Test-based accountability policies aim to increase student achievement for all students and reduce achievement gaps by improving classroom instruction. This study compared how educators in two high-poverty and two low-poverty elementary schools in an urban North Carolina school district perceived the impact of test-based accountability on teaching and learning. The study used interview methods to explore educators' response to test-based accountability policies and to examine why they have responded in particular ways. There were many similarities in educators' perceptions, both positive and negative, across different types of schools; however, educators from high-poverty schools tended to have more negative perceptions about the policies than did educators from low-poverty schools.
Findings suggest that educators across all schools perceived that test-based accountability policies have helped to focus instruction and raise expectations for student learning. They felt that the increased focus on language arts and mathematics was positive, but they were also concerned that the focus led to greater limitations on what they could teach. In addition, educators reported that the policies had affected students differently, depending on their achievement levels. Many educators across all schools noted that higher-achieving students had received less instructional attention while other groups of students had received more attention. In addition, some educators reported that higher- and lower-achieving students have experienced decreased motivation, while students with average achievement levels and those just below proficiency have increased motivation. Educators across all schools also perceived that test-based accountability policies had a negative effect on teacher morale and teacher attrition. In addition, educators from high-poverty schools believed these policies had created unrealistic expectations for their schools and had had a negative effect on teacher recruitment. The findings suggest that educators in high-poverty schools experience greater pressures because of policy sanctions and the greater demands of their students.
|Advisor:||Rotberg, Iris C.|
|Commitee:||Jackson, Gregg B., Lim, Jae Hoon|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Educational Administration and Policy Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Accountability, High-poverty, Low-poverty, Policies, Test-based accountability, Testing|
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