Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Pamela A. Angelle

Committee Members

Norma T. Mertz, Michael R. Fitzgerald, Clara L. Brown

Abstract

The existing research on accountability policies rarely examines individual components of an accountability policy (i.e., curriculum, assessments, use of assessment results, and stakes). This mixed-methods study investigated the curriculum component of Tennessee’s accountability policies from the perspective of middle-grades, TCAP-tested subjects teacher participants from three East Tennessee districts. The Accountability Policies Supports and Stressors Questionnaire (Berryhill, Linney, & Fromewick, 2009) measured the support for the curriculum component of the state’s accountability policies. Further, interviews with sixth grade science and eighth grade social studies teachers examined how the curriculum component of the policies influenced teachers’ self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977), one of three theories used to develop the quantitative instrument. Teacher support for the policy was low; however, teachers discussed positive elements of their curricula at length suggesting that the low support for the curriculum component of the state’s accountability policies may have more to do with implementation and the overall curriculum rather than individual standards. Qualitative data were analyzed through the lens of the four main sources of self-efficacy (mastery experience, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, physiological arousal) and revealed areas in which teacher participants’ self-efficacy had been negatively influenced as well as areas in which positive influences were apparent. Two prominent areas of negative influence included frustration (physiological arousal) and a general lack of vicarious experiences. Two areas in which positive influences were readily apparent were confidence in use of teaching strategies (mastery experience) and satisfaction with individual standards’ appropriateness (physiological arousal). The study concludes with implications for curriculum and assessment developers, state education agencies, and policy makers as the results could inform and guide efforts of school reform by highlighting the importance of teacher support and teacher self-efficacy when developing and implementing accountability policies.

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