Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Principals' Interpretation of ELL Policy
by Herr, Lauren McHugh, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2015, 249; 3730763
Abstract (Summary)

The intent of this study has been to examine the role of the principal in interpreting and implementing local ELL (English Language Leaner) policies. Policies and reforms in education usually come from the people who have the most power and hold the highest position; however, it is the administrator who implements the policies and motivates teachers to follow through and implement them. This study looks at the factors administrators consider when interpreting and implementing an ELL policy. Are their motivations directly related to school context, resources, power, previous policies, or simply issues of cultural politics?

A case study is used to gather the perceptions of administrators at the middle school level. Language development is critical during these years, as students begin to develop and use more academic and high-tiered language. The transformation of intentions theory will be the framework for analyzing how this policy is adapted and modified from its original intent. In addition, a critical lens is used to view how, if at all, issues of cultural politics, such as language ideologies, are involved in the interpretation and implementation process for ELL policy.

The study proposes two main research questions: (a) What factors influence administrators’ actions when implementing policy? (b) What factors do school leaders understand as influencing administrators’ decisions involving policy implementation in schools? These questions as use to answer the overarching thesis question: To what extent is the implementation of ELL policy shaped and influenced by school-based factors?

Literature and research were analyzed to find the following key themes: (a) context; (b) administrators’ beliefs, knowledge, and experience; (c) accountability; and (d) culture. The findings indicate that administrators are indeed influenced by different factors, which in effect can impact their interpretation of district policy.

By identifying the specific factors that can impact policy implementation at the local level, this study increases the knowledge that involves policy interpretation. Additionally, these findings can be used to inform district and state leaders of local level concerns that could be altering designated policy objectives.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Howard, Lionel
Commitee: Clayton, Jennifer, Cuppett, Kevin, Drakeford, Jocelyn, Dukes, Daniel
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Administration and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics, Educational evaluation, Educational leadership, Middle School education, Educational administration
Keywords: English language learners, Policy implementation, Policy interpretation
Publication Number: 3730763
ISBN: 978-1-339-17084-8
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