Recently there has been great interest in understanding the effects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) as the government considers the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). However, a voice that is often under-represented in education literature is the teacher's perspective on how NCLB impacts classroom instruction.
The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers' perceptions of the relationship between NCLB and its accountability policies on classroom instruction, with particular attention to the effects of NCLB on teachers' abilities to infuse engaging instructional practices. Dewey's theory of instructional methods, often regarded as an exemplar of engaging instruction, was used to analyze the findings.
This study utilized a mixed method, multiple case study approach. Teachers' perceptions were obtained using a researcher-designed survey and focus group interviews. The sample was drawn from Grades 3-8 teachers from three different K-8 school sites within one public school district.
The results of this study indicate that teachers support accountability in education. Yet, there is great concern the current implementation of the ESEA in the form of NCLB emphasizes testing and test scores over student learning, has unrealistic accountability targets, and strict sanctions for failure. In addition, the current high-stakes, test-based, accountability-driven environment pressures teachers to prioritize the tested subjects and content of English language arts, reading, and mathematics, thus narrowing the curriculum. Further, classroom instruction has become more directed and teacher-centered, inhibiting student-centered practices and experiential learning opportunities.
As a result, the amount and types of engaging strategies used in classrooms have been curtailed.
The results of this study also indicate that teachers serving in schools with higher percentages of low socio-economic students are impacted by the stress and pressure to increase test scores to a great degree, especially if their school is labeled as Program Improvement. The extensive pressure on testing and scores significantly impacts teachers' ability to be creative in the classroom, and negatively impacts teacher morale.
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/11, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Pedagogy, Education Policy, Curriculum development|
|Keywords:||Accountability, Dewey pedagogy, Dewey's instructional methods, Dewey, John, Effects of NCLB, Effects of NCLB on instruction, Effects of policy on pedagogy, No Child Left Behind, Teachers' perceptions of NCLB|
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