Elementary educator job satisfaction in the age of accountability [thesis]

Dawn St. Germain
Acknowledgments This journey to earn my EdD was prompted by my love of learning and a need to share the teaching experience with others. The responsibilities placed on educators to guide our children prompted a desire to explore how accountability in a data-driven society has impacted those most involved after experiencing it first-hand. This study has reaffirmed my belief in those individuals who chose to teach as being the most resilient and committed people who always find ways to put their
more » ... tudents first. I would like to thank all whose support and encouragement helped me achieve this personal goal -To my advisors and professors at Northeastern University -Thank you for a program that forced me to stretch, reflect, and grow. To all my colleagues, friends and family -The never-wavering belief that I would finish what I started, constant encouragement and willingness to pick me up when I was feeling down made such a difference, that a thank you does not begin to describe how much I appreciate every one of you. To the participants in this study -Thank you for your invaluable time and insight into what you experience. You are amazing individuals whom I admire for your commitment, focus, and perseverance to always do your best for your students. To my boys -Alec and Bryce -Thank you for your willingness to listen and encourage me when I felt unable to keep going. The time you spent listening to me share ideas, rant and rave, and supplying hugs as needed helped me reach this point. 3 To my husband -Tim, the single individual that I cannot thank enough and without whom I would never have attempted this. You deserve a medal for having to at times deal with tears, anger, frustration, and insecurity yet never did you waver in your belief that I could do this. With your help, I have finally "unlocked the other half of the dictionary." 4 Abstract Pressure continues to build for educators to meet goals of student learning as determined by federal, state, and district groups, including being more accountable with the central issue on students' standardized tests results meeting proficiency measures. In Massachusetts, the emphasis on test scores has been driven by the adoption of the Common Core State Standards to better equip students to meet future challenges in a more global world by setting common curriculum topics for each year of schooling (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2016). The issue of accountability for student progress drives instruction in the classroom with the underlying assumption that all students have a similar educational experience, socioeconomic status, and aptitude despite entering school with a variety of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for development. The emphasis placed on student accomplishment impacts educators' and students' perceptions of success and failure. The influence of accountability on educator job satisfaction should be considered by policymakers, school administrators, and the public to understand the role accountability plays in the success or failure of today's educational system. The purpose of this research was to identify how the changes in meeting accountability measures focusing on student achievement have impacted the educators' job satisfaction at the elementary level. Four Massachusetts elementary teachers at grades 3 and 4 participated, each having ten or more years of classroom experience, which allowed for comparisons of experiences before accountability with current practices. Three conclusions answered this study's research question, first reliance on accountability changes the teaching experience. Second, for the teachers, collegial interactions became focused on adjustments to pedagogy to meet standardized testing proficiency measures. 5 Third, the data noted that leadership had significant influence over teacher pedagogy, focus, and self-efficacy. This qualitative study using personal interviews allowed for detailed descriptions capturing the lived experiences of educators in today's society. The findings highlight what is necessary to effectively teach to develop contributing members of society and inform policymakers, administrators, and parents, who rely on easily understood data points that can disregard the multifaceted nature of the student. 6
doi:10.17760/d20356186 fatcat:73fevvh46rey5odmrkwv5p7bqi