Matching Items (9)

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Teacher evaluation systems: how teachers and teacher quality are (re)defined by market-based discourses

Description

Teacher evaluation policies have recently shifted in the United States. For the first time in history, many states, districts, and administrators are now required to evaluate teachers by methods that

Teacher evaluation policies have recently shifted in the United States. For the first time in history, many states, districts, and administrators are now required to evaluate teachers by methods that are up to 50% based on their "value-added," as demonstrated at the classroom-level by growth on student achievement data over time. Other related instruments and methods, such as classroom observations and rubrics, have also become common practices in teacher evaluation systems. Such methods are consistent with the neoliberal discourse that has dominated the social and political sphere for the past three decades. Employing a discourse analytic approach that called upon a governmentality framework, the author used a complementary approach to understand how contemporary teacher evaluation polices, practices, and instruments work to discursively (re)define teachers and teacher quality in terms of their market value.

For the first part of the analysis, the author collected and analyzed documents and field notes related to the teacher evaluation system at one urban middle school. The analysis included official policy documents, official White House speeches and press releases, evaluation system promotional materials, evaluator training materials, and the like. For the second part of the analysis, she interviewed teachers and their evaluators at the local middle school in order to understand how the participants had embodied the market-based discourse to define themselves as teachers and qualify their practice, quality, and worth accordingly.

The findings of the study suggest that teacher evaluation policies, practices, and instruments make possible a variety of techniques, such as numericization, hierarchical surveillance, normalizing judgments, and audit, in order to first make teachers objects of knowledge and then act upon that knowledge to manage teachers' conduct. The author also found that teachers and their evaluators have taken up this discourse in order to think about and act upon themselves as responsibilized subjects. Ultimately, the author argues that while much of the attention related to teacher evaluations has focused on the instruments used to measure the construct of teacher quality, that teacher evaluation instruments work in a mutually constitutive ways to discursively shape the construct of teacher quality.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Beginning chemistry teachers use of the triplet relationship during their first three years in the classroom

Description

Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) has been described as the knowledge teachers' use in the process of designing and implementing lessons to a particular group of students. This includes the most

Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) has been described as the knowledge teachers' use in the process of designing and implementing lessons to a particular group of students. This includes the most effective representations that make the content understandable to students, together with the preconceptions and misconceptions that students hold. For chemistry, students have been found to have difficulty with the discipline due to its reliance upon three levels of representation called the triplet: the macro, the submicro, and the symbolic. This study examines eight beginning chemistry teachers' depiction of the chemistry content through the triplet relationship and modifications as a result of considering students' understanding across the teacher's first three years in the classroom. The data collected included classroom observations, interviews, and artifacts for the purpose of triangulation. The analysis of the data revealed that beginning chemistry teachers utilized the abstract components, submicro and symbolic, primarily in the first year. However, the teachers began to engage more macro representations over time building a more developed instructional repertoire. Additionally, teachers' developed an awareness of and responded to their students' understanding of learning atomic structure during the second and third year teaching. The results of this study call for preservice and induction programs to help novice chemistry teachers build a beginning repertoire that focuses on the triplet relationship. In so doing, the teachers enter the classroom with a repertoire that allows them to address the needs of their students. Finally, the study suggests that the triplet relationship framework should be revisited to include an additional component that frames learning to account for socioscientific issues and historical contributions.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Investigating a teacher evaluation system: school administrator and teacher perceptions of the system's standards of effectiveness

Description

Increasing public criticism of traditional teacher evaluation systems based largely on classroom observations has spurred an unprecedented shift in the debate surrounding educational accountability policies, specifically about the purposes for

Increasing public criticism of traditional teacher evaluation systems based largely on classroom observations has spurred an unprecedented shift in the debate surrounding educational accountability policies, specifically about the purposes for and measures used to evaluate teachers. In response to growing public demand and associated federal mandates, states have been prompted to design and implement teacher evaluation systems that use increasingly available, statistically complex models (i.e., value-added) intended to isolate and measure the effects of individual teachers on student academic growth over time. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of school administrators and teachers within one of the largest school districts in the state of Arizona with regards to the design and implementation of a federally-supported, state policy-directed teacher evaluation system based on professional practice and value-added measures. While much research has been conducted on teacher evaluation, few studies have examined teacher evaluation systems in context to better understand the standards of effectiveness used by school administrators and teachers to measure system effectiveness. The perceptions of school administrators and teachers, considering their lived experiences as the subjects of the nation's new and improved teacher evaluation systems in context, must be better understood if state and federal policymakers are to also better recognize and understand the consequences (intended and unintended) associated with the design and implementation of these systems in practice.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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The impact of lesson study on intermediate teachers' abilities to teach critical thinking, develop professionally, and gain efficacy

Description

Federal mandates, such as, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) set high standards, but in reality did little to promote critical thinking instruction and learning in our nation's schools. Race to

Federal mandates, such as, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) set high standards, but in reality did little to promote critical thinking instruction and learning in our nation's schools. Race to the Top is our nation's current attempt to improve education and thanks to this legislation there is now a set of common core standards aimed at infusing critical thinking into the curriculum. Districts in Arizona are struggling to provide common core training to prepare teachers to teach these new, rigorous standards. This is a problem because teaching critical thinking is challenging. While grade level teams often get together, little time is devoted to create lessons that are focused on deep learning and little time is set aside to observe lessons and reflect on student engagement. One potential solution to this may be lesson study. Lesson study is a method of professional development that encourages teachers to reflect on their teaching through a cycle of collaborative lesson planning and observation. The lesson study cycle connects with the constructed nature of learning provided by Vygotsky Space. This action research was designed to explore how 10 fourth, fifth, and sixth grade teachers at a K-8 school in Arizona learned how to infuse critical thinking into their lessons. This study took place from July to November of 2011. A mixed methods approach was used to collect data. Quantitative measures included Likert-items on a survey and lesson plans scored with the district rubric. Qualitative measures included open-ended survey items, transcriptions of lesson debriefs, reflective learning logs, and the researcher's personal field notes. Data were analyzed separately and then triangulated to reduce bias. Findings from this study indicate that although it was challenging for the teachers, lesson study enabled them to successfully integrate critical thinking into their lesson plans. The process of lesson study increased the teachers' efficacy to create lessons, and it helped them understand how important critical thinking was for their students. The teachers also came to value the lesson study process as a positive approach to professional development. Based on these findings, implications are made, and further action research cycles suggested.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Faculty impact on persistence and success in developmental writing classes

Description

In the next decade, community college English departments will expand their developmental course offerings. The students who take these developmental courses generally have higher incidence of diagnosed learnin g disabilities,

In the next decade, community college English departments will expand their developmental course offerings. The students who take these developmental courses generally have higher incidence of diagnosed learnin g disabilities, bleak economic circumstances that require them to work full time, greater dependence on public transporation, and some level of frustration and confusion about being placed in a non-credit course despite graduating from high school. Using a qualitative approach, this action research study articulates the faculty behaviors, classroom environments, and faculty-student interactions that help developmental writing students succeed. The researcher interviewed successful students about what the faculty members did that helped them succeed in developmental writing classes. Then the researcher created and tested a checklist to help writing instructors conform their practices to best practices identified in published research and interviews with successful students. Instructors found the checklist useful in evaluating their own practices in relation to the current research.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Mediational effects of feedback style on the relation between teachers' depressive symptoms and classroom quality in 3rd grade

Description

Described is a study investigating the feasibility and predictive value of the Teacher Feedback Coding System, a novel observational measure of teachers’ feedback provided to students in third grade classrooms.

Described is a study investigating the feasibility and predictive value of the Teacher Feedback Coding System, a novel observational measure of teachers’ feedback provided to students in third grade classrooms. This measure assessed individual feedback events across three domains: feedback type, level of specificity and affect of the teacher. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis revealed five factors indicating separate types of feedback: positive and negative academic-informative feedback, positive and negative behavioral-informative feedback, and an overall factor representing supportive feedback. Multilevel models revealed direct relations between teachers’ negative academic-informative feedback and students’ spring math achievement, as well as between teachers’ negative behavioral-informative feedback and students’ behavior patterns. Additionally, a fall math-by-feedback interaction was detected in the case of teachers’ positive academic-informative feedback; students who began the year struggling in math benefitted from more of this type of feedback. Finally, teachers’ feedback was investigated as a potential mediator in a previously established relation between teachers’ self-reported depressive symptoms and the observed quality of the classroom environment. Partial mediation was detected in the case of teachers’ positive academic-informative feedback, such that this type of feedback was accountable for a portion of the variance observed in the relation between teachers’ depressive symptoms and the quality of the classroom environment.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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An examination of the effect of a secondary teacher's image of instructional constraints on his enacted subject matter knowledge

Description

Teachers must recognize the knowledge they possess as appropriate to employ in the process of achieving their goals and objectives in the context of practice. Such recognition is subject to

Teachers must recognize the knowledge they possess as appropriate to employ in the process of achieving their goals and objectives in the context of practice. Such recognition is subject to a host of cognitive and affective processes that have thus far not been a central focus of research on teacher knowledge in mathematics education. To address this need, this dissertation study examined the role of a secondary mathematics teacher’s image of instructional constraints on his enacted subject matter knowledge. I collected data in three phases. First, I conducted a series of task-based clinical interviews that allowed me to construct a model of David’s mathematical knowledge of sine and cosine functions. Second, I conducted pre-lesson interviews, collected journal entries, and examined David’s instruction to characterize the mathematical knowledge he utilized in the context of designing and implementing lessons. Third, I conducted a series of semi-structured clinical interviews to identify the circumstances David appraised as constraints on his practice and to ascertain the role of these constraints on the quality of David’s enacted subject matter knowledge. My analysis revealed that although David possessed many productive ways of understanding that allowed him to engage students in meaningful learning experiences, I observed discrepancies between and within David’s mathematical knowledge and his enacted mathematical knowledge. These discrepancies were not occasioned by David’s active compensation for the circumstances and events he appraised as instructional constraints, but instead resulted from David possessing multiple schemes for particular ideas related to trigonometric functions, as well as from his unawareness of the mental actions and operations that comprised these often powerful but uncoordinated cognitive schemes. This lack of conscious awareness made David ill-equipped to define his instructional goals in terms of the mental activity in which he intended his students to engage, which further conditioned the circumstances and events he appraised as constraints on his practice. David’s image of instructional constraints therefore did not affect his enacted subject matter knowledge. Rather, characteristics of David’s subject matter knowledge, namely his uncoordinated cognitive schemes and his unawareness of the mental actions and operations that comprise them, affected his image of instructional constraints.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Representing chemistry: how instructional use of symbolic, microscopic and macroscopic mode influences student conceptual understanding in chemistry

Description

Chemistry as a subject is difficult to learn and understand, due in part to the specific language used by practitioners in their professional and scientific communications. The language and ways

Chemistry as a subject is difficult to learn and understand, due in part to the specific language used by practitioners in their professional and scientific communications. The language and ways of representing chemical interactions have been grouped into three modes of representation used by chemistry instructors, and ultimately by students in understanding the discipline. The first of these three modes of representation is the symbolic mode, which uses a standard set of rules for chemical nomenclature set out by the IUPAC. The second mode of representation is that of microscopic, which depicts chemical compounds as discrete units made up of atoms and molecules, with a particular ratio of atoms to a molecule or formula unit. The third mode of representation is macroscopic, what can be seen, experienced, or measured directly, like ice melting or a color change during a chemical reaction. Recent evidence suggests that chemistry instructors can assist their students in making the connections between the modes of representation by incorporating all three modes into their teaching and discussions, and overtly connecting the modes during instruction. In this research, chemistry teachers at the community college level were observed over the course of an entire semester, to evaluate their instructional use of mode of representation. The students of these teachers were tested prior to and after a semester's worth of instruction, and changes in the basic chemistry conceptual knowledge of these students were compared. Additionally, a subset of the overall population that was pre- and post-tested was interviewed at length using demonstrations of chemical phenomenon that students were asked to translate using all three modes of representation. Analysis of the instruction of three community college teachers shows there were significant differences among these teachers in their instructional use of mode of representation. Additionally, the students of these three teachers had differential and statistically significant achievement over the course of the semester. This research supports results of other similar studies, as well as providing some unexpected results from the students involved.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Mathematical knowledge for teaching: exploring a teacher's sources of effectiveness

Description

This study contributes to the ongoing discussion of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT). It investigates the case of Rico, a high school mathematics teacher who had become known to his

This study contributes to the ongoing discussion of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT). It investigates the case of Rico, a high school mathematics teacher who had become known to his colleagues and his students as a superbly effective mathematics teacher. His students not only developed excellent mathematical skills, they also developed deep understanding of the mathematics they learned. Moreover, Rico redesigned his curricula and instruction completely so that they provided a means of support for his students to learn mathematics the way he intended. The purpose of this study was to understand the sources of Rico's effectiveness. The data for this study was generated in three phases. Phase I included videos of Rico's lessons during one semester of an Algebra II course, post-lesson reflections, and Rico's self-constructed instructional materials. An analysis of Phase I data led to Phase II, which consisted of eight extensive stimulated-reflection interviews with Rico. Phase III consisted of a conceptual analysis of the prior phases with the aim of creating models of Rico's mathematical conceptions, his conceptions of his students' mathematical understandings, and his images of instruction and instructional design. Findings revealed that Rico had developed profound personal understandings, grounded in quantitative reasoning, of the mathematics that he taught, and profound pedagogical understandings that supported these very same ways of thinking in his students. Rico's redesign was driven by three factors: (1) the particular way in which Rico himself understood the mathematics he taught, (2) his reflective awareness of those ways of thinking, and (3) his ability to envision what students might learn from different instructional approaches. Rico always considered what someone might already need to understand in order to understand "this" in the way he was thinking of it, and how understanding "this" might help students understand related ideas or methods. Rico's continual reflection on the mathematics he knew so as to make it more coherent, and his continual orientation to imagining how these meanings might work for students' learning, made Rico's mathematics become a mathematics of students--impacting how he assessed his practice and engaging him in a continual process of developing MKT.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011