In this dissertation the author asks: if schools with a progressive mission provide a viable alternative to traditional schooling (Semel, 1999; Sizer, 1996), then how do these types of high schools respond when faced with state-mandated high-stakes graduation exams—a pervasive and growing phenomenon—that require the learning of specific content? To address this problem, the author examined how a small, urban public high school with a progressive mission responded to its state's policy of high-stakes graduation exams during the first two years of test implementation, why the school responded as it did, and the meaning the school imparted to the graduation tests. The author found that the school responded with both active resistance and compliance, employing four main tactics and several devices to garner a reprieve. Four main reasons for this resistance emerged: a clearly-defined alternative mission and approach, a commitment to the school by an experienced faculty, teacher commitment to the students, and the principal's leadership. The reason for the school's compliance with the mandates also stems from the teachers' commitment to the students.
The case study is theoretically informed by Foucault's theories (1977/1995, 1978/1990, 1980) on discipline and power and conceptualizes the accountability system of high-stakes testing as a disciplinary system (Aper, 2002; Vinson & Ross, 2001). The data corpus consists of field notes, interviews and documents previously collected by the author over two years when working on the Spencer-funded project Change Over Time? (Hargreaves & Goodson, 2003). The analysis is guided both by a priori codes derived from Gore's (1998) work on Foucauldian techniques of power as well as emergent codes for the purpose of developing grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) about the response of schools with a progressive mission to high-stakes testing. The study is intended to extend the research on high-stakes testing as it increases understandings of its consequences on schools. A clearer understanding of these consequences will address assumptions proponents have made about the use of high-stakes testing and further the debate on whether standards-based accountability is improving our nation's schools.
|School:||University of Rochester|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational tests & measurements, Secondary education|
|Keywords:||Alternative high school, Foucault, Michel, Graduation tests, High school, High-stakes testing, New York, Progressive education, Test duress|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be