Academic press in kindergarten classrooms: Teachers' responses to high -stakes testing and the resulting reading curriculum change
This qualitative study was designed to describe kindergarten teachers' responses to mandated literacy curriculum change. Kindergarten curriculum has become more academic and less child-centered as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act (2001), and pressure from state standards of learning and high stakes testing. Many kindergarten teachers who philosophically oppose this change are being required by their school districts to implement curriculum they don't believe is developmentally or age appropriate. Classroom teachers continue to report that they have little or no part in the decision making process which determines their school's curriculum and instructional methodology. Instead, administrators who are influenced by public, state, and federal demand for more stringent educational standards make those decisions.
Erickson's (1986) process of analytical induction was used in this study of six kindergarten teachers, a school principal, and the reading curriculum supervisor. Teachers' perspectives of children, the teacher's role, curriculum, accountability, staff development, and the change process were examined through interviews, classroom observations, and document collection. Perspectives of the school principal and curriculum supervisor on these same issues were examined through interviews. The different perspectives of the teachers and administrators were then compared.
The findings suggest that administrative support and continual staff development and training are necessary for successful policy implementation to occur, that teachers attitudes and beliefs influence the way policy is interpreted and implemented at the local level, and that teachers move through various stages of concern when implementing mandated change. The findings also suggest that as schools become more tightly coupled or externally controlled, teachers lose their autonomy to make curricular decisions in their classrooms.
0524: Elementary education
0288: Educational evaluation