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Title:Effects of implementation of assessment policy on staff practices at a state department of education
Author(s):Tres-Brevig, Maria da Penha
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Stake, Robert E.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Education, Philosophy of
Abstract:Augmenting state emphasis on student assessment to effect improvement in educational programs has implications for policies and practices of state departments of education. Changes in perceptions, values, communications, and work practices are often realized by staff members involved in educational reform process. How those changes occur are seldom empirically documented. Of particular interest in this dissertation was how increasing emphasis on assessment policy affected the implementation of state reform in Illinois, particularly the effects on language and communication within the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
This study entailed an empirical examination of daily transactions of ISBE personnel, concentrating on the actions taken by the Student Assessment Section and Curriculum Improvement Section, responsible for the implementation of the Learning Objectives/Assessment Program and related activities. These sections describe what happened at a state department of education when an assessment program became the principal vehicle of state reform. The study's orientation was to explore rather than to verify, particularly to provide grounds for understanding of the interrelated changes in assessment policy and educational practices. Qualitative naturalistic research methodology was employed. The methods used for data gathering included participant observation, interviews, and document analysis.
Results of data analysis and interpretation were summarized in nine assertions which included: (a) disproportionate attention and support was given the Illinois Goals Assessment Program even though it was not aimed at school improvement; (b) development of reform activities were carried out by the staff with little substantive discussion of educational issues, discourse and practice were dominated by political, technical, and bureaucratic matters; (c) curriculum specialists were pressed to use language and priorities of behavioral objectives and test development in order to have a role in the implementation of the educational reform; (d) the logic of grand strategy for reform had visible flaws, inadequately connecting the state assessment program and local school improvement efforts.
Influenced by the complexity of contextual factors, this study revealed that educational reform born of state and national goals, mandating state assessment programs as the vehicle to cause curricular and instructional changes, but without attempting to impact the culture of the schools and the profession of teaching, can quickly fall short of achieving these goals.
Issue Date:1993
Rights Information:Copyright 1993 Tres-Brevig, Maria da Penha
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9329185
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9329185

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