Date of Award

5-11-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

David W. Stinson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Janice B. Fournillier, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Pier A. Junor Clarke, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Joyce E. Many, Ph.D.

Abstract

Teacher education reform is a controversial and highly politicized issue, especially when addressing ways to improve teacher quality, performance, and accountability (Cochran-Smith, Piazza, & Power, 2013). With national efforts to adopt more rigorous standards and comprehensive assessments (e.g., National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983; U.S. Department of Education, 2011), teacher performance assessments and other reform recommendations from professional organizations (e.g., Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators [AMTE], National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM]) have caught the attention of stakeholders and policymakers. This study reports on the various reform initiatives in mathematics teacher education and the first nationally available, educator-designed teacher performance assessment known as the edTPA® (SCALE, 2014a).

In September 2015, the state of Georgia mandated that all prospective teachers attempt the edTPA during their teacher preparation programs and successfully pass to receive their teacher certification (GaPSC Rule 505-2-.26 Certification and Licensure Assessments, 2016). The policy forced not only prospective teachers to respond to the assessment but also teacher educators. This study uses a qualitative case study framed within a sociopolitical perspective to critically examine how nine secondary mathematics teacher educators from various institutions (i.e., large public, medium public, small private, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in Georgia respond to the edTPA and professional organizations’ reform initiatives (e.g., AMTE, 2017; NCTM, 2000, 2014) when preparing their prospective secondary mathematics teachers for teacher certification. Additionally, the study explores how the participants develop their prospective teachers’ understandings of the social contexts of mathematics teaching and learning while navigating such reform efforts.

Data collection included multiple interviews with and artifact elicitation from each participant. Data analysis identified eight resonating themes that revealed the edTPA as a catalyst for: (a) motivating program modifications; (b) accommodating edTPA preparatory assignments; (c) altering awareness and discourse in teacher preparation; (d) perpetuating beneficial and detrimental teaching messages; (e) threatening academic freedom; (f) escalating stress and anxiety; (g) developing as a potential gatekeeper; and (h) dehumanizing and deprofessionalizing mathematics education. Additional insight into the participants’ efforts to address social contexts with respect to equity revealed strengths and areas for improvement. Implications for mathematics teacher education are discussed.

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