Term of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 1

Sabrina Ross

Committee Member 2

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 3

Samuel B. Hardy III

Committee Member 3 Email



Academic standards have come to occupy center stage in public schools to guide teachers in their instruction, and they have become the means by which teachers assess students’ performance. With more emphasis placed on student performance and higher test scores, states have come to rely dramatically on them to raise educational standards. Their introduction also has prompted outside entities such as the federal and state governments and corporations to become involved in public education. While not direct, their involvement has also influenced how academic standards are developed and implemented in public schools. In this sense, governments and corporations have introduced economic models in public schools, changing the process of how schools function, what teachers teach, and how students’ performance is measured. In the state of Georgia, the introduction of state academic standards came as a result of compliance with federal guidelines. The implementation of academic standards like the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) brought changes in education such as students having to know specific material to pass standardized tests, and teachers being compelled to teach verbatim what the standards said to teach. The end result was that the rigidity and strict alignment to the GPS affected teachers’ perception of power in their instruction in negative ways.

The purpose of this study was to investigate how teachers’ power in their instructional practices was affected by the GPS. The methodology used in this study was a qualitative design and was guided by a series of interviews of teachers at a high school in East Georgia. The data collected was audio-recorded and examined by using two methods of analysis: inductive analysis to allow emerging themes to develop from individual interviews and cross-case analysis to identify emerging themes and patterns from multiple sets of data. The analysis of the data involved coding and organizing it into common patterns and themes to make a holistic report