Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Barbara V. Strobert, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Anthony Colella, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gina M. Cinotti, Ed.D.

Keywords

standardized student testing, elementary students, student assessment, urban district

Abstract

School leaders and teachers are confronted with federal, state, and local mandates that must be followed to ensure all students reach their fullest academic potential. To this end, the challenge has been raised to teachers and administrators to have younger students in the lower elementary grades prepared for standardized student testing.

Assessment comes with varied expectations and beliefs among parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, and the community that may cause difficulty acknowledging developmentally appropriate assessment methods.

This qualitative study focuses on the perceptions of 16 elementary teachers towards testing students in kindergarten, first, and second grade in one New Jersey urban public school district. Semi-structured interviews were conducted as participants discussed their agreements and disagreements of whether testing has an effect on students, teachers, and on classroom practice. Findings from this study disclosed negative results from student testing such as distress, anxiety, high-levels of worry, and students’ lack of confidence as well as positive outcomes from the collected test data, including richer discussions between student, teacher, and parent, and classroom planning and grouping. In an age where accountability for student achievement impacts schools, districts, and teachers, the pressure rises to have student scores increase. Findings for this study documented the importance of professional development and the involvement of teachers in curriculum design.

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