Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Joyce E. Many, Ph. D.

Second Advisor

Barbara Meyers, Ed. D.

Third Advisor

Diane M. Truscott, Ph. D.

Fourth Advisor

Susan Swars Auslander, Ph. D.

Abstract

Some policy makers are requiring the use of national teacher performance assessments for teacher education program completion, certification, approval, and/or 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 political, social, intellectual, and economic influences (Cochran-Smith, et al., 2016; Delandshere & Petrosky, 2004). Proponents of teacher performance assessment argue that the assessment is an authentic, valid and reliable measure for assessing candidate readiness for teaching and may promote program renewal and professionalize the teaching force (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Wei & Pecheone, 2010). Others recognize unintended consequences of the 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 addressed one elementary teacher education program’s response to a state-mandate requiring a teacher performance assessment, edTPA® for certification. Teacher educators served as embedded units in the single-case design with the program as the holistic unit of analysis (Yin, 2014). I used the following data sources while conducting on-going analysis of interviews, audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim, follow-up interviews and/or emails, and multiple program documents. I conducted an inductive, naturalistic inquiry, generating descriptive findings using constant comparative analysis (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). By understanding program educators' perceptions of edTPA and their subsequent actions, others may be informed as they navigate similar issues in high-stakes contexts to act responsively, to avoid pitfalls, and to increase the engagement of multiple stakeholders. Policy makers may consider time for educators to develop knowledge and to explore the educative use of edTPA, while establishing supports for their novices to increase sustainability and to promote program improvement.

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