stakes testing and accountability (HSTA) is a topic largely debated because of the effects it can have on student learning. Teachers’ perceptions help determine teaching practices, ultimately teaching practices impact student learning, and unintended consequences of HSTA have been found to result in teaching practices that do not maximize meaningful student learning. The purpose of this study was to examine elementary science teachers’ perceptions of HSTA prior to an intervention and if participation in the intervention changed their perceptions. In addition, teacher professional variables (i.e., years of teaching and number of science courses taken) and school contextual factors (i.e., percent of Black students, percent of low SES students, and percent of limited English proficient students) were examined as predictors of initial perceptions of HSTA and change in perceptions over time. The study involved 220 teachers in a large, urban district who taught high numbers of English language learners. Teachers completed questionnaire and background forms. Data were analyzed using longitudinal multilevel modeling and interpreted using social cognitive theory to more completely understand the complexities of human functioning and explain its causality. Results showed negative perceptions of HSTA and no impact by the intervention on treatment teachers’ perceptions of HSTA compared to control teachers during the three-year intervention. Themes in the literature that teachers perceive standards positively, HSTA negatively, and the impact of HSTA on teaching practices negatively were supported by results in this study. Teachers’ perceptions of HSTA at baseline were overall consistent across teacher professional variables and school contextual factors tested. At baseline, teachers’ perception that standards provided good guidelines was predicted by years of teaching.

Keywords

Science education; teachers’ beliefs; high-stakes testing and accountability; English language learners; elementary teachers

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