Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Dr. Lynn Hart

Second Advisor

Dr. Caroline Sullivan

Third Advisor

Dr. Rachel Fiore


High stakes tests are used to make important decisions for schools, teachers and students in the United States. Despite research that shows high stakes testing has negative influences on schools, teachers and students, accountability through testing continues to be the norm in the American education system. Many teachers believe that high stakes tests are detrimental to students and learning in their classrooms. This conflict often creates cognitive dissonance for teachers in their beliefs and mandates. The purpose of this research was to share the stories of upper elementary mathematics teacher participants that experience conflicts in beliefs about quality mathematics instruction and the influence of high stakes testing. The sharing of these stories will serve as an opportunity to reach other teachers in the field that experience similar struggles. I used narrative inquiry as a methodology, which is grounded in Dewey’s conception of experience. I collected data and co-constructed these stories of experience alongside the participants. Through the participants’ narratives I hope to share some of the work that teachers do in order to ensure all students receive quality mathematics instruction, all while feeling pressures related to high stakes testing. As many of us work for and await a paradigm shift in our American education system away from the focus on high-stakes testing, these stories offer other teachers shared experiences that may be similar to their own, and possibly strategies for coping with their own conflictions.