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

Barbara Strobert, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Anthony Colella, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sharon Amato, Ed.D.

Keywords

Curriculum, Instruction, Testing, Teachers, Assessments, Standards

Abstract

Instruction in public schools today is highly prescribed to meet state standards, which, in turn, prepare students for success on standardized assessments. Teachers in language arts and mathematics are being held accountable for standardized assessment results in their end-of-year, summative evaluations. The development of curriculum and delivery of instruction is being impacted and, most specifically, revised and paced according to skills required to demonstrate levels of proficiency on standardized assessments. No Child Left Behind (2001) changed the game for teachers and started the mandate of placing teacher accountability and evaluation on high-stakes tests. However, it was difficult to place a federal mandate on test scores when states were taking different assessments and working with different standards for proficiency. Common Core Curriculum Standards (2010) attempted to formalize national standards and presented PARCC as the national standard for assessment. Race to the Top provided states monetary rewards for adopting Common Core Curriculum Standards and for entering into the PARCC Consortium.

Grades 3-8 language arts and mathematics teachers in New Jersey currently teach under a mandate that ties 30% of their end-of-year, summative evaluations to standardized assessment results. This is known in New Jersey as a Student Growth Percentile (SGP). This mandate holds teachers directly accountable for high-stakes testing outcomes. This does not take into consideration many of the proven factors that dictate academic performance and proficiency, such as socioeconomic status, limited English proficiency, and transience of students. Teachers are under pressure to make sure their students know the skills required for PARCC and to analyze growth and progress throughout the school year. This can get in the way of creativity in delivering lessons and has the potential to narrow the curriculum to only skills required for standardized assessment proficiency.

PARCC also changed the way in which standardized assessments are administered to students. It delivered the assessments to students through computer software for the first time. This placed a burden on teachers to make sure their students were proficient in typing skills and other technology skills necessary to navigate through a timed, computerized assessment. This study examined whether or not instructional time is being taken away from language arts and mathematics instruction to ensure technology proficiency required to navigate through a computer-based standardized assessment.

It is important to examine perceptions of language arts and math teachers who are objectively held accountable for standardized assessment results. Specifically, the researcher examined any effects on the development of curriculum and delivery of instruction in a middle school setting. This study also examined any time spent away from teaching language arts and mathematics skills in order to ensure technology tools necessary to take a computerized assessment are learned.

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