Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Luke Stedrak, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Gutmore, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Kuchar, Ed.D.

Keywords

parent perspectives, standardized test, LEP, limited English proficiency, disadvantaged students

Abstract

State and federal regulations mandated standardized testing of students, including disadvantaged students: economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). The results of the standardized tests were used for the accountability of school districts by way of state and federal reports, resulting in standardized testing also being referred to as high-stakes testing. Standardized testing was criticized for a number of reasons, including holding teachers accountable for students’ scores (Ysseldyke et al., 2004) and subjecting students to stress and anxiety brought on by the demands of standardized testing (Albrecht & Joles, 2003; Von der Embse & Hasson, 2012). Another criticism was that parents may have felt uninformed or ill-informed of the results of their children’s standardized tests (Osburn, Stegman, Suitt, & Ritter, 2004). Proponents of standardized assessments pointed out that standardized testing assisted in determining which facets of education and which specific schools needed enhancement.

The purpose of this study was to better understand the knowledge and attitudes of parents of Spanish-speaking LEP students. The literature review examined two primary groups that had been identified as highly disadvantaged when it came to standardized testing: students with disabilities and students with LEP. Minimal research seemed to be available regarding parents’ views on standardized testing. It had been found that parents were involved and were very interested in their child’s performance on standardized tests (Osburn et al., 2004; Mulvenon et al., 2005).

This descriptive quantitative study was conducted in a suburban New Jersey school district with approximately 5,200 students. Approximately 500 students were from households in which Spanish is the primary language. The quantitative survey instrument was sent to 223 parents of LEP students via email; 32 responded. The survey questions were presented in both Spanish and English. This study sought to gain understanding of the perspectives of the parents of Spanish-speaking students with LEP with regard to the climate of standardized testing in their child’s school, stress related to standardized testing, the value of standardized testing, and communication regarding testing results. The major findings of this study conveyed that parents of Spanish-speaking LEP students did not feel adequately informed about how their children performed on standardized testing. The parents of LEP students viewed the standardized testing as important and expressed that parents and teachers were responsible for helping students improve their performance on the tests. Greater understanding of parents’ views may support school administrators and staff members in engaging and communicating with parents of students with LEP.

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