Date of Award

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Educational Leadership PhD

First Advisor

James A. Tucker

Second Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Third Advisor

Larry Burton

Abstract

Problem. In Michigan, early elementary school teachers are held accountable for instructional decisions they made based on the number of children who pass the state standardized reading test, the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP). Although state officials claim the MEAP can inform instruction, no data are regularly collected to describe reading instructional practices or the relationship between current practices and the percentage of students who pass the MEAP.

Method. Using a survey instrument, this study measured the amount of instructional time Kindergarten through Grade 4 teachers reported that they devoted to the development of 19 different components or activities within their classroom reading and language arts program. The Pearson product-moment correlation was applied to determine therelationship between the amount of reported time devoted to each of these activities and the percentage of students who achieved a satisfactory level on the Grade 4 MEAD test in the participating teachers' schools.

Results. Descriptive analysis showed grade-specific preferences in the amount of time teachers report devoting to various activities within their language arts programs. Despite balanced approaches being reported across all grade levels, only eight significant relationships were found between teacher practices and the MEAP. Of the eight, four were found between Grade 4, two for Grade 3, one for Grades 2 and 1, and none for Kindergarten.

Conclusions. Although the reading activities and components measured were representative of actual practice in this Southwestern Michigan county, the fact that, at the most, only four variables for any one grade level could be identified that showed a significant relationship between grade level practices and the MEAP calls to question whether the state standardized test can be used to inform instruction. If the MEAP cannot be connected to actual classroom instructional practices, then holding teachers accountable for their instructional decision making by the MEAP is a questionable practice that lacks methodological consistency and dismisses the necessary link between a behavior and its consequence.

Subject Area

Educational tests and measurements--Michigan, Michigan Educational Assessment Program

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