Term of Award

Fall 2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 1

William Reynolds

Committee Member 2

Kent Rittschof

Committee Member 3

Neal Saye

Abstract

Addressing current issues in English Language-Arts education, this study analyzes teacher perception of the paradoxical relationship between the Georgia Performance Standards and high-stakes testing accountability measures. This study examines teacher response to the implementation of Georgia Performance Standards and the oppression of federal accountability measures. This study also investigates whether Georgia Performance Standards can, in fact, promote equity through a multicultural and democratic pedagogy. This study further investigates whether or not standardized assessment serves to squelch equity and enforce power structures of bureaucracy through superseding the state curriculum in English-Language Arts. A mixed methods study was created to measure differences in teachers' attitudes regarding their perceived freedom of pedagogical practice within implementation of Georgia Performance Standards and high stakes testing accountability measures. Ninety-two participants were invited to participate in this mixed methods research study. A total of 70 surveys were returned for a response rate of 76 percent during a time period of two weeks. Participants' responses indicated that there was a strong relationship between the impact of high-stakes testing accountability and perceived independence within pedagogical practice. Participants also indicated through their responses that they felt that the Georgia Performance Standards in English-Language Arts provided them with pedagogical opportunity and freedom. Ultimately, this study suggests that if one is to hope for a transformative pedagogy, teachers must be provided the freedom to teach democratic ideals to their classes. If teachers are not provided the freedom to teach democratically, how might we ever be able to encourage awareness of democratic ideals within our students? For there to truly be hope for our educational system, a grassroots movement must ensue which encourages freedom of pedagogical practice and the opportunity for transformation.

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