Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Curriculum & Instruction


Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Patricia Austin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Diana Ward, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Ken Farizo, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Abram Himelstein


This musical, arts-based educational research describes the lived experiences of four K-12 New Orleans educators who believe that end-of-year standardized tests hinder their ability to teach in ways they believe are best. Using songwriting as a form of data elicitation and narrative restorying, this study documents the lived experiences of teachers who have experienced test-related cognitive dissonance. While curricular narrowing and other test-related practices have been studied in many contexts, the perspectives of New Orleans teachers are barely documented. Thus, this study fills a content gap in the testing literature. Musically restorying the data contributes to the accountability literature in three main ways. First, restorying the data as song renders the findings evocatively — that is, in ways that capture the emotion with which the data was originally imbued. Second, because this study is performative (the results were sung live in the community), the opportunity exists to ignite a local conversation aimed at helping teachers navigate testing/teaching conundrums. Finally, as music is one of the least utilized forms of art-based research, this study fills a methodological gap in the arts-based research repository.


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.