Date of Award

Winter 1-5-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Barbara Hill

Second Advisor

Dr. Sheila Gregory

Third Advisor

Dr. Trevor Turner

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate how teachers perceive the instructional support provided by district and school level administrators in implementation of the Common Core State Standards. The independent variables were staff development, small group development, direct individual assistance, technology, teacher age, and teacher years of experience. The dependent variable was teacher perception of the efficacy of the instructional support received. The phenomenological approach was specifically chosen for this study to give a voice to teachers who, for the majority, are often left unheard in the policy making process. By focusing on the similarities of the participants’ experiences, the stories collected in this study will help school and district level leadership in identifying how they can best support teachers in implementing the Common Core standards.

The study took place in a metropolitan school district bolstering nearly 99,000 students. Schools were selected to participate using maximum variation sampling. This type of sampling ensures that findings reflect differences in perspective, which is ideal in qualitative study (Creswell, 2007). Schools were selected according to the following descriptors: Title I status, ethnicity of student population, English proficiency of student population, disabilities of student population, grade level of student population, and College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) Score of the school. The participants represented elementary, middle, and high school settings.

The data collected during this study were analyzed using the phenomenology research procedures of Moustakas (1994). The research resulted in a collection of significant statements that were clustered to define themes. The 11 themes were extracted from 28 teacher surveys, 5 teacher interviews, and 3 school-level administrator interviews. The findings of the study revealed that school level instructional support was perceived more favorable than district level instructional support in all areas: staff development, group development, and direct individual assistance. Small group development at both the district and school level was engaging, allowing teachers to discuss, plan, and create during the time spent together. Approximately half of the participants in the study indicated that they never received direct individual assistance from administrators neither at the district nor school level. Participants expressed positive perception regarding the technological training they received and the impact it had not only on their instruction, but their administrative skill as well.

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