“High-Stakes Testing and Accountability in Teacher Education: Understanding one Program’s Response to edTPA”
by: Carla Lynn Tanguay
Due to the development of nationally available performance assessments with established validity and reliability, policy makers have begun requiring the use of teacher performance assessment in teacher education for certification, program completion, program approval, and/or professional license upgrade (Darling-Hammond, Wei, & Johnson, 2009). Because teacher education is a historically situated social practice, the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of teacher educators are shaped by personal, programmatic, and institutional contexts and are influenced by multiple drivers at the state and national level (Cochran-Smith, Villegas, Abrams, Chavez-Moreno, & Mills, 2016; Delandshere & Petrosky, 2004). Proponents of teacher performance assessment argue that the measure is an authentic yet standardized way, beyond a computer-based test, to assess candidate readiness for teaching and may be beneficial for program renewal and the professionalizing of the teaching force (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Wei & Pecheone, 2010). Others recognize unintended consequences of a single, standardized assessment which may narrow the curriculum (Kornfeld, Grady, Marker, & Ruddell, 2007); create tensions for teacher candidates who are learning and developing; (Meuwissen & Choppin, 2015); and, overlook program values important for preparing candidates to teach in a global society (Sato, 2014). This case study will address one teacher preparation program’s response to a state-mandate requiring a teacher performance assessment, the edTPA, for certification in Georgia. Focusing on the program as the holistic unit of analysis, program leaders. teacher educators, and staff will serve as embedded units in the single-case design (Yin, 2014). I will incorporate the following data sources based upon on-going analysis and recommendations from key informants: (1) interviews – audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim; (2) focus groups; and (3) multiple program documents. I will conduct an inductive, naturalistic inquiry, generating descriptive findings using constant comparative analysis (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). By understanding program leaders’ and teacher educators’ responses to a political mandate, teacher educators in other contexts may be informed as they navigate similar issues associated with high stakes testing, while preparing their teacher candidates for a profession under attack.
INDEX WORDS: teacher performance assessment; performance-based; edTPA; PACT; TPA; accountability and reform
“A Nodal Ethnography of a (Be)coming Tattooed Body”
by: Krista Ann Hilton
By exploring how my/a tattooed body functions as becoming through the concept of bodies without organs (BwO), this work pushes the edges of qualitative inquiry. Following St. Pierre’s call to deconstruct the concepts on which qualitative research is built, this inquiry troubles the I/we of authorship and linear meaning making as it examines the tattooed body function as becoming a BwO. The nodal ethnography is a Deleuzo-Guattarian-based methodological inquiry in which interruptions and layers of narrative are used to create spaces for conversation between my multinodes. The tattoos on my semipermeable corporeal flesh tell multilayered stories that are constantly moving and shifting, and I (re)make meaning of these stories within, amongst, and between the nodes that constitute this disorganized body while approaching the limits of a BwO, always in progress, becoming. There is no beginning or end, only a middle, made up of lines that can be read in any order, as linearity does not live here. The Laminar Express iPhone/iPad photography application allowed for the layering of images, text, and color to rupture and even to distort the lines of Ink on my body as a plane of representation adds yet another collaborative space to have dialogue (s); thus offering endless possibilities for the nodes of my ethnography to be (re)connected and (re)produced. My tattooed body evokes response from my multiselves as well as from others; ergo, I invite the reader to become a co-collaborator of this nodal ethnography, and to take lines of flight with/in this experimental space of what may appear when tattoos/images/multinpdes/selves and storied lines of inked/textured text collide with Deleuzo-Guattarian theory in exploring my tattooed skin as becoming a BwO.
After-School All-Stars Atlanta will collect presents for families in need this holiday season through its annual Angel Tree project.
The Angel Tree supports City of Refuge and My Sister’s House, both of which provide transitional housing for homeless women and their children. Most of these children are elementary- or middle school-aged and all of them attend the After-School All-Stars Atlanta program.
To participate, take a name off of the tree in the CEHD lobby (which includes family members’ names, sizes, ages and genders) and purchase, wrap and place names on the gifts. Then, call After-School All-Stars at 404-413-8355 and the staff will pick up the gifts. You can also drop your gifts off at the ASASA office (One Park Place, Suite 1054). All gifts must be picked up or delivered to the ASASA office by Tuesday, Dec. 6.
The project’s goal is for every child and their mother on our list to receive a gift this holiday season. Gifts donated for this project are considered charitable donations, so please retain the receipts if you wish to claim them on your taxes.
For questions, please contact:
Dr. Walt Thompson
To download a flyer about the Angel Tree project, click here.
“Reasons I Care: Exploring Relationships among Social Identities, Cultural Values and Black Adolescent Males’ Pro-social Behaviors Within an Urban School Context.”
by: Johari Harris
Black male students face a multitude of challenges that often lead to poor academic and social outcomes at school (Noguera, 2003; Ferguson, 2001 ). There is extensive research on the predictors of their problems, but far less on the factors that can lead to positive outcomes. Research has demonstrated that feeling positive about one’s racial identity can be a source of protection for Black youth and is related to academic achievement and personal wellbeing (Chavous et al. 2003). Less is known specifically about how racial identity and other social-cognitive variables influence Black males’ pro-social behaviors, an important component of school success. To address this gap, this exploratory sequential mixed-method study will examine how racial and gender identity, experiences of discrimination, afro-centric values and moral reasoning are related to the amount and type of pro-social behaviors reported by Black male adolescents in an urban high school. First, using regression analysis, the study will first examine if participant’s feelings about their racial and gender identity jointly or independently influence pro-social behaviors and if these two identities moderate the hypothesized negative relationship between perceived discrimination and pro-social behaviors. Next, the study will examine if endorsement of afro-centric values and moral reasoning levels jointly or independently influence pro-social behaviors. The qualitative portion of the study will include participants’ voices to explain, contest. or validate the quantitative findings. Transcripts will coded using the constant comparison method. Resulting quantitative and qualitative findings will be analyzed and discussed within the context of Phenomenological Variant Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST; Spencer, 2008) and lntersectionality Theory (Cho et al., 2013). The study’s findings will provide insight into how identity, cultural values and experiences of discrimination are related to pro-social behavior at school and suggest hypotheses about how school communities can support the development of pro-social behaviors and their ensuing positive outcomes for young Black men.
“Pedagogical Dialogue: The Study of Pedagogical Dialogue in an Education Course Focusing on Multicultural Education Theory”
by: Jeffery MorrisonThe purpose of this ethnographic study was to gain a deeper understanding of how pedagogical dialogue functioned in a course on multicultural education in a College of Education. The focus of the study is on the pedagogical dialogue(s) that took place among the professor and students. The setting of the study was a classroom within an urban university located in the southeastern region of the United States. Data collection consisted of interviews and observations; the data was then analyzed for emerging themes. This study utilized the communicative theories of Paulo Freire and Jurgen Habermas; that is, the manner in which their theories have restructured the praxis found in the dialogical learning processes. The goal is to answer how dialogue mediates the realities of human need and the individual’s capacity to reflect and act in liberating ways. Freire and Habermas position the act of communication (particularly dialogue) as the key to human understanding and personal/political liberation. The method of analysis focused on “meaning” gained from thematic analysis sought through processes of feedback – such as interviews and observations. It is hoped that this study will serve as a catalyst to spawn further research within the field of teacher education, pedagogy, and the impact that dialogue has on the instructor’s pedagogical relationship with his or her students.
“High School Mathematics Teachers’ Positioning within the Culture of Blame: A Critical Narrative Study”
by: Ashley M. Plummer
Overemphasis on high-stakes testing in mathematics, particularly in schools with economically disadvantaged students, has led to the formation of a culture of blame (Lau, 2009) and inconsistent Instructional practices (Kitchen, Ridder, & Bolz, 2016). However, there are teachers who have been successful at ensuring deep mathematics learning takes place in spite of the demands of high-stakes testing instruction (Ladson-Billings, 2009; Leonard & Martin, 2013; Tan, Calabrese Barton, Turner, & Varley Gutierrez, 2012). The purpose of this study is to explore how high school mathematics teachers position themselves within the culture of blame that Is manifested in the high-stakes testing environment. This qualitative critical narrative case study research study is guided by the following research questions: In what ways do mathematics teachers position themselves within a culture of blame in ways that they can support student learning? The sub-questions that support the overarching research question are: How do high school mathematics teachers experience teacher blame? What are their counter narratives for ensuring student learning of mathematics? Data collection will occur over the course of: a two-hour group interview of eight participants and six, hour-long individual interviews. Positioning theory has been identified as the lens through which I will examine the critical narratives of participants. This study will add to the literature surrounding the culture of blame within the field of mathematics education as well as counter narratives to the deficit view of teachers of economically disadvantaged students.
“An Examination of Teacher-Student Relationship Within a Ecological Frame: Teacher and Student Perspective”
by: Ryan Daniel Lane
The present study examines previous work in the area of teacher-student relationships (TSRs) with a focus on the ways in which TSRs have been defined, measured, and presented in research. A review of theoretical frameworks that have been applied to TSR research is provided, followed by an appraisal of instruments and methods frequently used to obtain indicators of TSRs. Issues with current approaches to the conceptualization and measurement of TSRs are discussed, including the use of narrow theoretical views and methodologies that capture an incomplete picture of TSRs. Alternative approaches to the study of TSRs which apply a broad theoretical scope and incorporate teacher and student views are suggested. Qualitative inquiry is then employed to investigate teacher and student perspectives of TSRs within a broad ecological framework. Guided by attribution theory and ethics of care, teacher and student perceptions of contextual factors and individual characteristics that may impact relationships between teachers and students are explored through semi-structured interviews. Teacher and student responses are used to 1) ascertain important characteristics of TSRs from multiple perspectives and 2) to identify salient factors thought to influence TSRs. Findings are interpreted in relation to the ways in which TSRs have previously been defined and measured. Implications for educational research and teacher practice are presented, and directions for future research are discussed.
“Digitally Sound? Teachers’ Use of Digital Literacies in Predominantly African American Classrooms in Low SES School Setting”
by: Ruby L. Champion
While digital technologies have been recognized as a necessary part of school learning, a digital divide persists between those who have technological access and those without technological access. African American children in impoverished, urban areas may lack the same opportunities to use technology as children in higher socioeconomic status (SES) areas. Research demonstrates that schools may serve as an equalizer in bridging this digital divide. Thus, students in low SES schools can benefit from the integration of Digital Literacies (DL) during literacy instruction. This qualitative study examined how teachers in an urban, low SES school struggled to utilize DL in ways that challenged traditional literacy practices. To understand these struggles, this study examined how elementary teachers within this demographic used DL in response to the demands for technology during literacy instruction. Guiding questions included: a) What pedagogical practices do teachers of African American children in urban, low SES classrooms use when integrating digital tools during their literacy instruction? b) How do these teachers’ perceptions of Digital Literacies’ usefulness impact the ways they use Digital Literacies during their literacy instruction? c) What challenges do the teachers face and how do they respond to these challenges as they integrate Digital Literacies in their classrooms? Data collected included observation of teachers during Digital Literacies lessons, individual and focus group interviews, audio-journals, curriculum maps, and lesson plans. Data were analyzed using a constant comparative method. Results from this study revealed that teachers exhibited three levels of Implementation of DL, including Limited, Moderate, and Full Implementation. Examination of teachers’ pedagogical practices using the TP ACK rubric and the SAMR model of integration revealed that a teachers ‘s willingness to implement DL is dependent upon variations in the level of DL knowledge and intangible variables such as a teacher’s beliefs toward technology, a teachers’ comfort level, and the teacher’s response to challenges that occur. This study aimed to provide valuable information to the existing body of research on DL for teachers of African American student .
Keywords: Digital Literacies, Urban Education, Literacy, Technology, Teacher Efficacy, African American Children
“A Descriptive Profile of Dance Curriculum in Physical Education Teacher Education Programs”
by: Jenee Marie Marquis
Dance as a content area has received little attention within physical education teacher education (PETE) research. To date, there has been only one study, conducted in 1992, that examined dance courses within PETE programs. In order for PETE faculty to make informed programmatic decisions about the role of dance education within PETE and P-12 physical education, the findings of this study must be updated. The primary purpose of this mixed methods study is to gather current descriptive information about dance courses in PETE programs and a secondary purpose of this study is to uncover both personnel and institutional elements that act as either facilitators or inhibitors of dance instruction within PETE programs. Data collected via an online questionnaire (n = 580, 17.9% return rate) revealed that a quarter of respondents (25.8%, n = 23) neither offered nor required dance courses in their PETE program and 67.4% (n = 60) of institutions required at least one course that contained dance content in their program. The top five dance con-tent areas taught are rhythmic activities (n = 48), line dance (n = 38), folk/world dance (n = 33), creative dance (n = 33), and square dance (n = 26). Data also revealed that PE major students gained pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) from writing lesson plans (n = 34), student learning outcomes (n = 27) and assessments (n = 21 ), learning the history of dance and/or dance appreciation (n = 15) as well as theories of dance education (n = 11 ). Over half of dance courses (51.1 %) are taught by a member of the Professoriate or the Department Chair and the average tenure of dance course instructors is 9.16 years. Last, the questionnaire revealed that the strongest facilitator of dance instruction was instructor expertise (27.9%) and the strongest inhibitor of dance instruction was lack of curricular space (15.1 %) which was corroborated by the interview data. Further-more the interview data, which was coded using Descriptive Coding coupled with Phenomeno-logical and Thematic Analysis, found that interviewee’s highly valued dance as both a lifelong physical activity and as an essential component to a P-12 PE program.
“Teacher-child Relationship and Parental Support: Associations with Academic Achievement”
by: Chaehyun Lim
The importance of positive teacher-child relationships and supportive home environments to children ‘s academic achievement are well established. Children who have close relationships with their teachers tend to have better school adjustment, school readiness and academic performance outcomes (Birch & Ladd, 1997· Burchinal, Peisner-Feinberg, Pianta, & Howes, 2002; McCom1ick & O’Connor, 20 15; Palermo, Hanish, Martin, Fabes, & Reiser, 2007). Similarly, children who live in homes where parents report being connected to children s experiences at school and provide home learning opportunities are more likely to develop pre academic skills that are important for later school achievement (Son & Morrison, 20 I 0). Despite the importance of teacher-child relationships and parental support to children’s learning, research is limited in two important ways. First, studies often utilize only teachers perceptions about the relationships they have with children limiting understanding of bidirectional nature of these co11J1ections. Second, little is known about how teacher-child relationships and parental support at home jointly influence children’s academic achievement. Thus, the purpose of U1e present study is to explore associations between teacher-child relationships and children ‘s academic achievement among preschool aged children. Both teachers’ and children ‘s perceptions about teacher-child relationships will be examined and differences will be explored. Additionally, in order to investigate how parental support and teacher-child relationships are jointly associated with children’ academic outcomes, home learning environment and parent involvement will be examined. Participants for this study will include 180 preschool aged children, their parents, and teachers. Children’s academic achievement will be assessed directly through mathematical, literacy, and language assessments while their perceptions of the teacher-child relationship (i.e., warn, negativity, encouragement for autonomy) will be assessed through an interview. Parents will complete questionnaires about family demographics and parental support activities. Teachers will complete survey about demographic information and perceptions about relationships (e.g., closeness conflict dependency) with each child. Structural equation modeling will be used to examine associations among teacher-child relationships, parental support, and academic outcomes. Findings from this study will provide implications for teachers and parents about how teacher-child relationships and parental support may improve children’s academic achievement.