Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Suburban Teacher Perceptions of Current Trends in High School Reform
by Givens, Susan K., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2018, 220; 10825854
Abstract (Summary)

Over the past several decades there has been a continuous stream of government mandates aimed to improve equity, access, accountability, transparency, student performance, and/or expand the responsibilities of public schools. These externally mandated school reforms have largely excluded the voice of teachers and administrators both in problem definition and in the modifications needed to address them. Further, reform literature is predominantly focused on improving or addressing urban school challenges, so little is known about the challenges and needs of suburban schools. The gaps in the literature related to teacher voice and suburban contexts in high school reform form the basis of this inquiry. Therefore, this study examines suburban teacher perceptions of four specific, popular reform ideas being introduced in high schools across the United States.

This exploratory mixed methods study gathered data from 165 suburban public high school teachers working in 20 different high schools in Massachusetts using an anonymous survey instrument. Three findings emerged from the study: 1) successful suburban teachers welcome consensus high school reform ideas that they believe to be favorable for student learning, growth, and development though they note significant challenges in regard to time; 2) suburban teachers experience anxiety when reforms alter structures or methods that they rely on to ensure all students meet high school outcomes for graduation and college entrance requirements; and 3) suburban teachers’ perceptions of consensus high school reform ideas are shaped by the ways in which the reforms impact academic disciplines. This study found that suburban public school teachers view the four reform ideas presented in this study as likely having a positive impact on teaching and learning in their school; however, they noted several implementation challenges that would need to be considered to ensure the efficacy of those reforms.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Johanek, Michael C.
Commitee: Waff, Diane, Zhao, Yong
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational and Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Instructional Design, Education, Secondary education
Keywords: Education policy, High school reform, School improvement, Suburban education, Teacher, Teaching and learning
Publication Number: 10825854
ISBN: 978-0-438-33891-3
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