Date of Award

12-15-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Curriculum & Instruction

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Gifford, Charles S.; Speaker, Richard B.

Second Advisor

Litton, Freddie

Third Advisor

Thames, Marvin

Fourth Advisor

Drichta, Carl

Fifth Advisor

Kieff, Judith

Abstract

Entry in the teaching profession is often dependent on a number of steps or phases involving standardized assessments and performance assessments. The relationships between and among the variables incorporated in such instruments are typically assumed, but not necessarily substantiated. Furthermore, the relationships between the variables assessed and factors involved in teacher preparation have not been investigated. This study was designed to investigate the nature of such relationships in one particular case. In the spring of 1997, the Louisiana legislature changed the Louisiana Teacher Assessment Program to create the Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program (LaTAAP). LaTAAP is a uniform statewide program for new teachers entering service for the first time in a Louisiana Public School System. Through LaTAAP, each new teacher is assigned a mentor teacher who helps him or her transition into the career of education as successfully and effectively as possible (Louisiana Department of Education, Professional Development Manual, 2002-2003). The Praxis is a series of tests developed by Educational Testing Service (ETS) that provides tests and other services for states to use as a part of their teacher licensing and certification process. The Praxis Series is currently required for teacher licensure in Louisiana and 43 other states and U.S. jurisdictions (Educational Testing Service [ETS], 2005-2006). The purpose of this study was intended to address relationships by investigating the factors identified by novice teachers as influencing their performance on Praxis and LaTAAP. Additionally, this study addressed whether the mentoring component increased teachers' sense of their capacity to teach effectively. The central research question was: What factors or issues are identified by novice teachers as influences on their performance in standardized assessments and classroom teaching effectiveness? This qualitative study utilized a phenomenological approach employing data collection techniques consisting of personal questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups. Data were collected exclusively from ten participants who completed LaTAAP over the past four years and passed Praxis. An analysis of the data revealed several commonalities of the participants' Praxis and LaTAAP experiences which have had an effect on their professional practice. The issues in common included professional growth, mentoring, and testing.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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