Policy implementation of state graduation requirements in a rural high school
Lovett, Colbert Ladel
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“Policy Implementation of State Graduation Requirements in a Rural High School” is a case study of how state education policy reform on student achievement is perceived, understood and implemented in a high minority, high poverty, Title I high school in rural southeast Georgia. This case study examines the nexus between the promulgation of a major policy change by the Georgia Department of Education (DOE)—the revised Georgia High School Graduation rule and the Georgia Performance Standard (GPS) curriculum—and how that policy is altered or embraced by the culture and context of a rural school district in southeast Georgia. Fieldwork was conducted on site during the 2009 – 2010 school year. The case study site was purposefully selected via convenience sample. Interview subjects were identified via snowball sampling techniques (Patton, 2002). In-depth interviews of 23 study participants were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. In addition to interview data, data sources also included video and document analysis. Data were analyzed via the constant-comparative method of data analysis (Merriam, 2002). Primary findings revealed that teachers’ perception of new state policies focused on raised academic achievement were shaped by a philosophy of “racialized” tracking and associated intangible contextual factors within the school and district.