Date of Award

Spring 5-24-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Bryan Meadows, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rong Chen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yong-Mi Kim, Ed.D.


Assistant Principals, English Language Learners, Testing


Given federal and state mandates, school administrators in the United States are often held responsible for enacting standardized testing policies in their school settings. Standardized testing requirements apply for all students attending school including ELL (English Language Learner) students. However, a review of the literature finds that standardized testing for ELL students is problematic when schools interpret testing scores as some indication of content knowledge mastery. At the current time, content-area standardized testing policies and practices in public schools are not consistent with what we know about second language development. What is missing in the existing research is an examination of school administrator perspective on the standardized testing policies that they are responsible for when the students are English Language Learners. This study adopts a qualitative case study framework to examine the perspectives of high school assistant principals in a single Maryland school district. The following research question guided the data collection and data analysis: How do high school assistant principals in a large Maryland suburban county perceive standardized testing policy implemented for ELLs? Data collection involved semi-structured interviews with high school assistant principals in a single case study Maryland district. Subsequent data analysis involved coding interview data from transcription to identify overarching themes. The findings of the study were in two parts: experiential dimension and perspective dimension. For the experiential dimension, the analysis found that despite the variety of experiences as assistant principals in diverse locations, their understanding of standardized testing policies was uniform. Next for the perspective dimension, the analysis found that current standardized testing policies for English Language Learners did not achieve the intended goals. The findings of this study have important implications for the theoretical study of educational leadership and for the everyday lived experiences of school administrators in K-12 schools. The study yielded a recommendation for assistant principals to balance the need for additional standardized testing and the loss of instructional time. The study also provided recommendations for future research. This included broader research into the experiences of other standardized testing policy implementers and their perception of current testing policies for English Language Learners.