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dc.contributor.authorStewart, Trevor Thomas
dc.description.abstractHigh stakes testing has had such a dominant influence on educational policy over the last quarter century that we are likely to label this period in the history of American schools as the standards period (Marshall, 2009). This qualitative interview study, which was conducted in a large metropolitan area and the surrounding region in the southeastern United States, draws upon the theories of Bakhtin (1981, 1986) and Rosenblatt (1995, 2005) to inform the investigation of the influences of high stakes testing and standards-based education on secondary English teachers’ abilities to engage in dialogue and transact with the policy mandates communicated to them by their administrators. Data were generated through a series of three semi-structured interviews. Participants described (1) how the discourse of policy influenced their senses of autonomy as professionals; (2) their experiences of engaging in dialogue with and contributing to the creation of policy; and (3) the influences of the policy mandates they received on their instructional decisions. The participants’ experiences were analyzed using transactional analysis in order to attend to the processes of mutual shaping that occurred as these teachers sought to engage in dialogue with policy. The stories shared by the participants indicate that the top-down nature of the discourse of educational policy causes it to function as an authoritative discourse (Bakhtin, 1981, 1986), which seeks to prohibit dialogue and results in the exclusion of teachers’ voices from discussions of what counts as teaching and learning in the secondary English classroom. The experiences of these teachers suggest that the policy mandates they receive privilege the teaching of low-level skills, which do not foster critical thinking and reasoning skills. The study highlights the need for educational stakeholders to reconceptualize the discourse of policy and demonstrates the importance of preparing pre-service and in-service teachers to take on a role in the creation and implementation of policy. The implications of this study extend beyond teacher education. Education programs for school administrators must also be adjusted to include a focus on finding ways for administrators to create spaces for teachers to participate in discussions of policy.
dc.subjectHigh Stakes Testing
dc.subjectSocial Constructionism
dc.subjectQualitative Interview Research
dc.subjectTransactional Analysis
dc.titleTeachers, policy, and dialogue
dc.title.alternativesecondary English teachers' transactions with educational policy
dc.description.departmentLanguage and Literacy Education
dc.description.majorReading Education
dc.description.advisorBob Fecho
dc.description.committeeBob Fecho
dc.description.committeeJames Marshall
dc.description.committeeMelissa Freeman

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