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An Assessment of standards based reform in Florida's middle school science programs

University of Florida Institutional Repository

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AN ASSESSMENT OF STANDARDS BASED REFORM IN FLORIDAS MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE PROGRAMS By KATHRYN ELIZABETH STUART HAMMER A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2004

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Copyright 2004 by Kathryn Elizabeth Stuart Hammer

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To my parents, Joan and Frank Stuart, my husband, Joachim Hammer, and my daughter, Amelia Joan Hammer

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and foremost I would like to thank my dissertation advisor and mentor, Dr. Paul George, for his continuing and enthusiastic support and advice during my five years as a doctoral student. His insight, high standard of scholarship, intellectual curiosity and integrity contributed substantially to the quality of this dissertation. I was very fortunate to work under his guidance. I am also grateful to the other members of my qualifying exam and dissertation committees, Drs. David Miller, Anne Seraphine, Lee Mullally, and Mary Grace Kantowski for their helpful comments, discussions and support while this work was in progress. I would especially like to thank Drs. Miller and Seraphine for their help with the statistical aspects of this study. Dr. Miller was immensely generous with his time, answering my every question, and Dr. Seraphines careful scrutiny of my work helped ensure that my methods were correct and the results were presented in the most objective and professional manner. I also thank those individuals outside my committee who helped in the creation and validation of my survey instrument: Drs. Maurice Lucas, Randall Penfield, and Joan Lindgren. I also thank Susan Chase for lending a teachers perspective to the revision of the survey. Last but not least I thank my family for providing endless encouragement and support for this long academic journey. I would like to thank my parents, Joan and Frank Stuart, for encouraging me to go back to school, and for their support of my educational iv

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endeavors since my childhood. I would also like to thank my father for his meticulous editing of this manuscript. I thank my husband, Joachim for his daily support, advice, and encouragement, and for serving as an example of determination and focus. Last, but not least, I thank my daughter Amelia Joan, who by her presence in my life these past seven months broadened my perspective on life, and has motivated me to move quickly forward on this project. v

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................ix ABSTRACT.......................................................................................................................xi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Statement of Problem...................................................................................................3 Purpose of Study...........................................................................................................5 Significance of Study....................................................................................................7 Outline of Procedure.....................................................................................................7 Instrumentation and Types of Data Collected.......................................................7 Data Collection....................................................................................................10 Pilot Testing.........................................................................................................10 Statewide Mailing................................................................................................10 Sample.................................................................................................................11 Definitions..................................................................................................................11 Summary.....................................................................................................................12 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE.....................................................................................14 Introduction.................................................................................................................14 An Introduction to Standards Based Reform In K-12 Science Education..................14 Factors Contributing to the Best Cases of SBR in K-12 Science Education.......16 The Importance of Strategic Frameworks and the Inclusion of Stakeholders.....17 Examples of Contemporary Reform Efforts in K-12 Science Education...................17 Lessons Learned From Reform in K-12 Mathematics........................................18 The Problem of Equity........................................................................................18 Teachers Science Backgrounds..........................................................................19 Lessons Learned from Ohios Reform Efforts....................................................19 The Case of Maines SSI.....................................................................................20 Aspects of the Middle School Concept Promoted by Middle School Advocates......24 Interdisciplinary Teams.......................................................................................26 Shared Decision-Making.....................................................................................27 Leadership Teams................................................................................................27 vi

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Inquiry Groups.....................................................................................................28 The School Improvement Plan............................................................................28 The Updated Role of the Principal......................................................................29 Theoretical Framework of the Study: Change Theory...............................................30 An Introduction to Change Theory......................................................................30 A Balance of Top-down and Bottom-up Reform................................................31 The Three Stories of Reform: Inside, Inside-Out and Outside-In.......................33 A Summary of the Overlap between Change Theory and Literature on K-12 Science Education Reform and Highly Functioning Middle Schools.............37 Summary.....................................................................................................................38 3 METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................................39 Introduction.................................................................................................................39 Summary of Study......................................................................................................39 Research Questions.....................................................................................................40 Outline of Procedure...................................................................................................43 Instrumentation and Types of Data Collected.....................................................43 Reliability of Instrument......................................................................................46 Validity of Instrument.........................................................................................46 The Pilot Study....................................................................................................47 Data Collection: Statewide Mailing....................................................................47 Sample.................................................................................................................48 Data Analysis.......................................................................................................48 Statement of Investigator Bias....................................................................................50 Conclusions.................................................................................................................51 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION.................................................................................52 Introduction.................................................................................................................52 Research Questions.....................................................................................................52 Teacher Attitudes Toward SBR and the Science FCAT: Answers to Research Questions................................................................................................................54 General Frequency Data: Research Questions One through Five.......................54 Regression Analysis Results: Research Question Six.........................................64 A Re-Examination of Models Four Through Six................................................71 Summary of Information Collected and Analyzed for the Research Questions.........75 Summary.....................................................................................................................76 5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS.................................................................78 Introduction.................................................................................................................78 Research Questions.....................................................................................................79 Answers to Research Questions..................................................................................79 A Look at the Extremes, Part I: A Summary of Teachers Most Positive Perceptions and Attitudes..........................................................................................................81 vii

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A Look at the Extremes, Part II: A Summary of Teachers Most Negative Perceptions and Attitudes......................................................................................82 Discussion of Research Findings................................................................................83 Interpretation of Results.............................................................................................84 A Look at the Results Within the Context of Previous Studies on Reform...............85 A Look at the Results Within the Context of Change Theory....................................86 Limiting Factors in the Study.....................................................................................87 Implications for Education and Future Research........................................................88 Unanswered Questions...............................................................................................89 Future Analysis...........................................................................................................90 APPENDIX A SURVEY INSTRUMENT:........................................................................................92 B FREQUENCY DATA..............................................................................................101 C INDIVIDUAL TEACHER COMMENTS...............................................................111 D PILOT DATA...........................................................................................................116 E COVER LETTER SENT TO TEACHERS..............................................................123 F INFORMED CONSENT FOR TEACHERS............................................................126 G ITEM TOTAL CORRELATIONS FOR TEACHER ATTITUDE SCALE: QUESTIONS 66-107................................................................................................128 LIST OF REFERENCES.................................................................................................130 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................134 viii

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 3.1 Reliability Analysis of Teacher Attitude Scale........................................................46 4.1 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #1...................54 4.2 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #2...................56 4.3 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #3...................57 4.4 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #3...................58 4.5 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #4a.................60 4.6 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses for Research Question #4b..................61 4.7 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #5...................62 4.8 Relevant Survey Questions for Research Question #5.............................................63 4.9 Model Summary for Dependent Variable: CHANGE.............................................65 4.10 ANOVA for Dependent Variable: CHANGE..........................................................65 4.11 Coefficients for Dependent Variable: CHANGE.....................................................66 4.12 Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN.........................................66 4.13 ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN......................................................67 4.14 Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN................................................67 4.15 Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI...........................................68 4.16 ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI........................................................68 4.17 Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI..................................................68 4.18 Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT............................................69 4.19 ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT.........................................................69 ix

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4.20 Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT....................................................69 4.21 Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS............................................70 4.22 ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS........................................................70 4.23 Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS...................................................70 4.24 Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON.........................................70 4.25 ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON......................................................71 4.26 Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON.................................................71 4.27 Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT..............................72 4.28 Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT...........................................72 4.29 Revised Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT......................................73 4.30 Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS..............................73 4.31 Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS..........................................73 4.32 Revised Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS.....................................74 4.33 Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON...........................74 4.34 Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON........................................74 4.35 Revised Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON...................................75 x

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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy AN ASSESSMENT OF STANDARDS BASED REFORM IN FLORIDAS MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE PROGRAMS By Kathryn Elizabeth Stuart Hammer August, 2004 Chair: Paul S. George Major Department: Teaching and Learning The era of school accountability and standards based reform (SBR) has brought many challenges and changes to Floridas public schools. It is important to understand any shifts in teachers attitudes and to identify the changes teachers are making as they implement SBR. The study was designed to assess teachers attitudes and perceptions of changes related to SBR and the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in middle school science programs in Florida. Survey questions sought to identify teacher perceptions of changes in curriculum, instruction and daily practice as schools documented and incorporated the Sunshine State Standards (SSS) for science and began focusing on preparing students for the science FCAT. The survey was distributed to 265 randomly selected middle school science teachers throughout the State of Florida. Seventy-six and ninety-two percent of teachers reported increased levels of stress as a result of SBR and the science FCAT, respectively. Eighty-six percent of teachers reported loss of autonomy and control over what goes on xi

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in their classrooms, and fifty-four percent of teachers reported loss of freedom and creativity regarding curriculum and lessons. Eighty-three percent of teachers believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items. By contrast, only nineteen percent of teachers believe that the science FCAT has brought about improvement in curriculum, instruction and student learning in science. Yet, twenty-five percent of teachers believe that reform efforts will improve their school. An important finding is that teachers attitudes toward reform efforts are strongly influenced by their attitudes toward the administration at their school. Teachers who receive more support from administrators have more positive attitudes toward all aspects of SBR and the science FCAT measured in this study. Although the majority of teachers reported negative attitudes toward the reform process, a small minority that report working under supportive administrators believe that reform efforts are working well or will soon show positive effects. No school should overlook the potential of a supportive administration in its effort to improve school programs. xii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The era of school accountability and standards based reform has brought many challenges to Florida public schools. After pilot testing in the spring of 2002, the state of Floridas Department of Education administered the science FCAT to students in grades 5, 8 and 10 in all Florida schools in spring, 2003. The science FCAT is based on the Sunshine State Standards for science and has been developed to assess student learning of science in Floridas public schools. Teachers are required to demonstrate that their curriculum will cover the Sunshine State Standards for science. The process of altering curriculum and other educational practices to reflect the Sunshine State Standards is an integral part of standards based reform. It is important to identify the changes science teachers may be making as a result of standards based reform and to consider the degree to which an examination of reform efforts in science teaching might yield insight into the larger area of SBR in Florida. Standardized tests are considered by many to be an important means of ensuring that Americas educational system remains accountable for providing the best learning opportunities possible for all children. Although no test can perfectly measure what a student has learned, standardized testing may provide a quantifiable and visible estimate of what a student knows. This numerical estimate may then provide a reference point against which future achievement can be measured. These achievement reference points can be valuable in different ways to teachers, administrators, schools, districts and states, as well as to policymakers at all levels of government. Data from standardized tests can 1

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2 be used to identify trends at the national level, and by organizations to study various curricular and testing issues. For teachers, standardized test data, such as FCAT, can be used to determine patterns in student performance. Teachers can determine which students are not working to their ability by identifying students with high test scores and mediocre or inconsistent work in class. Teachers can also identify students who seem to be working above their potential, and those students who may be consistently in need of extra help. In general, teachers can use standardized test scores as a tool in determining the needs of their students. Administrators can use standardized test data to see how their schools achievement compares to other similar schools. They can work with teachers to set goals for student achievement. In addition, administrators can use student test scores as an incentive for effective instruction on the part of teachers. Teachers who are aware that student scores will be carefully considered may be more likely to do everything they can to help their students succeed. Finally, student test scores may help administrators identify teachers who are ineffective at helping students learn. School districts and states also use standardized test data to compare student achievement and to look for trends. Standardized test data can help districts and states decide how best to allocate money and resources. Data obtained from standardized tests can also be helpful to organizations by giving diagnostic information needed for designing better tests. Data can also be helpful in determining what adjustments could be made to curriculum and instruction on a large scale. Particularly now that there are national standards and standards for 49 of the 50 states, standardized assessments may

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3 provide a way to determine how well teachers are incorporating standards into their teaching. Although there is a definite role for standardized testing, there is cause for concern that test scores might be used in what some consider harsh accountability programs. The term high-stakes is used to describe standardized tests in Florida and some other states because of the important nature of the decisions based on standardized test scores. FCAT scores, and the Governors A+ Schools Program, (2000), for example, are used to make decisions on issues such as graduation, retention, increases in teacher salaries and school funding, and even the placement or removal of school principals. Although utilizing FCAT scores is a relatively fast and cost effective means of demonstrating educational accountability to the public, educators worry that detrimental effects to student learning may outweigh the benefits. One negative effect is that the intense pressure to prepare students for the FCAT each year may cause a shift in priority in curriculum planning to increase time spent for test preparation at the expense of other material teachers believe is important (Settlage & Meadows, 2002, Wideen et al., 1997). Increases in test scores do not always correlate with increased student learning as measured by other instruments. In some instances the reverse has proven to be true, in that increased test scores have been correlated with a decrease in effective instruction and even a decrease in students motivation to learn (Amrein and Berliner, 2002, Berliner & Biddle, 1995, McNeil, 2000). Statement of Problem Ideal conceptualizations of SBR in K-12 science education have been described in the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) and in documents published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science such

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4 as Science for All Americans and Benchmarks for Science Literacy (AAAS 1990, 1993). The National Science Teachers Association, (NSTA), has also espoused these ideal conceptualizations of SBR in K-12 science education. SBR in K-12 science education as it is taking place in the state of Florida may be driven less by the ideal conceptualizations and more by state and national legislation such as No Child Left Behind (2001), and The Governors A+ Plan for Schools (2000). In the best cases of standards based reform, the reform process is much more carefully implemented than is realized by most people. The first step is often for schools or districts to form a committee that includes teachers, administrators, district and state level educators, college of education faculty and members of the school community. The committee may review state and national standards documents and, by consensus, select the ones that are appropriate for their school or district, based on new standards. After standards are selected, the committee may create a comprehensive visionary framework of reform for their school or district, based on new standards. These framework documents often take two to three years to create and can be thought of as a large scale school improvement plan, which is also an important component of many successful middle schools. After the framework document is complete, teachers work together to develop curriculum around the selected standards. Interdisciplinary curriculum is possible and encouraged by experts including Vars, Beane and Jackson. Many teachers enjoy working with standards frameworks because they are allowed a degree of freedom and flexibility to develop the best curriculum and instruction for their school and students (Vars, 2001, Vogler, 2003).

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5 Upon close inspection, the best cases of standards based reform require much of the same infrastructure utilized by the best middle schools (St. John & Pratt, 1997). The framework committee functions like a leadership team in a highly functioning middle school. The entire process takes place in a manner similar to the way in which a successful middle school might implement a school improvement plan. Standards based curriculum is designed by the same kinds of teacher teams often utilized in middle schools. In short, successful standards based reform is implemented very much like the way struggling middle schools are reformed. Purpose of Study The purpose of this study was to complete a comprehensive assessment of standards based reform in middle school science programs in Florida. Results from this study were based on responses of sixth, seventh and eighth grade science teachers to a survey designed to discover their perceptions of 1) the degree to which teachers have made changes in curriculum and instruction in the process of incorporating the Sunshine State Standards (SSS) for science and preparing students for the science FCAT; and 2) teachers perceptions of the consequences of SBR and FCAT both in science and across subject areas at their schools. In addition, the survey was intended to portray teachers attitudes regarding: 1) SBR school wide; 2) SBR specific to the changes they are making in their science classrooms; and 3) the overall effect of SBR on science curriculum and instruction. Specifically, the following research questions were answered: 1. How widespread are standards based reform efforts in science in Florida middle schools? 2. What kinds of changes have schools made in the process of reform efforts?

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6 3. How effective are current reform efforts based on teachers perceptions? 4. What are teacher attitudes regarding current or upcoming reform efforts? a. How favorable are teachers attitudes toward standards based reform? b. How favorable are teacher attitudes regarding changes they are making in their own classrooms? 5. What kind of changes have teachers made, or do they anticipate making, in their work as a result of standards based reform? These changes may involve, for example, curriculum, instruction, pacing, grouping of students, or use of technology. 6. Are there patterns in teacher attitudes related to: a. Total number of years at current school, b. Teacher attitudes toward school administration, c. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch, d. Type of school community environment: urban, suburban, rural, e. Percentage of minority students at each school, f. Grade being taught: sixth, seventh or eighth. Answers to the questions above would allow some degree of clarification of the kinds of changes taking place in schools as a result of SBR. In addition, it may be possible to identify patterns regarding the above features of schools and teachers. Do teachers with differing levels of seniority have different attitudes from newer teachers regarding standards based reform? Do teachers of sixth, seventh and eighth grade have differing perspectives? Do teachers in schools with high numbers of minority and/ or poor students have different attitudes from teachers at predominantly white or affluent schools? Do teachers in urban, rural and suburban schools have differing perspectives? Finally, it may be possible to identify schools where teachers believe reform efforts have had a positive effect on curriculum and instruction and take note of practices at these schools. The answers to these questions may provide valuable information on how to

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7 accomplish standards based reform without compromising effective teaching and learning environments in middle schools. Significance of Study Documentation of teacher perspectives has allowed information to be assessed and catalogued regarding the status of SBR in middle school science in the state of Florida. In addition, the study has provided insight into the perceptions of teachers as to the progress and effectiveness of the standards based reform movement. Since teachers are at the center of all reform efforts, their perspective is critical. They are in a position to know not only what is happening, but also how well reform efforts are working. Positive results may show that standards based reform and high stakes testing can have a positive impact on teaching and learning environments. The information gathered from teachers may provide suggestions for maximizing the success of standards based reform and student learning in Florida. Outline of Procedure Middle school science teachers will be asked to complete a survey, as described below. Instrumentation and Types of Data Collected The instrument consists of a survey designed for middle school science teachers at the sixth, seventh and eighth grade levels. All questions will be answered from the perspective of these middle school science teachers. The survey will be divided into the following sections: Aspects of school science curriculum This portion of the survey was intended to elucidate aspects of schools sixth, seventh and eighth grade science curriculum from the viewpoint of the teachers. In

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8 addition, some questions will be added about curricular practices outside of the science program. Teachers will be asked to respond to questions such as: What grade level do you primarily teach? What kind of curriculum do you have? Is it traditional subject-based? Is it interdisciplinary or integrated? Is parallel curriculum used? What is the primary source of your curriculum, textbook or curriculum package? Is it created by teachers or school district? To what extent is your curriculum based on the SSS for science? What kinds of assessments do you use? Multiple-choice? Essay exams? Portfolio assessments? Alternative, authentic or performance based assessments? How much time is spent in the laboratory or on laboratory type activities? How much time is spent on constructivist, student-centered or inquiry based activities? General aspects of SBR at individual schools The survey was intended to obtain teachers perceptions of standards based reform in their own school program. For example, questions were asked about teacher attitudes toward the Governors A+ Schools Program, (2000), and the reading and math FCAT. Examples of questions included were: To what extent is your school involved in standards based reform? How many hours have you spent this year at your school in professional development in the area of SBR? Do you feel pressure to prepare students for the FCAT? How much of your instructional time is dedicated to standardized test preparation? Do you believe that increased school accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools Program? Aspects of SBR in middle school science programs The survey contained questions on whether teachers have been asked to make changes in their teaching involving the Sunshine State Standards for science or the science FCAT and what those changes are. The survey also addressed teacher attitudes

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9 toward standards based reform and the effect it has had on their own teaching. There were also questions asking teachers about the effect the changes have had on their own teaching. Examples of survey questions are: Who requires the use of the SSS for science? Principal? Superintendent? Department chair? Do you believe that student achievement in science has increased as a result of SBR or the science FCAT? Have you felt pressure to alter your science curriculum to prepare students for the science FCAT? Do you believe that SBR has resulted in increased effectiveness of your science curriculum? Background information from participating teachers Information was collected including total number of years teaching and seniority of teachers in terms of number of years teaching at current school. This information was collected in order to help determine whether teacher attitudes vary depending on the length of their career and the length of time since their training. Demographic information on schools and surrounding communities Information was collected on the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch at each school. This information was collected in order to help determine whether teachers at schools with affluent students have attitudes toward reform which are different from teachers at schools with predominantly low income or less affluent students. Individual teacher comments Since the survey format did not allow teachers to elaborate on their responses, they were encouraged to send in additional comments with their surveys.

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10 Data Collection Surveys were mailed to a random sample of sixth, seventh and eighth grade science teachers throughout the state of Florida with an accompanying cover letter. Teachers completed surveys and recorded their data on scantron forms that were returned along with the surveys and any additional comments teachers wished to make. The survey data remain confidential with a catalog system in which each teacher is assigned a number according to his/her county. Replacement surveys needed only to be sent to teachers who had not yet returned a survey. The catalog number allowed for clarification of whether a survey has been returned. Pilot Testing The survey instrument underwent pilot testing in Alachua County with 30 middle school science teachers. The purpose of the Pilot Testing was to test the procedure for data collection and determine whether the teachers had any problems answering the questions on the survey. Statewide Mailing Following the analysis of pilot data, the survey was distributed to middle school science teachers throughout Florida. Two hundred sixty five surveys were sent to middle school science teachers in Florida. In order to obtain as high a response rate as possible, four personalized contacts were made with each teacher according to the Tailored Design Method (Dillman, 2000). The first mailing was an introductory letter that described the study, its significance to curriculum and instruction in science, and the critical importance of teachers experience as a variable in answering the questions posed in the study. A second mailing two days later restated the important points summarized in the first letter, and included the survey itself. A third mailing was sent within a week to thank the

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11 teachers for responding. The fourth mailing sent two weeks later included a replacement survey for teachers who had not yet responded. Sample A systematic sampling technique was utilized where every tenth middle school science teachers of grades six, seven and eight, in the state of Florida was selected. The sampling frame consists of the entire target population of middle school science teachers of grades six, seven and eight throughout the state of Florida. A list of all Florida middle school teachers was obtained from Market Data Retrieval service. Definitions Standards Based Reform (SBR): Used to refer to changes made within the classroom, school or school district in the State of Florida having to do with incorporating and/or documenting the Sunshine State Standards for science and as a result of preparing students for the FCAT, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. High Stakes Testing: refers to the practice where states use standardized test scores to make important decisions such as graduation, retention, school funding, teacher salary increases, and placement and removal of school principals. High stakes testing is a controversial issue since many people argue test scores only reflect test-taking ability and not how much a student really knows. Curriculum Alignment: refers to the degree of alignment between curriculum, national or state standards and assessment. Generally curriculum alignment is a good thing since material covered in class is directly related to assessments. Problems can arise when assessments are not aligned with curriculum because teachers often may alter curriculum and instruction and remove important material to prepare students for tests. National Science Education Standards (NSES): refers to a document published by the National Research Council that outlines guidelines for content, teaching, professional development and assessment for K-12 science. Sunshine State Standards for Science (SSS for science): Refers to the State of Floridas individual content standards for K-12 science. This document does not include standards for teaching, assessment or for professional development. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): An association of scientists and engineers responsible for the seminal publications Science for All

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12 Americans and Benchmarks for Science Literacy. They have also provided the resources and personnel for the national reform effort Project 2061. National Science Foundation (NSF): The influential government organization providing a major source of funding for research in science and science education. National Science Teachers Association (NSTA): The national organization of K-12 science teachers. The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT): Floridas annual standardized testing regimen. Consists of tests in math, reading and science. Statewide Systemic Initiatives (SSI): Statewide SBR initiatives funded by the National Science Foundation. Funds were given to twenty-five states in the 1990s to help states begin reform. Data are still being collected and analyzed. Stanford Research Institute, International (SRI International): the research institute which compiled the case studies of the various SSIs explained above. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM): the national organization of K-12 teachers of mathematics, similar to the NSTA for science teachers. NCTM is the creator of the national standards for the teaching of mathematics. Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS): an international study in which students around the world in their last year of secondary school were tested in math and science. Results were compared and countries were ranked according to student performance. Summary This chapter provides some of the pertinent background information on high-stakes testing, standards based reform and science education reform. In addition, the focus of the research was provided, along with the procedures followed, the instrumentation and the questions addressed by the study. The second chapter discusses contemporary efforts at reform in K-12 science education. It includes ideal conceptions of reform from the national science education reform documents and the reality of standards based reform in science. In addition, Chapter 2 provides a summary of the middle school concept and explains the theoretical basis of the study. In chapter 3 the

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13 methodological issues of the study are discussed and the research questions presented. Chapter 4 contains the data analysis and the results of the study, and Chapter 5 presents a discussion of the findings and their implications for education.

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CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Introduction The purpose of this study was to complete a general assessment of standards based reform in Florida middle schools based on perceptions of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade science teachers. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss contemporary efforts at reform in K-12 science education including ideal conceptions of reform from the national science reform documents and the reality of standards based reform in science. In addition, the middle school concept is discussed, and a summary is provided of the conceptual framework of the study, which is based on large scale change theory, as described by Michael Fullan of the University of Toronto An Introduction to Standards Based Reform In K-12 Science Education One strong motivating factor of recent reform efforts in science education has come as a result of the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) completed in 1997. TIMSS data received a great deal of media attention portraying American students as average to below average in math and science. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has responded to public dissatisfaction with the degree of science preparation among K-12 students with the documents Science for All Americans and Benchmarks for Science Literacy, published in the early 1990s. Both volumes have attempted to capture what students should learn in science by the end of secondary school. 14

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15 A committee of experts including scientists, college of education faculty, and K-12 science teachers prepared the AAAS documents. The documents are part of an ongoing reform effort called Project 2061, named after the periodic comet Halley that appears once every 75 years. The AAAS had two reasons for associating their project with Halleys comet. First, they hope that by the year 2061, many of their visions for science education will become reality. Second, the 75-year period of Halley corresponds with the average life span of a human being. AAAS hopes to encourage science learning over a lifetime, rather than just through secondary school, which is true for most people. The AAAS Benchmarks organize the knowledge and skills in a format that has roughly 90% overlap with the National Research Councils National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996). Like the AAAS documents, the NSES outline detailed standards for science content, science teaching including science process skills and inquiry, assessment and professional development. Professional communities of scientists, educators and teachers developed the standards through a process of extensive discussion and review. The NSES represent goals for K-12 science education. They are based on research on teaching and learning, and focus on helping students develop a depth of knowledge about fundamental science content and processes (Bybee et al., 1997). It is helpful to think of these standards as tools for promoting deeper and more reflective approaches to setting state, district and local standards, creating assessments, selecting curriculum and designing professional development. Measures of effectiveness must be implemented later as a part of evaluating the form process. A companion volume, Teaching Inquiry with the Standards (NRC, 2000), was prepared by a similar committee of experts, and outlines detailed strategies for teachers to use in the classroom. The

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16 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) recommends the NSES serve as a consensus for what must be done in K-12 science education in the United States. Factors Contributing to the Best Cases of SBR in K-12 Science Education There are several factors that contribute to success in the best cases of standards based reform (St. John & Pratt, 1997). A strong and experienced leader, committed to working with NSES and science reform, is among the most important factors. Such a person is usually an administrator or a district level educator, who must work with politicians and national level science reformers and build support among teachers. These leaders must appeal to other influential individuals at the state and district level for commitments to provide critical reform infrastructure such as funding, release time for teachers, resources, expertise and consensus building. Supporting relationships such as partnerships with the national reform community, college of education faculty, businesses and the scientific community are also important. SBR is a highly individual process for each state, district and school, and is strongly influenced by the character of the local leadership. The degree to which SBR becomes a reality in a particular district or state depends on the overall health and functionality of the systems that are seeking to transform themselves. SBR is most likely to be successful in states and districts that have manageable circumstances such as strong leadership, reasonable size (smaller is better) and lack of financial or political turmoil. Parents should be included as much as possible. Finally, it is important to keep in mind that SBR has both educational and political faces, which are often at odds with each other. Care must be taken to build consensus among stakeholders from different factions of the community such as teachers and politicians (Kirst et al., 1997). While the inclusion of teachers and other stakeholders makes reform

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17 a slow process, it is important to remember that there are no quick fixes. (Atkin & Black, 2003). The Importance of Strategic Frameworks and the Inclusion of Stakeholders In addition to teachers and students, participants in the reform process include governors, state legislators, state education departments, state and local school boards, school districts and schools. Other individuals involved include college of education faculty, publishers, curriculum and assessment developers, business and industry, informal educators, and professional organizations. Lastly, individuals who can offer political and public support are important including scientists and engineers, business and industry, federal, state and local governments, parents, the general public and teacher unions. Bybee et al. (1997), recommend the following five step strategic framework for implementation of SBR: 1. Dissemination, which involves developing awareness of the goals of NSES among those responsible for policymaking, programs and teaching. This step also addresses what the standards are, why they are needed and how they can be used to shape policies and practice. 2. Interpretation, which involves increasing the understanding of and support for the standards. Interpretation also involves analysis, dialogue, challenging current conceptions for deeper understanding of the standards. 3. Implementation, including changing policies, programs and practices. 4. Evaluation of information gathered about impact can contribute directly to improvement. Monitoring and feedback to various parts of the system results in evolution. 5. Revision: improving the efficacy and influence of the standards. Examples of Contemporary Reform Efforts in K-12 Science Education To date, standards based reform in science in many schools in the United States has not entirely followed the vision conceptualized in the national reform documents such

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18 as NSES and Science for All Americans. The following paragraphs discuss various challenges, problems and successes. Lessons Learned From Reform in K-12 Mathematics Similar challenges and problems have been experienced in the process of standards based reform in K-12 mathematics education (Burrill, 1997). The NCTM standards for K-12 mathematics education are a few years older than NSES; more follow-up study has taken place to evaluate progress made. Results in K-12 science education are expected to be similar (Burrill, 1997). Research in K-12 Mathematics education has shown that most states have written their own standards and are gradually beginning to think in terms of how the standards will actually be put into practice. It is easy to blame standards when reform efforts fail, but it is difficult to know whether successes and failures are due to standards or the degree to which they are implemented. Schools need to adopt more than just content standards. Teaching, assessment and professional development standards, although usually neglected, are also very important. Common barriers to full implementation of the NCTM standards include lack of teacher preparation and unqualified or minimally qualified teachers, (Burrill, 1997). Financial inequalities, lack of necessary materials and lack of access to technology also remain problems. Other issues are lack of access for students (tracking), labeling products "standards based" that aren't, and lack of understanding by politicians. The Problem of Equity Equity is another critical issue in SBR in K-12 science education. One study, "Bridging the Gap: Equity in Systemic Reform" tried to identify factors affecting equity in urban systemic reform in two large urban middle schools in Ohio (Hewson et al., 2001). Progress was assessed by three factors: access, retention and achievement, each of

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19 which has a number of indicators. When the indicators were present and/ or improving, reform efforts were considered to be succeeding. Results showed that one school was succeeding and one was not. The most serious barriers to success in the failing school were fragmented community of teachers and administrators, and high levels of racial tension (Hewson, et al., 2001). Teachers Science Backgrounds Another barrier to implementing effective SBR is that many science teachers are poorly trained. Many districts lack a Ph.D. level science educator with teaching experience (Kumar, 1999). Field based teacher preparation programs facilitated by college of education faculty are recommended as a solution along with professional development networks and professional communities of practitioners. Integration of knowledge about science with knowledge about teaching and pedagogy and science methods classes that reflect what is really going on in real science classrooms are also of critical importance (Kumar, 1999). Emphasis should also be placed on discussion, sharing and collaborating as well as creation of communities of learners. Lessons Learned from Ohios Reform Efforts Ohio was one of the first 10 states to receive NSF funding for a Statewide Systemic Initiative (SSI), (Boone, 1997). Analysis of attitudinal data collected from Ohio teachers and principals has helped to identify the level of support for NSES and the degree to which implementation of NSES is likely to proceed (Boone, 1997). Results showed that teachers and principals have slightly different priorities. Principals values are more traditional and conservative, and, Boone reports that principals are less likely than teachers to see the importance of many items that are a critical part of science reform. Successful implementation of the NSES may require making explicit connections

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20 between activities principals value and those critical to conducting inquiry based science. Recommendations include short, targeted workshops or programs on NSES for principals. In addition, broad and deep professional development is recommended for teachers to facilitate full implementation of NSES. Videos of exemplary teaching are also suggested for teachers, because principals are reluctant to give release time for observations. Finally, six-week teacher institutes are recommended for important topics such as nature of science and process of inquiry (Boone, 1997). Nine additional states, Maine, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Louisiana, California, Montana and Arkansas received extensive NSF funding for Statewide Systemic Initiatives (SSIs) during the 1990s (SRI International, 1998). Case studies of the SSI process for the above states were compiled by researchers at SRI International. The case studies conveyed how states mobilized people and resources from academia, school personnel, state level educators, and legislators to accomplish reform. Florida was one of 15 additional states to receive initial NSF funding for SSIs, although a case study of Florida was never published by SRI International. The Case of Maines SSI Maine is an excellent example of a state that conducted its SSI process similar to the recommendations of St. John and Pratt (St. John & Pratt, 1997). According to the case study published by SRI, outcomes were very positive (Adelman, 1998). The objectives for Maines SSI were to improve math and science outcomes for students, and to raise their academic aspirations for higher education; Maine has typically lower enrollments in post secondary institutions than other states.

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21 The Maine mathematics and science alliance (MMSA) Maines SSI operated as the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA) a non-profit organization independent from the State department of education, but still closely aligned with it and its other partners. The extra-governmental status of MMSA was considered to be critical as it facilitated a local control environment with significant sources of local expertise for state and local policy makers to consult. MMSA accomplished an atmosphere of collaboration and cooperation over many factions that allowed many stakeholders to contribute. This allowed Maines SSI to avoid feelings of frustration and resistance encountered in other states such as California (Shields et al., 1998) which proceeded with a more specifically state-mandated top-down approach to reform initiatives. MMSA was organized around four committees, each chaired by one or more SSI principal Investigators. The committees worked to influence state policy, support local demonstrations of systemic reform, provide local technical assistance to local districts on requests, and to develop statewide and regional leadership necessary to institutionalize its vision of math and science reform. MMSA accomplishments In terms of accomplishments MMSA developed a curriculum framework for math and science content standards. In addition, it developed legislative policy called Maines Learning Results with which statewide assessments were aligned. MMSA oversaw development and implementation of seven demonstration projects called Beacon Sites (Adelman, 1998) that served as examples for the ongoing implementation of reform measures. The Beacon sites, along with MMSA staff provided assistance to school districts as they worked with curriculum frameworks, the Learning Results legislation and student assessments. Teacher networks were developed to provide

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22 support for local teachers. The SRI case study estimated that over the period of the SSI, assistance with reform reached approximately sixty percent of Maines teachers. Twenty percent received intensive guidance. Governance and organization of MMSA Governance and organization of MMSA and Maines SSI, were overseen by a thirty member board of advisors that represented a wide array of stakeholders in math and science reform, which included The state education agency, institutes of higher education, the state legislature, the state board of education, non-profit agencies, research institutions, and representatives from business and industry. MMSAs four committees were the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Committee (CIA), the Professional Preparation and Development Committee (PPD), the Community Integration Committee (CIC), and the Strategic Planning and Assessment Committee (SPA). The Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Committee (CIA) was co-chaired by math and science specialists from the State Department of Education. The primary responsibility was to oversee the development of Maines curriculum frameworks for math and science. In addition, the CIA committee was responsible for development of strategies to disseminate framework and train local districts, schools and teachers about how the framework can improve curriculum at the local level. The CIA committee was also responsible for oversight of the seven Beacon Centers. The Professional Preparation and Development Committee (PPD) was chaired by a former president of the University of Maine. The PPDs focus was on pre-service preparation of new teachers and continuing professional development of the states math and science teachers. The PPD was also responsible for planning of the initiatives professional development academies for math and science. The PPD facilitated

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23 connections and collaboration with the higher education community. Finally, it was responsible for overseeing state certification standards for teachers. The Community Integration Committee (CIC) was chaired by the director of human resources for a large Maine semiconductor company that had a vested interest in a state workforce that is well prepared in math, science and technology. The CIC was responsible for increasing public awareness for the need to improve math and science education, and for building corporate support for MMSA and Maines SSI. In addition, the CIC was to work with community action teams consisting of groups of professionals assembled to support the reform movement. These action teams were responsible for restructuring at each of the Beacon Centers. The fourth committee was the Strategic Planning and Assessment Committee (SPA), which was responsible for internal and external evaluation of MMSA and Maines SSI. External evaluation was contracted to the Center of Research and Evaluation at the University of Maine, Orono, and occasional out of state consultants. The internal evaluation was also overseen by the Center for Research and Evaluation at University of Maine, Orono. Maines SSI outcomes Teachers reported no changes in their own classrooms regarding the use of traditional practices. However, they reported vastly increased use of innovative practices. This suggests that Maines teachers are expanding their instructional repertoire, but they are making seasoned choices regarding appropriate assessment of old and new practices (Adelman, 1998). In terms of effects on students, Beacon School students outperformed other students in the state on the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA). During the period of the SSI the gender-gap narrowed for MEA scores; scores for Native American

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24 students also improved. Enrollment increased in higher-level courses and at post-secondary institutions. These improvements were believed to be at least partly attributable to the efforts of MMSA. In terms of effects on schools, the greatest effects were seen at schools where the faculty had adhered to some central plans for whole school change (Adelman, 1998). A summary of Maines SSI In summary, MMSA as an organization independent of state government, was critical to the progress made in Maines SSI for K-12 science education. In addition, the distribution of leadership roles in reform initiatives to a wide array of stakeholders was helpful both by encouraging commitment and by creating lasting partnerships. Investigators also found that by allowing local control, districts and schools remained productive as long as there was statewide consensus on expectations for students. Finally, there must be commitment from state and MMSA personnel to help local decision makers understand and incorporate critical changes in their schools. Aspects of the Middle School Concept Promoted by Middle School Advocates There is a direct relationship between effective middle school programs and personnel who understand early adolescents and take their needs seriously. It is therefore important for educators to have a clear understanding of early adolescents and their unique needs. Early adolescence is a period marked by many changes including accelerating physical and intellectual development. Seven characteristics have been identified in middle school students that are unique to their age group (George, 1993), including: 1. Becoming aware of increased physical changes, 2. Organizing knowledge and concepts into problem solving strategies,

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25 3. Learning new social/sex roles, 4. Recognizing ones identification with stereotype, 5. Developing friendships with others, 6. Gaining a sense of independence, 7. Gaining a sense of morality and values. An informed and caring staff must address these factors, which run the full range of the, intellectual, the physical, and the emotional. The middle school concept was created based on these characteristics of young adolescents, (Alexander et al. 1968). Eight critical guidelines for effective middle schools based on the middle school concept are described (Carnegie Council, 1989) including: 1. Creating a community of learners, 2. A core academic program, 3. Ensure success for all students, 4. Empower teachers and administrators with creative control and decision making power, 5. Staff teachers who are experts on the young adolescent, 6. Improve academic performance through fostering health and fitness, 7. Re-engage families in the education of students, 8. Connect schools with communities in the form of partnerships and the sharing of resources. As more and more students who are at risk for failure enter middle schools, the problem of ineffective middle schools has become catastrophic. A major examination and restructuring effort is necessary in middle schools across the United States. Rigorous reform of traditional middle school with the middle school concept in mind will allow the creation of student centered schools. In an environment designed with their needs in

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26 mind, more middle school students will have a chance to make a successful transition through middle school. Interdisciplinary Teams Schools that are divided into smaller subgroups and teams can help create a seamless environment where all students feel valued. Because students believe they belong, they display more enthusiasm and learning increases. Although successful academic teams differ from school to school, there are several characteristics that are considered essential. One requirement is that a core group of teachers be paired with a core group of students. Two to four teachers typically are assigned a group of 50-150 students who spend most of every day together. A team of four teachers might consist of one math, one English, one science and one social studies teacher (Arnold & Stevenson, 1998). An alternative is that two teachers will teach two subjects each, for example one math and science, and the other English and social studies. Teams of two teachers will typically be responsible for half the number of students as four teacher teams. Team teachers should have both common planning time and individual planning time. Common planning time should be used for regular meetings to discuss students, curriculum and other team issues. Team teachers have decision-making power regarding their students, as well as curricular and administrative issues. Every team must have a leader to direct team meetings and to serve as a liaison with other teams, the administration and parents. Within these groups, students are able to get to know every other student on their team. Many close friendships develop from this daily proximity of students on the same team. Teachers are responsible for fewer students, although they may teach more subject areas. With fewer students, teachers are able to get to know every one of their students to a much greater extent. Teachers can better provide support to each student where he or

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27 she needs it most. On teams with interdisciplinary, thematic curriculum, students are better able to make connections across subject areas. Students have greater opportunities to collaborate with teachers in terms of curriculum and classroom policies. This leads to greater cooperation, motivation, and overall enthusiasm. Scheduling can better accommodate special projects since teachers can decide as a team how to allocate their time together (Erb & Stevenson, 1999). Finally, academic teams can facilitate the formation of a true community of learners. Academic teaming can help student collaboration and enthusiasm reach exceptional levels. Utilization of academic teams can also facilitate smoother yearto-year transitions for students. Shared Decision-Making Instead of the traditional approach, where one administrator has complete control over how a school is run, a more democratic form of governance can allow teachers to have a greater stake in important aspects of school structure and function (Darling-Hammond, 1997, Senge, 1994). The democratic school leadership plan consists of many intercommunicating groups working on different aspects of school improvement. With democratic school leadership, the entire school community participates in creating an effective learning environment. Everyone is a stakeholder, because everyone is affected by the outcome. Research has shown that in schools where everyone has a voice, achievement is higher in students of all ability levels. Components of the democratic leadership model are leadership teams, inquiry groups, school improvement plans, student involvement, and an updated role for the school principal. Leadership Teams Typically, leadership teams consist of the principal and each of the teacher team leaders (Senge, 1994). Other members are also sought from the school community, such

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28 as the teachers union representative, health and social service professionals, parents, community members and students. These individuals may serve in a volunteer or elected capacity. Meetings are typically open to the public, but only the core members may vote on issues. The primary responsibility of the leadership team is to draft and implement a school improvement plan (SIP). In addition, the leadership team must integrate and facilitate all school improvement efforts, as well as make all information available to the entire school staff and community. Inquiry Groups Once leadership teams have identified problems on which to focus, groups of teachers are assigned to Inquiry Groups. Teachers work within an inquiry group to investigate a particular problem and report back with possible solutions (Darling Hammond, 1997). Every teacher should participate in at least one inquiry group based on their individual strengths and interests. Possible topics for inquiry groups include additional workshop and professional development opportunities, as well as research on possible program changes such as small teacher teams and alternative schedules. The School Improvement Plan In the process of creating a School Improvement Plan (SIP) the leadership team must analyze the schools strengths and weaknesses, and set goals for improvement. Since action and change are the most important outcomes of the SIP, goals must be reasonable, with realistic action steps, time lines, roles, responsibilities and resources for accomplishing them (Jackson, 2000). All teachers should be involved in preparing and implementing the SIP either as part of the leadership team or in inquiry groups. There are five important steps of the SIP process: 1. To create a school wide vision,

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29 2. Assessing the schools current circumstances, 3. Setting priorities, 4. Developing strategies for action, 5. Evaluating effects of changes to monitor progress. Extensive information should be collected from members of the school community and used for systematic data analysis (Jackson, 2000). Complete and extensive documentation helps ensure that careful and correct decisions are made. Recurring self-studies are also encouraged, first for obtaining baseline information, and later for assessing and re-assessing changes and improvements (Jackson, 2000). The Updated Role of the Principal The principals role in a successful school is ...to cultivate teachers intrinsic motivation and to create a culture of continuous improvement, as well as to develop and oversee a democratic plan of shared leadership and decision-making (Jackson, 2000). Successful schools have successful leaders (Useem, 1997, Valentine, 1997). Success as a principal depends on facilitating smooth cooperative efforts among all members of the leadership team and inquiry groups. The principal must also obtain community and staff support for all changes by informing them of all benefits and inviting them to participate. Districts need to give principals full support to carry out the steps in school improvement plans. School improvement efforts will not be successful without district support, or when the district is pulling in a different direction altogether. Finally, the principal must establish criteria for hiring new teachers, and for the evaluation of existing teachers. The principal must be free to uphold these criteria and ensure that all teachers at the school are effective in promoting student learning.

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30 Theoretical Framework of the Study: Change Theory The theoretical framework underpinning this examination of Floridas statewide standards-based reform initiatives is that of change theory as described by Michael Fullan. Professor and Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, Michael Fullan is a leading expert on change theory. He is also the author of several books on the subject which provided the information for the following discussion (Fullan, 1993, 1999, 2001). An Introduction to Change Theory The process of incorporating standards, aligning curriculum and incorporating new standardized assessments requires change at a systemic level that is extraordinarily complicated, time consuming and difficult to create and sustain. There is no single protocol that can work for all schools. Because every school is unique, processes and techniques cannot be borrowed without some degree of modification. Every school must create a plan to suit its own particular culture. Principals are the key players and are in the correct position to create effective schools, referred to as moving, learning enriched schools, professional learning communities or interactive communities of practice (Fullan, 1999). Only twenty five percent of successful school reform is knowing what steps to take. The remaining seventy-five percent involves developing effective processes and conditions among and within school personnel. Most people do not fully understand or invest in a process unless they are deeply involved. All stakeholders must have a sense of ownership of reform that is a progressive process achieved individual by individual until a critical mass is received.All involved must feel a common stake in the process

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31 (Fullan, 1999). Unpredictability, conflict and inconsistency must be expected and overcome throughout the process. According to change theory all educational change ultimately depends on what teachers do and think. It is especially important to keep this in mind because reform and change can be stressful for many teachers. An effective tool is the development of learning communities and an atmosphere of collegiality where teachers feel respected, included and instrumental in all parts of the reform process. Principals are the gatekeepers of change (Fullan, 1993). In order for schools to improve, they must have a principal to lead the transformation process. However, it is a very difficult process and not all principals are up to the task. Principals must share leadership by reaching out to parents and community. They must strive to expand the professional capacity of teachers and develop a coherent, professional community. Characteristics of good leaders include being relationship centered, promoting individual accountability, developing clear collegial value frameworks, fostering conditions required for school growth, developing shared commitment to mutual purpose and shared belief in ongoing common actions, ability to develop school capacity, increase quality of teaching within school and work to promote cohesiveness and eliminate fragmentation (Fullan, 2001). With excellent leaders, students are more likely to have three good teachers in a row, which is a critical factor in student success. A Balance of Top-down and Bottom-up Reform Although districts and states must be involved to provide standards and support, ultimately the schools must be responsible for creation and implementation of successful plans for improvement. There must be a balance of top-down and bottom-up reform, and there are key similarities among effective schools, leaders, teachers and districts. The

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32 first is that all leadership is based on a relationship of trust at all levels to pursue autonomy rather than dependency. The second is that districts must support learning among principals who will, in turn, support learning for teachers who will do the same for students. The third is the requirement of individual cultural transformations within each school. At all levels, it is much more productive to foster an atmosphere of autonomy rather than dependency. Again, while external standards and support are necessary, real and lasting improvements must be generated from within the school itself. In terms of governments role in educational change, accountability measures and pressure to change schools without focus on support and capacity building will not succeed. Accountability measures and pressure cannot change the quality of teaching and learning, or create the beliefs and behaviors required for success. Moreover, overload can be created by accountability measures, curriculum reform and dramatic changes imposed by government. Principals must be courageous, independent and flexible enough to adapt innovations to suit their own schools. Many principals fail to create positive change because they comply blindly with demands imposed by government. One strategy is that governments begin with top-down reform in terms of accountability, standards and pressure on local schools. Then there must be capacity building and support for schools to create their own cultural change and professional learning communities. In order for successful systemic reform to occur, more good teachers must be attracted to the teaching professions. To a large extent, schools that succeed in capacity building and reculturing efforts to become professional learning communities will be

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33 attractive places for good teachers to work. In addition, work must be done to improve teacher education programs and professional development opportunities. Parents and community members can be a great resource to schools and are largely untapped resources in most cases. Teachers must reach out to parents because a productive alignment of teachers, parents and students can make huge differences in student success. Many parents will need help and support from teachers and schools to play a productive role, and schools must be prepared to help bring out whatever each parent has to offer the school community. New community or regional institutions may be needed to integrate schools into the wider community. The Three Stories of Reform: Inside, Inside-Out and Outside-In The dynamics of systemic change involve internal and external forces that can be explained with three stories that are critical to the understanding of reform: the inside story, the inside-out story and the outside-in story (Fullan, 2000). The inside story of reform The inside story is what is known about how to change the internal dynamics of a school for the better. Schools that are more successful have teachers and administrators who do the following three things on a regular basis: they conscientiously create a professional learning community at their school; they focus on student work and alternative assessments; and they alter instructional practices to obtain better results. There is an important need for both restructuring and reculturing in schools. Restructuring, refers to changes in structure, roles and related elements of the school organization. Each school should have a site based team or local school council to oversee school restructuring. Restructuring is easier than reculturing but by itself makes no difference in the quality of teaching and learning in a school.

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34 Reculturing is the process of developing professional learning communities within the school. It involves the transition toward full attention to the issues of assessment and pedagogy and improvements in student achievement. A key difference between restructuring and reculturing is that while structures within the school can block or facilitate the process, the development of the professional community within the school is the critical factor in creating and maintaining change. The professional community can help create changes in both structure and culture. One of the complicating factors of school reform on a systemic scale is that there can be no plan or guide that will work for all schools. Every school must devise their own plan based on the unique needs and character of its own school environment. The inside-out story of reform The inside out story is based on the fact that even schools with large amounts of local control are still working with significant external factors such as government policy, parents and community, the wider teaching profession, technology and corporate connections. All of these factors may complicate school functioning, but they must be dealt with appropriately for successful improvement and change to occur. The big challenge for schools is to figure out how to make all of these outside forces work in their favor. Schools must cope with and overcome negative forces, and identify all resources. At times negative forces may turn out to be resources if they are approached appropriately. Schools must continually learn from outside forces, mobilize resources and build coherence. A good plan of action for schools that wish to develop their professional learning community and become collaborative schools is to be selective about the innovations they try to implement. They must make selective choices for staff development, and

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35 constantly work on connectedness. Schools must continue to work on applying what they learn. The outside-in story of reform The outside-in story is the perspective of individuals on the outside looking in, for example department of education personnel, school district personnel, whole states or sets of intermediate agencies in between. Although much is known about how to help make individual schools succeed, little is known about how to make large numbers of schools in the same system succeed at once. There are four key elements of external reform, specifically policies regarding decentralization, local capacity building, rigorous external accountability, and stimulation of innovation. In terms of decentralization, a delicate balance must exist between top-down and bottom up reform. External forces must play a role in empowering schools to improve their structure and culture. It is important for local schools to have independence and control over how to make the appropriate changes for their individual situation. However, outside forces must remain invested and aware of an individual schools progress. They must maintain both pressure and support for positive change. In addition, care must be taken to ensure that existing state policies are conducive to school improvement and change. Policies that do not facilitate improvement must be replaced with those that will, and no policy should work at cross-purposes to any other, which can be a serious barrier to reform. Local capacity building must be supported by outside forces. Schools must be empowered to build their individual professional learning community and engage in restructuring and reculturing. Investments must be made in local schools policies, training, and professional development. Ongoing support must be provided, as well as

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36 training for school teams and local school councils. Initial teacher education programs must be redesigned, and new activities must be adopted to prepare existing teachers, principals, parents and others to function as part of the professional learning community, both within and outside the school. Another significant influence from outside local schools is that of external accountability. External accountability systems must be rigorous and built into the infrastructure, because schools do best when they attend to standards and performance. The external accountability system should generate the data and procedures that will be helpful in identifying areas for change and improvement. There must be a balance between accountability support and accountability intervention. Although external sources must intervene in failing schools, they must also focus on capacity building for all schools. Adequate support must be provided for schools to build their individual professional learning communities. In order to stimulate innovation, which is the fourth key element of external reform, investments must be made in research, development, and innovative networks. The market place of education must constantly be maintained, and all new implementations must be maintained. A summary of change theory The three interrelated components discussed above must be functioning smoothly in order for successful systemic change. Individual schools must work to restructure and reculture themselves into professional learning communities. At the same time, they must be responsive to forces and demands outside the school. Forces outside the school must take part in both support and intervention within individual schools. In order for systemic reform to succeed, there must be a balance between top-down and bottom-up

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37 reform. Schools must be free to determine their own culture and needs, but they will not succeed unless they are actively connecting to the outside. Outside forces must provide both pressure and support to individual schools. Fullan has designated a formula (Fullan, 2001), to summarize and explain his philosophy of systemic reform: E = MCA2, where: E = the rate of efficacy of the system M = motivation for reform in terms of will, purpose and commitment C = capacity for reform in terms of skills, resources and know how A2 = assistance x accountability The greatest energy for reform is generated in a system of integrated pressure and support in which capacity and accountability are both increased. The biggest barriers to reform are overload, where too much is attempted at one time, and fragmentation, which causes community and collaborative efforts to break down. A Summary of the Overlap between Change Theory and Literature on K-12 Science Education Reform and Highly Functioning Middle Schools It is clear that there are several overlapping features among the characteristics of best cases of reform according to change theory, the science education community and Maines case study as a successful reform effort. Many of the same features are also present in highly functioning middle schools. In particular, all promote collaboration between and among all major stakeholders and the development of a shared vision that is unique for each school. Although external accountability measures that apply standards and pressure to schools are necessary, schools also need support and autonomy for successful reform to occur. The exact degree to which each of the Florida schools participating in this study followed these guidelines of reform is impossible to determine from one survey.

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38 However, teachers responses to the survey have reinforced, to some extent, the recommendations made in the literature summarized above. The results and implications for this study will be discussed in later chapters, as explained below. Summary The purpose of this chapter was to discuss contemporary efforts at reform in K-12 science education including ideal conceptions of reform in the national science reform documents and the reality of standards based reform in science. In addition, the middle school concept was discussed, and a summary provided of the conflict between reformers and advocates of the middle school. The theoretical framework of the research was discussed. Chapter three will discuss the methodology of the study, including an analysis of data from the pilot study in Alachua County. Chapter four will present the results of the study, and Chapter five will present the conclusions.

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CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Introduction This chapter outlines the methods used for the study. The following paragraphs contain a summary of the study, the research questions, an outline of the procedure consisting of the instrumentation and types of data collected, reliability and validity of the instrument, the pilot study, data collection, sample and analysis of data. Summary of Study This study was designed to assess the status and effectiveness of SBR in Florida middle school science programs. It was exploratory in the sense that little information is available yet about teachers perspectives of reform. Specifically, this study was intended to provide an assessment of teachers perceptions of changes taking place in their classrooms and schools as a result of SBR and the FCAT in middle school science programs in Florida. Because teachers are at the center of all reform efforts, their perspective is critical. They are in a position to know what is happening and how well reform efforts are working. To date, few studies have documented teachers perceptions of reform. The term standards based reform, or SBR, was used to refer to changes made within the classroom, school or school district in the State of Florida that result from incorporating and/ or documenting the Sunshine State Standards and preparing students for the science FCAT, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Results from this study were based on responses of sixth, seventh and eighth grade science teachers to a survey designed to discover their perceptions of 1) the degree to 39

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40 which teachers have made changes in curriculum and instruction in the process of incorporating the Sunshine State Standards (SSS) for science and preparing students for the science FCAT; and 2) Teachers perceptions of the consequences of SBR and FCAT both in science and across subject areas at their schools. In addition, the survey was intended to portray teacher attitudes regarding: 1) SBR school wide; 2) SBR specific to the changes they are making in their science classrooms; and 3) The overall effect of SBR on science curriculum and instruction. Research Questions 1. How widespread are standards based reform efforts in science in Florida middle schools? In order to answer this question the survey included questions including: To what extent is your curriculum based on the Sunshine State Standards For Science? To what extent is your school engaged in standards based reform? How many professional development workshop hours have been spent at your school addressing issues in SBR? Answers to these kinds of questions may clarify how much emphasis different schools are placing on reform efforts, and how much progress schools have made with reform efforts. 2. What kinds of changes have schools made in the process of reform efforts? What are the kinds of changes schools are making regarding documenting and / or incorporating the SSS for science and to prepare students for the FCAT? Are there similarities among schools in terms of the kinds of changes made, or are there variations among schools? Are there consistent patterns among these differences and similarities? In order to answer these questions teachers were asked to respond to questions on the survey including curricular, instructional and assessment practices used currently,

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41 whether changes are being made, and what those changes are. Clarification of what those changes are may allow us to discover the kinds of changes schools are making in the process of reform. Specific examples of questions are: What is the primary source of your curriculum? What kinds of assessments do you normally use? Do you use interdisciplinary or integrated curriculum? Has the amount of time spent on basic skills changed? Has the use of technology changed?. 3. How successful are current reform efforts based on teachers perceptions? Teachers were asked to answer survey questions regarding whether they think implementation of SBR has had primarily positive or negative effects on curriculum and instruction. Teachers who have complicated views were encouraged to expand on their opinions and return their comments with the survey. Examples of specific yes or no response questions were: I believe student achievement has increased as a result of standards based reform.; I believe student achievement has increased as a result FCAT.; I believe that increased school accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools Program; and I believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense other important curricular items. 4. What are teacher attitudes regarding current or upcoming reform efforts? a. How favorable are teachers attitudes toward standards based reform in general? b. How favorable are teacher attitudes regarding changes they are making in their own classrooms? Teachers were asked about their attitudes toward the math and reading FCAT and the Governors A+ Program as well as their opinions about what they are asked to do in their own classrooms regarding SBR. For example, there were survey items that asked

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42 teachers if they believe SBR has had a positive effect on teaching and learning in science. The attitude questions were included in the attitude scale section of the survey. Examples of survey questions are: I believe that SBR and FCAT preparation has led to increased teacher stress. I believe increased student achievement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools Program. And I believe the Governors A+ Schools Program has caused a deterioration in our schools climate. Again, teacher opinions and attitudes are of critical importance because of the central role they play in SBR, and the preparation of students for the FCAT. 5. What kinds of changes have teachers made, or anticipate making, in their work as a result of standards based reform? Teachers were asked about changes they have been requested to make in their classrooms. For example, the survey contained items regarding documentation of the SSS for science in lesson plans. In addition, there are questions that allow teachers to specify particular changes they are making in their classrooms. Examples of yes or no survey questions are: As a result of SBR and the Science FCAT I have been encouraged to spend more time covering basic skills. As a result of SBR and FCAT I have less freedom to allow students to learn at their own pace., and As a result of the science FCAT the amount of memorization I require of my students has increased. Information collected from teachers regarding changes they are asked to make in their teaching can help specify what is happening in schools as a result of standards based reform and FCAT. 6. Are there patterns in teacher attitudes related to: a. Number of years teachers have been teaching at their current school, b. Teacher attitudes toward school administration,

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43 c. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch, d. Type of school community environment: urban, suburban, rural, e. Percentage of minority students at each school, f. What grade level they are teaching: sixth, seventh or eighth? The survey collected data regarding 1) the number of years they have been teaching at their current school, 2) teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school, 3) the number of students on free and reduced lunch, 4) whether their school community is in an urban, rural or suburban environment 5) the percentage of minority students at each school and 6) whether teachers are teaching sixth, seventh or eighth graders. This may be important, for example, if there is more pressure on eighth grade teachers to prepare students for the science FCAT since the science FCAT is given only to eighth graders at this time. Answers to these questions may allow clarification of whether the level of seniority a teacher has at a particular school influences their attitudes toward SBR. In addition, teacher attitudes may be influenced by socio-demographic factors of the school community, the type of community surrounding the school, or by the levels of recognition and support they receive in their schools. Outline of Procedure Instrumentation and Types of Data Collected The instrument consists of a survey designed for middle school science teachers at the sixth, seventh and eighth grade levels. The survey can be found in Appendix A. All questions were answered from the perspective of these middle school science teachers. The survey is divided into the following sections:

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44 Aspects of school science curriculum This portion of the survey was intended to elucidate aspects of schools sixth, seventh and eighth grade science curricula from the viewpoint of the teachers. In addition, some questions were included about curricular practices outside of the science program. Teachers were asked to respond to questions such as: What grade level do you primarily teach? What kind of curriculum do you have? Is it traditional, subject-based? Is it interdisciplinary or integrated? Do you use parallel curriculum? What is the primary source of your curriculum? Curriculum or textbook package? Is it created by teachers or school district? To what extent is your curriculum based on the SSS for science? What kinds of assessments do you use? Multiple-choice? Essay exams? Portfolio assessments? Alternative, authentic or performance based assessments? How much time is spent in the laboratory or on laboratory type activities? and How much time is spent on constructivist, student-centered or inquiry based activities?. General aspects of SBR at individual schools A portion of the survey was intended to obtain teachers perceptions of SBR in their own school program. Examples of questions are: To what extent is your school involved in standards based reform? How many hours have you spent this year at your school in professional development in the area of SBR? Do you feel pressure to prepare students for the FCAT? How much of your instructional time is dedicated to standardized test preparation?, and Do you believe that increased school accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools Program?. Aspects of SBR in middle school science programs The survey contained questions on whether teachers have been asked to make changes in their teaching involving the Sunshine State Standards for science or the

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45 science FCAT and what those changes were. The survey also addressed teacher attitudes toward SBR and the effect it has had on their own teaching. There were also questions asking teachers about the effect the changes have had on their own teaching. Examples of survey questions are: Who requires the use of the SSS for science? Principal? Superintendent? Department chair? Do you believe that student achievement in science has increased as a result of SBR or the science FCAT? Have you felt pressure to alter your science curriculum to prepare students for the science FCAT? and Do you believe that SBR has resulted in increased effectiveness of your science curriculum? Background information from participating teachers Information regarding the seniority of teachers in terms of number of years teaching at current school was collected. This information may be helpful in determining whether teacher attitudes vary depending on the length of their career and the length of time since their training. Demographic information of schools and surrounding communities Information was collected on the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch at each school. The percentage of minority students and information on the type of community surrounding the school: urban, rural or suburban, was obtained from Market Data Retrieval. This information may be helpful in determining whether teachers at schools with affluent students are different from teachers at schools with predominantly poor students, or if inner city schools are different from suburban or rural schools. Individual teacher comments Since the survey format did not allow teachers to elaborate on their responses, they were encouraged to send in additional comments with their surveys. Many teachers did

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46 choose to return individual comments. These anonymous comments are summarized by county in Appendix C. Reliability of Instrument Table 3.1. Reliability Analysis of Teacher Attitude Scale Teacher Attitude Scale (Questions 66-107) Alpha =.9155 The reliability of the instrument was determined using data from the statewide study, described later. All survey questions used to answer research question #6 for the statewide study were in the Teacher Attitude Scale section of the survey. The reliability for the teacher attitude scale section of the survey was alpha = .9155. Item total correlations for all questions were above .2 except for number 107, which was .0691, indicating that all items except for number 107 were performing well. All item total correlations are available in appendix G. Validity of Instrument The item total correlations described above also helped determine the content validity of the survey instrument. The instrument was also examined prior to pilot testing by the following experts to determine content validity. All experts determined that the survey was acceptable for use. 1. Paul S. George, Distinguished Professor of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida. 2. M. David Miller, Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Florida 3. Anne E. Seraphine, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Florida. 4. Lee J. Mullally, Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning, University of Florida

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47 5. Maurice E. Lucas, Director of Research, Evaluation and Zoning, School Board of Alachua County, Gainesville, Florida 6. Joan S. Lindgren, Assistant Professor of Science Education, Florida Atlantic University, Jupiter, Florida. 7. Randall C. Penfield, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Florida. The Pilot Study This study was divided into two parts. First, a pilot study was completed with teachers from Alachua County only. The pilot data was used to test the procedure for data collection and determine whether the survey items were functioning properly. Following analysis of pilot data, a statewide study was completed in which surveys were sent to 265 randomly selected teachers throughout the state of Florida. The procedure for data collection worked well for the pilot study and was used for the statewide study, as described below. No changes were made to the survey as a result of analysis of pilot data. A summary of pilot data is available in Appendix D. Data Collection: Statewide Mailing Following analysis of pilot data, the survey was distributed to middle school science teachers throughout Florida. Two hundred sixty-five surveys were sent to middle school science teachers in Florida. In order to obtain the best possible response rate, the Tailored Design Method was used (Dillman, 2000). In the Tailored Design Method, four individualized contacts were made with each teacher. Each teacher was addressed in each mailing by name and title. In the first mailing, an introductory letter was sent describing the study, its significance to curriculum and instruction in science, and the critical importance of teachers experience in helping to answer the questions posed in the study. A second mailing was sent two days after the first containing a second cover and the

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48 survey itself. A third mailing was sent within a week containing a thank you note to all teachers for returning the completed survey. The fourth mailing which contained a replacement survey was sent two weeks later. The cover letter sent to teachers has been included in Appendix E, and the informed consent form for teachers has been included in Appendix F. Sample The sample consisted of systematically selected middle school science teachers of grades six, seven and eight, from throughout the state of Florida. A list of all Florida middle school science teachers and their addresses was obtained from Market Data Retrieval Service. The sampling frame consisted of the entire target population of middle school science teachers of grades six, seven and eight throughout the state of Florida. Any teachers missing from the list purchased from Market Data Retrieval Service could not be included in the sampling frame. The systematic sampling technique used provides similar advantages to random sampling. Every tenth teacher was selected from the list to receive a survey. Surveys were sent to 265 teachers. Despite utilizing the Tailored Design Method, only ninety-nine out of 265 teachers returned completed surveys. The teacher response rate for the survey was 37%. The response rate for the study is discussed further in the limiting factors section of Chapter 5. Data Analysis Research questions one through five were answered using response frequency data. Research question six was answered using regression analysis. Variables and analyses are described below.

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49 Regression analysis: response variables Based on research questions two through five, six response variables, also known as dependent or outcome variables, were created. These six response variables were used to test the degree to which those factors can be explained by various conditions already existing in schools. The six response variables are listed below: 1. Changes teachers have made in the process of SBR as described in the survey (CHANGE). 2. Teacher attitudes toward SBR in general (ATSBRGEN). 3. Teacher attitudes toward SBR in science (ATSBRSCI). 4. Teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT (ATSFCAT). 5. Teachers perceptions of the consequences of SBR (SBRCONS). 6. Teachers perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT (SFCATCONS). Regression analysis: explanatory variables In order to explain each of the above response variables based on conditions that already exist in schools, six characteristics of schools were chosen that were expected to influence teachers attitudes toward reform. The six explanatory variables, also known as independent variables, are listed below. 1. Number of years teaching at current school. 2. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch. 3. Teacher attitudes toward administration. 4. Area in which school district is located: Urban, Suburban, Rural. 5. Percentage of minority students. 6. Grade level teacher is primarily teaching: sixth, seventh or eighth grade. Regression analysis: explanation of models In order to answer research question number six, regression analysis was used. Regression analysis allowed for discovery of the degree to which the response variables are associated with the set of explanatory variables. In other words, it is possible to determine how well the explanatory variables explain or predict the response variables. A separate regression equation was used for each of the six response variables.

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50 The equation for each of the response variables is referred to as a model. Each equation, or model, follows the same general format. The entire set of explanatory variables was included in the equation/model for each of the response variables. The general regression formula for each model is shown below: Yi= a + b1X1i + b2X2i + b3X3i + b4X4i + b5X5i + b6X6i + ei where Yi is the response variable and each of the X terms is one of the set of six explanatory variables. The explanatory variables remain the same in each equation while the response variable (Y) changes for each equation. Each equation resembles the following, where Y changes to include the appropriate response variable for each model: CHANGE, ATSBRGEN, ATSBRSCI, ATSFCAT, SBRCONS, SFCATCONS, as shown below: Yi = a + b1X1(Years at Current School)1i + b2X2(%Free and Reduced)2i + b3X (Teacher Attitudes Toward Admin)3i + b4X(Urban/Suburban/Rural)4i + b5X(% Minorities)5i + b6X (Teacher Grade Level)6i + ei The fit of each model was assessed by examining the magnitude of the parameter estimates. Statistical tests included measures of association, R-square, regression coefficients and F-tests associated with the R-square. All statistical tests were conducted at alpha = .05. Statement of Investigator Bias The investigator is a career science educator, committed to the implementation of rich and robust science curriculum in middle level schools. Although it is nearly impossible to eliminate investigator bias entirely, significant effort has been made to

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51 include a balance of questions representing a wide variety of teacher perceptions and opinions, and to phrase the questions in ways that do not reveal a bias. Conclusions The next chapter, Chapter 4, presents the results of the study with a discussion and presents the statistical analyses of the data. This analysis will provide information on standards based reform and the consequences of the science FCAT from the prospective of Middle School science teachers.

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CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Introduction As the literature review in Chapter 2 revealed, successful large-scale reform requires a combination of factors such as a balance of central and local control, participation of all stakeholders and a shared vision for the future of each school. The purpose of this study was to discover teachers perceptions of reform efforts in Floridas middle school science programs. Teachers responses were compiled to create a summary of reform efforts in Florida. The following paragraphs will include a restatement of the research questions, and the answers to the research questions. Research questions one through five will be answered first using response frequency data. Question six will be answered last using regression analysis. The chapter will conclude with a summary of the answers to each research question. Research Questions In the process of assessing teachers attitudes and perceptions the following questions were answered: 1. How widespread are standards based reform efforts in science in Florida middle schools? 2. What kinds of changes have schools made in the process of reform efforts? 3. How successful are current reform efforts based on teachers perceptions? 4. What are teacher attitudes regarding current or upcoming reform efforts? 52

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53 a. How favorable are teachers attitudes toward standards based reform? b. How favorable are teacher attitudes regarding changes they are making in their own classrooms? 5. What kind of changes have teachers made (or do they anticipate making) in their work as a result of standards based reform? 6. Are there patterns in teacher attitudes related to: a. Total number of years at current school, b. Teacher attitudes toward school administration, c. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch, d. Type of school community environment: urban, suburban, rural, e. Percentage of minority students at each school, f. What grade level they are teaching: sixth, seventh or eighth? Answers to the above questions have allowed some degree of clarification of the kinds of changes taking place in Florida schools as a result of SBR. In addition, it has been possible to examine patterns regarding the above features of schools and teachers. It has been examined whether teachers with greater levels of seniority have different attitudes from newer teachers regarding standards based reform. It has been examined whether teachers of differing grade levels have differing perspectives on reform. It has been determined whether teachers in schools with high levels of minority and/ or poor students have different attitudes than teachers at predominantly white or affluent schools. It has been determined whether teachers in urban, rural and suburban schools have differing perspectives on reform. Finally, it has been examined whether a pattern exists regarding teacher attitudes toward school administration and teacher attitudes toward reform. The entire survey with response frequencies can be found in Appendix B.

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54 Teacher Attitudes Toward SBR and the Science FCAT: Answers to Research Questions General Frequency Data: Research Questions One through Five Research Question #1: How widespread are SBR efforts in Floridas Middle School science programs? According to frequency data, fifty one percent of responding middle school science teachers report that SBR is already underway in their school. Another twenty-four percent say that their school has begun the reform process. Three percent of teachers say their school is exploring possibilities and seventeen percent say they have not yet begun the reform process at their school. Table 4.1. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #1 23. To what extent is your school engaged in standards based reform We are currently exploring possibilities for SBR at our school 3% We have begun the process of SBR at our school. 24% SBR is already in place at our school. 51% We have not yet begun the process of SBR at our school 17% 24. At your school, how many hours will you have spent this year in professional development in the area of SBR? <1 hour 14% 1-5 hours 45% < 5 hours 22% Not sure 25. At your school, how many hours will be spent in the near future in professional development in the area of SBR? <1 hour 10% 1-5 hours 35% >5 hours 30% Not sure 24% Twenty-two percent of teachers report that they have already spent more than five hours in professional development workshops focused on SBR. Another forty five percent report they have spent between one and five hours in reform oriented workshops. Fourteen percent have spent less than one hour in reform workshops. In terms of upcoming professional development opportunities and workshop, thirty percent of

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55 teachers report that they expect to spend more than five hours on reform in the coming months. Another thirty five percent report that they expect to spend between one and five hours. Ten percent of teachers expect to spend less than one hour in reform workshops and twenty-four percent do not know if their school intends to allocate in service time to the subject of reform. Research Question #2: What kinds of changes have schools made in the process of reform efforts? In terms of changes in school curriculum, eighty-three percent of teachers are required to document the SSS for science in their lesson plans. Seventy-five percent of teachers believe that SBR has resulted in increased curriculum alignment and seventy-three percent believe SBR has resulted in increased standardization of the science curriculum. Seventy-seven percent of responding teachers believe the science FCAT has resulted in increased curriculum alignment in science and seventy-six percent believe that the science FCAT has resulted in increased standardization of the science curriculum. In terms of other school issues, twenty-two percent of teachers believe that SBR has resulted in increased interdisciplinary teamwork among teachers of different subject areas. Fifty-six percent of teachers believe that SBR and/or FCAT preparation has resulted in increased science department collaboration. Sixty percent of teachers believe that the middle-school-concept, or in other words the attention given by schools to the developmental needs of the early adolescent, has suffered at their school. Forty-nine percent of teachers say that ability grouping and tracking have increased as a result of the science FCAT. Twenty-nine percent of teachers say that increased parent involvement has been a result of the Governors A+ Plan for Schools.

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56 Table 4.2. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #2 YES 29. We are required to document the SSS for science in our lesson plans 83% 34. I believe that increased curriculum alignment in middle school science has occurred as a result of SBR 75% 35. I believe that increased curriculum alignment in middle school science has occurred as a result of FCAT. 77% 36. I believe that increased standardization of the science curriculum has occurred as a result of SBR. 73% 37. I believe that increased standardization of the middle school science curriculum has occurred as a result of FCAT. 76% 42. I believe that standards based reform has resulted in increased interdisciplinary teamwork among teachers of different subject areas 22% 43. I believe that SBR and/ or science FCAT preparation has increased science department collaboration. 56% 54. The Middle School Concept, or in other words, our attention to the needs of early adolescents, has suffered at my school as a result of FCAT and/or SBR. 60% 57. Preparation for the science FCAT has resulted in more ability grouping or tracking at my school. 49% 61. I believe increased parent involvement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 29% Research Question #3: How effective are current reform efforts based on teachers perceptions? Student learning and achievement In terms of student achievement, thirty-eight percent of teachers believe that student achievement has increased as a result of SBR, while thirty-four percent believe student achievement has increased as a result of the FCAT. Thirty five percent of teachers believe that student achievement has increased as a result of the Governors A+ plan for schools. Sixteen percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that the Governors A+ plan for schools has helped improve student learning in Florida. Twenty-five percent agree or strongly agree that the methods of SBR their school is engaging in will improve their school.

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57 Table 4.3. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #3 YES 38. I believe that student achievement has increased as a result of SBR 38% 39. I believe that student achievement has increased as a result of FCAT. 34% 41. I believe that SBR has resulted in increased effectiveness of our science curriculum. 41% 58. I believe increased school accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 29% 59. I believe increased teacher accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 27% 61. I believe increased parent involvement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 29% 62. I believe increased student achievement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 35% 63. I believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items. 83% 64. I believe that a negative aspect of the Governors A+ Schools Program is that all schools do not have equal chances for success 84% 65. I believe that the Governors A+ Schools Program has caused a deterioration in our schools climate. 65% Twenty-six percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that the FCAT for reading and math has improved student learning at their school. Thirty-two percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that SBR efforts at their school will improve student learning in science. Twenty-four percent of teachers believe that the science FCAT will improve student learning in science at their school. Nineteen percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that the science FCAT has already had a positive influence on curriculum, instruction, and/or student learning in science. Curriculum and instruction Forty-one percent of responding teachers believe that SBR has resulted in increased effectiveness of the science curriculum at their school. Thirty-four percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that the FCAT for reading and math has improved curriculum and instruction at their school. Twenty-six percent of teachers agree or

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58 strongly agree that the science FCAT will improve science curriculum at their school, while twenty-seven percent believe the science FCAT will improve science instruction at their school. Eighty-three percent of teachers believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items. Table 4.4. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #3 Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 66. I believe the methods of SBR our school is engaging in will improve our school. 13% 16% 44% 14% 11% 68. I believe there has been close linkage of the SBR movement to the FCAT and I believe this has had an overall positive effect. 20% 28% 29% 17% 5% 69. I believe SBR efforts at my school will improve student learning in science. 15% 21% 31% 25% 7% 70. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved curriculum at our school. 16% 24% 25% 26% 8% 71. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved instruction at our school. 16% 24% 24% 28% 8% 72. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved student learning at our school. 19% 26% 28% 20% 6% 73. I believe that the science FCAT will improve science curriculum at my school. 19% 26% 28% 20% 6% 74. I believe that the science FCAT will improve science instruction at my school. 21% 24% 27% 21% 6% 75. I believe that the science FCAT will improve student learning in science at my school. 21% 19% 25% 18% 6% 85. I believe the science FCAT has already had a positive influence on curriculum, instruction and/or student learning in science. 17% 33% 30% 14% 5% 86. I believe that the Governors A+ Schools program has helped improve student learning in Florida. 20% 36% 25% 13% 3%

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59 Other aspects of SBR Twenty-nine percent of teachers believe that increased school accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ schools program, while twenty-seven percent of teachers believe that increased teacher accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ schools program. Twenty-three percent of teachers believe that the close linkage between the SBR movement and the FCAT has had an overall positive effect. Twenty-nine percent of teachers believe that increased parent involvement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Plan for Schools. Eighty-four percent of teachers believe that a negative aspect of the Governors A+ Plan for Schools is that all schools do not have equal chances for success, while sixty-one percent of teachers believe the A+ Program has caused a deterioration of their schools climate. Research Question #4: What are teacher attitudes regarding current or upcoming reform efforts? a. How favorable are teachers attitudes toward standards based reform? b. How favorable are teacher attitudes regarding changes they are making in their own classrooms? Question 4a: Nineteen percent of teachers say that their attitude toward SBR has changed for the better since reform efforts have begun at their school. Fourteen percent believe that SBR has resulted in increased teacher autonomy and control over the curriculum. Seventy-six percent of teachers believe that SBR has contributed to increased teacher stress, while ninety-two percent of teachers believe that FCAT preparation has contributed to increased teacher stress. Seventy-eight percent of teachers believe that SBR has contributed to less emphasis within the curriculum on student interests, and sixty-one percent of teachers report that the Governors A+ Plan for Schools has caused a deterioration in the climate at their school.

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60 Table 4.5. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #4a YES 40. I believe that SBR has resulted in increased teacher autonomy and control over the curriculum 14% 45. I believe that SBR has contributed to increased teacher stress 76% 46. I believe that FCAT preparation has contributed to increased teacher stress. 92% 47. I believe that SBR has contributed to less emphasis within the curriculum on student interests. 78% 65. I believe that the Governors A+ Schools Program has caused a deterioration in our schools climate. 61% Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 79. My attitude toward SBR has changed for the better since reform efforts have begun at my school. 12% 30% 37% 13% 6% 83. I believe SBR is implemented only in response to the science FCAT. 8% 25% 26% 31% 10% 84. I believe SBR in science is a good idea independently of the FCAT. 8% 13% 35% 28% 15% 96. In my experience there is a close association between high stakes testing such as FCAT and SBR in Florida. 9% 12% 32% 31% 13% Forty-four percent of teachers report that in their experience there is a close association between high stakes testing such as the FCAT and SBR in Florida. Forty-one percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that SBR is implemented only in response to the FCAT, and forty-three percent of teachers believe that SBR is a good idea independently of the FCAT. Question 4b:Sixty-nine percent of teachers believe that preparation of students for the FCAT has contributed to a decrease in quality of the science curriculum, and sixty-seven percent of teachers believe that SBR has contributed to decreased teacher autonomy and control in the classroom. Thirty-two percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that SBR efforts at their school have caused them to make changes in what they do

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61 in their classrooms that are not entirely comfortable to them. Fifty-four percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that mandatory changes made at their school in the process of SBR have restricted their freedom and creativity as a teacher. Table 4.6. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses for Research Question #4b YES 44. I believe that SBR has contributed to decreased teacher autonomy and control over the science curriculum. 67% 49. I believe that preparation of students for the FCAT has contributed to decreased quality of the science curriculum. 69% Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 76. I believe mandatory changes made at my school in the process of SBR have restricted my freedom and creativity as a teacher. 10% 18% 15% 33% 21% 77. I believe that using the SSS for science to the extent required at our school has restricted my freedom and creativity as a teacher. 11% 34% 24% 24% 7% 78. I believe that the mandatory changes imposed on my teaching in the process of SBR have restricted my freedom and creativity as a teacher beyond using the SSS for science. 10% 28% 25% 30% 6% 67. SBR efforts at our school have caused me to make changes in what I do in my classroom that are not entirely comfortable to me. 10% 22% 33% 27% 5% 101. In my experience, SBR is a top-down state mandated effort in which teachers experience loss of autonomy and control over what goes on in their own classrooms. 10% 11% 29% 30% 15% 106. I am less satisfied than I used to be with my teaching position due to state mandated reforms. 9% 27% 19% 29% 15% 107. If my decrease in satisfaction with my teaching position continues I may consider leaving the profession. 18% 26% 11% 17% 25%

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62 Thirty-one percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that using the SSS for science to the extent required at their school has restricted their freedom and creativity as a teacher. Thirty-six percent of teachers say that mandatory changes at their school have restricted their freedom and creativity beyond just using the SSS for science. Forty-five percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that in their experience, SBR is a top-down state-mandated effort in which teachers experience loss of autonomy and control over what goes on in their classrooms. Forty-four percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that they are less satisfied than they used to be with their teaching position due to state mandated reforms. Forty-two percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that if their decrease in satisfaction with their teaching position continues, they may consider leaving the profession. Research Question #5: What kind of changes have teachers made, or do they anticipate Making, in their work as a result of standards based reform? Table 4.7. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #5 YES 50. As a result of SBR and the science FCAT I have used fewer Internet and/or technology based activities. 40% 51. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the amount of worksheets I use in class has increased. 46% 52. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the amount of memorization I require of my students has increased. 42% 53. As a result of SBR and the science FCAT the amount of work my students do in small groups has decreased. 35% 55. As a result of SBR and the science FCA I have been encouraged to spend more class time covering basic skills. 77% 56. As a result of SBR and the science FCAT I have less freedom to allow students to learn at their own pace 84% 60. As a result of standards based reform and preparation for FCAT we have taken fewer field trips. 62% 63. I believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items. 83%

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63 Twenty-percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that their principal has asked them to change the way they teach as a result of SBR, and twentyseven percent say the same is true for the science FCAT. Fifty-nine percent of the science teachers agree or strongly agree that as a result of the reading and math FCAT they have spent more time covering reading and math skills, and eighty-three percent of teachers believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items Seventy-seven percent of teachers report that as a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT they have been encouraged to spend more time covering basic skills. Table 4.8. Relevant Survey Questions for Research Question #5 Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 89. My principal has asked me to change the way I teach as a result of SBR. 32% 31% 16% 15% 5% 90. My principal has asked me to change the way I teach as a result of the science FCAT. 27% 31% 14% 19% 8% 98. As a result of the reading and math FCAT I devote more attention to reading and math skills. 10% 13% 16% 45% 14% 104. My homework assignments have changed in a positive way as a result of SBR and the science FCAT. 11% 32% 36% 12% 5% Forty-percent of teachers report that as a result of SBR and/ or the science FCAT they are using fewer Internet and/or technology based activities in their classrooms. Forty-six percent of teachers report that the number of worksheets they use has increased, and forty-two percent of teachers say the amount of memorization they require of their students has increased as a result of SBR and the science FCAT. Eighty-four percent of teachers report that as a result of SBR and the science FCAT they have less freedom to

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64 allow students to learn at their own pace, and thirty-five percent of teachers report that the amount of work their students do in small groups has decreased. Sixty-two percent of teachers report that they have taken fewer field trips as a result of SBR and the science FCAT, and seventeen percent agree or strongly agree that their homework assignments have changed in a positive way as a result of SBR and the science FCAT. Research Question #6: Are there patterns in teacher attitudes related to: a. Total number of years at current school, b. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch, c. Teacher attitudes toward school administration, d. Type of school community environment: urban, suburban, rural, e. Percentage of minority students at each school, f. What grade level they are teaching: sixth, seventh or eighth? Regression Analysis Results: Research Question Six Regression analyses were run for research questions 6a through 6f. The results are summarized in the following section. As explained in chapter three, six response variables related to research questions two through five were chosen and regression analyses were run for each response variable. These six response variables were used to test the degree to which those factors can be explained by various conditions already existing in schools. The six response variables were as follows: 1. CHANGE: teachers attitudes toward changes they have made in their classrooms as part of the reform process, 2. ATSBRGEN: teachers attitudes toward standards based reform in general across all subject areas, 3. ATSBRSCI: teachers attitudes toward standards based reform in science, 4. ATSCFCAT: Teachers attitudes toward the science FCAT,

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65 5. SBRCONS: Teachers perceptions of the consequences of SBR, 6. SFCATCONS: teachers perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT. As described in Chapter 3, seven explanatory variables that were suspected might influence teacher attitudes toward reform were used to look for patterns and factors that might account for teacher attitudes. In other words, correlations were looked for between teacher attitudes and other factors existing at the school. For example, does the percentage of minority or low-income students, or the degree of teacher seniority, or the type of school community or teacher attitudes toward school administration influence teachers attitudes toward any of the six response variables listed above? Results Question 6, part one looked at teacher attitudes toward SBR with respect to changes they have made in their classrooms in the process of reform. The following results are summarized in tables 4.8, 4.9 and 4.10, below. The R2 value, or effect size, of .204 is statistically significant at F (7,77) = 2.821, Sig. = .011, suggesting that 20.4% of the variance associated with teacher attitudes toward changes they have made in their classrooms as a result of SBR is associated with the seven explanatory variables explained above. Table 4.9. Model Summary for Dependent Variable: CHANGE Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .452a .204 .132 6.96045 Table 4.10. ANOVA for Dependent Variable: CHANGE Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. 1 Regression Residual Total 956.658 3730.919 4687.576 7 77 84 136.665 48.453 2.821 .011a

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66 Table 4.11. Coefficients for Dependent Variable: CHANGE Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig 1 (Constant) SENIORIT LOWINCOM GRADE ADMATS URBAN1 URBAN0 STMINORI 23.192 .360 1.294 3.9E-02 .636 -1.904 1.899 -1.464 6.019 .746 .888 1.015 .195 1.909 1.917 1.176 051 .174 .004 .344 -.112 .115 -.151 3.853 .482 1.547 .039 3.258 -.997 .991 -1.245 .000 .631 .149 .969 .002 .322 .325 .217 While the model for changes teachers have made in the process of SBR (CHANGE) is significant overall, only one explanatory variable is significant, teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school (ADMATS, sig = .002). When examined individually, only the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators at their school, (ADMATS), influences teachers attitudes toward reform in terms of changes made in their classrooms. The more positive teachers attitudes toward their administration, the more positive their attitudes toward changes they have made in their own classrooms as a result of reform. Question 6, part two looked at teacher attitudes toward SBR in general, across subject areas, (ATSBRGEN). The R2 value, or effect size, of .337 is statistically significant at F (7,73) = 5.303, Sig. = .000, suggesting that 33.7% of the variance associated with teacher attitudes toward SBR in general is associated with the seven explanatory variables explained above. The data are summarized in tables 4.11, 4.12 and 4.13, below. Table 4.12. Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .581a .337 .274 7.69193

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67 Table 4.13. ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. 1 Regression Residual Total 2196.183 4319.101 6515.284 7 73 80 313.740 59.166 5.303 .000a Table 4.14. Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig 1 (Constant) SENIORIT LOWINCOM GRADE ADMATS URBAN1 URBAN0 STMINORI 29.424 -.470 .568 .518 1.207 .190 4.378 -.705 6.692 .849 1.023 1.157 .217 2.144 2.192 1.334 -.055 .063 .044 .548 .009 .217 .-.061 4.397 -.544 .556 .447 5.563 .088 1.997 -.528 .000 .581 .588 .656 .000 .930 .050 .599 While the model for teachers attitudes toward reform in general (ATSBRGEN) is significant overall, only one explanatory variable is significant, teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school (ADMATS, sig = .000). Only the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators at their school, (ADMATS), influences teachers attitudes toward SBR in general. The more positive teachers attitudes toward administration the more positive teachers attitudes toward SBR in general. Question 6, part three looked at teachers attitudes toward SBR in science (ATSBRSCI). The R2 value, or effect size, of .322 is statistically significant at F (7,76) = 5.161, Sig. = .000, suggesting that 32.2% of the variance associated with teacher attitudes toward SBR in general is associated with the seven explanatory variables explained above. The data are summarized in tables 4.14, 4.15 and 4.16, below. It is important to note that the model for teacher attitudes toward SBR in science, (ATSBRSCI), is unique in that not only is the model significant overall, but two of the

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68 explanatory variables were also significant: schools in urban settings (URBAN1, sig.= .028), and teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school (ADMATS, sig.= .000). Once again, the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators at their school (ADMATS), influences teachers attitudes toward reform in terms of changes made in their classrooms. The more positive teachers attitudes toward administration, the more positive teachers attitudes toward reform in science. Table 4.15. Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .568a .322 .260 5.18429 Table 4.16. ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. 1 Regression Residual Total 970.918 2042.641 3013.560 7 76 83 138.703 26.887 5.161 .000a Table 4.17. Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig 1 (Constant) SENIORIT LOWINCOM GRADE ADMATS URBAN1 URBAN0 STMINORI 18.672 .9.7E-02 .066 .275 .752 -3.118 -.496 .080 4.485 .562 .666 .756 .146 1.422 1.463 .892 .017 -.011 .035 .503 -.234 -.037 -.010 4.164 .172 -.099 .363 5.150 -2.243 -.339 -.090 .000 .864 .921 .717 .000 .028 .735 .929 The model for teacher attitudes toward SBR in science (ATSBRSCI) is unique in that teachers in urban schools were found to have more negative attitudes toward SBR in science than did teachers in rural or suburban settings. Urban teachers did not show more negative attitudes for any other aspect of reform, or any other response variable, as measured by any other model. Prior studies have suggested that due to conditions such as

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69 lack of resources and lack of harmonious school environment, teachers in urban settings have more negative attitudes toward reform in general (Hewson, et al., 2001; Settlage & Meadows, 2002). Although these findings are not surprising, in this particular study the type of school community did not consistently affect teacher attitudes. Teachers in urban settings only showed more negative attitudes toward SBR in science in the ATSBRSCI model, and not across models and response variables. Question 6, part four looked at teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT (ATSFCAT). The R2 value, or effect size, of .140 is not statistically significant at F (7,77) = 1.792, Sig. = .101. The data are summarized in tables 4.18, 4.19 and 4.20, below. Table 4.18. Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .374a .140 .062 4.77767 Table 4.19. ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. 1 Regression Residual Total 286.343 1757.610 2043.953 7 77 84 40.906 22.826 1.792 .101a Table 4.20. Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig 1 (Constant) SENIORIT LOWINCOM GRADE ADMATS URBAN1 URBAN0 STMINORI 16.985 -.427 .237 -.648 .407 .898 .102 -.894 4.131 .512 .610 .697 .134 1.310 1.316 .807 -.092 .048 -.101 .334 .080 .009 -.140 4.112 -.834 .389 -.930 3.039 .686 .078 -1.11 .000 .407 .698 .355 .003 .495 .938 .272 Question 6, part five looked at teacher perceptions of the consequences of SBR in science (SBRCONS). The R2 value, or effect size, of .149 is not statistically significant at

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70 F (7,77) = 1.925, Sig. = .077. the data are summarized in tables 4.21, 4.22 and 4.23, below. Table 4.21. Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .386a .149 .072 1.75046 Table 4.22. ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. 1 Regression Residual Total 41.286 235.938 277.244 7 77 84 5.898 3.064 1.925 .077a Table 4.23. Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig 1 (Constant) SENIORIT LOWINCOM GRADE ADMATS URBAN1 URBAN0 STMINORI 4.677 -.152 .122 -.300 .150 .616 5.0E-02 -.151 1.514 .188 .223 .255 .049 .480 .5482 .296 -.089 .067 -.127 .333 .149 .012 -.064 3.090 -.812 .545 -1.177 3.048 1.283 .103 -.509 .003 .419 .587 .243 .003 .203 .918 .612 Question 6, part six looked at teacher perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT (SFCATCONS). The R2 value, or effect size, of .130 is not statistically significant at F (7,77) = 1.640, Sig. = .137. The data are summarized in tables 4.24, 4.25 and 4.26, below. Table 4.24. Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .360a .130 .051 4.84773

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71 Table 4.25. ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. 1 Regression Residual Total 269.759 1809.535 2079.294 7 77 84 38.537 23.500 1.640 .137a Table 4.26. Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig 1 (Constant) SENIORIT LOWINCOM GRADE ADMATS URBAN1 URBAN0 STMINORI 12.560 -.427 .424 -.922 .358 1.425 -.396 -.576 4.192 .520 .619 .707 .136 1.329 1.355 .819 -.091 .086 -.143 .291 .126 -.036 -.0089 2.996 -.822 .685 -1.305 2.634 1.072 -.296 -.703 .004 .414 .495 .196 .010 .287 .768 .484 A Re-Examination of Models Four Through Six As explained above, the models for dependent variables four through six were not significant overall. Models four through six included teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT (ATSFCAT), teacher perceptions of the consequences of SBR (SBRCONS) and teacher perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT (SFCATCON). However, results from the first three models indicated that teachers attitudes toward the administration at their school were a very strong and consistent factor in teachers attitudes toward reform. It seemed likely that teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school may have influenced teacher attitudes in models four through six as well, even though the models overall were not significant. In order to re-examine the effects of teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school on response variables four through six, the models were revised so that all explanatory variables were removed except for teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school (ADMATS). As

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72 explained in the following sections, each of the revised models was significant and showed that teacher attitudes toward the administrators at their school had a significant effect on teacher attitudes toward reform as measured in models four through six. The results are discussed below. A new look at teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT A second look at the response variable teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT (ATSFCAT) examined a model in which teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school was the only explanatory variable. The R2 value, or effect size, of .092 is statistically significant at F (1,92) = 9.286, Sig. = .003, suggesting that 9.2% of the variance associated with teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT is associated with the explanatory variable or teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school (SFCATCONS). The explanatory variable ADMATS is also significant (sig = .003). This indicates that the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators at their school influences teachers attitudes toward reform in terms of their attitudes toward the science FCAT. Positive attitudes toward school administration are associated with positive attitudes toward the science FCAT. The results are summarized in tables 4.27, 4.28 and 4.29 below. Table 4.27. Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .303a .092 .082 4.67001 Table 4.28. Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. 1 Regression Residual Total 202.510 2006.426 2208.936 1 92 93 202.510 21.809 9.286 .003

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73 Table 4.29. Revised Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig 1 (Constant) ADMATS 12.283 .335 1.588 .116 .303 7.736 3.047 .000 .003 A new look at teacher perceptions of the consequences of SBR A second look at the response variable teacher perceptions of the consequences of SBR (SBRCONS) examined a model in which teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school was the only explanatory variable. The R2 value, or effect size, of .094 is statistically significant at F (1,91) = 9.461, Sig. = .003, suggesting that 9.4% of the variance associated with teacher perceptions of the consequences of SBR is associated with the explanatory variable teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school (ADMATS). The explanatory variable ADMATS is also significant, (sig = .003). This indicates that the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators at their school influences teachers perceptions of the consequences of SBR. Positive attitudes toward school administration are associated with positive perceptions of the consequences of SBR. The results are summarized in tables 4.30, 4.31 and 4.32 below. Table 4.30. Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .307 .094 .084 1.72571 Table 4.31. Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. 1 Regression Residual Total 28.177 271.006 299.183 1 91 92 28.177 2.978 9.461 .003

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74 Table 4.32. Revised Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig 1 (Constant) ADMATS 3.790 .134 .592 .044 .307 6.399 3.076 .000 ..003 A new look at teacher perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT A second look at the response variable teacher perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT (SFCATCON) examined a model in which teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school (ADMATS) was the only explanatory variable. The R2 value, or effect size, of .069 is statistically significant at F (1,91) = 6.762, Sig. = .011, suggesting that 6.9% of the variance associated with teachers perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT is associated with the explanatory variable teachers attitudes toward the administration at their school (ADMATS). The explanatory variable ADMATS is also significant, (sig = .011). This indicates that the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators at their school influences teachers perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT. Positive attitudes toward school administration are associated with positive perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT. The results are summarized in tables 4.33, 4.34 and 4.35, below. Table 4.33. Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate 1 .263a .069 .059 4.72051 Table 4.34. Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig. 1 Regression Residual Total 150.679 2027.772 2178.452 1 91 91 150.679 22.283 6.762 .011

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75 Table 4.35. Revised Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig 1 (Constant) ADMATS 9.113 .311 1.620 .119 .263 5.625 2.600 .000 .011 Summary of Information Collected and Analyzed for the Research Questions Research Question #1: a minority of schools, twenty percent, are still exploring possibilities or have not yet begun the process of SBR at their schools. Most teachers, at least seventy-five percent, have already had professional development in the area of SBR and/or expect to spend time in workshops on reform in the next year. Research Question #2: Nearly all teachers, eighty-three percent, report their school requires them to document the SSS for science in their lesson plans, and most, around seventy-five percent, report that increases in curriculum and standardization have occurred at their schools. About half report increases in ability grouping or tracking at their school and the majority, sixty percent, report that the middle school concept has suffered at their school as a result of reform efforts. Research Question #3: So far only nineteen percent of teachers report that the science FCAT has already had positive results on student learning, curriculum and instruction in science. Between twenty-four and twenty-nine percent believe positive effects will be seen in the future as a result of the science FCAT. Twenty-five percent of teachers believe that the methods of SBR their school is engaging in will improve their school, and thirty-two percent believe that SBR will improve student learning in science. Research Questions #4a and #4b: The majority of teachers have negative attitudes regarding both reform in general and within their own classrooms. Ninety-two and

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76 seventy-six percent report that FCAT and SBR, respectively, have contributed to increased teacher stress. The majority, sixty-seven percent, report loss of control over what happens in their own classrooms. Fifty-four percent report a loss of freedom and creativity over curriculum and lessons. Forty-four percent are less satisfied with their teaching position than before reform efforts began. Research Question #5: Seventy-seven percent of teachers report spending more time covering basic skills, and fifty-nine percent report spending more time on reading and math skills. Many teachers, ranging from thirty-five to sixty-two percent, report using more worksheets, requiring more memorization of students, taking fewer field trips and using fewer Internet and technology based activities as a result of SBR and FCAT. The vast majority of teachers, eighty-four percent, report having less freedom to allow students to learn at their own pace. Twenty percent of teachers report that their principal has asked them to change the way they teach as a result of SBR, and twenty-seven report that their principal has asked them to change the way they teach as a result of FCAT. Research Question #6: Every explanatory variable was chosen because it was expected to influence teachers attitudes toward reform. However, of all the explanatory variables examined, only the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators at their school had a consistent influence on the six factors of reform examined in question six. In all cases, the more support teachers received from administrators, the more positive were their attitudes toward the six factors of reform indicated in the response variables. Summary The results for the research questions and analyses performed from this study are presented in this chapter. In the next chapter, implications will be discussed in relation to

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77 research cited in the literature and to the questions posed by this study. Some ideas for future research will also be explored as well as the implications for education will be outlined.

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CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Introduction The era of standardized testing and standards based reform has brought about many changes in Florida schools. It is important to assess what those changes are, as well as the effects they are having on teaching and learning in the form of student achievement. Since teachers are at the center of any reform process, their perceptions are of great importance. Teacher perceptions of changes taking place, as well as the consequences of those changes, are critical to understanding of the overall effectiveness of the reform movement. In this study assessing standards based reform in Floridas middle school science programs, a survey instrument consisting of 113 questions was created and distributed to 265 randomly selected teachers in the State of Florida. Ninety-nine teachers responded to the survey and helped to answer the following six research questions. The following paragraphs will include a restatement of the six research questions, a summary of the answers to the research questions, a look at teachers most negative and most positive attitudes and perceptions, a discussion of the research findings, an interpretation of the results, a look at the findings within the context of previous studies, a look at the findings within the context of change theory, limiting factors of the study, implications for education and future research, unanswered questions, and future analysis. 78

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79 Research Questions 1. How widespread are standards based reform efforts in science in Florida middle schools? 2. What kinds of changes have schools made in the process of reform efforts? 3. How successful are current reform efforts based on teachers perceptions? 4. What are teacher attitudes regarding current or upcoming reform efforts? a. How favorable are teachers attitudes toward standards based reform? b. How favorable are teacher attitudes regarding changes they are making in their own classrooms? 5. What kind of changes have teachers made (or do they anticipate making) in their work as a result of standards based reform? 6. Are there patterns in teacher attitudes related to: a. Total number of years at current school, b. Teacher attitudes toward school administration, c. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch, d. Type of school community environment: urban, suburban, rural, e. Percentage of minority students at each school, f. What grade level they are teaching: sixth, seventh or eighth? Answers to Research Questions Research Question #1: A minority of schools, twenty percent, are still exploring possibilities or have not yet begun the process of SBR at their schools. The vast majority of teachers, seventy-five percent, have already had professional development in the area of SBR and/or expect to spend time in workshops on reform in the next year. Research Question #2: Nearly all teachers, eighty-three percent, report their school requires them to document the SSS for science in their lesson plans, and most, around

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80 seventy-five percent, report that increases in curriculum and standardization have occurred at their schools. About half report increases in ability grouping or tracking at their school, and the majority, sixty percent, report that the middle school concept has suffered at their school as a result of reform efforts. Research Question #3: So far only nineteen percent of teachers report that the science FCAT has already had positive results on student learning, curriculum and instruction in science. Between twenty-four and twenty-seven percent believe positive effects will be seen in the future as a result of the science FCAT. Twenty-five percent of teachers believe that the methods of SBR their school is engaging in will improve their school, and thirty-two percent believe that SBR will improve student learning in science. Research Questions #4a and #4b: The majority of teachers have negative attitudes regarding both reform in general and within their own classrooms. Ninety-two and seventy-six percent report that FCAT and SBR, respectively, have contributed to increased teacher stress. The majority, sixty-seven percent, report loss of control over what happens in their own classrooms. Many, about fifty-four percent, report loss of freedom and creativity over curriculum and lessons and many, about forty-four percent, are less satisfied with their teaching position than before reform efforts began. Research Question #5: Seventy-seven percent of teachers report spending more time covering basic skills, and fifty-nine percent report spending more time on reading and math skills. Many teachers, ranging from thirty-five to sixty-two percent, report using more worksheets, requiring more memorization of students, taking fewer field trips and using fewer Internet and technology based activities as a result of SBR and FCAT. The vast majority of teachers, eighty-four percent, report having less freedom to allow

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81 students to learn at their own pace. Twenty percent of teachers report that their principal has asked them to change the way they teach as a result of SBR, and twenty-seven report that their principal has asked them to change the way they teach as a result of FCAT. Research Question #6: Every explanatory variable listed above from a through f was expected might influence teacher attitudes toward reform ( Hewson, et al., 2001; Settlage and Meadows, 2002; Wideen et al., 1997). However, of all the explanatory variables examined, only the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators at their school had a consistent influence on the six factors of reform examined in question six. In all cases, the amount of support teachers received from administrators was associated with more positive attitudes toward the six factors of reform indicated in the response variables. A Look at the Extremes, Part I: A Summary of Teachers Most Positive Perceptions and Attitudes Some of the most positive findings in this study concern teachers use of inquiry based science and their use of in-class assessments. Seventy-seven percent of teachers report that they are using an inquiry approach to science, and fifty-one percent report they spend more than twenty percent of class time on constructivist, student centered or inquiry based activities. It is reassuring to know that despite restrictions teachers may be encountering as a result of SBR and FCAT, inquiry based science seems to remain a priority to most of Floridas middle school science teachers. Eighty-two percent of teachers report using assessments that are referred to as authentic, performance or alternative. Only thirty-four percent of teachers report using primarily multiple-choice tests. Seventy-nine percent say they sometimes give essay questions and forty-six percent say they sometimes use portfolio assessments.

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82 Teachers practice of utilizing alternative forms of in class assessment may be more effective in reinforcing student learning than multiple-choice types of assessment (Wiggins, 1998). This is particularly important as the emphasis on state-wide standardized testing increases. A Look at the Extremes, Part II: A Summary of Teachers Most Negative Perceptions and Attitudes One of the most alarming findings in this study was the amount of class time teachers report spending on preparing students for standardized tests. Forty-two percent of teachers report spending more than twenty-percent of class time exclusively for preparing students for FCAT. Eighty-three percent of teachers say that the increase in class time spent preparing students for the FCAT has come at the expense of other important curricular items. Seventy-eight percent of teachers say that reform efforts have resulted in less emphasis within the curriculum on items of interest to students, and eighty-four percent of teachers report they have less freedom to allow students to learn at their own pace. Sixty-nine percent of teachers report that preparing students for the FCAT has resulted in decreased quality of the science curriculum, and sixty percent of teachers say that at their school, less attention is given to the developmental needs of the early adolescent. Other reports from teachers which are cause for concern are that sixty-one percent of teachers say that the Governors A+ plan has caused a deterioration of their schools climate and eighty-four percent say that a negative aspect of the Governors A+ Plan for Schools is that all schools do not have equal chances for success. Finally, forty-four percent of teachers say they are less satisfied with their teaching position as a result of

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83 state mandated reforms and forty-two percent they may consider leaving the profession if their decrease in satisfaction continues. Discussion of Research Findings While the majority of teachers expressed negative opinions about everything from changes they have been required to make in their classrooms to whether they think SBR and the science FCAT are having positive effects, a small but significant number expressed positive opinions. A consistent minority of teachers expressed beliefs that SBR had already or would soon bring about positive effects on student achievement, curriculum and or instruction in science. Some teachers also reported that reform is a growth and change process in which initial stress, frustration and workload must be expected. In the regression analyses for question six, although each of the six explanatory variables was suspected to affect teachers attitudes on reform as explained above, only teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school, had a consistent significant effect on each of the six response variables in the study. For each of the six response variables, teachers who had more positive attitudes toward administration also had a more positive attitude toward all aspects of reform assessed in the study. It is important to note that the teachers with more positive attitudes toward administrators at their school also reported that they received high levels of support from those administrators. The other five explanatory variables: level of teacher seniority at current school; percentage of minority students; grade level taught; percentage of students on free and reduced lunch; and type of community: urban, rural or suburban, had no consistent significant effect. For one response variable, teacher attitudes toward SBR in science, urban teachers reported less positive attitudes toward reform than did rural and suburban

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84 teachers. Examples of urban teachers reporting more negative attitudes toward reform were also found in previous studies (Hewson et al., 2001; Settlage & Meadows, 2002). However, in this study, urban teachers reported more negative attitudes only toward SBR in science, and not across all six of the response variables. Interpretation of Results Because teachers who reported receiving high levels of support from administrators at their school also reported more positive attitudes toward all aspects of reform measured in the study, it follows that strong administrative support may be a particularly powerful tool in obtaining effective and lasting reform. Moreover, the teachers who reported that increased stress and workload are hallmarks of any growth and change process highlight an important fact: transition and change are difficult for most people. Even if changes are guaranteed to have positive effects in the long run, the change process itself can be expected to be difficult, particularly in the beginning. However, it seems clear that supportive administrators are more likely to have teachers who are more open minded about the reform process in general. Supportive administrators may also stimulate increased commitment and effort from teachers at their schools. If this is the case, increasing levels of support for teachers seems like a simple and relatively inexpensive tool to increase the effectiveness of the reform process at all schools. Clearly, it appears that success depends largely on the interest, effectiveness, and willingness of administrators to support their teachers in the demanding and complex process of implementing SBR. A study by University of Chicago professor Anthony Bryk on institutional trust has also pointed to the importance of a supportive school community (Bryk & Schneider, 2002). Bryk uses the term relational trust to describe an atmosphere at schools where

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85 everyone understands the roles and obligations of both themselves and others. A mutual interdependence fosters an atmosphere of co-operation and empowerment, whereby all share an improved vision of their school and all work together to achieve it. High levels of trust reduce the risk associated with change (Bryk & Schneider, 2002) A Look at the Results Within the Context of Previous Studies on Reform As mentioned above, effect of teachers attitudes toward the administration at their school on their attitudes toward reform has been reinforced by Anthony Bryk in his study on Relational Trust (Bryk & Schneider, 2002). Other studies have also suggested the importance of building support among teachers, and including teachers and other stakeholders in the planning and implementation of reform (St. John & Pratt, 1997, Adelman, 1998) However, other findings from previous studies were not confirmed by this study. For example, a Canadian study found that generally, teachers with higher levels of seniority and job security felt less or no sense of urgency regarding implementation of reforms (Wideen et al., 1997). In my experience as a teacher it was not uncommon to hear older teachers express opinions that reform efforts are just phases that will pass with time. Teachers would often comment on how many reform efforts they had already outlasted in their careers. But because many younger teachers have learned about standards based reform and FCAT in their university teacher education programs, it seems reasonable that younger teachers might be more accepting of SBR and FCAT. In this study, regression analyses of teachers responses showed no differences between the attitudes of younger and older teachers toward reform. Two studies also showed that urban teachers may have less positive attitudes toward reform than do suburban and rural teachers (Hewson et al., 2001; Settlage &

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86 Meadows, 2002). One study reported that increased racial tensions within the school undermined cooperative efforts and contributed to negative attitudes toward implementation of reforms (Hewson et al., 2001). Another study reported that teachers believe that reform efforts seriously decrease the quality of education inner-city children receive (Settlage & Meadows, 2002). Except for teacher attitudes toward SBR in science (ATSBRSCI), where urban teachers expressed more negative attitudes toward SBR in science, teacher attitudes toward reform did not differ across urban, rural and suburban areas. In this study, neither of the other explanatory variables: percentage of students on free and reduced lunch, or grade level taught, was significant in terms of teacher attitudes. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch was chosen as a variable because it seemed plausible that teachers who are already frustrated by limited resources might be further stressed by the demands of reform. Responses from the teachers did not confirm this. It was also speculated that teachers of eighth graders might feel more pressure to prepare students for the science FCAT since only eighth graders take the science FCAT at the middle school level. Teachers of different grade levels did not report different attitudes toward reform. A Look at the Results Within the Context of Change Theory Although there is no guaranteed recipe for successful school reform, change theory outlines some factors that are present in schools that are successful in improvement. Building a new school culture of collaboration and support, or reculturing (Fullan, 2001) is an important step in facilitating change. There must also be a balance between top-down and bottom-up reform, and teachers must have freedom to implement reforms within the framework of their schools professional learning community (Fullan,

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87 1999, 2001). The principles of change theory have been reinforced by the findings of this study. According to this study, Florida teachers who receive adequate support from the administrators at their school, who have been able to participate to some extent in the reform process, and who believe that a high quality science program is a priority to the administrators at their school, have positive attitudes toward reform. Limiting Factors in the Study Response rates for this study, 50% for the pilot study and 38% for the Statewide study, were not as high as had been hoped. Timing is one factor that may have played a role in interfering with teachers responses. Data collection took place in the spring of 2003, with pilot data collected in mid-March and State wide data collected in the first half of May. Unfortunately, the pilot mailings coincided with FCAT, and the State wide mailings coincided with the end of the school year for many counties. Both events are hectic for teachers and probably limited the amount of time available to spend responding to the survey. Moreover, the coinciding of survey mailings with FCAT and the end of the school may affect the external validity of the study. The extent to which results can be generalized to other times of the year may be limited. The length of the survey, 113 questions, may also have been daunting to many teachers. If the study is repeated, a streamlined version of the survey may be easier and less time consuming for teachers to answer. On the other hand, the number of questions in the teacher attitude scale probably improved the reliability of the scale. Scales with higher numbers of questions typically have higher reliability.

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88 Implications for Education and Future Research As discussed earlier, the single most important finding in this study is the powerful ameliorating effect supportive administrators can have on teachers who work with them. According to results from the regression analyses in question number six, teachers with positive attitudes toward administrators at their school also had more positive attitudes toward all aspects of reform assessed in this study. It is likely that these teachers are also more motivated and committed to making reform efforts work. The benefits of committed and motivated teachers can have tremendous effects not only on reform efforts but also on all areas of school function. It seems clear that increasing the level of support given to teachers by administrators is an effective means of enhancing the effectiveness of reform efforts and probably overall school function. No school should overlook the potential of a supportive administration in efforts to improve their school programs. Perhaps professional development opportunities can be created for administrators that focus on how best to support their teachers. The primary focus of this study was the comprehensive assessment of SBR and its consequences in Floridas middle school science programs. As with all research that examinines consequences of standardized testing aspects of reform, assessments must be made on an annual basis. Results must be monitored over a period of years in order to determine what is happening over time. This study involves only the first year of the science FCAT, and findings are only preliminary and not definitive on their own. It will be important to survey teachers again to see how and whether their perceptions have changed. With time teachers may become comfortable with the changes that are now so new and difficult. Their attitudes toward reform may become more favorable. It is also

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89 possible that continued working with SBR and the science FCAT over a period of time may reinforce their negative attitudes toward reform. Analysis of teacher responses from this study has given us a teachers eye-view, so to speak, inside middle grades reform in Florida. There may be no other individuals in a better position to report knowledgably and accurately on reform than the teachers themselves. As such, any report on teachers perceptions of reform must be taken seriously. The teachers who responded to this study have provided a treasure chest of information with significant potential for future benefit in education. They have articulated their perceptions on the myriad changes taking place in schools and the consequences of those changes on student learning and achievement. Even taking into consideration any biases teachers may have, their reports are still very enlightening. Unanswered Questions After all the data have been analyzed, questions remain unanswered. As mentioned in Chapter 1, the science FCAT was given to all schools for the first time in 2003. Prior to 2003, the FCAT covered only reading and mathematics. It is unclear how inclusion of science in the standardized assessment has affected teachers. Do teachers feel relieved that science is now receiving more attention? Does this have an ameliorating effect on their attitudes toward reform as measured by this study? Another question is whether teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT are based only on the science FCAT. Could there be some preexisting negative attitudes toward the science FCAT based on the reading and math FCAT? Also, teacher perceptions of SBR in science seem to be somewhat more positive than their attitudes toward the science FCAT. Why is this? If a similar study is repeated in the future, the investigator can meet with teacher focus groups prior to mailing surveys in order to discuss the survey and receive feedback on the above

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90 issues. In addition, questions can be included in the survey on what teachers perceive to be the effects of including science on the FCAT. The amount of preparation teachers have had in science might also influence their attitudes toward SBR in science and preparing students for the science FCAT. A question could be included on the survey asking whether teachers have a college major or minor in science, and/ or a teaching certificate in science. It would also be interesting to discover how the perceptions of middle school science teachers compare to high school science teachers and to elementary teachers. In particular, since elementary teachers teach all subject areas, how has the inclusion of science on the FCAT affected them and their work? Are elementary teachers resentful or pleased to be spending more time covering science? Finally, it would be helpful to determine in more detail what teachers need in terms of support from administrators. What, according to teachers, are the characteristics of a supportive administrator or a supportive administration? If these characteristics can be documented it may be possible for principals to receive effective professional development in the area of supporting teachers. Future Analysis As discussed above, research on standardized testing aspects of reform must be repeated on an annual basis in order to look for trends over time. The data collected in this study may become more meaningful when interpreted alongside data from similar studies completed in subsequent years. By looking at data from a period of several years side-by-side, implications can become clearer. In addition to ongoing assessments on an annual or semi-annual basis, one possibility worthy of future study would be in-depth, in-person follow-up interviews with responding teachers. Individual interviews could be helpful in clarifying and elaborating

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91 on teachers perspectives of reform. If they are allowed to provide justifications and other details, teachers responses may become more meaningful and insightful. Several teachers did include individual comments that were very illuminating. However, there may have been some degree of selection involved as these comments tended to come from teachers with very extreme views. Interviews with all teachers or a random selection of teachers would be helpful in providing balance.

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APPENDIX A SURVEY INSTRUMENT: AN ASSESSMENT OF STANDARDS BASED REFORM IN FLORIDAS MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE PROGRAMS

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An Assessment of Standards Based Reform in Floridas Midddle School Science Programs Instructions: The following survey is intended to assess your perceptions of changes occurring in your classroom and your school as a result of standards based reform. There are no right or wrong answers, simply choose the answers that seem the most appropriate for your classroom or school. Please enter your answers on the scantron sheet provided. On the scantron sheet please blacken choice A for all yes answers and choice B for all no answers. For the Strongly Disagree and Strongly Agree questions, please blacken A for Strongly Disagree ranging to choice E for Strongly Agree. For all other questions please blacken the bubble in the same order as the answer you chose. For the purpose of this survey, standards based reform, or SBR, can be thought of as any changes made within the classroom, school, or school district in the State of Florida having to do with Sunshine State Standards (SSS), preparing students for FCAT, and /or the Governors A+ Plan for Schools. If you have comments regarding any of the questions please do not hesitate to include them either on the survey itself or on a separate sheet of paper. Please do not write comments on the scantron form. Thank you for participating in this study. Your opinions and perceptions are extremely valuable. Dont forget to return your signed informed consent form in the envelope with your survey and scantron. School Curriculum 1. What grade level do you primarily teach? If you teach more than one grade level, choose the one of which you have the most classes or are most familiar with. Sixth grade Seventh grade Eighth grade 2. Does your school have a district science curriculum specialist? Yes No 3. If there is a science curriculum specialist working with your school, has that person been helpful to you in the area of standards based reform and /or FCAT preparation? Yes No 4. We have a traditional, subject based curriculum. Yes No 5. We teach at least one interdisciplinary unit each year. Yes No 6. Our curriculum is full y interdisci p linar y all y ear. Yes No 93

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94 7. We use parallel curriculum where the same topic is covered simultaneously in two or more subjects. We do this for either part or all of the year. Yes No 8. What is the p rimar y source of y our curriculum? 9. To what extent is your curriculum based on the Sunshine State Standards for science? Completely Mostly Some Not at all 10. How long has your existing science curriculum been in place? Brand new this year This is its second year 2.5 years old More than four years old 11. My science curriculum uses National Science Education Standards guidelines for assessment. Yes No 12. Our middle school science curriculum uses National Science Education Standards guidelines for teaching with inquiry Yes No 13. My science curriculum uses an inquiry approach to science. Yes No 14. For my science curriculum a textbook or curriculum package is used as one of many resources. Yes No 15. My science curriculum allows flexibility and teacher discretion. Yes No 16. For assessment I use primarily multiple-choice tests. Yes No 17. For assessments I sometimes use a variety that are called authentic or performance or alternative. Yes No 18. We create curriculum based on the Sunshine State Standards for science. Yes No 19. I sometimes use portfolio assessments. Yes No 20. When I give tests I sometimes use essay questions. Yes No Curriculum or textbook package. Our curriculum is created by our teachers Our curriculum is created by our school district FCAT Other 21. What percentage of classroom time is spent in the laboratory or doing laboratory activities? <5% 6-20% 21-33% > 33% 22. How much class time is spent on constructivist/ student centered or inquiry based activities? <5% 6-20% 21-33% > 33%

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95 Standards Based Reform 23. To what extent is your school engaged in standards based reform? We are currently exploring possibilities for SBR at our school. We have begun the process of SBR at our school. Standards based reforms are already in place at our school. We have not yet begun the process of SBR at our school. 24. At your school, how many hours will you have spent this year in professional development in the area of standards based reform? <1 hour 1-5 hours >5 hours Not sure 25. At your school, how many hours will you spend in the near future in professional development in the area of standards based reform? <1 hour 1-5 hours >5 hours Not sure 26. We have a lot of pressure to prepare students for the FCAT. Yes No 27. I have felt pressure to alter my curriculum to prepare students for the science FCAT. Yes No 28. I feel confident that my curriculum and lesson plans reflect the Sunshine State Standards for science. Yes No 29. We are required to document the Sunshine State Standards for science in our lesson plans. Yes No 30. My principal requires the use of the Sunshine State Standards for science. Yes No 31. My superintendent requires the use of the Sunshine State Standards for science. Yes No 32. My department chair requires the use of the Sunshine State Standards for science. Yes No 33. How much of your instructional time is dedicated to standardized test preparations? < 10% 10-20% 20-50% 50-75% >75% 34. I believe that increased curriculum alignment in middle school science has occurred as a result of standards based reform. Yes No 35. I believe that increased curriculum alignment in middle school science has occurred as a result of FCAT. Yes No 36. I believe that increased standardization of the middle school science curriculum has occurred as a result of standards based reform. Yes No 37. I believe that increased standardization of the middle school science curriculum has occurred as a result of FCAT. Yes No 38. I believe that student achievement has increased as a result of standards based reform Yes No

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96 39. I believe that student achievement has increased as a result of FCAT. Yes No 40. I believe that standards based reform has resulted in increased teacher autonomy and control over the curriculum. Yes No 41. I believe that standards based reform has resulted in increased effectiveness of our science curriculum. Yes No 42. I believe that standards based reform has resulted in increased interdisciplinary teamwork among teachers of different subject areas. Yes No 43. I believe that standards based reform and/ or science FCAT preparation has increased science department collaboration. Yes No 44. I believe that standards based reform has contributed to decreased teacher autonomy and control over the science curriculum. Yes No 45. I believe that standards based reform has contributed to increased teacher stress. Yes No 46. I believe that FCAT preparation has contributed to increased teacher stress. Yes No 47. I believe that standards based reform has contributed to less emphasis within the curriculum on student interests. Yes No 48. I believe that standards based reform has contributed to decreased quality of the science curriculum. Yes No 49. I believe that preparation of students for the FCAT has contributed to decreased quality of the science curriculum. Yes No 50. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT I have used fewer Internet and/or technology based activities in my classroom. Yes No 51. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the amount of worksheets I use in class has increased. Yes No 52. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the amount of memorization I require of my students has increased. Yes No 53. As a result of standards based reform and FCAT, the amount of work my students do in small groups has decreased. Yes No 54. The Middle School Concept, or in other words, our attention to the needs of the early adolescent, has suffered at our school as a result of FCAT and/ or SBR. Yes No 55. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT I have been encouraged to spend more class time covering basic skills. Yes No

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97 56. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT I have less freedom to allow students to learn at their own pace. Yes No 57. Preparation for the science FCAT has resulted in more ability grouping or tracking at my school. Yes No 58. I believe increased school accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. Yes No 59. I believe increased teacher accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. Yes No 60. As a result of standards based reform and preparation for FCAT we have taken fewer field trips. Yes No 61. I believe increased parent involvement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. Yes No 62. I believe increased student achievement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. Yes No 63. I believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items. Yes No 64. I believe that a negative aspect of the Governors A+ Schools Program is that all schools do not have equal chances for success. Yes No 65. I believe that the Governors A+ Schools Program has caused a deterioration in our schools climate. Yes No Teacher Attitudes Toward Standards Based Reform Please select the number corresponding to your answer choice. Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 66. I believe the methods of standards based reform our school is engaging in will improve our school. 1 2 3 4 5 67. Standards based reform efforts at our school have caused me to make changes in what I do in my classroom which are not entirely comfortable to me. 1 2 3 4 5 68. I believe there has been close linkage of the Standards Based Reform movement to the FCAT and I believe this has had an overall positive effect. 1 2 3 4 5 69. I believe standards based reform efforts at my school will improve student learning in science. 1 2 3 4 5 70. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved curriculum at our school. 1 2 3 4 5

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98 Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 71. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved instruction at our school. 1 2 3 4 5 72. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved student learning at our school. 1 2 3 4 5 73. I believe that the science FCAT will improve science curriculum at my school. 1 2 3 4 5 74. I believe that the science FCAT will improve science instruction at my school. 1 2 3 4 5 75. I believe that the science FCAT will improve student learning in science at my school. 1 2 3 4 5 76. I believe mandatory changes made at my school in the process of standards based reform have restricted my freedom and creativity as a teacher. 1 2 3 4 5 77. I believe that using the SSS for science to the extent required at our school has restricted my freedom and creativity as a teacher. 1 2 3 4 5 78. I believe the mandatory changes imposed on my teaching in the process of standards based reform have restricted my freedom and creativity beyond using the SSS for science. 1 2 3 4 5 79. My attitude toward standards based reform has changed for the better since reform efforts have begun at my school. 1 2 3 4 5 80. I believe a high quality science program is a priority to the administration at my school. 1 2 3 4 5 81. I believe the administration at my school has a good understanding of what makes a good science program. 1 2 3 4 5 82. I believe my administration is doing what it takes to create and/ or maintain a good science program. 1 2 3 4 5 83. I believe standards based reform is implemented only in response to the science FCAT. 1 2 3 4 5 84. I believe standards based reform in science is a good idea independently of the FCAT. 1 2 3 4 5 85. I believe the science FCAT has already had a positive influence on curriculum, instruction and/or student learning in science. 1 2 3 4 5 86. I believe the Governors A+ Schools program has helped improve student learning in Florida. 1 2 3 4 5

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99 Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 87. Teaching has become more stressful as a result of changes made in the process of standards based reform. 1 2 3 4 5 88. The amount of time my principal has spent talking to me about curriculum has increased as a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT. 1 2 3 4 5 89. My principal has asked me to change the way I teach as a result of standards based reform. 1 2 3 4 5 90. My principal has asked me to change the way I teach as a result of the science FCAT. 1 2 3 4 5 91. I feel very well prepared to engage in standards based reform at my school. 1 2 3 4 5 92. I feel very well prepared to prepare students for the science FCAT. 1 2 3 4 5 94. I am familiar with the Sunshine State Standards for science. 1 2 3 4 5 95. I am familiar with the differences between NSES and the Sunshine State Standards for science 1 2 3 4 5 96. In my experience there is a close association between high stakes testing such as FCAT and standards based reform in Florida. 1 2 3 4 5 97. At my school teachers were able to participate in discussions and /or decisions regarding standards based reform. 1 2 3 4 5 98. As a result of the reading and math FCAT I devote more attention to reading and math skills. 1 2 3 4 5 99. My college/university teacher prep program has adequately prepared me to deal with SBR. 1 2 3 4 5 100. In my opinion, I have had sufficient professional development in the area of standards based reform. 1 2 3 4 5 101. In my experience, standards based reform is a top-down state mandated effort in which teachers experience loss of autonomy and control over what goes on in their own classrooms. 1 2 3 4 5 102. At my school opinions and contributions from teachers regarding standards based reform are welcomed and considered in a serious manner. 1 2 3 4 5 103. I have a high level of trust toward the administration at my school. 1 2 3 4 5

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100 Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 104. My homework assignments have changed in a positive way as a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT. 1 2 3 4 5 105. I think my school is proceeding with standards based reform in an appropriate manner. in science in an appropriate manner. 1 2 3 4 5 106. I am less satisfied than I used to be with my teaching position due to state mandated reforms. 1 2 3 4 5 107. If my decrease in satisfaction with my teaching position continues I may consider leaving the profession. 1 2 3 4 5 Teacher and School background and demographic information : 108. How many years have you been teaching? <3 3-5 6-10 >10 109. How many years have you been teaching at your current school? <3 3-5 6-10 >10 110.The average family income for the residential area surrounding the school where I teach is approximately: < $20,000 $20,500-39,999 $40,000-59,999 $60,000-80,000 >$80,000 111. My gender is: Female Male 112. My ethnicity is: White African American Hispanic American Asian American Native American Other 113. I estimate that the percentage of students at my school on free and reduced lunch is: < 9.9% 10% 39.9% 40% 59.9% >60%

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APPENDIX B FREQUENCY DATA AN ASSESSMENT OF STANDARDS BASED REFORM IN FLORIDAS MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE PROGRAMS

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An Assessment of Standards Based Reform in Floridas Middle School Science Programs School Curriculum 1. What grade level do you primarily teach? If you teach more than one grade level, choose the one of which you have more classes or are most familiar. Sixth grade: 29% Seventh grade: 40% Eighth grade: 30% Yes 2. Does your school have a science curriculum specialist? 68% 3. If there is a science curriculum specialist working with your school, has that person been helpful to you in the area of SBR and/or FCAT preparation? 48% 4. We have a traditional subject based curriculum 78% 5. We teach one interdisciplinary unit each year. 59% 6. Our curriculum is fully interdisciplinary all year. 16% 7. We use parallel curriculum where the same topic is covered simultaneously in two or more subjects. We do this for either all or part of the year. 28% 8. What is the primary source of your curriculum? Curriculum or textbook package: 34% Our curriculum is created by our teachers: 11% Our curriculum is created by our school district: 37% FCAT: 9% Other: 4% 9. To what extent is your curriculum based on the Sunshine State Standards for science? Completely: 58% Mostly: 30% Some 8% Not at all: 0% 10. How long has your existing science curriculum been in place? Brand new this year: 4% This is its second year: 13% 2.5 years old: 57% More than four years old: 21% Yes 11. My science curriculum uses National Science Education Standards guidelines for assessment. 41% 12. Our middle school science curriculum uses National Science Education Standards guidelines for teaching with inquiry 40% 13. My science curriculum uses an inquiry approach to science. 77% 14. For my science curriculum a textbook or curriculum package is used as one of many resources. 94% 15. My science curriculum allows flexibility and teacher discretion. 86% 102

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103 Yes 16. For assessment I use primarily multiple-choice tests. 34% 17. For assessments I sometimes use a variety that are called authentic or performance or alternative. 82% 18. We create curriculum based on the Sunshine State Standards for science. 91% 19. I sometimes use portfolio assessments. 46% 20. When I give tests I sometimes use essay questions. 79% 21. What percentage of classroom time is spent in the laboratory or doing laboratory activities? <5% (17%) 6-20% (40%) 21-33% (32%) > 33% (10%) 22. How much class time is spent on constructivist/ student centered or inquiry based activities? <5% (7%) 6-20% (40%) 21-33% (32%) > 33% (19%) Standards Based Reform 23. To what extent is your school engaged in standards based reform We are currently exploring possibilities for SBR at our school 3% We have begun the process of SBR at our school. 24% SBR is already in place at our school. 51% We have not yet begun the process of SBR at our school 17% 24. At your school, how many hours will you have spent this year in professional development in the area of SBR? <1 hour 14% 1-5 hours 45% < 5 hours 22% Not sure 25. At your school, how many hours will be spent in the near future in professional development in the area of SBR? <1 hour 10% 1-5 hours 35% >5 hours 30% Not sure 24% Yes 26. We have a lot of pressure to prepare students for the FCAT. 90% 27. I have felt pressure to alter my curriculum to prepare students for the science FCAT. 74% 28. I feel confident that my curriculum and lesson plans reflect the SSS for science. 96% 29. We are required to document the SSS for science in our lesson plans. 83% 30. My principal requires the use of the SSS for science. 93% 31. My superintendent requires the use of the SSS for science. 92%

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104 32. My department chair requires the use of the SSS for science. 85% 33. How much of your instructional time is dedicated to standardized test preparations? < 10% (24%) 10-20% (32%) 20-50% (32%) 50-75% (9%) >75% (1%) 34. I believe that increased curriculum alignment in middle school science has occurred as a result of SBR 75% 35. I believe that increased curriculum alignment in middle school science has occurred as a result of FCAT. 77% 36. I believe that increased standardization of the middle school science curriculum has occurred as a result of SBR 73% 37. I believe that increased standardization of the middle school science curriculum has occurred as a result of FCAT. 76% 38. I believe that student achievement has increased as a result of SBR 38% 39. I believe that student achievement has increased as a result of FCAT. 34% 40. I believe that SBR has resulted in increased teacher autonomy and control over the curriculum. 14% 41. I believe that SBR has resulted in increased effectiveness of our science curriculum. 41% 42. I believe that standards based reform has resulted in increased interdisciplinary teamwork among teachers of different subject areas 22% 43. I believe that SBR and/ or science FCAT preparation has increased science department collaboration. 56% 44. I believe that SBR has contributed to decreased teacher autonomy and control over the science curriculum. 67% 45. I believe that SBR has contributed to increased teacher stress 76% 46. I believe that FCAT preparation has contributed to increased teacher stress. 92% 47. I believe that SBR has contributed to less emphasis within the curriculum on student interests. 78% 48. I believe that SBR has resulted in decreased quality of the science curriculum. 46% 49. I believe that preparation of students for the FCAT has resulted in decreased quality of the science curriculum. 69%

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105 50. As a result of SBR and the science FCAT I have used fewer Internet and /or technology based activities in my classroom. 40% 51. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the amount of worksheets I use in class has increased. 46% 52. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the amount of memorization I require of my students has increased. 42% 53. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the amount of work my students do in small groups has decreased. 35% 54. The Middle School Concept, or in other words our attention to the needs of the early adolescent has suffered at our school. 60% 55. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT I have been encouraged to spend more class time covering basic skills. 77% 56. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT I have less freedom to allow students to learn at their own pace. 84% 57. Preparation for the science FCAT has resulted in more ability grouping or tracking at my school. 49% 58. I believe increased school accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 29% 59. I believe increased teacher accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 27% 60. As a result of standards based reform and preparation for FCAT we have taken fewer field trips. 62% 61. I believe increased parent involvement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 29% 62. I believe increased student achievement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 35% 63. I believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items. 83% 64. I believe that a negative aspect of the Governors A+ Schools Program is that all schools do not have equal chances for success. 84% 65. I believe that the Governors A+ Schools Program has caused a deterioration in our schools climate. 61%

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106 Teacher Attitudes Toward Standards Based Reform Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 66. I believe the methods of SBR our school is engaging in will improve our school. 13% 16% 44% 14% 11% 67. Standards based reform efforts at our school have caused me to make changes in what I do in my classroom which are not entirely comfortable to me. 10% 22% 33% 27% 5% 68. I believe there has been close linkage of the SBR movement to the FCAT and I believe this has had an overall positive effect. 20% 28% 29% 17% 5% 69. I believe SBR efforts at my school will improve student learning in science. 15% 21% 31% 25% 7% 70. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved curriculum at our school. 16% 24% 25% 26% 8% 71. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved instruction at our school. 16% 24% 25% 26% 8% 72. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved student learning at our school. 19% 26% 28% 20% 6% 73. I believe that the science FCAT will improve science curriculum at my school. 21% 24% 27% 21% 6% 74. I believe that the science FCAT will improve science instruction at my school. 21% 29% 25% 18% 6% 75. I believe that the science FCAT will improve student learning in science at my school. 21% 19% 25% 18% 6% 76. I believe mandatory changes made at my school in the process of standards based reform have restricted my freedom and creativity as a teacher. 10% 18% 15% 33% 21%

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107 Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 77. I believe that using the SSS for science to the extent required at our school has restricted my freedom and creativity as a teacher. 11% 34% 24% 24% 6% 78. I believe that the mandatory changes imposed on my teaching in the process of SBR have restricted my freedom and creativity as a teacher beyond using the SSS for science. 10% 28% 25% 30% 6% 79. My attitude toward standards based reform has changed for the better since reform efforts have begun at my school. 12% 30% 37% 13% 20% 80. I believe a high quality science program is a priority to the administration at my school. 10% 16% 29% 24% 20% 81. I believe the administration at my school has a good understanding of what makes a good science program. 10% 20% 25% 27% 16% 82. I believe my administration is doing what it takes to create and/ or maintain a good science program. 13% 19% 27% 25% 15% 83. I believe standards based reform is implemented only in response to the science FCAT. 8% 25% 26% 31% 10% 84. I believe SBR in science is a good idea independently of the FCAT. 8% 13% 35% 28% 5% 85. I believe the science FCAT has already had a positive influence on curriculum, instruction and/or student learning in science. 17% 33% 30% 14% 5% 86. I believe the Governors A+ Schools program has helped improve student learning in Florida. 20% 36% 25% 13% 3% 87. Teaching has become more stressful as a result of changes made in the process of standards based reform. 13% 10% 14% 35% 26%

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108 Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 88. The amount of time my principal has spent talking to me about curriculum has increased as a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT. 16% 24% 19% 25% 15% 89. My principal has asked me to change the way I teach as a result of standards based reform. 32% 31% 16% 15% 5% 90. My principal has asked me to change the way I teach as a result of the science FCAT. 27% 31% 14% 19% 8% 91. I feel very well prepared to engage in standards based reform at my school. 9% 12% 27% 30% 4% 92. I feel very well prepared to prepare students for the science FCAT 12% 13% 22% 34% 17% 93. I am familiar with the National Science Education Standards (NSES). 17% 13% 21% 34% 15% 94. I am familiar with the Sunshine State Standards for science. 7% 1% 3% 28% 60% 95. I am familiar with the differences between NSES and the Sunshine State Standards for science 16% 20% 25% 30% 8% 96. In my experience there is a close association between high stakes testing such as FCAT and standards based reform in Florida. 9% 12% 32% 31% 13% 97. At my school teachers were able to participate in discussions and /or decisions regarding standards based reform. 21% 29% 27% 15% 6% 98. As a result of the reading and math FCAT I devote more attention to reading and math skills. 10% 13% 16% 45% 14% 99. My college/university teacher prep program has adequately prepared me to deal with SBR. 29% 29% 24% 11% 4% 100. In my opinion, I have had sufficient professional development in the area of standards based reform. 8% 25% 29% 28% 10%

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109 Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 101. In my experience, standards based reform is a top-down state mandated effort in which teachers experience loss of autonomy and control over what goes on in their own classrooms. 10% 11% 29% 30% 15% 102. At my school opinions and contributions from teachers regarding standards based reform are welcomed and considered in a serious manner. 10% 17% 34% 28% 6% 103. I have a high level of trust toward the administration at my school. 9% 10% 28% 29% 21% 104. My homework assignments have changed in a positive way as a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT. 11% 32% 36% 12% 5% 105. I think my school is proceeding with standards based reform in an appropriate manner. 10% 10% 35% 33% 9% 106. I am less satisfied than I used to be with my teaching position due to state mandated reforms. 9% 27% 19% 29% 15% 107. If my decrease in satisfaction with my teaching position continues I may consider leaving the profession. 18% 26% 11% 17% 25% Teacher and School background and demographic information : 108. How many years have you been teaching? <3 (3%) 3-5 (21%) 6-10 (11%) >10 (60%) 109. How many years have you been teaching at your current school? <3 (13%) 3-5 (31%) 6-10 (25%) >10 (29%) 110.The average family income for the residential area surrounding the school where I teach is approximately: < $20,000 (21%) $20,500-39,999 (43%) $40,000-59,999 (18%) $60,000-80,000 (6%) >$80,000 (6%) 111. My gender is: Female 54% Male 44%

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110 112. My ethnicity is: White (81%) African American (5%) Hispanic American (8%) Asian American (2%) Native American (1%) Other 113. I estimate that the percentage of students at my school on free and reduced lunch is: < 9.9% (8%) 10% 39.9% (33%) 40% 59.9% (27%) >60% (29%)

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APPENDIX C INDIVIDUAL TEACHER COMMENTS Alachua County One teacher, also a science department chair, said she has considered leaving teaching as a result of standards based reform and FCAT diminishing her professional freedom and creativity as a teachers. She will continue to teach the remaining five years until her retirement. Before the reforms and FCAT driven mandates our school had an excellent science program. There were many projects, speakers and field trips. As the 8th grade teacher I included a unit on flight that culminated with students actually co-piloting a plane. I did a metric Olympics that involved parents and administrators. All that is over. You rush briefly over many topics and go into no depth. While most teachers do feel additional stress as a result of SBR and preparing students for the science FCAT, it may lead to: better teaching and improved student performance. I personally feel that SBR will improve science curriculum, instruction and student learning. From experience, teachers need some professional development to learn how to meet requirements of the standards without sacrificing teachers creativity and autonomy. Orange County: Her team teaches at least one interdisciplinary unit per year, but this is not a regular practice at her school anymore. This is the first year she has felt pressure to alter her curriculum to prepare her students for the science FCAT. His school does not use parallel or interdisciplinary curriculum per se. However, his team, which is part of a school within a school, moves topics around to support and reinforce each other throughout the year. Sometimes they have team days with interdisciplinary activities. This is the first year he has felt pressure to alter her curriculum to prepare her students for the science FCAT. His principal has required him to add specific types of writing, reading and mathematics items that dont always reflect his preferences. Duval County: In my opinion, in Duval County, the FCAT has broadened the gap between schoolsthe schools in lower socio groups do not succeed as well as middle and upper socio groups the reason is obvious to everyone but all kinds of excuses are made as to why these schools fail. But poverty is the reason, and all the social and cultural problems that go along with it, hinder learning. 111

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112 Miami-Dade County: Dear Ms Hammer, My responses may appear maligned or even flippant, but be assured: I read each question and responded honestly. Please understand where I come from a teacher in Miami-Dade where class sizes are absurd, coupling with mainstreaming of dysfunctional behavioral children, and lack of funds to even clean the floors! The board is incompetent, the bureaucracy is massive and completely unresponsive, the union is corrupt and do you think the average teacher gives even five minutes of though to anything you posted in your survey?? We receive surveys periodically, usually from some ivory-tower person, and if you get a teacher to confide, they always say the same thing: I give them the answer they want to hear, because I am not a fool such fear! I realize the education governor has succeeded in fooling most people that his A+ plan is repairing the system; but I know when I look into the eyes of parents and students that he has failed. Good luck with your Ph.D. Im sure a secure position will be waiting for you upon completion, especially if you do not rock the boat. Real reform? We are beyond that only a fundamental revolution will alter our path. Indian River County: My school district hired a consultant from Arkansas without a science background to advise on how our curriculum should be set up. We also hava a Florida consultant who is familiar with the FL SSS in science with very limited experience teaching. We now teach topics over a three year span 6-8 grade with the belief that the students will retain the knowledge over the years. I would like to see a curriculum with one science discipline covered each year. Volusia County: At my school the middle school concept has suffered in a big way! Bye, Bye middle school concept! The Governors A+ Program is ruining education and creating a loss of teachers. The Governors A+ Program has caused deterioration in our schools climate in a big way! You have to have some kind of standards for curriculum but Jeb Bush is going too far The Governors A+ Plan has caused increases student pressure and stress. The success of students and teachers should not be based on one high stakes test. It is important to have standards so everyone receives an equal education, but some of these FCAT standards across the curriculum are ridiculous. Student and teacher pressure has risen enormously. The joy of learning and teaching has greatly been reduced by Jeb bushs plan. His plan is what needs reform. Good luck with the study. Sorry for the attitude, but I am drained!

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113 Bay County: To whom it may concern, FCAT has only promoted students to be masters at trivia and does not allow for deep investigation, or for teachers to follow roads of student interests. We have no idea of what the powers that be deem to be important. We teach the Glencoe Science Voyages Series which has a bit of this and a bit of that; but unlike our former curriculum, it does not dive deep into the well of knowledge. I used to teach 7th grade life science and we could spend an unlimited time looking at the issues that were of concern. This is no longer an option. FCAT is a joke. It is a test that as a school we spend an enormous amount of time discussing and preparing for and the other issues be damned. I, now, run less labs and activities and spend more time in worksheets and rote activities. The idea of labeling a school, student or teacher based on the performance of a single test is insane. I can see using a standardized test to see how students perform certain skills, but to use that to determine a students ability, or a schools ability does not take into account any SES parameters. My students received twice the education before FCAT and SSS dictatorship. The reason, Academic Freedom to dive deep into knowledge. A bigger problem I foresee is the lack of leadership and guidelines for the teaching of various subject areas within the realm of science. That is, which specific subjects were to be taught at each grade level? Generally speaking, subjects means areas in science such as life science, physical science, etc. We have been told that local school districts are able to decide which specific areas of science will be emphasized at each grade level. We in Bay county have been given no such guidelines, and most schools sort-of decide what areas to emphasize per grade. I suspect that when FCAT science scores start to count, there will be huge differences in certain areas of science. It may be that other counties have better ways of making sure that all areas of science are covered. See, what happens is that teachers basically teach what they are most comfortable with. They often emphasize topics that they like. Or they spend time doing labs and activities that are time consuming but may not be part of the curriculum. Also, many teachers just start with chapter one and just plow through the book. There is no definite reason for doing anything except to get to the next chapter. Bottom line is only certain aspects of science will get covered, Many areas will go untouched and untaught. I realize that at this time its left up to the individual schools, and that test scores will show huge gaps. But the shame of it is that it will take years and years for anyone to notice and design and implement a solid plan to address the problem. We are always told that $ funding is an issue. It always has been, but some schools get adequate $ and others dont, so statewide, there automatically exists a huge gap between the haves and the have nots. Another point you should be aware of is that of the high schooler who fails the FCAT. Is it fair that high school students who have attended school for 13 or 14 y ears have nothin g to show for it? Wh y should one test decide a p ersons fate?

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114 Many doors are closed to students who otherwise had done all that had been asked of them for many years, and countless hours of study, agony and attending class? To me its a shame. Most of these are good people who just want to move on with their lives, but cant. They are constantly faced with someone elses perception of what a nice outstanding person should be. Holding a persons diploma based on a misguided notion such as the FCAT is one of the dumbest things our lawmakers/Dept of Education has ever come up with. Having been a teacher for over 30 years, I have seen some stupid stuff come down to us, but this one and the HSCT before it are pretty much the worst of the lot. Just think of the thousands and thousands of people who are destined to work in the lowest paying jobs forever because they have no diploma. Its a travesty and a shame. When you think about the big picture, sometimes it looks like it was designed that way. After all, where would big business get all of their minimum wage workers? Its almost as if it is some sort of plot. I dont really believe that, but if you think about it, it really creates social problems for State and government bureaucrats to deal with. It just goes on and on. Im through, Probably I got off track too much. However, I do have a couple more ideas for someone.1) The effect of FCAT failures correlated to GED graduates.The idea is that the number or % of GED is going to be affected. 2) The impact of requiring all students to pass algebra in order to graduate. Broward County: Want to know the effect of FCAT and curriculum standards on teaching and learning? Its a mixed bag. They can be somewhat effective for teachers who are not entirely up to the task of teaching and they can be creativity dampening, stressful and ineffective for the other teachers and students alike. Some teachers do not know how to teach. They are not knowledgeable in their subjects, maybe from teaching out-of-field, they may not be particularly well-versed in different methods of instruction, and they may just be unmotivated. For these teachers, a recipe book of how to can only help. Broward County has delivered that to the middle school science teacher in the form of a set curriculum, based on the Sunshine State Standards, and a text book that is complete from Bell Ringer and mini lab, to worksheets and chapter exams. The county would like everyone on the same page on the same day. These teachers students will at least get the basics. However, for the rest of the teachers, those looking for new ways to expand their students minds, these curriculum requirements and FCAT science tests are just another way to make a challenging job more challenging. A good teacher can cover the curriculum and teach what is needed for the test and then some. However, many, if not most teachers take these pressures seriously. They would, and do, sacrifice thair students doing inquiry based learning, or projects to ensure that they teach to the test. They save labs and projects for after the FCAT. As the FCAT is given in March, most of the year is geared to the test and not to how to learn or to foster and interest and a love of learning. Do students learn better being taught a test? I dont think so. We can demonstrate that they get better at taking the test, but can we demonstrate that they can be real-world p roblem solvers? I dont think so. We stifle students thirst for knowled g e and their

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115 creativity teaching only a test and sticking so rigidly to not only a given curriculum, but also a timeline complete with what page to be on what day. Rather than excite students about a subject, we are turning them off to math, science and language arts. I am fortunate to teach in a magnet program with very bright students. I am not fearful of them failing the FCAT science test. Do I add to the curriculum? Yes, of Course. Do I try to do creative and innovative activities with my students? Oh yeah. Do they take a lot of time? Sure they do. Will my students be better off as a result? I think so. Does the State? Depends on what they score on the FCAT. In my opinion, the increased emphasis on statewide, standardized tests will ultimately have a negative effect. Teachers will leave the field, either because they cannot handle the pressure, or they do not enjoy teaching in an atmosphere that squelches their enthusiasm and creativity. There is already a great shortage of teachers. Students, in addition to being stressedout from 3rd grade through 10th, will be good at taking tests and nothing more. Students recognize what is considered important and that is what they will concentrate on. Sadisnt it?

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APPENDIX D PILOT DATA Research Questions 1-5, General Frequency Data 1. How widespread are SBR efforts in Floridas Middle School science programs? Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #1 23. To what extent is your school engaged in standards based reform N = 13 We are currently exploring possibilities for SBR at our school 1/13 We have begun the process of SBR at our school. 3/13 SBR is already in place at our school. 8/13 We have not yet begun the process of SBR at our school 1/13 24. At your school, how many hours will you have spent this year in professional development in the area of SBR? (N = 13) <1 hour 1/13 1-5 hours 8/13 < 5 hours 0/13 Not sure 3/13 25. At your school, how many hours will be spent in the near future in professional development in the area of SBR? (N=13) <1 hour 2/13 1-5 hours 3/13 >5 hours 3/13 Not sure 4/13 116

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117 Research Question #2: What kinds of changes have schools made in the process of reform efforts? Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #2 YES 29. We are required to document the SSS for science in our lesson plans 11/13 34. I believe that increased curriculum alignment in middle school science has occurred as a result of SBR 10/13 35. I believe that increased curriculum alignment in middle school science has occurred as a result of FCAT. 11/13 36. I believe that increased standardization of the middle school science curriculum has occurred as a result of SBR 11/13 37. I believe that increased standardization of the middle school science curriculum has occurred as a result of FCAT. 12/13 42. I believe that standards based reform has resulted in increased interdisciplinary teamwork among teachers of different subject areas 4/13 43. I believe that SBR and/ or science FCAT preparation has increased science department collaboration. 4/13 54. The Middle School Concept, or in other words, our attention to the needs of early adolescents, has suffered at my school as a result of FCAT and/or SBR. 9/13 57. Preparation for the science FCAT has resulted in more ability grouping or tracking at my school. 9/13 61. I believe increased parent involvement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 1/12

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118 Research Question #3: How effective are current reform efforts based on teachers perceptions? Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #3 YES 38. I believe that student achievement has increased as a result of SBR 4/12 39. I believe that student achievement has increased as a result of FCAT. 6/13 41. I believe that SBR has resulted in increased effectiveness of our science curriculum. 4/13 58. I believe increased school accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 5/12 59. I believe increased teacher accountability has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 5/13 61. I believe increased parent involvement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 1/12 62. I believe increased student achievement has been a positive effect of the Governors A+ Schools program. 4/13 63. I believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items. 11/13 64. I believe that a negative aspect of the Governors A+ Schools Program is that all schools do not have equal chances for success 12/13 65. I believe that the Governors A+ Schools Program has caused a deterioration in our schools climate. 9/13

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119 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #3 Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 66. I believe the methods of SBR our school is engaging in will improve our school. 23% 15% 31% 23% 8% 68. I believe there has been close linkage of the SBR movement to the FCAT and I believe this has had an overall positive effect. 23% 0% 62% 15% 0% 69. I believe SBR efforts at my school will improve student learning in science. 23% 15% 31% 23% 0% 70. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved curriculum at our school. 15% 0% 46% 31% 8% 71. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved instruction at our school. 15% 0% 39% 39% 0% 72. I believe that the FCAT for reading and math has improved student learning at our school. 15% 0% 39% 39% 8% 73. I believe that the science FCAT will improve science curriculum at my school. 31% 0% 46% 8% 15% 74. I believe that the science FCAT will improve science instruction at my school. 31% 0% 39% 23% 8% 75. I believe that the science FCAT will improve student learning in science at my school. 31% 8% 31% 31% 8% 85. I believe the science FCAT has already had a positive influence on curriculum, instruction and/or student learning in science. 39% 0% 23% 31% 8% 86. I believe that the Governors A+ Schools program has helped improve student learning in Florida. 46% 15% 8% 31% 5%

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120 Research Question #4: What are teacher attitudes regarding current or upcoming reform efforts? a. How favorable are teachers attitudes toward standards based reform? b. How favorable are teacher attitudes regarding changes they are making in their own classrooms? Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #4a YES 40. I believe that SBR has resulted in increased teacher autonomy and control over the curriculum 3/13 45. I believe that SBR has contributed to increased teacher stress 12/13 46. I believe that FCAT preparation has contributed to increased teacher stress. 13/13 47. I believe that SBR has contributed to less emphasis within the curriculum on student interests. 11/13 65. I believe that the Governors A+ Schools Program has caused a deterioration in our schools climate. 9/13 Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 79. My attitude toward SBR has changed for the better since reform efforts have begun at my school. 5/13 2/13 4/13 2/13 0/13 83. I believe SBR is implemented only in response to the science FCAT. 0/13 1/13 3/13 4/13 5/13 84. I believe SBR in science is a good idea independently of the FCAT. 1/13 0/13 7/13 3/13 2/13 96. In my experience there is a close association between high stakes testing such as FCAT and SBR in Florida. 1/13 1/13 5/13 2/13 4/13

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121 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses for Research Question #4b YES 44. I believe that SBR has contributed to decreased teacher autonomy and control over the science curriculum. 23% 49. I believe that preparation of students for the FCAT has contributed to decreased quality of the science curriculum. 92% Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 76. I believe mandatory changes made at my school in the process of SBR have restricted my freedom and creativity as a teacher. 5/13 2/13 0/13 5/13 1/13 77. I believe that using the SSS for science to the extent required at our school has restricted my freedom and creativity as a teacher. 1/13 3/13 2/13 2/13 5/13 78. I believe that the mandatory changes imposed on my teaching in the process of SBR have restricted my freedom and creativity as a teacher beyond using the SSS for science. 1/13 3/13 2/13 2/13 5/13 67. SBR efforts at our school have caused me to make changes in what I do in my classroom that are not entirely comfortable to me. 2/13 3/13 3/13 2/13 3/13 101. In my experience, SBR is a top-down state mandated effort in which teachers experience loss of autonomy and control over what goes on in their own classrooms. 0/13 3/13 4/13 2/14 4/13 106. I am less satisfied than I used to be with my teaching position due to state mandated reforms. 0/13 5/13 2/13 2/13 4/13 107. If my decrease in satisfaction with my teaching position continues I may consider leaving the profession. 4/13 4/13 0/13 1/13 4/13

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122 Research Question #5: What kind of changes have teachers made (or do they anticipate making) in their work as a result of standards based reform? Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #5 YES 50. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT I have used fewer Internet and/or technology based activities in my 6/13 51. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the amount of worksheets I use in class has increased. 6/13 52. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the amount of memorization I require of my students has increased. 6/13 53. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the amount of work my students do in small groups has decreased. 7/13 55. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT I have been encouraged to spend more class time covering basic skills. 8/13 56. As a result of SBR and the science FCAT I have less freedom to allow students to learn at their own pace 10/13 60. As a result of standards based reform and preparation for FCAT we have taken fewer field trips. 9/13 63. I believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items. 11/13 Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 2 3 4 5 89. My principal has asked me to change the way I teach as a result of SBR. 5/13 5/13 2/13 1/13 0% 90. My principal has asked me to change the way I teach as a result of the science FCAT. 5/13 3/13 0% 4/13 1/13 98. As a result of the reading and math FCAT I devote more attention to reading and math skills. 0/13 3/13 0/13 7/13 3/13 104. My homework assignments have changed in a positive way as a result of SBR and the science FCAT. 4/13 5/13 2/13 2/13 0/13

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APPENDIX E COVER LETTER SENT TO TEACHERS

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APPENDIX F INFORMED CONSENT FOR TEACHERS

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APPENDIX G ITEM TOTAL CORRELATIONS FOR TEACHER ATTITUDE SCALE: QUESTIONS 66-107 R E L I A B I L I T Y A N A L Y S I S S C A L E (A L P H A) Item-total Statistics Scale Scale Corrected Mean Variance ItemSquared Alpha if Item if Item Total Multiple if Item Deleted Deleted Correlation Correlation Deleted V67 122.3678 535.0492 .5790 .8147 .9090 V68 122.3448 552.4146 .2739 .6418 .9123 V69 122.7586 536.5108 .5509 .8142 .9093 V70 122.4828 537.4387 .5295 .8230 .9096 V71 122.4713 533.8335 .5688 .8893 .9090 V72 122.4713 532.9032 .5858 .9402 .9088 V73 122.4368 530.7605 .6200 .9336 .9084 V74 122.6322 533.9096 .5750 .9485 .9090 V75 122.6552 534.5076 .5483 .9286 .9093 V76 122.7356 536.6619 .5196 .9321 .9096 V77 121.8276 550.4467 .2527 .8494 .9129 V78 122.4023 551.0805 .2781 .8837 .9123 V79 122.2989 552.9794 .2479 .9176 .9126 V80 122.5977 545.5688 .4153 .6803 .9109 V81 122.0460 536.5095 .5030 .7610 .9098 V82 122.1724 539.0978 .4629 .8166 .9103 V83 122.2644 534.7781 .5283 .8175 .9095 V84 122.1609 553.1366 .2368 .7003 .9128 V85 122.0345 534.1965 .5916 .7008 .9089 V86 122.7701 545.6210 .3895 .8614 .9111 V87 122.9655 546.5918 .4058 .8328 .9110 V88 121.7586 542.4876 .3563 .6663 .9117 V89 122.3218 536.2906 .4542 .7353 .9104 V90 122.9080 547.8054 .3085 .8699 .9121 V91 122.6897 547.0537 .2986 .8149 .9124 V92 121.9195 537.9121 .4822 .8180 .9100 V93 122.0345 534.0337 .5288 .8194 .9094 128

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129 V94 122.2069 539.4218 .4232 .8129 .9108 V95 120.9770 539.1623 .5066 .7680 .9098 V96 122.4253 542.7589 .3983 .8380 .9111 V97 122.0000 543.0000 .4222 .6385 .9108 V98 122.7816 543.2424 .4109 .7796 .9109 V99 121.8391 538.4389 .4868 .6683 .9100 V100 123.0575 549.0781 .3259 .6062 .9118 V101 122.2299 545.1093 .3955 .6376 .9111 V102 122.0115 545.6627 .3596 .8081 .9115 V103 122.2644 541.8712 .4687 .7366 .9103 V104 121.8506 539.1751 .4696 .6896 .9102 V105 122.6092 543.1013 .4754 .6138 .9103 V106 122.1264 530.4141 .6917 .7870 .9078 V107 122.1379 558.7017 .1169 .8620 .9145 V108 122.2069 560.9567 .0578 .7290 .9161 R E L I A B I L I T Y A N A L Y S I S S C A L E (A L P H A) Reliability Coefficients 42 items Alpha = .9127 Standardized item alpha = .9146

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LIST OF REFERENCES A+ plan for schools (2000) Summary of passed legislation. House of Representatives Academic Excellence Council. Retrieved 4/25/2004. http://www.myflorida.com/myflorida/government/governorinitiatives/aplusplan/le gislation.html American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Project 2061. (1990). Science for all Americans. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Project 2061. (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. Adelman, N. (1998) A case study of Maines SSI (Maine: A community of discovery), 1992-97. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Ainscow, M., Hopkins, D., Southworth, G. & West, M. (1994) Creating the conditions for school improvement: A handbook of staff development activities. London: David Fulton Publishers Alexander, W., Williams, E, Compton, M, Hines, V. & Prescott, D. (1968). The emergent middle school. New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston. Amrein, A. & Berliner, D. (2002). High-stakes testing, uncertainty, and student learning. Education Policy Analysis Archives. 10(18) Retrieved 3/30/02 from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v10n18/ Arnold, J. & Sevenson, C. (1998). Teachers teaming handbook: A middle level planning guide. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace and Company. Atkin, J. & Black, P. (2003). Inside science education reform: A history of curriculum and policy change. New York: Teachers College Press. Berliner D. & Biddle, B. (1995). The manufactured crisis: Myths, fraud and the attack on Americas public schools. New York: Perseus Books. Boone, W.J. & Butler Kahle, J. (1997). Implementation of the standards: Lessons from a systemic initiative. School Science and Mathematics, 97(6), 292-300. Bracey, G.W. (1998). TIMSS: The message and the myths. Phi Delta Kappan, 77(1), 1822. 130

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131 Bryk, A. & Schneider, B. (2002). Trust in schools. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Burrill, G. (1997) The NCTM standards: Eight years later. School Science and Mathematics, 97(6), 335-9. Bybee, R.W., Ferrini-Mundy, J. & Loucks-Horsley, S. (1997). National standards and school science and mathematics. School Science and Mathematics, 97(7), 525-34. Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. (1989). Turning Points: Preparing American youth for the 21st century. The Report of the Task Force on Education of Young Adolescents. New York, NY: Carnegie Foundation of New York. Darling Hammond, L. (1997) The right to learn: a blueprint for creating schools that work. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Dillman, D.A. (2000). Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design method. New York: John Wiley and Sons. Erb, T. O. & Stevenson, C. (1999). From faith to facts: Turning Points in action What difference does teaming make? Middle School Journal 30(3), 47-50. Fullan, M. (2001). The new meaning of educational change. New York: Teachers College Press. Fullan, M. (1999). Change forces: The sequel. Philadelphia: Falmer Press. Fullan, M. (1993) Change forces: Probing the depths of educational reform. London: Falmer Press. George, P.S. & Alexander, W.M. (1993). The exemplary middle school. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. Hewson, P., Butler Kahle, J., Scantlebury, K. & D. Davies. (2001). Equitable education in urban middle schools: Do reform efforts make a difference? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(10), 1130-44. Jackson, A.W. & Davis, G.A. (2000). Turning Points 2000: Educating adolescents in the 21st century. New York: Teachers College Press. Kirst, M.W., Bird, R.L. & Raizen, S. (1997). Tension between mathematics and science content standards and local politics. National Institute for Science Education (NISE), Occasional Paper # 5. Madison, WI. Kumar, D. D. (1999). Science teacher education in an era of standards based reform: policy perspectives. Contemporary Education 70(2), 13-17.

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132 McNeil, L.M., (2000). Contradictions of school reform: Educational costs of standardized testing. New York: Routledge National Research Council (NRC, 1996). The National science education standards. Washington D.C: National Academy Press. National Research Council (NRC, 2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards: A guide for teaching and learning. Washington D.C: National Academy Press. No child left behind act of 2001. (2001). Public law 107-110. http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/index.html Senge, P. Kleiner, A. Roberts C, Ross, B.R. & Smith, B.J. (1994). The fifth discipline fieldbook: Strategies and tools for building a learning organization. New York: Doubleday. Settlage, J. & Meadows, L. (2002). Standards based reform and its unintended consequences within America's urban schools. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(2), 114-27. Shields, P., Marsh, J., Marder, C. & Wilson, C. (1998). A case study of Californias SSI (CAMS), 1992-97. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. SRI International, (1998) Introduction to the SSI case studies, Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. St. John, M. & Pratt, H. (1997). Factors that contribute to the best cases of standards based reform. School Science and Mathematics 97 6), 316-25. Useem, E.L., Christman, J.B. Gold, E., & Simon, E. (1997). Reforming alone: Barriers to organizational learning in urban school change initiatives. Journal of Education of Students Placed at Risk, 2(1), 55-78. Valentine, J.W., Trimble, S. & Whitaker, T. (1997). The middle level principalship, In J.L. Irvin, (Ed.) What current research says to the middle level practitioner. Columbus, OH: National Middle School Association. Vars, G. F. (2001). Can curriculum integration survive in an era of high-stakes testing? Middle School Journal 33(2), 7-17. Vogler, K.E. (2003). An integrated curriculum using state standards in a high stakes environment. Middle School Journal 34(4), 5-10. Wideen, M., OShea, T., & Pye, I. (1997). High stakes testing and the teaching of science. The Canadian Journal of Education 22, 428-444.

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133 Wiggins, G. (1998). Educative assessment: Designing assessments to inform and improve student performance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

PAGE 146

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Kathryn Elizabeth Stuart Hammer was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools from nursery school through twelfth grade, the University of Rochester and the University of Illinois at Chicago for bachelors degrees in English and the biological sciences, and Stanford University for a masters degree in education. She taught biology, chemistry, physical science and life science at the high school level in the San Francisco Bay Area, and physical science and earth and space sciences to middle school students at Oak Hall School in Gainesville, Florida In the fall of 1999 she began a full time doctoral program under the guidance of Dr. Paul George and received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in education in 2004. She lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and daughter. 134


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0004704/00001

Material Information

Title: An Assessment of standards based reform in Florida's middle school science programs
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Stuart Hammer, Kathryn Elizabeth ( Dissertant )
George, Paul S. ( Thesis advisor )
Miller, David ( Reviewer )
Seraphine, Anne ( Reviewer )
Mullally, Lee ( Reviewer )
Kantowski, Mary Grace ( Reviewer )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2004
Copyright Date: 2004

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Teaching and Learning thesis, Ph.D
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Teaching and Learning
Spatial Coverage: United States--Florida

Notes

Abstract: The era of school accountability and standards based reform (SBR) has brought many challenges and changes to Florida's public schools. It is important to understand any shifts in teachers' attitudes and to identify the changes teachers are making as they implement SBR. The study was designed to assess teachers attitudes and perceptions of changes related to SBR and the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in middle school science programs in Florida. Survey questions sought to identify teacher perceptions of changes in curriculum, instruction and daily practice as schools documented and incorporated the Sunshine State Standards (SSS) for science and began focusing on preparing students for the science FCAT. The survey was distributed to 265 randomly selected middle school science teachers throughout the State of Florida. Seventy-six and ninety-two percent of teachers reported increased levels of stress as a result of SBR and the science FCAT, respectively. Eighty-six percent of teachers reported loss of autonomy and control over what goes on in their classrooms, and fifty-four percent of teachers reported loss of freedom and creativity regarding curriculum and lessons. Eighty-three percent of teachers believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items. By contrast, only nineteen percent of teachers believe that the science FCAT has brought about improvement in curriculum, instruction and student learning in science. Yet, twenty-five percent of teachers believe that reform efforts will improve their school. An important finding is that teachers attitudes toward reform efforts are strongly influenced by their attitudes toward the administration at their school. Teachers who receive more support from administrators have more positive attitudes toward all aspects of SBR and the science FCAT measured in this study. Although the majority of teachers reported negative attitudes toward the reform process, a small minority that report working under supportive administrators believe that reform efforts are working well or will soon show positive effects. No school should overlook the potential of a supportive administration in its effort to improve school programs.
Subject: Sbr, sciencefcat
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 146 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2004.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0004704:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0004704/00001

Material Information

Title: An Assessment of standards based reform in Florida's middle school science programs
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Stuart Hammer, Kathryn Elizabeth ( Dissertant )
George, Paul S. ( Thesis advisor )
Miller, David ( Reviewer )
Seraphine, Anne ( Reviewer )
Mullally, Lee ( Reviewer )
Kantowski, Mary Grace ( Reviewer )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2004
Copyright Date: 2004

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Teaching and Learning thesis, Ph.D
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Teaching and Learning
Spatial Coverage: United States--Florida

Notes

Abstract: The era of school accountability and standards based reform (SBR) has brought many challenges and changes to Florida's public schools. It is important to understand any shifts in teachers' attitudes and to identify the changes teachers are making as they implement SBR. The study was designed to assess teachers attitudes and perceptions of changes related to SBR and the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in middle school science programs in Florida. Survey questions sought to identify teacher perceptions of changes in curriculum, instruction and daily practice as schools documented and incorporated the Sunshine State Standards (SSS) for science and began focusing on preparing students for the science FCAT. The survey was distributed to 265 randomly selected middle school science teachers throughout the State of Florida. Seventy-six and ninety-two percent of teachers reported increased levels of stress as a result of SBR and the science FCAT, respectively. Eighty-six percent of teachers reported loss of autonomy and control over what goes on in their classrooms, and fifty-four percent of teachers reported loss of freedom and creativity regarding curriculum and lessons. Eighty-three percent of teachers believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items. By contrast, only nineteen percent of teachers believe that the science FCAT has brought about improvement in curriculum, instruction and student learning in science. Yet, twenty-five percent of teachers believe that reform efforts will improve their school. An important finding is that teachers attitudes toward reform efforts are strongly influenced by their attitudes toward the administration at their school. Teachers who receive more support from administrators have more positive attitudes toward all aspects of SBR and the science FCAT measured in this study. Although the majority of teachers reported negative attitudes toward the reform process, a small minority that report working under supportive administrators believe that reform efforts are working well or will soon show positive effects. No school should overlook the potential of a supportive administration in its effort to improve school programs.
Subject: Sbr, sciencefcat
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 146 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2004.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0004704:00001


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AN ASSESSMENT OF STANDARDS BASED REFORM IN FLORIDA' S MIDDLE
SCHOOL SCIENCE PROGRAMS















By

KATHRYN ELIZABETH STUART HAMMER


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2004
































Copyright 2004

by

Kathryn Elizabeth Stuart Hammer






























To my parents,

Joan and Frank Stuart,

my husband,

Joachim Hammer,

and my daughter,

Amelia Joan Hammer
















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First and foremost I would like to thank my dissertation advisor and mentor, Dr.

Paul George, for his continuing and enthusiastic support and advice during my five years

as a doctoral student. His insight, high standard of scholarship, intellectual curiosity and

integrity contributed substantially to the quality of this dissertation. I was very fortunate

to work under his guidance.

I am also grateful to the other members of my qualifying exam and dissertation

committees, Drs. David Miller, Anne Seraphine, Lee Mullally, and Mary Grace

Kantowski for their helpful comments, discussions and support while this work was in

progress. I would especially like to thank Drs. Miller and Seraphine for their help with

the statistical aspects of this study. Dr. Miller was immensely generous with his time,

answering my every question, and Dr. Seraphine' s careful scrutiny of my work helped

ensure that my methods were correct and the results were presented in the most obj ective

and professional manner.

I also thank those individuals outside my committee who helped in the creation and

validation of my survey instrument: Drs. Maurice Lucas, Randall Penfield, and Joan

Lindgren. I also thank Susan Chase for lending a teacher' s perspective to the revision of

the survey.

Last but not least I thank my family for providing endless encouragement and

support for this long academic j ourney. I would like to thank my parents, Joan and Frank

Stuart, for encouraging me to go back to school, and for their support of my educational









endeavors since my childhood. I would also like to thank my father for his meticulous

editing of this manuscript. I thank my husband, Joachim for his daily support, advice, and

encouragement, and for serving as an example of determination and focus. Last, but not

least, I thank my daughter Amelia Joan, who by her presence in my life these past seven

months broadened my perspective on life, and has motivated me to move quickly forward

on this proj ect.




















TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page


ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. .................... iv


LI ST OF T ABLE S ................. ................. ix......... ...


AB STRAC T ................ .............. xi


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............1.......... ......


Statement of Probl em ................. ...............3................

Purpose of Study ................. ...............5.................
Significance of Study ................. ...............7............ ....
Outline of Procedure............... .. ................. ........7
Instrumentation and Types of Data Collected ....._____ .........__ ...............7
Data Collection ............ ..... .._ ...............10...
Pilot Testing............... ...............10
Statewide M ailing ............ ..... .._ ...............10...
Sam ple ............ _...... ...............11....
Definitions ............ _...... ._ ...............11....
Summary ............ ..... .._ ...............12...


2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ............ .....___ ...............14..


Introducti on ............... ......... .. ......... ..._ .... ..... ... ... .........1
An Introduction to Standards Based Reform In K-12 Science Education. .................14
Factors Contributing to the Best Cases of SBR in K-12 Science Education.......16
The Importance of Strategic Frameworks and the Inclusion of Stakeholders.....17
Examples of Contemporary Reform Efforts in K-12 Science Education ................... 17
Lessons Learned From Reform in K-12 Mathematics .............. ....................18
The Problem of Equity ............ ..... ._ ...............18..
T teachers' Science Back ground s ......................_ ....__ .............1
Lessons Learned from Ohio's Reform Efforts ......____ ........__ ...............19
The Case of Maine' s SSI................ ..... .............. ...... ........ ......... ......2

Aspects of the Middle School Concept Promoted by Middle School Advocates ......24
Interdisciplinary Teams ................. ......... ...............26......
Shared Deci sion-Making ................. ......... ...............27......
Leadership T eams............... ...............27.












Inquiry Groups................ .... ..............2
The School Improvement Plan ................ ...............28........._....
The Updated Role of the Principal ................. ........._.. ......29.........
Theoretical Framework of the Study: Change Theory .............. ....................3
An Introduction to Change Theory ................. ........._.._....... 30..... ...
A Balance of Top-down and Bottom-up Reform ................... ..... ...._.............31
The Three Stories of Reform: Inside, Inside-Out and Outside-In ................... ....3 3
A Summary of the Overlap between Change Theory and Literature on K-12
Science Education Reform and Highly Functioning Middle Schools .............37
Sum m ary ................. ...............3.. 8..............


3 METHODOLOGY .............. ...............39....


Introducti on ................. ...............39._ ___.......
Summary of Study .............. ...............39....
Research Questions............... ...............4
Outline of Procedure............... .. ................. .......4
Instrumentation and Types of Data Collected ......____ ........_ ...............43
Reliability of Instrument ....__. ................. .......__. ......... 4
Validity of Instrument .............. ...............46....
The Pilot Study ........._._.............._ _. ...............47......
Data Collection: Statewide Mailing .............. ...............47....
Sample ....__ ................ .......__ .........48
Data Analysis............... ...............48
Statement of Investigator Bias ................. ...............50......__._....
Conclusions............... ..............5


4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION............... ...............5


Introducti on ......__................. ...............52.......
Research Questions.................. ........... .... .................5
Teacher Attitudes Toward SBR and the Science FCAT: Answers to Research
Que sti on s................. ........ _._.. .. ........ ... ...... ... ..........5
General Frequency Data: Research Questions One through Five ................... ....54
Regression Analysi s Results: Research Question Six.........._.._.._ ............... ...64
A Re-Examination of Models Four Through Six ........._..... .. .... .._..._...........71
Summary of Information Collected and Analyzed for the Research Questions........ .75
Summary ................. ...............76.................


5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS .............. ...............78....


Introducti on ................. ...............78.................
Research Questions............... ...............7
Answers to Research Questions............... ........ .. ....... .. .........7
A Look at the Extremes, Part I: A Summary of Teachers' Most Positive Perceptions
and Attitudes ................ ..............8 1...............











A Look at the Extremes, Part II: A Summary of Teachers' Most Negative
Perceptions and Attitudes .............. ...............82....
Discussion of Research Findings ................. ...............83........... ...
Interpretation of Results .......................... ........ ...................8
A Look at the Results Within the Context of Previous Studies on Reform ...............85
A Look at the Results Within the Context of Change Theory ................. ................86
Limiting Factors in the Study ................. ...... ...............8
Implications for Education and Future Research............... ...............88
Unanswered Questions .............. ...............89....
Future Analysis............... ...............90


APPENDIX


A SURVEY INSTRUMENT: ...92.................


B F RE QUENCY DATA ................. ................. 10......... 1...

C INDIVIDUAL TEACHER COMMENTS ................. ...............................111

D PILOT DATA ................. ...............116................

E COVER LETTER SENT TO TEACHERS ................. .............. ......... .....123

F INFORMED CONSENT FOR TEACHERS ................. ............... ......... ...126

G ITEM TOTAL CORRELATIONS FOR TEACHER ATTITUDE SCALE:
QUESTIONS 66-107............... ...............128

LIST OF REFERENCES ............_ .......__ ...............130..

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............_...... .__ ...............134...


















LIST OF TABLES


Table pg

3.1 Reliability Analysis of Teacher Attitude Scale ................. ...._.._ ................ 46

4.1 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #1 ...................54

4.2 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #2 ................... 56

4.3 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #3 ...................57

4.4 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #3 ...................58

4.5 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #4a .................60

4.6 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses for Research Question #4b .........__......61

4.7 Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #5 ...................62

4.8 Relevant Survey Questions for Research Question #5............... ...................6

4.9 Model Summary for Dependent Variable: CHANGE .............. .....................6

4.10 ANOVA for Dependent Variable: CHANGE ................. ................ ......... .65

4.11 Coeffcients for Dependent Variable: CHANGE ........................... ...............66

4.12 Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN ................. ................ ...66

4.13 ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN ......... ................. ...............67

4.14 Coeffcients for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN .............. ....................6

4.15 Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI ................. ............... .....68

4.16 ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI............... ...............68

4.17 Coeffcients for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI ................... ...............6

4.18 Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT .............. ....................6

4.19 ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT ................. ................. ..........69











4.20 Coeffcients for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT ................. ........................69

4.21 Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS ................. .....................70

4.22 ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS .............. ...............70....

4.23 Coeffcients for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS .............. .....................7

4.24 Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON .............. ....................70

4.25 ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON............... ...............71

4.26 Coeffcients for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON............... ...............71

4.27 Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT .............. ................72

4.28 Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT ................. ............... .....72

4.29 Revised Coeffcients for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT ................. ................ .73

4.30 Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS .............. .... ...........73

4.31 Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS .............. ....................7

4.32 Revised Coeffcients for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS .............. ...................74

4.33 Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON ...........................74

4.34 Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON ................. ................ ..74

4.35 Revised Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON............... ................7
















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

AN ASSESSMENT OF STANDARDS BASED REFORM IN
FLORIDA' S MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE PROGRAMS

By

Kathryn Elizabeth Stuart Hammer

August, 2004

Chair: Paul S. George
Maj or Department: Teaching and Learning

The era of school accountability and standards based reform (SBR) has brought

many challenges and changes to Florida's public schools. It is important to understand

any shifts in teachers' attitudes and to identify the changes teachers are making as they

implement SBR. The study was designed to assess teachers' attitudes and perceptions of

changes related to SBR and the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in

middle school science programs in Florida. Survey questions sought to identify teacher

perceptions of changes in curriculum, instruction and daily practice as schools

documented and incorporated the Sunshine State Standards (SSS) for science and began

focusing on preparing students for the science FCAT.

The survey was distributed to 265 randomly selected middle school science

teachers throughout the State of Florida. Seventy-six and ninety-two percent of teachers

reported increased levels of stress as a result of SBR and the science FCAT, respectively.

Eighty-six percent of teachers reported loss of autonomy and control over what goes on










in their classrooms, and fifty-four percent of teachers reported loss of freedom and

creativity regarding curriculum and lessons. Eighty-three percent of teachers believe that

increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important

curricular items. By contrast, only nineteen percent of teachers believe that the science

FCAT has brought about improvement in curriculum, instruction and student learning in

science. Yet, twenty-five percent of teachers believe that reform efforts will improve their

school .

An important finding is that teachers' attitudes toward reform efforts are strongly

influenced by their attitudes toward the administration at their school. Teachers who

receive more support from administrators have more positive attitudes toward all aspects

of SBR and the science FCAT measured in this study. Although the maj ority of teachers

reported negative attitudes toward the reform process, a small minority that report

working under supportive administrators believe that reform efforts are working well or

will soon show positive effects. No school should overlook the potential of a supportive

administration in its effort to improve school programs.















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

The era of school accountability and standards based reform has brought many

challenges to Florida public schools. After pilot testing in the spring of 2002, the state of

Florida's Department of Education administered the science FCAT to students in grades

5, 8 and 10 in all Florida schools in spring, 2003. The science FCAT is based on the

Sunshine State Standards for science and has been developed to assess student learning of

science in Florida's public schools. Teachers are required to demonstrate that their

curriculum will cover the Sunshine State Standards for science. The process of altering

curriculum and other educational practices to reflect the Sunshine State Standards is an

integral part of standards based reform. It is important to identify the changes science

teachers may be making as a result of standards based reform and to consider the degree

to which an examination of reform efforts in science teaching might yield insight into the

larger area of SBR in Florida.

Standardized tests are considered by many to be an important means of ensuring

that America's educational system remains accountable for providing the best learning

opportunities possible for all children. Although no test can perfectly measure what a

student has learned, standardized testing may provide a quantifiable and visible estimate

of what a student knows. This numerical estimate may then provide a reference point

against which future achievement can be measured. These achievement reference points

can be valuable in different ways to teachers, administrators, schools, districts and states,

as well as to policymakers at all levels of government. Data from standardized tests can










be used to identify trends at the national level, and by organizations to study various

curricular and testing issues.

For teachers, standardized test data, such as FCAT, can be used to determine

patterns in student performance. Teachers can determine which students are not working

to their ability by identifying students with high test scores and mediocre or inconsistent

work in class. Teachers can also identify students who seem to be working above their

potential, and those students who may be consistently in need of extra help. In general,

teachers can use standardized test scores as a tool in determining the needs of their

students.

Administrators can use standardized test data to see how their school's

achievement compares to other similar schools. They can work with teachers to set goals

for student achievement. In addition, administrators can use student test scores as an

incentive for effective instruction on the part of teachers. Teachers who are aware that

student scores will be carefully considered may be more likely to do everything they can

to help their students succeed. Finally, student test scores may help administrators

identify teachers who are ineffective at helping students learn.

School districts and states also use standardized test data to compare student

achievement and to look for trends. Standardized test data can help districts and states

decide how best to allocate money and resources. Data obtained from standardized tests

can also be helpful to organizations by giving diagnostic information needed for

designing better tests. Data can also be helpful in determining what adjustments could be

made to curriculum and instruction on a large scale. Particularly now that there are

national standards and standards for 49 of the 50 states, standardized assessments may










provide a way to determine how well teachers are incorporating standards into their

teaching.

Although there is a definite role for standardized testing, there is cause for

concern that test scores might be used in what some consider harsh accountability

programs. The term high-stakes is used to describe standardized tests in Florida and

some other states because of the important nature of the decisions based on standardized

test scores. FCAT scores, and the Governor's A+ Schools Program, (2000), for example,

are used to make decisions on issues such as graduation, retention, increases in teacher

salaries and school funding, and even the placement or removal of school principals.

Although utilizing FCAT scores is a relatively fast and cost effective means of

demonstrating educational accountability to the public, educators worry that detrimental

effects to student learning may outweigh the benefits. One negative effect is that the

intense pressure to prepare students for the FCAT each year may cause a shift in priority

in curriculum planning to increase time spent for test preparation at the expense of other

material teachers believe is important (Settlage & Meadows, 2002, Wideen et al., 1997).

Increases in test scores do not always correlate with increased student learning as

measured by other instruments. In some instances the reverse has proven to be true, in

that increased test scores have been correlated with a decrease in effective instruction and

even a decrease in students' motivation to learn (Amrein and Berliner, 2002, Berliner &

Biddle, 1995, McNeil, 2000).

Statement of Problem

Ideal conceptualizations of SBR in K-12 science education have been described in

the National Science Education Standard~~dddsdddddd~~~~ (National Research Council, 1996) and in

documents published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science such









as Science for All Americans and Benchmarks for Science Literacy (AAAS 1990, 1993).

The National Science Teachers Association, (NSTA), has also espoused these ideal

conceptualizations of SBR in K-12 science education. SBR in K-12 science education as

it is taking place in the state of Florida may be driven less by the ideal conceptualizations

and more by state and national legislation such as No Child Left Behind (2001), and The

Governor' s A+ Plan for Schools (2000).

In the best cases of standards based reform, the reform process is much more

carefully implemented than is realized by most people. The first step is often for schools

or districts to form a committee that includes teachers, administrators, district and state

level educators, college of education faculty and members of the school community. The

committee may review state and national standards documents and, by consensus, select

the ones that are appropriate for their school or district, based on new standards. After

standards are selected, the committee may create a comprehensive visionary framework

of reform for their school or district, based on new standards. These framework

documents often take two to three years to create and can be thought of as a large scale

school improvement plan, which is also an important component of many successful

middle schools. After the framework document is complete, teachers work together to

develop curriculum around the selected standards. Interdisciplinary curriculum is

possible and encouraged by experts including Vars, Beane and Jackson. Many teachers

enj oy working with standards frameworks because they are allowed a degree of freedom

and flexibility to develop the best curriculum and instruction for their school and students

(Vars, 2001, Vogler, 2003).










Upon close inspection, the best cases of standards based reform require much of the

same infrastructure utilized by the best middle schools (St. John & Pratt, 1997). The

framework committee functions like a leadership team in a highly functioning middle

school. The entire process takes place in a manner similar to the way in which a

successful middle school might implement a school improvement plan. Standards based

curriculum is designed by the same kinds of teacher teams often utilized in middle

schools. In short, successful standards based reform is implemented very much like the

way struggling middle schools are reformed.

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study was to complete a comprehensive assessment of

standards based reform in middle school science programs in Florida. Results from this

study were based on responses of sixth, seventh and eighth grade science teachers to a

survey designed to discover their perceptions of 1) the degree to which teachers have

made changes in curriculum and instruction in the process of incorporating the Sunshine

State Standards (SSS) for science and preparing students for the science FCAT; and 2)

teachers' perceptions of the consequences of SBR and FCAT both in science and across

subj ect areas at their schools. In addition, the survey was intended to portray teachers'

attitudes regarding: 1) SBR school wide; 2) SBR specific to the changes they are making

in their science classrooms; and 3) the overall effect of SBR on science curriculum and

instruction.

Specifically, the following research questions were answered:

1. How widespread are standards based reform efforts in science in Florida middle
schools?

2. What kinds of changes have schools made in the process of reform efforts?










3. How effective are current reform efforts based on teachers' perceptions?

4. What are teacher attitudes regarding current or upcoming reform efforts?

a. How favorable are teachers' attitudes toward standards based reform?

b. How favorable are teacher attitudes regarding changes they are making in
their own classrooms?

5. What kind of changes have teachers made, or do they anticipate making, in their work
as a result of standards based reform? These changes may involve, for example,
curriculum, instruction, pacing, grouping of students, or use of technology.

6. Are there patterns in teacher attitudes related to:

a. Total number of years at current school,
b. Teacher attitudes toward school administration,

c. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch,

d. Type of school community environment: urban, suburban, rural,
e. Percentage of minority students at each school,

f. Grade being taught: sixth, seventh or eighth.

Answers to the questions above would allow some degree of clarification of the

kinds of changes taking place in schools as a result of SBR. In addition, it may be

possible to identify patterns regarding the above features of schools and teachers. Do

teachers with differing levels of seniority have different attitudes from newer teachers

regarding standards based reform? Do teachers of sixth, seventh and eighth grade have

differing perspectives? Do teachers in schools with high numbers of minority and/ or

poor students have different attitudes from teachers at predominantly white or affluent

schools? Do teachers in urban, rural and suburban schools have differing perspectives?

Finally, it may be possible to identify schools where teachers believe reform efforts have

had a positive effect on curriculum and instruction and take note of practices at these

schools. The answers to these questions may provide valuable information on how to









accomplish standards based reform without compromising effective teaching and

learning environments in middle schools.

Significance of Study

Documentation of teacher perspectives has allowed information to be assessed and

catalogued regarding the status of SBR in middle school science in the state of Florida.

In addition, the study has provided insight into the perceptions of teachers as to the

progress and effectiveness of the standards based reform movement. Since teachers are

at the center of all reform efforts, their perspective is critical. They are in a position to

know not only what is happening, but also how well reform efforts are working. Positive

results may show that standards based reform and high stakes testing can have a positive

impact on teaching and learning environments. The information gathered from teachers

may provide suggestions for maximizing the success of standards based reform and

student learning in Florida.

Outline of Procedure

Middle school science teachers will be asked to complete a survey, as described below.


Instrumentation and Types of Data Collected


The instrument consists of a survey designed for middle school science teachers at

the sixth, seventh and eighth grade levels. All questions will be answered from the

perspective of these middle school science teachers. The survey will be divided into the

following sections:

Aspects of school science curriculum

This portion of the survey was intended to elucidate aspects of schools' sixth,

seventh and eighth grade science curriculum from the viewpoint of the teachers. In









addition, some questions will be added about curricular practices outside of the science

program. Teachers will be asked to respond to questions such as: "What grade level do

you primarily teach?" "What kind of curriculum do you have? Is it traditional subject-

based? Is it interdisciplinary or integrated? Is parallel curriculum used?" What is the

primary source of your curriculum, textbook or curriculum package? Is it created by

teachers or school district?" "To what extent is your curriculum based on the SSS for

science?" "What kinds of assessments do you use? Multiple-choice? Essay exams?

Portfolio assessments? Alternative, authentic or performance based assessments?" "How

much time is spent in the laboratory or on laboratory type activities?" "How much time is

spent on constructivist, student-centered or inquiry based activities?"

General aspects of SBR at individual schools

The survey was intended to obtain teachers' perceptions of standards based

reform in their own school program. For example, questions were asked about teacher

attitudes toward the Governor's A+ Schools Program, (2000), and the reading and math

FCAT. Examples of questions included were: "To what extent is your school involved in

standards based reform?" "How many hours have you spent this year at your school in

professional development in the area of SBR?" "Do you feel pressure to prepare students

for the FCAT?" "How much of your instructional time is dedicated to standardized test

preparation?" "Do you believe that increased school accountability has been a positive

effect of the Governor' s A+ Schools Program?"

Aspects of SBR in middle school science programs

The survey contained questions on whether teachers have been asked to make

changes in their teaching involving the Sunshine State Standards for science or the

science FCAT and what those changes are. The survey also addressed teacher attitudes










toward standards based reform and the effect it has had on their own teaching. There

were also questions asking teachers about the effect the changes have had on their own

teaching. Examples of survey questions are: "Who requires the use of the SSS for

science? Principal? Superintendent? Department chair?" Do you believe that student

achievement in science has increased as a result of SBR or the science FCAT?" "Have

you felt pressure to alter your science curriculum to prepare students for the science

FCAT?" "Do you believe that SBR has resulted in increased effectiveness of your

science curriculum?"

Background information from participating teachers

Information was collected including total number of years teaching and seniority

of teachers in terms of number of years teaching at current school. This information was

collected in order to help determine whether teacher attitudes vary depending on the

length of their career and the length of time since their training.

Demographic information on schools and surrounding communities

Information was collected on the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch

at each school. This information was collected in order to help determine whether

teachers at schools with affluent students have attitudes toward reform which are

different from teachers at schools with predominantly low income or less affluent

students.

Individual teacher comments

Since the survey format did not allow teachers to elaborate on their responses,

they were encouraged to send in additional comments with their surveys.









Data Collection

Surveys were mailed to a random sample of sixth, seventh and eighth grade

science teachers throughout the state of Florida with an accompanying cover letter.

Teachers completed surveys and recorded their data on scantron forms that were returned

along with the surveys and any additional comments teachers wished to make. The

survey data remain confidential with a catalog system in which each teacher is assigned a

number according to his/her county. Replacement surveys needed only to be sent to

teachers who had not yet returned a survey. The catalog number allowed for clarification

of whether a survey has been returned.

Pilot Testing

The survey instrument underwent pilot testing in Alachua County with 30 middle

school science teachers. The purpose of the Pilot Testing was to test the procedure for

data collection and determine whether the teachers had any problems answering the

questions on the survey.

Statewide Mailing

Following the analysis of pilot data, the survey was distributed to middle school

science teachers throughout Florida. Two hundred sixty five surveys were sent to middle

school science teachers in Florida. In order to obtain as high a response rate as possible,

four personalized contacts were made with each teacher according to the Tailored Design

Method (Dillman, 2000). The first mailing was an introductory letter that described the

study, its significance to curriculum and instruction in science, and the critical importance

of teachers' experience as a variable in answering the questions posed in the study. A

second mailing two days later restated the important points summarized in the first letter,

and included the survey itself. A third mailing was sent within a week to thank the










teachers for responding. The fourth mailing sent two weeks later included a replacement

survey for teachers who had not yet responded.

Sample

A systematic sampling technique was utilized where every tenth middle school

science teachers of grades six, seven and eight, in the state of Florida was selected. The

sampling frame consists of the entire target population of middle school science teachers

of grades six, seven and eight throughout the state of Florida. A list of all Florida middle

school teachers was obtained from Market Data Retrieval service.

Definitions

* Standards Based Reform (SBR): Used to refer to changes made within the
classroom, school or school district in the State of Florida having to do with
incorporating and/or documenting the Sunshine State Standards for science and as a
result of preparing students for the FCAT, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment
Test.

* High Stakes Testing: refers to the practice where states use standardized test
scores to make important decisions such as graduation, retention, school funding,
teacher salary increases, and placement and removal of school principals. High
stakes testing is a controversial issue since many people argue test scores only
reflect test-taking ability and not how much a student really knows.

* Curriculum Alignment: refers to the degree of alignment between curriculum,
national or state standards and assessment. Generally curriculum alignment is a
good thing since material covered in class is directly related to assessments.
Problems can arise when assessments are not aligned with curriculum because
teachers often may alter curriculum and instruction and remove important material
to prepare students for tests.

* National Science Education Standards (NSES): refers to a document published
by the National Research Council that outlines guidelines for content, teaching,
professional development and assessment for K-12 science.

* Sunshine State Standards for Science (SSS for science): Refers to the State of
Florida's individual content standards for K-12 science. This document does not
include standards for teaching, assessment or for professional development.

* American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): An association
of scientists and engineers responsible for the seminal publications Science for All










Americans and Benchmarks for Science Literacy. They have also provided the
resources and personnel for the national reform effort Project 2061.

* National Science Foundation (NSF): The influential government organization
providing a maj or source of funding for research in science and science education.

* National Science Teachers Association (NSTA): The national organization of
K-12 science teachers.

* The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT): Florida's annual
standardized testing regimen. Consists of tests in math, reading and science.

* Statewide Systemic Initiatives (SSI): Statewide SBR initiatives funded by the
National Science Foundation. Funds were given to twenty-five states in the 1990's
to help states begin reform. Data are still being collected and analyzed.

* Stanford Research Institute, International (SRI International): the research
institute which compiled the case studies of the various SSIs explained above.

* National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM): the national
organization of K-12 teachers of mathematics, similar to the NSTA for science
teachers. NCTM is the creator of the national standards for the teaching of
mathematics.

* Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS): an international study in
which students around the world in their last year of secondary school were tested
in math and science. Results were compared and countries were ranked according
to student performance.

Summary

This chapter provides some of the pertinent background information on high-

stakes testing, standards based reform and science education reform. In addition, the

focus of the research was provided, along with the procedures followed, the

instrumentation and the questions addressed by the study. The second chapter discusses

contemporary efforts at reform in K-12 science education. It includes ideal conceptions

of reform from the national science education reform documents and the reality of

standards based reform in science. In addition, Chapter 2 provides a summary of the

middle school concept and explains the theoretical basis of the study. In chapter 3 the









methodological issues of the study are discussed and the research questions presented.

Chapter 4 contains the data analysis and the results of the study, and Chapter 5 presents a

discussion of the findings and their implications for education.















CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Introduction

The purpose of this study was to complete a general assessment of standards based

reform in Florida middle schools based on perceptions of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade

science teachers. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss contemporary efforts at reform

in K-12 science education including ideal conceptions of reform from the national

science reform documents and the reality of standards based reform in science. In

addition, the middle school concept is discussed, and a summary is provided of the

conceptual framework of the study, which is based on large scale change theory, as

described by Michael Fullan of the University of Toronto

An Introduction to Standards Based Reform In K-12 Science Education

One strong motivating factor of recent reform efforts in science education has come

as a result of the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) completed in

1997. TIMSS data received a great deal of media attention portraying American students

as average to below average in math and science. The American Association for the

Advancement of Science has responded to public dissatisfaction with the degree of

science preparation among K-12 students with the documents Science for All Americans

and Benchmarks for Science Literacy, published in the early 1990's. Both volumes have

attempted to capture what students should learn in science by the end of secondary

school .









A committee of experts including scientists, college of education faculty, and K-12

science teachers prepared the AAAS documents. The documents are part of an ongoing

reform effort called Proj ect 2061, named after the periodic comet Halley that appears

once every 75 years. The AAAS had two reasons for associating their project with

Halley's comet. First, they hope that by the year 2061, many of their visions for science

education will become reality. Second, the 75-year period of Halley corresponds with the

average life span of a human being. AAAS hopes to encourage science learning over a

lifetime, rather than just through secondary school, which is true for most people.

The AAAS Benchmarks organize the knowledge and skills in a format that has

roughly 90% overlap with the National Research Council's National Science Education

Standard~~ddsdddddd~~~~~ (NRC, 1996). Like the AAAS documents, the NSES outline detailed standards

for science content, science teaching including science process skills and inquiry,

assessment and professional development. Professional communities of scientists,

educators and teachers developed the standards through a process of extensive discussion

and review. The NSES represent goals for K-12 science education. They are based on

research on teaching and learning, and focus on helping students develop a depth of

knowledge about fundamental science content and processes (Bybee et al., 1997). It is

helpful to think of these standards as tools for promoting deeper and more reflective

approaches to setting state, district and local standards, creating assessments, selecting

curriculum and designing professional development. Measures of effectiveness must be

implemented later as a part of evaluating the form process. A companion volume,

Teaching Inquiry 0I ithr the Standard~~ddsdddddd~~~~~ (NRC, 2000), was prepared by a similar committee

of experts, and outlines detailed strategies for teachers to use in the classroom. The









National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) recommends the NSES serve as a

consensus for what must be done in K-12 science education in the United States.

Factors Contributing to the Best Cases of SBR in K-12 Science Education

There are several factors that contribute to success in the best cases of standards

based reform (St. John & Pratt, 1997). A strong and experienced leader, committed to

working with NSES and science reform, is among the most important factors. Such a

person is usually an administrator or a district level educator, who must work with

politicians and national level science reformers and build support among teachers. These

leaders must appeal to other influential individuals at the state and district level for

commitments to provide critical reform infrastructure such as funding, release time for

teachers, resources, expertise and consensus building. Supporting relationships such as

partnerships with the national reform community, college of education faculty, businesses

and the scientific community are also important. SBR is a highly individual process for

each state, district and school, and is strongly influenced by the character of the local

leadership.

The degree to which SBR becomes a reality in a particular district or state depends

on the overall health and functionality of the systems that are seeking to transform

themselves. SBR is most likely to be successful in states and districts that have

manageable circumstances such as strong leadership, reasonable size (smaller is better)

and lack of financial or political turmoil. Parents should be included as much as possible.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that SBR has both educational and political faces,

which are often at odds with each other. Care must be taken to build consensus among

stakeholders from different factions of the community such as teachers and politicians

(Kirst et al., 1997). While the inclusion of teachers and other stakeholders makes reform









a slow process, it is important to remember that there are no quick fixes. (Atkin & Black,

2003).

The Importance of Strategic Frameworks and the Inclusion of Stakeholders

In addition to teachers and students, participants in the reform process include

governors, state legislators, state education departments, state and local school boards,

school districts and schools. Other individuals involved include college of education

faculty, publishers, curriculum and assessment developers, business and industry,

informal educators, and professional organizations. Lastly, individuals who can offer

political and public support are important including scientists and engineers, business and

industry, federal, state and local governments, parents, the general public and teacher

unions. Bybee et al. (1997), recommend the following five step strategic framework for

implementation of SBR:

1. Dissemination, which involves developing awareness of the goals of NSES among
those responsible for policymaking, programs and teaching. This step also
addresses what the standards are, why they are needed and how they can be used to
shape policies and practice.

2. Interpretation, which involves increasing the understanding of and support for the
standards. Interpretation also involves analysis, dialogue, challenging current
conceptions for deeper understanding of the standards.

3. Implementation, including changing policies, programs and practices.

4. Evaluation of information gathered about impact can contribute directly to
improvement. Monitoring and feedback to various parts of the system results in
evolution.

5. Revision: improving the efficacy and influence of the standards.

Examples of Contemporary Reform Efforts in K-12 Science Education

To date, standards based reform in science in many schools in the United States

has not entirely followed the vision conceptualized in the national reform documents such









as NSES and Science for All Americans. The following paragraphs discuss various

challenges, problems and successes.

Lessons Learned From Reform in K-12 Mathematics

Similar challenges and problems have been experienced in the process of

standards based reform in K-12 mathematics education (Burrill, 1997). The NCTM~

standards for K-12 mathematics education are a few years older than NSES; more follow-

up study has taken place to evaluate progress made. Results in K-12 science education

are expected to be similar (Burrill, 1997). Research in K-12 Mathematics education has

shown that most states have written their own standards and are gradually beginning to

think in terms of how the standards will actually be put into practice. It is easy to blame

standards when reform efforts fail, but it is difficult to know whether successes and

failures are due to standards or the degree to which they are implemented. Schools need

to adopt more than just content standards. Teaching, assessment and professional

development standards, although usually neglected, are also very important. Common

barriers to full implementation of the NCTM~ standards include lack of teacher preparation

and unqualified or minimally qualified teachers, (Burrill, 1997). Financial inequalities,

lack of necessary materials and lack of access to technology also remain problems. Other

issues are lack of access for students (tracking), labeling products "standards based" that

aren't, and lack of understanding by politicians.

The Problem of Equity

Equity is another critical issue in SBR in K-12 science education. One study,

"Bridging the Gap: Equity in Systemic Reform" tried to identify factors affecting equity

in urban systemic reform in two large urban middle schools in Ohio (Hewson et al.,

2001). Progress was assessed by three factors: access, retention and achievement, each of









which has a number of indicators. When the indicators were present and/ or improving,

reform efforts were considered to be succeeding. Results showed that one school was

succeeding and one was not. The most serious barriers to success in the failing school

were fragmented community of teachers and administrators, and high levels of racial

tension (Hewson, et al., 2001).

Teachers' Science Backgrounds

Another barrier to implementing effective SBR is that many science teachers are

poorly trained. Many districts lack a Ph.D. level science educator with teaching

experience (Kumar, 1999). Field based teacher preparation programs facilitated by

college of education faculty are recommended as a solution along with professional

development networks and professional communities of practitioners. Integration of

knowledge about science with knowledge about teaching and pedagogy and science

methods classes that reflect what is really going on in real science classrooms are also of

critical importance (Kumar, 1999). Emphasis should also be placed on discussion,

sharing and collaborating as well as creation of communities of learners.

Lessons Learned from Ohio's Reform Efforts

Ohio was one of the first 10 states to receive NSF funding for a Statewide

Systemic Initiative (SSI), (Boone, 1997). Analysis of attitudinal data collected from

Ohio teachers and principals has helped to identify the level of support for NSES and the

degree to which implementation of NSES is likely to proceed (Boone, 1997). Results

showed that teachers and principals have slightly different priorities. Principals' values

are more traditional and conservative, and, Boone reports that principals are less likely

than teachers to see the importance of many items that are a critical part of science

reform. Successful implementation of the NSES may require making explicit connections









between activities principals value and those critical to conducting inquiry based science.

Recommendations include short, targeted workshops or programs on NSES for

principals. In addition, broad and deep professional development is recommended for

teachers to facilitate full implementation of NSES. Videos of exemplary teaching are also

suggested for teachers, because principals are reluctant to give release time for

observations. Finally, six-week teacher institutes are recommended for important topics

such as nature of science and process of inquiry (Boone, 1997).

Nine additional states, Maine, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Michigan,

Louisiana, California, Montana and Arkansas received extensive NSF funding for

Statewide Systemic Initiatives (SSIs) during the 1990's (SRI International, 1998). Case

studies of the SSI process for the above states were compiled by researchers at SRI

International. The case studies conveyed how states mobilized people and resources

from academia, school personnel, state level educators, and legislators to accomplish

reform. Florida was one of 15 additional states to receive initial NSF funding for SSIs,

although a case study of Florida was never published by SRI International.

The Case of Maine's SSI

Maine is an excellent example of a state that conducted its SSI process similar to

the recommendations of St. John and Pratt (St. John & Pratt, 1997). According to the

case study published by SRI, outcomes were very positive (Adelman, 1998). The

objectives for Maine's SSI were to improve math and science outcomes for students, and

to raise their academic aspirations for higher education; Maine has typically lower

enrollments in post secondary institutions than other states.









The Maine mathematics and science alliance (MMSA)

Maine's SSI operated as the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA) a

non-profit organization independent from the State department of education, but still

closely aligned with it and its other partners. The extra-governmental status of MMSA

was considered to be critical as it facilitated a local control environment with significant

sources of local expertise for state and local policy makers to consult. MMSA

accomplished an atmosphere of collaboration and cooperation over many factions that

allowed many stakeholders to contribute. This allowed Maine's SSI to avoid feelings of

frustration and resistance encountered in other states such as California (Shields et al.,

1998) which proceeded with a more specifically state-mandated top-down approach to

reform initiatives. MMSA was organized around four committees, each chaired by one

or more SSI principal Investigators. The committees worked to influence state policy,

support local demonstrations of systemic reform, provide local technical assistance to

local districts on requests, and to develop statewide and regional leadership necessary to

institutionalize its vision of math and science reform.

MMSA accomplishments

In terms of accomplishments MMSA developed a curriculum framework for math

and science content standards. In addition, it developed legislative policy called

"Maine's Learning Results" with which statewide assessments were aligned. MMSA

oversaw development and implementation of seven demonstration projects called

"Beacon Sites" (Adelman, 1998) that served as examples for the ongoing implementation

of reform measures. The Beacon sites, along with MMSA staff provided assistance to

school districts as they worked with curriculum frameworks, the Learning Results

legislation and student assessments. Teacher networks were developed to provide










support for local teachers. The SRI case study estimated that over the period of the SSI,

assistance with reform reached approximately sixty percent of Maine' s teachers. Twenty

percent received intensive guidance.

Governance and organization of MMSA

Governance and organization of MMSA and Maine's SSI, were overseen by a

thirty member board of advisors that represented a wide array of stakeholders in math and

science reform, which included The state education agency, institutes of higher

education, the state legislature, the state board of education, non-profit agencies, research

institutions, and representatives from business and industry. MMSA' s four committees

were the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Committee (CIA), the Professional

Preparation and Development Committee (PPD), the Community Integration Committee

(CIC), and the Strategic Planning and Assessment Committee (SPA).

The Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Committee (CIA) was co-chaired by

math and science specialists from the State Department of Education. The primary

responsibility was to oversee the development of Maine's curriculum frameworks for

math and science. In addition, the CIA committee was responsible for development of

strategies to disseminate framework and train local districts, schools and teachers about

how the framework can improve curriculum at the local level. The CIA committee was

also responsible for oversight of the seven Beacon Centers.

The Professional Preparation and Development Committee (PPD) was chaired by

a former president of the University of Maine. The PPD's focus was on pre-service

preparation of new teachers and continuing professional development of the states math

and science teachers. The PPD was also responsible for planning of the initiative's

professional development academies for math and science. The PPD facilitated










connections and collaboration with the higher education community. Finally, it was

responsible for overseeing state certification standards for teachers.

The Community Integration Committee (CIC) was chaired by the director of

human resources for a large Maine semiconductor company that had a vested interest in a

state workforce that is well prepared in math, science and technology. The CIC was

responsible for increasing public awareness for the need to improve math and science

education, and for building corporate support for MMSA and Maine's SSI. In addition,

the CIC was to work with community action teams consisting of groups of professionals

assembled to support the reform movement. These action teams were responsible for

restructuring at each of the Beacon Centers.

The fourth committee was the Strategic Planning and Assessment Committee

(SPA), which was responsible for internal and external evaluation of MMSA and Maine's

SSI. External evaluation was contracted to the Center of Research and Evaluation at the

University of Maine, Orono, and occasional out of state consultants. The internal

evaluation was also overseen by the Center for Research and Evaluation at University of

Maine, Orono.

Maine's SSI outcomes

Teachers reported no changes in their own classrooms regarding the use of

traditional practices. However, they reported vastly increased use of innovative practices.

This suggests that Maine's teachers are expanding their instructional repertoire, but they

are making seasoned choices regarding appropriate assessment of old and new practices

(Adelman, 1998). In terms of effects on students, Beacon School students outperformed

other students in the state on the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA). During the

period of the SSI the gender-gap narrowed for MEA scores; scores for Native American









students also improved. Enrollment increased in higher-level courses and at post-

secondary institutions. These improvements were believed to be at least partly

attributable to the efforts of MMSA. In terms of effects on schools, the greatest effects

were seen at schools where the faculty had adhered to some central plans for whole

school change (Adelman, 1998).

A summary of Maine's SSI

In summary, MMSA as an organization independent of state government, was

critical to the progress made in Maine's SSI for K-12 science education. In addition, the

distribution of leadership roles in reform initiatives to a wide array of stakeholders was

helpful both by encouraging commitment and by creating lasting partnerships.

Investigators also found that by allowing local control, districts and schools remained

productive as long as there was statewide consensus on expectations for students.

Finally, there must be commitment from state and MMSA personnel to help local

decision makers understand and incorporate critical changes in their schools.

Aspects of the Middle School Concept Promoted by Middle School Advocates

There is a direct relationship between effective middle school programs and

personnel who understand early adolescents and take their needs seriously. It is therefore

important for educators to have a clear understanding of early adolescents and their

unique needs. Early adolescence is a period marked by many changes including

accelerating physical and intellectual development. Seven characteristics have been

identified in middle school students that are unique to their age group (George, 1993),

including:

1. Becoming aware of increased physical changes,

2. Organizing knowledge and concepts into problem solving strategies,










3. Learning new social/sex roles,

4. Recognizing ones identification with stereotype,

5. Developing friendships with others,

6. Gaining a sense of independence,

7. Gaining a sense of morality and values.

An informed and caring staff must address these factors, which run the full range of the,

intellectual, the physical, and the emotional.

The "middle school concept" was created based on these characteristics of young

adolescents, (Alexander et al. 1968). Eight critical guidelines for effective middle schools

based on the middle school concept are described (Carnegie Council, 1989) including:

1. Creating a community of learners,

2. A core academic program,

3. Ensure success for all students,

4. Empower teachers and administrators with creative control and decision making
power,

5. Staff teachers who are experts on the young adolescent,

6. Improve academic performance through fostering health and fitness,

7. Re-engage families in the education of students,

8. Connect schools with communities in the form of partnerships and the sharing of
resources.

As more and more students who are at risk for failure enter middle schools, the

problem of ineffective middle schools has become catastrophic. A maj or examination and

restructuring effort is necessary in middle schools across the United States. Rigorous

reform of traditional middle school with the middle school concept in mind will allow the

creation of student centered schools. In an environment designed with their needs in










mind, more middle school students will have a chance to make a successful transition

through middle school.

Interdisciplinary Teams

Schools that are divided into smaller subgroups and teams can help create a

seamless environment where all students feel valued. Because students believe they

belong, they display more enthusiasm and learning increases. Although successful

academic teams differ from school to school, there are several characteristics that are

considered essential. One requirement is that a core group of teachers be paired with a

core group of students. Two to four teachers typically are assigned a group of 50-150

students who spend most of every day together. A team of four teachers might consist of

one math, one English, one science and one social studies teacher (Arnold & Stevenson,

1998). An alternative is that two teachers will teach two subj ects each, for example one

math and science, and the other English and social studies. Teams of two teachers will

typically be responsible for half the number of students as four teacher teams. Team

teachers should have both common planning time and individual planning time. Common

planning time should be used for regular meetings to discuss students, curriculum and

other team issues. Team teachers have decision-making power regarding their students,

as well as curricular and administrative issues. Every team must have a leader to direct

team meetings and to serve as a liaison with other teams, the administration and parents.

Within these groups, students are able to get to know every other student on their

team. Many close friendships develop from this daily proximity of students on the same

team. Teachers are responsible for fewer students, although they may teach more subj ect

areas. With fewer students, teachers are able to get to know every one of their students to

a much greater extent. Teachers can better provide support to each student where he or









she needs it most. On teams with interdisciplinary, thematic curriculum, students are

better able to make connections across subj ect areas. Students have greater opportunities

to collaborate with teachers in terms of curriculum and classroom policies. This leads to

greater cooperation, motivation, and overall enthusiasm. Scheduling can better

accommodate special proj ects since teachers can decide as a team how to allocate their

time together (Erb & Stevenson, 1999). Finally, academic teams can facilitate the

formation of a true community of learners. Academic teaming can help student

collaboration and enthusiasm reach exceptional levels. Utilization of academic teams can

also facilitate smoother year-to-year transitions for students.

Shared Decision-Making

Instead of the traditional approach, where one administrator has complete control

over how a school is run, a more democratic form of governance can allow teachers to

have a greater stake in important aspects of school structure and function (Darling-

Hammond, 1997, Senge, 1994). The democratic school leadership plan consists of many

intercommunicating groups working on different aspects of school improvement. With

democratic school leadership, the entire school community participates in creating an

effective learning environment. Everyone is a stakeholder, because everyone is affected

by the outcome. Research has shown that in schools where everyone has a voice,

achievement is higher in students of all ability levels. Components of the democratic

leadership model are leadership teams, inquiry groups, school improvement plans,

student involvement, and an updated role for the school principal.

Leadership Teams

Typically, leadership teams consist of the principal and each of the teacher team

leaders (Senge, 1994). Other members are also sought from the school community, such









as the teacher's union representative, health and social service professionals, parents,

community members and students. These individuals may serve in a volunteer or elected

capacity. Meetings are typically open to the public, but only the core members may vote

on issues. The primary responsibility of the leadership team is to draft and implement a

school improvement plan (SIP). In addition, the leadership team must integrate and

facilitate all school improvement efforts, as well as make all information available to the

entire school staff and community.

Inquiry Groups

Once leadership teams have identified problems on which to focus, groups of

teachers are assigned to Inquiry Groups. Teachers work within an inquiry group to

investigate a particular problem and report back with possible solutions (Darling

Hammond, 1997). Every teacher should participate in at least one inquiry group based on

their individual strengths and interests. Possible topics for inquiry groups include

additional workshop and professional development opportunities, as well as research on

possible program changes such as small teacher teams and alternative schedules.

The School Improvement Plan

In the process of creating a School Improvement Plan (SIP) the leadership team

must analyze the school's strengths and weaknesses, and set goals for improvement.

Since action and change are the most important outcomes of the SIP, goals must be

reasonable, "with realistic action steps, time lines, roles, responsibilities and resources for

accomplishing them" (Jackson, 2000). All teachers should be involved in preparing and

implementing the SIP either as part of the leadership team or in inquiry groups. There

are five important steps of the SIP process:

1. To create a school wide vision,









2. Assessing the schools current circumstances,
3. Setting priorities,
4. Developing strategies for action,
5. Evaluating effects of changes to monitor progress.

Extensive information should be collected from members of the school community

and used for "systematic data analysis" (Jackson, 2000). Complete and extensive

documentation helps ensure that careful and correct decisions are made. Recurring "self-

studies" are also encouraged, first for obtaining baseline information, and later for

assessing and re-assessing changes and improvements (Jackson, 2000).

The Updated Role of the Principal

The principal's role in a successful school is "...to cultivate teachers' intrinsic

motivation and to create a culture of continuous improvement", as well as to develop and

oversee a democratic plan of shared leadership and decision-making (Jackson, 2000).

Successful schools have successful leaders (Useem, 1997, Valentine, 1997). Success as a

principal depends on facilitating smooth cooperative efforts among all members of the

leadership team and inquiry groups. The principal must also obtain community and staff

support for all changes by informing them of all benefits and inviting them to participate.

Districts need to give principals full support to carry out the steps in school improvement

plans. School improvement efforts will not be successful without district support, or

when the district is pulling in a different direction altogether. Finally, the principal must

establish criteria for hiring new teachers, and for the evaluation of existing teachers. The

principal must be free to uphold these criteria and ensure that all teachers at the school

are effective in promoting student learning.









Theoretical Framework of the Study: Change Theory

The theoretical framework underpinning this examination of Florida' s statewide

standards-based reform initiatives is that of change theory as described by Michael

Fullan. Professor and Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the

University of Toronto, Michael Fullan is a leading expert on change theory. He is also the

author of several books on the subj ect which provided the information for the following

discussion (Fullan, 1993, 1999, 2001).

An Introduction to Change Theory

The process of incorporating standards, aligning curriculum and incorporating new

standardized assessments requires change at a systemic level that is extraordinarily

complicated, time consuming and difficult to create and sustain. There is no single

protocol that can work for all schools. Because every school is unique, processes and

techniques cannot be borrowed without some degree of modification. Every school must

create a plan to suit its own particular culture. Principals are the key players and are in

the correct position to create effective schools, referred to as "moving", "learning

enriched" schools, "professional learning communities" or "interactive communities of

practice" (Fullan, 1999).

Only twenty five percent of successful school reform is knowing what steps to take.

The remaining seventy-five percent involves developing effective processes and

conditions among and within school personnel. Most people do not fully understand or

invest in a process unless they are deeply involved. All stakeholders must have a sense

of ownership of reform that is a "progressive process achieved individual by individual

until a critical mass is received....All involved must feel a common stake in the process"










(Fullan, 1999). Unpredictability, conflict and inconsistency must be expected and

overcome throughout the process.

According to change theory all educational change ultimately depends on what

teachers do and think. It is especially important to keep this in mind because reform and

change can be stressful for many teachers. An effective tool is the development of

learning communities and an atmosphere of collegiality where teachers feel respected,

included and instrumental in all parts of the reform process.

Principals are the "gatekeepers of change" (Fullan, 1993). In order for schools to

improve, they must have a principal to lead the transformation process. However, it is a

very difficult process and not all principals are up to the task. Principals must share

leadership by reaching out to parents and community. They must strive to expand the

professional capacity of teachers and develop a coherent, professional community.

Characteristics of good leaders include being relationship centered, promoting individual

accountability, developing clear collegial value frameworks, fostering conditions required

for school growth, developing shared commitment to mutual purpose and shared belief in

ongoing common actions, ability to develop school capacity, increase quality of teaching

within school and work to promote cohesiveness and eliminate fragmentation (Fullan,

2001). With excellent leaders, students are more likely to have three good teachers in a

row, which is a critical factor in student success.

A Balance of Top-down and Bottom-up Reform

Although districts and states must be involved to provide standards and support,

ultimately the schools must be responsible for creation and implementation of successful

plans for improvement. There must be a balance of top-down and bottom-up reform, and

there are key similarities among effective schools, leaders, teachers and districts. The










first is that all leadership is based on a relationship of trust at all levels to pursue

autonomy rather than dependency. The second is that districts must support learning

among principals who will, in tumn, support learning for teachers who will do the same

for students. The third is the requirement of individual cultural transformations within

each school. At all levels, it is much more productive to foster an atmosphere of

autonomy rather than dependency. Again, while external standards and support are

necessary, real and lasting improvements must be generated from within the school itself.

In terms of government' s role in educational change, accountability measures and

pressure to change schools without focus on support and capacity building will not

succeed. Accountability measures and pressure cannot change the quality of teaching and

learning, or create the beliefs and behaviors required for success. Moreover, overload

can be created by accountability measures, curriculum reform and dramatic changes

imposed by government. Principals must be courageous, independent and flexible

enough to adapt innovations to suit their own schools. Many principals fail to create

positive change because they comply blindly with demands imposed by government.

One strategy is that governments begin with top-down reform in terms of accountability,

standards and pressure on local schools. Then there must be capacity building and

support for schools to create their own cultural change and professional learning

communities.

In order for successful systemic reform to occur, more good teachers must be

attracted to the teaching professions. To a large extent, schools that succeed in capacity

building and reculturing efforts to become professional learning communities will be









attractive places for good teachers to work. In addition, work must be done to improve

teacher education programs and professional development opportunities.

Parents and community members can be a great resource to schools and are

largely untapped resources in most cases. Teachers must reach out to parents because a

productive alignment of teachers, parents and students can make huge differences in

student success. Many parents will need help and support from teachers and schools to

play a productive role, and schools must be prepared to help bring out whatever each

parent has to offer the school community. New community or regional institutions may

be needed to integrate schools into the wider community.

The Three Stories of Reform: Inside, Inside-Out and Outside-In

The dynamics of systemic change involve internal and external forces that can be

explained with three stories that are critical to the understanding of reform: the inside

story, the inside-out story and the outside-in story (Fullan, 2000).

The inside story of reform

The inside story is what is known about how to change the internal dynamics of a

school for the better. Schools that are more successful have teachers and administrators

who do the following three things on a regular basis: they conscientiously create a

professional learning community at their school; they focus on student work and

alternative assessments; and they alter instructional practices to obtain better results.

There is an important need for both restructuring and reculturing in schools.

Restructuring, refers to changes in structure, roles and related elements of the school

organization. Each school should have a site based team or local school council to

oversee school restructuring. Restructuring is easier than reculturing but by itself makes

no difference in the quality of teaching and learning in a school.










Reculturing is the process of developing professional learning communities within

the school. It involves the transition toward full attention to the issues of assessment and

pedagogy and improvements in student achievement. A key difference between

restructuring and reculturing is that while structures within the school can block or

facilitate the process, the development of the professional community within the school is

the critical factor in creating and maintaining change. The professional community can

help create changes in both structure and culture. One of the complicating factors of

school reform on a systemic scale is that there can be no plan or guide that will work for

all schools. Every school must devise their own plan based on the unique needs and

character of its own school environment.

The inside-out story of reform

The inside out story is based on the fact that even schools with large amounts of

local control are still working with significant external factors such as government policy,

parents and community, the wider teaching profession, technology and corporate

connections. All of these factors may complicate school functioning, but they must be

dealt with appropriately for successful improvement and change to occur. The big

challenge for schools is to figure out how to make all of these outside forces work in their

favor. Schools must cope with and overcome negative forces, and identify all resources.

At times negative forces may turn out to be resources if they are approached

appropriately. Schools must continually learn from outside forces, mobilize resources

and build coherence.

A good plan of action for schools that wish to develop their professional learning

community and become collaborative schools is to be selective about the innovations

they try to implement. They must make selective choices for staff development, and










constantly work on connectedness. Schools must continue to work on applying what they

learn.

The outside-in story of reform

The outside-in story is the perspective of individuals on the outside looking in, for

example department of education personnel, school district personnel, whole states or

sets of intermediate agencies in between. Although much is known about how to help

make individual schools succeed, little is known about how to make large numbers of

schools in the same system succeed at once. There are four key elements of external

reform, specifically policies regarding decentralization, local capacity building, rigorous

external accountability, and stimulation of innovation.

In terms of decentralization, a delicate balance must exist between top-down and

bottom up reform. External forces must play a role in empowering schools to improve

their structure and culture. It is important for local schools to have independence and

control over how to make the appropriate changes for their individual situation.

However, outside forces must remain invested and aware of an individual school's

progress. They must maintain both pressure and support for positive change. In addition,

care must be taken to ensure that existing state policies are conducive to school

improvement and change. Policies that do not facilitate improvement must be replaced

with those that will, and no policy should work at cross-purposes to any other, which can

be a serious barrier to reform.

Local capacity building must be supported by outside forces. Schools must be

empowered to build their individual professional learning community and engage in

restructuring and reculturing. Investments must be made in local schools' policies,

training, and professional development. Ongoing support must be provided, as well as










training for school teams and local school councils. Initial teacher education programs

must be redesigned, and new activities must be adopted to prepare existing teachers,

principals, parents and others to function as part of the professional learning community,

both within and outside the school.

Another significant influence from outside local schools is that of external

accountability. External accountability systems must be rigorous and built into the

infrastructure, because schools do best when they attend to standards and performance.

The external accountability system should generate the data and procedures that will be

helpful in identifying areas for change and improvement. There must be a balance

between accountability support and accountability intervention. Although external

sources must intervene in failing schools, they must also focus on capacity building for

all schools. Adequate support must be provided for schools to build their individual

professional learning communities.

In order to stimulate innovation, which is the fourth key element of external reform,

investments must be made in research, development, and innovative networks. The

market place of education must constantly be maintained, and all new implementations

must be maintained.

A summary of change theory

The three interrelated components discussed above must be functioning smoothly

in order for successful systemic change. Individual schools must work to restructure and

reculture themselves into professional learning communities. At the same time, they

must be responsive to forces and demands outside the school. Forces outside the school

must take part in both support and intervention within individual schools. In order for

systemic reform to succeed, there must be a balance between top-down and bottom-up










reform. Schools must be free to determine their own culture and needs, but they will not

succeed unless they are actively connecting to the outside. Outside forces must provide

both pressure and support to individual schools. Fullan has designated a formula (Fullan,

2001), to summarize and explain his philosophy of systemic reform:

E = MCA2, where:

E = the rate of efficacy of the system
M = motivation for reform in terms of will, purpose and commitment
C = capacity for reform in terms of skills, resources and know how
A2 = assistance x accountability


The greatest energy for reform is generated in a system of integrated pressure and

support in which capacity and accountability are both increased. The biggest barriers to

reform are overload, where too much is attempted at one time, and fragmentation, which

causes community and collaborative efforts to break down.

A Summary of the Overlap between Change Theory and Literature on K-12 Science
Education Reform and Highly Functioning Middle Schools

It is clear that there are several overlapping features among the characteristics of

best cases of reform according to change theory, the science education community and

Maine's case study as a successful reform effort. Many of the same features are also

present in highly functioning middle schools. In particular, all promote collaboration

between and among all maj or stakeholders and the development of a shared vision that is

unique for each school. Although external accountability measures that apply standards

and pressure to schools are necessary, schools also need support and autonomy for

successful reform to occur.

The exact degree to which each of the Florida schools participating in this study

followed these guidelines of reform is impossible to determine from one survey.










However, teachers' responses to the survey have reinforced, to some extent, the

recommendations made in the literature summarized above. The results and implications

for this study will be discussed in later chapters, as explained below.

Summary


The purpose of this chapter was to discuss contemporary efforts at reform in K-12

science education including ideal conceptions of reform in the national science reform

documents and the reality of standards based reform in science. In addition, the middle

school concept was discussed, and a summary provided of the conflict between reformers

and advocates of the middle school. The theoretical framework of the research was

discussed.

Chapter three will discuss the methodology of the study, including an analysis of

data from the pilot study in Alachua County. Chapter four will present the results of the

study, and Chapter five will present the conclusions.















CHAPTER 3
IVETHODOLOGY

Introduction

This chapter outlines the methods used for the study. The following paragraphs

contain a summary of the study, the research questions, an outline of the procedure

consisting of the instrumentation and types of data collected, reliability and validity of the

instrument, the pilot study, data collection, sample and analysis of data.

Summary of Study

This study was designed to assess the status and effectiveness of SBR in Florida

middle school science programs. It was exploratory in the sense that little information is

available yet about teachers' perspectives of reform. Specifically, this study was intended

to provide an assessment of teacher' s perceptions of changes taking place in their

classrooms and schools as a result of SBR and the FCAT in middle school science

programs in Florida. Because teachers are at the center of all reform efforts, their

perspective is critical. They are in a position to know what is happening and how well

reform efforts are working. To date, few studies have documented teachers' perceptions

of reform. The term standards based reform, or SBR, was used to refer to changes made

within the classroom, school or school district in the State of Florida that result from

incorporating and/ or documenting the Sunshine State Standards and preparing students

for the science FCAT, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

Results from this study were based on responses of sixth, seventh and eighth grade

science teachers to a survey designed to discover their perceptions of 1) the degree to










which teachers have made changes in curriculum and instruction in the process of

incorporating the Sunshine State Standards (SSS) for science and preparing students for

the science FCAT; and 2) Teacher' s perceptions of the consequences of SBR and FCAT

both in science and across subj ect areas at their schools. In addition, the survey was

intended to portray teacher attitudes regarding: 1) SBR school wide; 2) SBR specific to

the changes they are making in their science classrooms; and 3) The overall effect of

SBR on science curriculum and instruction.

Research Questions

1. How widespread are standards based reform efforts in science in Florida middle
schools?

In order to answer this question the survey included questions including: "To what

extent is your curriculum based on the Sunshine State Standards For Science?" "To what

extent is your school engaged in standards based reform?" "How many professional

development workshop hours have been spent at your school addressing issues in SBR?"

Answers to these kinds of questions may clarify how much emphasis different schools

are placing on reform efforts, and how much progress schools have made with reform

efforts .

2. What kinds of changes have schools made in the process of reform efforts?

What are the kinds of changes schools are making regarding documenting and / or

incorporating the SSS for science and to prepare students for the FCAT? Are there

similarities among schools in terms of the kinds of changes made, or are there variations

among schools? Are there consistent patterns among these differences and similarities?

In order to answer these questions teachers were asked to respond to questions on the

survey including curricular, instructional and assessment practices used currently,










whether changes are being made, and what those changes are. Clarification of what those

changes are may allow us to discover the kinds of changes schools are making in the

process of reform.

Specific examples of questions are: "What is the primary source of your

curriculum?" "What kinds of assessments do you normally use?" "Do you use

interdisciplinary or integrated curriculum?" "Has the amount of time spent on basic skills

changed?" "Has the use of technology changed?"

3. How successful are current reform efforts based on teachers' perceptions?

Teachers were asked to answer survey questions regarding whether they think

implementation of SBR has had primarily positive or negative effects on curriculum and

instruction. Teachers who have complicated views were encouraged to expand on their

opinions and return their comments with the survey. Examples of specific yes or no

response questions were: "I believe student achievement has increased as a result of

standards based reform."; "I believe student achievement has increased as a result

FCAT."; "I believe that increased school accountability has been a positive effect of the

Governor' s A+ Schools Program"; and "I believe that increased time spent on test

preparation has come at the expense other important curricular items."

4. What are teacher attitudes regarding current or upcoming reform efforts?

a. How favorable are teachers' attitudes toward standards based reform in general?

b. How favorable are teacher attitudes regarding changes they are making in their
own classrooms?

Teachers were asked about their attitudes toward the math and reading FCAT and

the Governor's A+ Program as well as their opinions about what they are asked to do in

their own classrooms regarding SBR. For example, there were survey items that asked










teachers if they believe SBR has had a positive effect on teaching and learning in science.

The attitude questions were included in the attitude scale section of the survey. Examples

of survey questions are: "I believe that SBR and FCAT preparation has led to increased

teacher stress." "I believe increased student achievement has been a positive effect of the

Governors' A+ Schools Program." And "I believe the Govemnor's A+ Schools Program

has caused a deterioration in our school's climate." Again, teacher opinions and attitudes

are of critical importance because of the central role they play in SBR, and the

preparation of students for the FCAT.

5. What kinds of changes have teachers made, or anticipate making, in their work as
a result of standards based reform?

Teachers were asked about changes they have been requested to make in their

classrooms. For example, the survey contained items regarding documentation of the

SSS for science in lesson plans. In addition, there are questions that allow teachers to

specify particular changes they are making in their classrooms. Examples of yes or no

survey questions are: "As a result of SBR and the Science FCAT I have been encouraged

to spend more time covering basic skills." "As a result of SBR and FCAT I have less

freedom to allow students to leamn at their own pace.", and "As a result of the science

FCAT the amount of memorization I require of my students has increased." Information

collected from teachers regarding changes they are asked to make in their teaching can

help specify what is happening in schools as a result of standards based reform and

FCAT.

6. Are there patterns in teacher attitudes related to:

a. Number of years teachers have been teaching at their current school,
b. Teacher attitudes toward school administration,










c. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch,

d. Type of school community environment: urban, suburban, rural,
e. Percentage of minority students at each school,
f. What grade level they are teaching: sixth, seventh or eighth?


The survey collected data regarding 1) the number of years they have been teaching

at their current school, 2) teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school, 3)

the number of students on free and reduced lunch, 4) whether their school community is

in an urban, rural or suburban environment 5) the percentage of minority students at each

school and 6) whether teachers are teaching sixth, seventh or eighth graders. This may be

important, for example, if there is more pressure on eighth grade teachers to prepare

students for the science FCAT since the science FCAT is given only to eighth graders at

this time.

Answers to these questions may allow clarification of whether the level of seniority

a teacher has at a particular school influences their attitudes toward SBR. In addition,

teacher attitudes may be influenced by socio-demographic factors of the school

community, the type of community surrounding the school, or by the levels of

recognition and support they receive in their schools.

Outline of Procedure

Instrumentation and Types of Data Collected

The instrument consists of a survey designed for middle school science teachers at

the sixth, seventh and eighth grade levels. The survey can be found in Appendix A. All

questions were answered from the perspective of these middle school science teachers.

The survey is divided into the following sections:










Aspects of school science curriculum

This portion of the survey was intended to elucidate aspects of schools' sixth,

seventh and eighth grade science curricula from the viewpoint of the teachers. In

addition, some questions were included about curricular practices outside of the science

program. Teachers were asked to respond to questions such as: "What grade level do you

primarily teach?" "What kind of curriculum do you have? Is it traditional, subj ect-based?

Is it interdisciplinary or integrated? Do you use parallel curriculum?" What is the primary

source of your curriculum? Curriculum or textbook package? Is it created by teachers or

school district?" "To what extent is your curriculum based on the SSS for science?"

"What kinds of assessments do you use? Multiple-choice? Essay exams? Portfolio

assessments? Alternative, authentic or performance based assessments?" "How much

time is spent in the laboratory or on laboratory type activities?" and "How much time is

spent on constructivist, student-centered or inquiry based activities?".

General aspects of SBR at individual schools

A portion of the survey was intended to obtain teachers' perceptions of SBR in

their own school program. Examples of questions are: "To what extent is your school

involved in standards based reform?" "How many hours have you spent this year at your

school in professional development in the area of SBR?" "Do you feel pressure to prepare

students for the FCAT?" "How much of your instructional time is dedicated to

standardized test preparation?", and "Do you believe that increased school accountability

has been a positive effect of the Governor' s A+ Schools Program?"

Aspects of SBR in middle school science programs

The survey contained questions on whether teachers have been asked to make

changes in their teaching involving the Sunshine State Standards for science or the









science FCAT and what those changes were. The survey also addressed teacher attitudes

toward SBR and the effect it has had on their own teaching. There were also questions

asking teachers about the effect the changes have had on their own teaching. Examples

of survey questions are: "Who requires the use of the SSS for science? Principal?

Superintendent? Department chair?" Do you believe that student achievement in science

has increased as a result of SBR or the science FCAT?" "Have you felt pressure to alter

your science curriculum to prepare students for the science FCAT?" and "Do you believe

that SBR has resulted in increased effectiveness of your science curriculum?"

Background information from participating teachers

Information regarding the seniority of teachers in terms of number of years

teaching at current school was collected. This information may be helpful in determining

whether teacher attitudes vary depending on the length of their career and the length of

time since their training.

Demographic information of schools and surrounding communities

Information was collected on the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch

at each school. The percentage of minority students and information on the type of

community surrounding the school: urban, rural or suburban, was obtained from Market

Data Retrieval. This information may be helpful in determining whether teachers at

schools with affluent students are different from teachers at schools with predominantly

poor students, or if inner city schools are different from suburban or rural schools.

Individual teacher comments

Since the survey format did not allow teachers to elaborate on their responses, they

were encouraged to send in additional comments with their surveys. Many teachers did









choose to return individual comments. These anonymous comments are summarized by

county in Appendix C.

Reliability of Instrument

Table 3.1. Reliability Analysis of Teacher Attitude Scale
Teacher Attitude Scale Alpha =.9155

(Questions 66-107)


The reliability of the instrument was determined using data from the statewide

study, described later. All survey questions used to answer research question #6 for the

statewide study were in the Teacher Attitude Scale section of the survey. The reliability

for the teacher attitude scale section of the survey was alpha = .9155. Item total

correlations for all questions were above .2 except for number 107, which was .0691,

indicating that all items except for number 107 were performing well. All item total

correlations are available in appendix G.

Validity of Instrument

The item total correlations described above also helped determine the content

validity of the survey instrument. The instrument was also examined prior to pilot testing

by the following experts to determine content validity. All experts determined that the

survey was acceptable for use.

1. Paul S. George, Distinguished Professor of Teaching and Learning, University of
Florida.

2. M. David Miller, Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of
Florida

3. Anne E. Seraphine, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology,
University of Florida.

4. Lee J. Mullally, Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning, University of
Florida









5. Maurice E. Lucas, Director of Research, Evaluation and Zoning, School Board of
Alachua County, Gainesville, Florida

6. Joan S. Lindgren, Assistant Professor of Science Education, Florida Atlantic
University, Jupiter, Florida.

7. Randall C. Penfield, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology,
University of Florida.

The Pilot Study

This study was divided into two parts. First, a pilot study was completed with

teachers from Alachua County only. The pilot data was used to test the procedure for

data collection and determine whether the survey items were functioning properly.

Following analysis of pilot data, a statewide study was completed in which surveys were

sent to 265 randomly selected teachers throughout the state of Florida. The procedure for

data collection worked well for the pilot study and was used for the statewide study, as

described below. No changes were made to the survey as a result of analysis of pilot data.

A summary of pilot data is available in Appendix D.

Data Collection: Statewide Mailing

Following analysis of pilot data, the survey was distributed to middle school

science teachers throughout Florida. Two hundred sixty-five surveys were sent to middle

school science teachers in Florida. In order to obtain the best possible response rate, the

Tailored Design Method was used (Dillman, 2000). In the Tailored Design Method, four

individualized contacts were made with each teacher. Each teacher was addressed in each

mailing by name and title. In the first mailing, an introductory letter was sent describing

the study, its significance to curriculum and instruction in science, and the critical

importance of teachers' experience in helping to answer the questions posed in the study.

A second mailing was sent two days after the first containing a second cover and the









survey itself. A third mailing was sent within a week containing a thank you note to all

teachers for returning the completed survey. The fourth mailing which contained a

replacement survey was sent two weeks later. The cover letter sent to teachers has been

included in Appendix E, and the informed consent form for teachers has been included in

Appendix F.

Sample

The sample consisted of systematically selected middle school science teachers of

grades six, seven and eight, from throughout the state of Florida. A list of all Florida

middle school science teachers and their addresses was obtained from Market Data

Retrieval Service. The sampling frame consisted of the entire target population of middle

school science teachers of grades six, seven and eight throughout the state of Florida.

Any teachers missing from the list purchased from Market Data Retrieval Service could

not be included in the sampling frame.

The systematic sampling technique used provides similar advantages to random

sampling. Every tenth teacher was selected from the list to receive a survey. Surveys

were sent to 265 teachers. Despite utilizing the Tailored Design Method, only ninety-nine

out of 265 teachers returned completed surveys. The teacher response rate for the survey

was 37%. The response rate for the study is discussed further in the limiting factors

section of Chapter 5.

Data Analysis

Research questions one through five were answered using response frequency

data. Research question six was answered using regression analysis. Variables and

analyses are described below.










Regression analysis: response variables

Based on research questions two through five, six response variables, also known

as dependent or outcome variables, were created. These six response variables were used

to test the degree to which those factors can be explained by various conditions already

existing in schools. The six response variables are listed below:

1. Changes teachers have made in the process of SBR as described in the survey
(CHANGE).
2. Teacher attitudes toward SBR in general (ATSBRGEN).
3. Teacher attitudes toward SBR in science (ATSBRSCI).
4. Teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT (ATSFCAT).
5. Teachers' perceptions of the consequences of SBR (SBRCONS).
6. Teachers' perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT (SFCATCONS).

Regression analysis: explanatory variables

In order to explain each of the above response variables based on conditions that

already exist in schools, six characteristics of schools were chosen that were expected to

influence teachers' attitudes toward reform. The six explanatory variables, also known as

independent variables, are listed below.

1. Number of years teaching at current school.
2. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch.
3. Teacher attitudes toward administration.
4. Area in which school district is located: Urban, Suburban, Rural.
5. Percentage of minority students.
6. Grade level teacher is primarily teaching: sixth, seventh or eighth grade.

Regression analysis: explanation of models

In order to answer research question number six, regression analysis was used.

Regression analysis allowed for discovery of the degree to which the response variables

are associated with the set of explanatory variables. In other words, it is possible to

determine how well the explanatory variables "explain" or "predict" the response

variables. A separate regression equation was used for each of the six response variables.










The equation for each of the response variables is referred to as a "model". Each

equation, or model, follows the same general format. The entire set of explanatory

variables was included in the equation/model for each of the response variables. The

general regression formula for each model is shown below:

Y,= a + blX1, + bzXz, + b3X3, + b4X4, + b5X51 + b6X61 + e,

where Yi is the response variable and each of the X terms is one of the set of six

explanatory variables. The explanatory variables remain the same in each equation while

the response variable (Y) changes for each equation. Each equation resembles the

following, where Y changes to include the appropriate response variable for each model:

CHANGE, ATSBRGEN, ATSBRSCI, ATSFCAT, SBRCONS, SFCATCONS, as shown

below:

Y, = a + blX1(Years at Current School)l, + bzX,(%Free and Reduced)z, + b3X (Teacher

A attitudes Toward Admin) 31 + b4X(Thban ZSuburban ZRural) 41 + bgX(% Minorities)51 + b gX

(Teacher Grade Level)6, + e,

The fit of each model was assessed by examining the magnitude of the parameter

estimates. Statistical tests included measures of association, R-square, regression

coefficients and F-tests associated with the R-square. All statistical tests were conducted

at alpha = .05.


Statement of Investigator Bias

The investigator is a career science educator, committed to the implementation of

rich and robust science curriculum in middle level schools. Although it is nearly

impossible to eliminate investigator bias entirely, significant effort has been made to










include a balance of questions representing a wide variety of teacher perceptions and

opinions, and to phrase the questions in ways that do not reveal a bias.

Conclusions

The next chapter, Chapter 4, presents the results of the study with a discussion and

presents the statistical analyses of the data. This analysis will provide information on

standards based reform and the consequences of the science FCAT from the prospective

of Middle School science teachers.















CHAPTER 4
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Introduction

As the literature review in Chapter 2 revealed, successful large-scale reform requires

a combination of factors such as a balance of central and local control, participation of all

stakeholders and a shared vision for the future of each school. The purpose of this study

was to discover teacher' s perceptions of reform efforts in Florida' s middle school science

programs. Teacher' s responses were compiled to create a summary of reform efforts in

Florida.


The following paragraphs will include a restatement of the research questions, and the

answers to the research questions. Research questions one through five will be answered

first using response frequency data. Question six will be answered last using regression

analysis. The chapter will conclude with a summary of the answers to each research

question.

Research Questions

In the process of assessing teachers' attitudes and perceptions the following questions

were answered:


1. How widespread are standards based reform efforts in science in Florida middle
schools?

2. What kinds of changes have schools made in the process of reform efforts?

3. How successful are current reform efforts based on teachers' perceptions?

4. What are teacher attitudes regarding current or upcoming reform efforts?









a. How favorable are teachers' attitudes toward standards based reform?
b. How favorable are teacher attitudes regarding changes they are making in
their own classrooms?

5. What kind of changes have teachers made (or do they anticipate making) in their
work as a result of standards based reform?

6. Are there patterns in teacher attitudes related to:

a. Total number of years at current school,
b. Teacher attitudes toward school administration,

c. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch,

d. Type of school community environment: urban, suburban, rural,
e. Percentage of minority students at each school,
f. What grade level they are teaching: sixth, seventh or eighth?


Answers to the above questions have allowed some degree of clarification of the

kinds of changes taking place in Florida schools as a result of SBR. In addition, it has

been possible to examine patterns regarding the above features of schools and teachers.

It has been examined whether teachers with greater levels of seniority have different

attitudes from newer teachers regarding standards based reform. It has been examined

whether teachers of differing grade levels have differing perspectives on reform. It has

been determined whether teachers in schools with high levels of minority and/ or poor

students have different attitudes than teachers at predominantly white or affluent schools.

It has been determined whether teachers in urban, rural and suburban schools have

differing perspectives on reform. Finally, it has been examined whether a pattern exists

regarding teacher attitudes toward school administration and teacher attitudes toward

reform. The entire survey with response frequencies can be found in Appendix B.









Teacher Attitudes Toward SBR and the Science FCAT: Answers to Research
Questions

General Frequency Data: Research Questions One through Five

Research Question #1: How widespread are SBR efforts in Florida' s Middle School
science programs?

According to frequency data, fifty one percent of responding middle school

science teachers report that SBR is already underway in their school. Another twenty-

four percent say that their school has begun the reform process. Three percent of teachers

say their school is exploring possibilities and seventeen percent say they have not yet

begun the reform process at their school.

Table 4. 1. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #1
23. To what extent is your school engaged in standards based reform

We are currently We have begun SBR is already We have not yet
exploring the process of in place at our begun the process
possibilities for SBR at our school. of SBR at our
SBR at our school school. 51% school
3% 24% 17%

24. At your school, how many hours will you have spent this year in
professional development in the area of SBR?
<1 hour 14% 1-5 hours 45% < 5 hours 22% Not sure

25. At your school, how many hours will be spent in the near future in
professional development in the area of SBR?
<1 hour 10% 1-5 hours 35% >5 hours 30% Not sure 24%




Twenty-two percent of teachers report that they have already spent more than five

hours in professional development workshops focused on SBR. Another forty five

percent report they have spent between one and five hours in reform oriented workshops.

Fourteen percent have spent less than one hour in reform workshops. In terms of

upcoming professional development opportunities and workshop, thirty percent of










teachers report that they expect to spend more than five hours on reform in the coming

months. Another thirty fiye percent report that they expect to spend between one and Hyve

hours. Ten percent of teachers expect to spend less than one hour in reform workshops

and twenty-four percent do not know if their school intends to allocate in service time to

the subj ect of reform.


Research Question #2: What kinds of changes have schools made in the process of
reform efforts?

In terms of changes in school curriculum, eighty-three percent of teachers are

required to document the SSS for science in their lesson plans. Seventy-Hyve percent of

teachers believe that SBR has resulted in increased curriculum alignment and seventy-

three percent believe SBR has resulted in increased standardization of the science

curriculum. Seventy-seven percent of responding teachers believe the science FCAT has

resulted in increased curriculum alignment in science and seventy-six percent believe that

the science FCAT has resulted in increased standardization of the science curriculum.

In terms of other school issues, twenty-two percent of teachers believe that SBR

has resulted in increased interdisciplinary teamwork among teachers of different subj ect

areas. Fifty-six percent of teachers believe that SBR and/or FCAT preparation has

resulted in increased science department collaboration. Sixty percent of teachers believe

that the middle-school-concept, or in other words the attention given by schools to the

developmental needs of the early adolescent, has suffered at their school. Forty-nine

percent of teachers say that ability grouping and tracking have increased as a result of the

science FCAT. Twenty-nine percent of teachers say that increased parent involvement

has been a result of the Governors A+ Plan for Schools.









Table 4.2. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #2
29. We are required to document the SSS for science in our YES
lesson plans 83%
34. I believe that increased curriculum alignment in middle school 75%
science has occurred as a result of SBR
35. I believe that increased curriculum alignment in middle school 77%
science has occurred as a result of FCAT.
36. I believe that increased standardization of the science 73%
curriculum has occurred as a result of SBR.
37. I believe that increased standardization of the middle school 76%
science curriculum has occurred as a result of FCAT.
42. I believe that standards based reform has resulted in 22%
increased interdisciplinary teamwork among teachers of
different subject areas
43. I believe that SBR and/ or science FCAT preparation has 56%
increased science department collaboration.
54. The "Middle School Concept", or in other words, our attention 60%
to the needs of early adolescents, has suffered at my school
as a result of FCAT andlor SBR.
57. Preparation for the science FCAT has resulted in more ability 49%
grouping or tracking at my school.
61. I believe increased parent involvement has been a positive 29%
effect of the Governor's A+ Schools program.

Research Question #3: How effective are current reform efforts based on teachers'
perceptions?

Student learning and achievement

In terms of student achievement, thirty-eight percent of teachers believe that

student achievement has increased as a result of SBR, while thirty-four percent believe

student achievement has increased as a result of the FCAT. Thirty five percent of

teachers believe that student achievement has increased as a result of the Governor' s A+

plan for schools. Sixteen percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that the Governor' s

A+ plan for schools has helped improve student learning in Florida. Twenty-five percent

agree or strongly agree that the methods of SBR their school is engaging in will improve

their school.









Table 4.3. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #3
38. I believe that student achievement has increased as a result of YES
SBR 38%
39. I believe that student achievement has increased as a result of 34%
FCAT.
41. I believe that SBR has resulted in increased 41%
effectiveness of our science curriculum.
58. I believe increased school accountability has been a positive effect 29%
of the Governor's A+ Schools program.
59. I believe increased teacher accountability has been a positive effect 27%
of the Governor's A+ Schools program.
61. I believe increased parent involvement has been a positive effect of 29%
the Governor's A+ Schools program.
62. I believe increased student achievement has been a positive effect 35%
of the Governor's A+ Schools program.
63. I believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at 83%
the expense of other important curricular items.
64. I believe that a negative aspect of the Governor's A+ Schools 84%
Program is that all schools do not have equal chances for success
65. I believe that the Governor's A+ Schools Program has caused a 65%
deterioration in our school's climate.


Twenty-six percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that the FCAT for reading

and math has improved student learning at their school. Thirty-two percent of teachers

agree or strongly agree that SBR efforts at their school will improve student learning in

science. Twenty-four percent of teachers believe that the science FCAT will improve

student learning in science at their school. Nineteen percent of teachers agree or strongly

agree that the science FCAT has already had a positive influence on curriculum,

instruction, and/or student learning in science.

Curriculum and instruction

Forty-one percent of responding teachers believe that SBR has resulted in

increased effectiveness of the science curriculum at their school. Thirty-four percent of

teachers agree or strongly agree that the FCAT for reading and math has improved

curriculum and instruction at their school. Twenty-six percent of teachers agree or









strongly agree that the science FCAT will improve science curriculum at their school,

while twenty-seven percent believe the science FCAT will improve science instruction at

their school. Eighty-three percent of teachers believe that increased time spent on test

preparation has come at the expense of other important curricular items.

Table 4.4. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #3
Strongly Strongly
Disaree Aree
1 2 3 4 5

66. I believe the methods of SBR our school 13% 16% 44% 14% 11%
is engaging in will improve our school.
68. I believe there has been close linkage of the 20% 28% 29% 17% 5%
SBR movement to the FCAT and I believe
this has had an overall positive effect.
69. I believe SBR efforts at my school will 15% 21% 31% 25% 7%
improve student learning in science.
70. I believe that the FCAT for reading and 16% 24% 25% 26% 8%
math has improved curriculum at our school.
71. I believe that the FCAT for reading and 16% 24% 24% 28% 8%
math has improved instruction at our
school.
72. I believe that the FCAT for reading and 19% 26% 28% 20% 6%
math has improved student learning at our
school.
73. I believe that the science FCAT will improve 19% 26% 28% 20% 6%
science curriculum at my school.
74. I believe that the science FCAT will improve 21% 24% 27% 21% 6%
science instruction at my school.
75. I believe that the science FCAT will improve 21% 19% 25% 18% 6%
student learning in science at my school.
85. I believe the science FCAT has already had 17% 33% 30% 14% 5%
a positive influence on curriculum, instruction
andlor student learning in science.
86. I believe that the Governors A+ Schools 20% 36% 25% 13% 3%
program has helped improve student
learning in Florida.










Other aspects of SBR

Twenty-nine percent of teachers believe that increased school accountability has

been a positive effect of the Govemnor' s A+ schools program, while twenty-seven percent

of teachers believe that increased teacher accountability has been a positive effect of the

Governor' s A+ schools program. Twenty-three percent of teachers believe that the close

linkage between the SBR movement and the FCAT has had an overall positive effect.

Twenty-nine percent of teachers believe that increased parent involvement has been a

positive effect of the Govemnor' s A+ Plan for Schools. Eighty-four percent of teachers

believe that a negative aspect of the Govemnor' s A+ Plan for Schools is that all schools do

not have equal chances for success, while sixty-one percent of teachers believe the A+

Program has caused a deterioration of their schools climate.

Research Question #4: What are teacher attitudes regarding current or upcoming reform
efforts?

a. How favorable are teachers' attitudes toward standards based reform?
b. How favorable are teacher attitudes regarding changes they are making in their
own classrooms?

Question 4a: Nineteen percent of teachers say that their attitude toward SBR has

changed for the better since reform efforts have begun at their school. Fourteen percent

believe that SBR has resulted in increased teacher autonomy and control over the

curriculum. Seventy-six percent of teachers believe that SBR has contributed to

increased teacher stress, while ninety-two percent of teachers believe that FCAT

preparation has contributed to increased teacher stress. Seventy-eight percent of teachers

believe that SBR has contributed to less emphasis within the curriculum on student

interests, and sixty-one percent of teachers report that the Govemnor's A+ Plan for

Schools has caused a deterioration in the climate at their school.









Table 4.5. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #4a
40. I believe that SBR has resulted in increased teacher autonomy and YES
control over the curriculum 14%
45. I believe that SBR has contributed to increased teacher stress 76%

46. I believe that FCAT preparation has contributed to increased 92%
teacher stress.
47. I believe that SBR has contributed to less 78%
emphasis within the curriculum on student interests.
65. I believe that the Governor's A+ Schools Program has caused a 61%
deterioration in our school's climate.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree
1 2 3 4 5

79. My attitude toward SBR has changed for 12% 30% 37% 13% 6%
the better since reform efforts have begun
at my school.
83. I believe SBR is implemented only in 8% 25% 26% 31% 10%
response to the science FCAT.
84. I believe SBR in science is a good idea 8% 13% 35% 28% 15%
independently of the FCAT.
96. In my experience there is a close 9% 12% 32% 31% 13%
association between high stakes testing
such as FCAT and SBR in Florida.


Forty-four percent of teachers report that in their experience there is a close

association between high stakes testing such as the FCAT and SBR in Florida. Forty-one

percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that SBR is implemented only in response to

the FCAT, and forty-three percent of teachers believe that SBR is a good idea

independently of the FCAT.

Question 4b:Sixty-nine percent of teachers believe that preparation of students for

the FCAT has contributed to a decrease in quality of the science curriculum, and sixty-

seven percent of teachers believe that SBR has contributed to decreased teacher

autonomy and control in the classroom. Thirty-two percent of teachers agree or strongly

agree that SBR efforts at their school have caused them to make changes in what they do









in their classrooms that are not entirely comfortable to them. Fifty-four percent of

teachers agree or strongly agree that mandatory changes made at their school in the

process of SBR have restricted their freedom and creativity as a teacher.


Table 4.6. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses for Research Question #4b
44. I believe that SBR has contributed to decreased teacher autonomy YES
and control over the science curriculum. 67%
49. I believe that preparation of students for the FCAT has contributed 69%
to decreased quality of the science curriculum.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Ag ree
1 2 3 4 5

76. I believe mandatory changes made at my 10% 18% 15% 33% 21%
school in the process of SBR have
restricted my freedom and creativity as a
teacher.
77. I believe that using the SSS for science to 11% 34% 24% 24% 7%
the extent required at our school has
restricted my freedom and creativity as a
teacher.
78. I believe that the mandatory changes 10% 28% 25% 30% 6%
imposed on my teaching in the process of
SBR have restricted my freedom and
creativity as a teacher beyond using the
SSS for science.
67. SBR efforts at our school have caused me 10% 22% 33% 27% 5%
to make changes in what I do in my
classroom that are not entirely comfortable
to me.
101. In my experience, SBR is a top-down 10% 11% 29% 30% 15%
state mandated effort in which teachers
experience loss of autonomy and control
over what goes on in their own classrooms.
106. I am less satisfied than I used to be with 9% 27% 19% 29% 15%
my teaching position due to state mandated
reforms.
107. If my decrease in satisfaction with my 18% 26% 11% 17% 25%
teaching position continues I may consider
leaving the profession.









Thirty-one percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that using the SSS for

science to the extent required at their school has restricted their freedom and creativity as

a teacher. Thirty-six percent of teachers say that mandatory changes at their school have

restricted their freedom and creativity beyond just using the SSS for science. Forty-five

percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that in their experience, SBR is a top-down

state-mandated effort in which teachers experience loss of autonomy and control over

what goes on in their classrooms. Forty-four percent of teachers agree or strongly agree

that they are less satisfied than they used to be with their teaching position due to state

mandated reforms. Forty-two percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that if their

decrease in satisfaction with their teaching position continues, they may consider leaving

the profession.

Research Question #5: What kind of changes have teachers made, or do they anticipate
Making, in their work as a result of standards based reform?

Table 4.7. Relevant Survey Questions and Responses For Research Question #5
50. As a result of SBR and the science FCAT I have used fewer Internet YES
andlor technology based activities. 40%
51. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the 46%
amount of worksheets I use in class has increased.
52. As a result of standards based reform and the science FCAT the 42%
amount of memorization I require of my students has increased.
53. As a result of SBR and the science FCAT the amount of work my 35%
students do in small groups has decreased.
55. As a result of SBR and the science FCA I have been encouraged to 77%
spend more class time covering basic skills.
56. As a result of SBR and the science FCAT I have less freedom to 84%
allow students to learn at their own pace
60. As a result of standards based reform and preparation for FCAT we 62%
have taken fewer field trips.
63. I believe that increased time spent on test preparation has come at 83%
the expense of other important curricular items.









Twenty-percent of teachers agree or strongly agree that their principal has asked

them to change the way they teach as a result of SBR, and twenty- seven percent say the

same is true for the science FCAT. Fifty-nine percent of the science teachers agree or

strongly agree that as a result of the reading and math FCAT they have spent more time

covering reading and math skills, and eighty-three percent of teachers believe that

increased time spent on test preparation has come at the expense of other important

curricular items Seventy-seven percent of teachers report that as a result of standards

based reform and the science FCAT they have been encouraged to spend more time

covering basic skills.

Table 4.8. Relevant Survey Questions for Research Question #5
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree
1 2 3 4 5

89. My principal has asked me to change the 32% 31% 16% 15% 5%
way I teach as a result of SBR.
90. My principal has asked me to change the 27% 31% 14% 19% 8%
way I teach as a result of the science FCAT.
98. As a result of the reading and math FCAT I 10% 13% 16% 45% 14%
devote more attention to reading and math
skills.
104. My homework assignments have changed 11% 32% 36% 12% 5%
in a positive way as a result of SBR and
the science FCAT.


Forty-percent of teachers report that as a result of SBR and/ or the science FCAT

they are using fewer Internet and/or technology based activities in their classrooms.

Forty-six percent of teachers report that the number of worksheets they use has increased,

and forty-two percent of teachers say the amount of memorization they require of their

students has increased as a result of SBR and the science FCAT. Eighty-four percent of

teachers report that as a result of SBR and the science FCAT they have less freedom to










allow students to learn at their own pace, and thirty-five percent of teachers report that

the amount of work their students do in small groups has decreased. Sixty-two percent of

teachers report that they have taken fewer field trips as a result of SBR and the science

FCAT, and seventeen percent agree or strongly agree that their homework assignments

have changed in a positive way as a result of SBR and the science FCAT.

Research Question #6: Are there patterns in teacher attitudes related to:

a. Total number of years at current school,
b. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch,
c. Teacher attitudes toward school administration,

d. Type of school community environment: urban, suburban, rural,
e. Percentage of minority students at each school,
f. What grade level they are teaching: sixth, seventh or eighth?


Regression Analysis Results: Research Question Six

Regression analyses were run for research questions 6a through 6f. The results are

summarized in the following section. As explained in chapter three, six response

variables related to research questions two through five were chosen and regression

analyses were run for each response variable. These six response variables were used to

test the degree to which those factors can be explained by various conditions already

existing in schools. The six response variables were as follows:

1. CHANGE: teachers' attitudes toward changes they have made in their
classrooms as part of the reform process,

2. ATSBRGEN: teachers attitudes toward standards based reform in general
across all subject areas,

3. ATSBRSCI: teacher' s attitudes toward standards based reform in science,

4. ATSCFCAT: Teachers attitudes toward the science FCAT,









5. SBRCONS: Teacher' s perceptions of the consequences of SBR,

6. SFCATCONS: teacher' s perceptions of the consequences of the science
FCAT.

As described in Chapter 3, seven explanatory variables that were suspected might

influence teacher attitudes toward reform were used to look for patterns and factors that

might account for teacher attitudes. In other words, correlations were looked for between

teacher attitudes and other factors existing at the school. For example, does the

percentage of minority or low-income students, or the degree of teacher seniority, or the

type of school community or teacher attitudes toward school administration influence

teachers' attitudes toward any of the six response variables listed above?

Results

Question 6, part one looked at teacher attitudes toward SBR with respect to

changes they have made in their classrooms in the process of reform. The following

results are summarized in tables 4.8, 4.9 and 4.10, below. The R2 Value, Or effect size, of

.204 is statistically significant at F (7,77) = 2.821, Sig. = .011, suggesting that 20.4% of

the variance associated with teacher attitudes toward changes they have made in their

classrooms as a result of SBR is associated with the seven explanatory variables

explained above.

Table 4.9. Model Summary for Dependent Variable: CHANGE
Model R R Square Adjusted R Std. Error of
Square the Estimate
1 .452a .204 .132 6.96045

Table 4. 10. ANOVA for Dependent Variable: CHANGE
Model Sum of df Mean Square F Sig.
Squares
1 Regression 956.658 7 136.665 2.821 .011a
Residual 3730.919 77 48.453
Total 4687.576 84










Table 4. 11. Coefficients for Dependent Variable: CHANGE
Unstandardized Standardized
Coefficients Coefficients
Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig
1 (Constant) 23.192 6.019 3.853 .000
SENIORIT .360 .746 051 .482 .631
LOWINTCOM 1.294 .888 .174 1.547 .149
GRADE 3.9E-02 1.015 .004 .039 .969
ADMAT S .636 .195 .344 3.258 .002
URBAN1 -1.904 1.909 -. 112 -.997 .322
URBANO 1.899 1.917 .115 .991 .325
STMINORI -1.464 1.176 -. 151 -1.245 .217

While the model for changes teachers have made in the process of SBR

(CHANGE) is significant overall, only one explanatory variable is significant, teacher

attitudes toward the administration at their school (ADMATS, sig = .002). When

examined individually, only the degree of support teachers receive from the

administrators at their school, (ADMATS), influences teachers' attitudes toward reform

in terms of changes made in their classrooms. The more positive teachers' attitudes

toward their administration, the more positive their attitudes toward changes they have

made in their own classrooms as a result of reform.

Question 6, part two looked at teacher attitudes toward SBR in general, across

subj ect areas, (ATSBRGEN). The R2 Value, Or effect size, of .337 is statistically

significant at F (7,73) = 5.303, Sig. = .000, suggesting that 33.7% of the variance

associated with teacher attitudes toward SBR in general is associated with the seven

explanatory variables explained above. The data are summarized in tables 4. 11, 4. 12 and

4.13, below.

Table 4. 12. Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN
Model R R Square Adjusted R Std. Error of
Square the Estimate
1 .581a .337 .274 7.69193










Table 4. 13. ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN
Model Sum of df Mean Square F
Squares
1 Regression 2196.183 7 313.7405
Residual 4319. 101 73 59.166
Total 6515.284 80

Table 4. 14. Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSBRGEN
Unstandardized Standardized
Coefficients Coefficients
Model B Std.Error Beta t
1 (Constant) 29.424 6.692 4
SENIORIT -.470 .849 -.055-
LOWINTCOM .568 1.023 .063.
GRADE .518 1.157 .044.
ADMAT S 1.207 .217 .5485
URBAN1 .190 2.144 .009.
URBANO 4.378 2.192 .2171
STMINORI -.705 1.334 .-.061-


Sig.

.000a


.~303


While the model for teachers' attitudes toward reform in general (ATSBRGEN) is

significant overall, only one explanatory variable is significant, teacher attitudes toward

the administration at their school (ADMATS, sig = .000). Only the degree of support

teachers receive from the administrators at their school, (ADMATS), influences teachers

attitudes toward SBR in general. The more positive teacher's attitudes toward

administration the more positive teachers' attitudes toward SBR in general.

Question 6, part three looked at teachers' attitudes toward SBR in science

(ATSBRSCI). The R2 Value, Or effect size, of .322 is statistically significant at F (7,76) =

5.161, Sig. = .000, suggesting that 32.2% of the variance associated with teacher attitudes

toward SBR in general is associated with the seven explanatory variables explained

above. The data are summarized in tables 4.14, 4.15 and 4.16, below.

It is important to note that the model for teacher attitudes toward SBR in science,

(ATSBRSCI), is unique in that not only is the model significant overall, but two of the


Sig
~.397 .000
.544 .581
556 .588
447 .656
,.563 .000
088 .930
.997 .050
.528 .599










explanatory variables were also significant: schools in urban settings (URBAN1, sig.=

.028), and teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school (ADMATS, sig.=

.000). Once again, the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators at their

school (ADMATS), influences teachers' attitudes toward reform in terms of changes

made in their classrooms. The more positive teacher's attitudes toward administration,

the more positive teachers' attitudes toward reform in science.

Table 4. 15. Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI
Model R R Square Adjusted R Std. Error of
Square the Estimate
1 .568a .322 .260 5.18429

Table 4. 16. ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI
Model Sum of df Mean Square F Sig.
Squares
1 Regression 970.918 7 138.703 5.161 .000a
Residual 2042.641 76 26.887
Total 3013.560 83

Table 4. 17. Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSBRSCI
Unstandardized Standardized
Coefficients Coefficients
Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig
1 (Constant) 18.672 4.485 4.164 .000
SENIORIT .9.7E-02 .562 .017 .172 .864
LOWINTCOM .066 .666 -.011 -.099 .921
GRADE .275 .756 .035 .363 .717
ADMAT S .752 .146 .503 5.150 .000
UJRBAN1 -3.118 1.422 -.234 -2.243 .028
URBANO -.496 1.463 -.037 -.339 .735
STMINORI .080 .892 -.010 -.090 .929

The model for teacher attitudes toward SBR in science (ATSBRSCI) is unique in

that teachers in urban schools were found to have more negative attitudes toward SBR in

science than did teachers in rural or suburban settings. Urban teachers did not show more

negative attitudes for any other aspect of reform, or any other response variable, as

measured by any other model. Prior studies have suggested that due to conditions such as










lack of resources and lack of harmonious school environment, teachers in urban settings

have more negative attitudes toward reform in general (Hewson, et al., 2001; Settlage &

Meadows, 2002). Although these findings are not surprising, in this particular study the

type of school community did not consistently affect teacher attitudes. Teachers in urban

settings only showed more negative attitudes toward SBR in science in the ATSBRSCI

model, and not across models and response variables.

Question 6, part four looked at teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT

(ATSFCAT). The R2 Value, Or effect size, of .140 is not statistically significant at F (7,77)

= 1.792, Sig. = .101. The data are summarized in tables 4.18, 4.19 and 4.20, below.

Table 4. 18. Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT
Model R R Square Adjusted R Std. Error of
Square the Estimate
1 .374a .140 .062 4.77767
Table 4. 19. ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT
Model Sum of df Mean Square F Sig.
Squares
1 Regression 286.343 7 40.906 1.792 .101a
Residual 1757.610 77 22.826
Total 2043.953 84

Table 4.20. Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT
Unstandardized Standardized
Coefficients Coefficients
Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig
1 (Constant) 16.985 4.131 4.112 .000
SENIORIT -.427 .512 -.092 -.834 .407
LOWINTCOM .237 .610 .048 .389 .698
GRADE -.648 .697 -.101 -.930 .355
ADMAT S .407 .134 .334 3.039 .003
URBAN1 .898 1.310 .080 .686 .495
URBANO .102 1.316 .009 .078 .938
STMINORI -.894 .807 -.140 -1.11 .272


Question 6, part five looked at teacher perceptions of the consequences of SBR in

science (SBRCONS). The R2 Value, Or effect size, of .149 is not statistically significant at










F (7,77) = 1.925, Sig. = .077. the data are summarized in tables 4.21, 4.22 and 4.23,

below.

Table 4.21. Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS
Model R R Square Adjusted R Std. Error of
Square the Estimate
1 .386a .149 .072 1.75046

Table 4.22. ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS
Model Sum of df Mean Square F Sig.
Squares
1 Regression 41.286 7 5.898 1.925 .077a
Residual 235.938 77 3.064
Total 277.244 84



Table 4.23. Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS
Unstandardized Standardized
Coefficients Coefficients
Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig
1 (Constant) 4.677 1.514 3.090 .003
SENIORIT -.152 .188 -.089 -.812 .419
LOWINTCOM .122 .223 .067 .545 .587
GRADE -.300 .255 -.127 -1.177 .243
ADMAT S .150 .049 .333 3.048 .003
URBAN1 .616 .480 .149 1.283 .203
URBANO 5. 0E-02 .5482 .012 .103 .918
STMINORI -.151 .296 -.064 -.509 .612



Question 6, part six looked at teacher perceptions of the consequences of the

science FCAT (SFCATCONS). The R2 Value, Or effect size, of .130 is not statistically

significant at F (7,77) = 1.640, Sig. = .137. The data are summarized in tables 4.24, 4.25

and 4.26, below.

Table 4.24. Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON
Model R R Square Adjusted R Std. Error of
Square the Estimate
1 .360a .130 .051 4.84773










Table 4.25. ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON
Model Sum of df Mean Square F Sig.
Squares
1 Regression 269.759 7 38.537 1.640 .137a
Residual 1809.535 77 23.500
Total 2079.294 84

Table 4.26. Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON
Unstandardized Standardized
Coefficients Coefficients
Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig
1 (Constant) 12.560 4.192 2.996 .004
SENIORIT -.427 .520 -.091 -.822 .414
LOWINTCOM .424 .619 .086 .685 .495
GRADE -.922 .707 -.143 -1.305 .196
ADMAT S .358 .136 .291 2.634 .010
URBAN1 1.425 1.329 .126 1.072 .287
URBANO -.396 1.355 -.036 -.296 .768
STMINORI -.576 .819 -.0089 -.703 .484

A Re-Examination of Models Four Through Six

As explained above, the models for dependent variables four through six were not

significant overall. Models four through six included teacher attitudes toward the science

FCAT (ATSFCAT), teacher perceptions of the consequences of SBR (SBRCONS) and

teacher perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT (SFCATCON). However,

results from the first three models indicated that teachers' attitudes toward the

administration at their school were a very strong and consistent factor in teachers'

attitudes toward reform. It seemed likely that teacher attitudes toward the administration

at their school may have influenced teacher attitudes in models four through six as well,

even though the models overall were not significant. In order to re-examine the effects of

teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school on response variables four

through six, the models were revised so that all explanatory variables were removed

except for teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school (ADMATS). As










explained in the following sections, each of the revised models was significant and

showed that teacher attitudes toward the administrators at their school had a significant

effect on teacher attitudes toward reform as measured in models four through six. The

results are discussed below.

A new look at teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT

A second look at the response variable teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT

(ATSFCAT) examined a model in which teacher attitudes toward the administration at

their school was the only explanatory variable. The R2 Value, Or effect size, of .092 is

statistically significant at F (1,92) = 9.286, Sig. = .003, suggesting that 9.2% of the

variance associated with teacher attitudes toward the science FCAT is associated with the

explanatory variable or teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school

(SFCATCONS). The explanatory variable ADMATS is also significant (sig = .003).

This indicates that the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators at their

school influences teachers' attitudes toward reform in terms of their attitudes toward the

science FCAT. Positive attitudes toward school administration are associated with

positive attitudes toward the science FCAT. The results are summarized in tables 4.27,

4.28 and 4.29 below.

Table 4.27. Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT
Model R R Square Adjusted R Std. Error of
Square the Estimate
1 .303a .092 .082 4.67001
Table 4.28. Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT
Model Sum of df Mean Square F Sig.
Squares
1 Regression 202.510 1 202.510 9.286 .003
Residual 2006.426 92 21.809
Total 2208.936 93









Table 4.29. Revised Coefficients for Dependant Variable: ATSFCAT
Unstandardized Standardized
Coefficients Coefficients
Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig
1 (Constant) 12.283 1.588 7.736 .000
ADMAT S .335 .116 .303 3.047 .003


A new look at teacher perceptions of the consequences of SBR

A second look at the response variable teacher perceptions of the consequences of

SBR (SBRCONS) examined a model in which teacher attitudes toward the administration

at their school was the only explanatory variable. The R2 Value, Or effect size, of .094 is

statistically significant at F (1,91) = 9.461, Sig. = .003, suggesting that 9.4% of the

variance associated with teacher perceptions of the consequences of SBR is associated

with the explanatory variable teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school

(ADMATS). The explanatory variable ADMATS is also significant, (sig = .003). This

indicates that the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators at their

school influences teachers perceptions of the consequences of SBR. Positive attitudes

toward school administration are associated with positive perceptions of the

consequences of SBR. The results are summarized in tables 4.30, 4.31 and 4.32 below.

Table 4.30. Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS
Model R R Square Adjusted R Std. Error of
Square the Estimate
1 .307 .094 .084 1.72571

Table 4.31. Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS
Model Sum of df Mean Square F Sig.
Squares
1 Regression 28.177 1 28.177 9.461 .003
Residual 271.006 91 2.978
Total 299.183 92









Table 4.32. Revised Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SBRCONS
Unstandardized Standardized
Coefficients Coefficients
Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig
1 (Constant) 3.790 .592 6.399 .000
ADMAT S .134 .044 .307 3.076 ..003


A new look at teacher perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT

A second look at the response variable teacher perceptions of the consequences of

the science FCAT (SFCATCON) examined a model in which teacher attitudes toward the

administration at their school (ADMATS) was the only explanatory variable. The R2

value, or effect size, of .069 is statistically significant at F (1,91) = 6.762, Sig. = .011,

suggesting that 6.9% of the variance associated with teachers' perceptions of the

consequences of the science FCAT is associated with the explanatory variable teachers'

attitudes toward the administration at their school (ADMATS). The explanatory variable

ADMATS is also significant, (sig = .011). This indicates that the degree of support

teachers receive from the administrators at their school influences teachers' perceptions

of the consequences of the science FCAT. Positive attitudes toward school administration

are associated with positive perceptions of the consequences of the science FCAT. The

results are summarized in tables 4.33, 4.34 and 4.35, below.

Table 4.33. Revised Model Summary for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON
Model R R Square Adjusted R Std. Error of
Square the Estimate
1 .263a .069 .059 4.72051

Table 4.34. Revised ANOVA for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON
Model Sum of df Mean Square F Sig.
Squares
1 Regression 150.679 1 150.679 6.762 .011
Residual 2027.772 91 22.283
Total 2178.452 91










Table 4.35. Revised Coefficients for Dependant Variable: SFCATCON
Unstandardized Standardized
Coefficients Coefficients
Model B Std.Error Beta t Sig
1 (Constant) 9.113 1.620 5.625 .000
ADMAT S .311 .119 .263 2.600 .011


Summary of Information Collected and Analyzed for the Research Questions

Research Question #1: a minority of schools, twenty percent, are still exploring

possibilities or have not yet begun the process of SBR at their schools. Most teachers, at

least seventy-Hyve percent, have already had professional development in the area of SBR

and/or expect to spend time in workshops on reform in the next year.

Research Question #2: Nearly all teachers, eighty-three percent, report their school

requires them to document the SSS for science in their lesson plans, and most, around

seventy-five percent, report that increases in curriculum and standardization have

occurred at their schools. About half report increases in ability grouping or tracking at

their school and the maj ority, sixty percent, report that the middle school concept has

suffered at their school as a result of reform efforts.

Research Question #3: So far only nineteen percent of teachers report that the

science FCAT has already had positive results on student learning, curriculum and

instruction in science. Between twenty-four and twenty-nine percent believe positive

effects will be seen in the future as a result of the science FCAT. Twenty-Hyve percent of

teachers believe that the methods of SBR their school is engaging in will improve their

school, and thirty-two percent believe that SBR will improve student learning in science.

Research Questions #4a and #4b: The maj ority of teachers have negative attitudes

regarding both reform in general and within their own classrooms. Ninety-two and










seventy-six percent report that FCAT and SBR, respectively, have contributed to

increased teacher stress. The maj ority, sixty-seven percent, report loss of control over

what happens in their own classrooms. Fifty-four percent report a loss of freedom and

creativity over curriculum and lessons. Forty-four percent are less satisfied with their

teaching position than before reform efforts began.

Research Question #5: Seventy-seven percent of teachers report spending more

time covering basic skills, and fifty-nine percent report spending more time on reading

and math skills. Many teachers, ranging from thirty-five to sixty-two percent, report

using more worksheets, requiring more memorization of students, taking fewer field trips

and using fewer Internet and technology based activities as a result of SBR and FCAT.

The vast maj ority of teachers, eighty-four percent, report having less freedom to allow

students to learn at their own pace. Twenty percent of teachers report that their principal

has asked them to change the way they teach as a result of SBR, and twenty-seven report

that their principal has asked them to change the way they teach as a result of FCAT.

Research Question #6: Every explanatory variable was chosen because it was

expected to influence teachers' attitudes toward reform. However, of all the explanatory

variables examined, only the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators

at their school had a consistent influence on the six factors of reform examined in

question six. In all cases, the more support teachers received from administrators, the

more positive were their attitudes toward the six factors of reform indicated in the

response variables.

Summary

The results for the research questions and analyses performed from this study are

presented in this chapter. In the next chapter, implications will be discussed in relation to






77


research cited in the literature and to the questions posed by this study. Some ideas for

future research will also be explored as well as the implications for education will be

outlined.















CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS

Introduction

The era of standardized testing and standards based reform has brought about many

changes in Florida schools. It is important to assess what those changes are, as well as

the effects they are having on teaching and learning in the form of student achievement.

Since teachers are at the center of any reform process, their perceptions are of great

importance. Teacher perceptions of changes taking place, as well as the consequences of

those changes, are critical to understanding of the overall effectiveness of the reform

movement.

In this study assessing standards based reform in Florida' s middle school science

programs, a survey instrument consisting of 113 questions was created and distributed to

265 randomly selected teachers in the State of Florida. Ninety-nine teachers' responded

to the survey and helped to answer the following six research questions. The following

paragraphs will include a restatement of the six research questions, a summary of the

answers to the research questions, a look at teachers most negative and most positive

attitudes and perceptions, a discussion of the research findings, an interpretation of the

results, a look at the findings within the context of previous studies, a look at the findings

within the context of change theory, limiting factors of the study, implications for

education and future research, unanswered questions, and future analysis.










Research Questions

1. How widespread are standards based reform efforts in science in Florida middle
schools?

2. What kinds of changes have schools made in the process of reform efforts?

3. How successful are current reform efforts based on teachers' perceptions?

4. What are teacher attitudes regarding current or upcoming reform efforts?

a. How favorable are teachers' attitudes toward standards based reform?

b. How favorable are teacher attitudes regarding changes they are making in

their own classrooms?

5. What kind of changes have teachers made (or do they anticipate making) in their
work as a result of standards based reform?

6. Are there patterns in teacher attitudes related to:

a. Total number of years at current school,

b. Teacher attitudes toward school administration,

c. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch,

d. Type of school community environment: urban, suburban, rural,
e. Percentage of minority students at each school,

f. What grade level they are teaching: sixth, seventh or eighth?



Answers to Research Questions

Research Question #1: A minority of schools, twenty percent, are still exploring

possibilities or have not yet begun the process of SBR at their schools. The vast maj ority

of teachers, seventy-five percent, have already had professional development in the area

of SBR and/or expect to spend time in workshops on reform in the next year.

Research Question #2: Nearly all teachers, eighty-three percent, report their school

requires them to document the SSS for science in their lesson plans, and most, around










seventy-five percent, report that increases in curriculum and standardization have

occurred at their schools. About half report increases in ability grouping or tracking at

their school, and the maj ority, sixty percent, report that the middle school concept has

suffered at their school as a result of reform efforts.

Research Question #3: So far only nineteen percent of teachers report that the

science FCAT has already had positive results on student learning, curriculum and

instruction in science. Between twenty-four and twenty-seven percent believe positive

effects will be seen in the future as a result of the science FCAT. Twenty-Hyve percent of

teachers believe that the methods of SBR their school is engaging in will improve their

school, and thirty-two percent believe that SBR will improve student learning in science.

Research Questions #4a and #4b: The maj ority of teachers have negative attitudes

regarding both reform in general and within their own classrooms. Ninety-two and

seventy-six percent report that FCAT and SBR, respectively, have contributed to

increased teacher stress. The maj ority, sixty-seven percent, report loss of control over

what happens in their own classrooms. Many, about fifty-four percent, report loss of

freedom and creativity over curriculum and lessons and many, about forty-four percent,

are less satisfied with their teaching position than before reform efforts began.

Research Question #5: Seventy-seven percent of teachers report spending more

time covering basic skills, and fifty-nine percent report spending more time on reading

and math skills. Many teachers, ranging from thirty-five to sixty-two percent, report

using more worksheets, requiring more memorization of students, taking fewer field trips

and using fewer Internet and technology based activities as a result of SBR and FCAT.

The vast maj ority of teachers, eighty-four percent, report having less freedom to allow










students to learn at their own pace. Twenty percent of teachers report that their principal

has asked them to change the way they teach as a result of SBR, and twenty-seven report

that their principal has asked them to change the way they teach as a result of FCAT.

Research Question #6: Every explanatory variable listed above from a through f

was expected might influence teacher attitudes toward reform ( Hewson, et al., 2001;

Settlage and Meadows, 2002; Wideen et al., 1997). However, of all the explanatory

variables examined, only the degree of support teachers receive from the administrators

at their school had a consistent influence on the six factors of reform examined in

question six. In all cases, the amount of support teachers received from administrators

was associated with more positive attitudes toward the six factors of reform indicated in

the response variables.

A Look at the Extremes, Part I: A Summary of Teachers' Most Positive Perceptions
and Attitudes

Some of the most positive findings in this study concern teachers' use of inquiry

based science and their use of in-class assessments. Seventy-seven percent of teachers

report that they are using an inquiry approach to science, and fifty-one percent report they

spend more than twenty percent of class time on constructivist, student centered or

inquiry based activities. It is reassuring to know that despite restrictions teachers may be

encountering as a result of SBR and FCAT, inquiry based science seems to remain a

priority to most of Florida' s middle school science teachers.

Eighty-two percent of teachers report using assessments that are referred to as

"authentic", "performance" or "alternative". Only thirty-four percent of teachers report

using primarily multiple-choice tests. Seventy-nine percent say they sometimes give

essay questions and forty-six percent say they sometimes use portfolio assessments.










Teachers' practice of utilizing alternative forms of in class assessment may be more

effective in reinforcing student learning than multiple-choice types of assessment

(Wiggins, 1998). This is particularly important as the emphasis on state-wide

standardized testing increases.

A Look at the Extremes, Part II: A Summary of Teachers' Most Negative
Perceptions and Attitudes

One of the most alarming findings in this study was the amount of class time

teachers report spending on preparing students for standardized tests. Forty-two percent

of teachers report spending more than twenty-percent of class time exclusively for

preparing students for FCAT. Eighty-three percent of teachers say that the increase in

class time spent preparing students for the FCAT has come at the expense of other

important curricular items. Seventy-eight percent of teachers say that reform efforts have

resulted in less emphasis within the curriculum on items of interest to students, and

eighty-four percent of teachers report they have less freedom to allow students to learn at

their own pace. Sixty-nine percent of teachers report that preparing students for the

FCAT has resulted in decreased quality of the science curriculum, and sixty percent of

teachers say that at their school, less attention is given to the developmental needs of the

early adolescent.

Other reports from teachers which are cause for concern are that sixty-one percent

of teachers say that the Governor' s A+ plan has caused a deterioration of their school's

climate and eighty-four percent say that a negative aspect of the Governor' s A+ Plan for

Schools is that all schools do not have equal chances for success. Finally, forty-four

percent of teachers say they are less satisfied with their teaching position as a result of









state mandated reforms and forty-two percent they may consider leaving the profession if

their decrease in satisfaction continues.

Discussion of Research Findings

While the maj ority of teachers expressed negative opinions about everything from

changes they have been required to make in their classrooms to whether they think SBR

and the science FCAT are having positive effects, a small but significant number

expressed positive opinions. A consistent minority of teachers expressed beliefs that

SBR had already or would soon bring about positive effects on student achievement,

curriculum and or instruction in science. Some teachers also reported that reform is a

growth and change process in which initial stress, frustration and workload must be

expected.

In the regression analyses for question six, although each of the six explanatory

variables was suspected to affect teachers' attitudes on reform as explained above, only

teacher attitudes toward the administration at their school, had a consistent significant

effect on each of the six response variables in the study. For each of the six response

variables, teachers who had more positive attitudes toward administration also had a

more positive attitude toward all aspects of reform assessed in the study. It is important to

note that the teachers with more positive attitudes toward administrators at their school

also reported that they received high levels of support from those administrators.

The other Hyve explanatory variables: level of teacher seniority at current school;

percentage of minority students; grade level taught; percentage of students on free and

reduced lunch; and type of community: urban, rural or suburban, had no consistent

significant effect. For one response variable, teacher attitudes toward SBR in science,

urban teachers reported less positive attitudes toward reform than did rural and suburban









teachers. Examples of urban teachers reporting more negative attitudes toward reform

were also found in previous studies (Hewson et al., 2001; Settlage & Meadows, 2002).

However, in this study, urban teachers reported more negative attitudes only toward SBR

in science, and not across all six of the response variables.

Interpretation of Results

Because teachers who reported receiving high levels of support from administrators

at their school also reported more positive attitudes toward all aspects of reform

measured in the study, it follows that strong administrative support may be a particularly

powerful tool in obtaining effective and lasting reform. Moreover, the teachers who

reported that increased stress and workload are hallmarks of any growth and change

process highlight an important fact: transition and change are difficult for most people.

Even if changes are guaranteed to have positive effects in the long run, the change

process itself can be expected to be difficult, particularly in the beginning. However, it

seems clear that supportive administrators are more likely to have teachers who are more

open minded about the reform process in general. Supportive administrators may also

stimulate increased commitment and effort from teachers at their schools. If this is the

case, increasing levels of support for teachers seems like a simple and relatively

inexpensive tool to increase the effectiveness of the reform process at all schools.

Clearly, it appears that success depends largely on the interest, effectiveness, and

willingness of administrators to support their teachers in the demanding and complex

process of implementing SBR.

A study by University of Chicago professor Anthony Bryk on institutional trust has

also pointed to the importance of a supportive school community (Bryk & Schneider,

2002). Bryk uses the term "relational trust" to describe an atmosphere at schools where










everyone understands the roles and obligations of both themselves and others. A mutual

interdependence fosters an atmosphere of co-operation and empowerment, whereby all

share an improved vision of their school and all work together to achieve it. High levels

of trust "reduce the risk associated with change" (Bryk & Schneider, 2002)

A Look at the Results Within the Context of Previous Studies on Reform

As mentioned above, effect of teachers' attitudes toward the administration at

their school on their attitudes toward reform has been reinforced by Anthony Bryk in his

study on Relational Trust (Bryk & Schneider, 2002). Other studies have also suggested

the importance of building support among teachers, and including teachers and other

stakeholders in the planning and implementation of reform (St. John & Pratt, 1997,

Adelman, 1998) However, other findings from previous studies were not confirmed by

this study.

For example, a Canadian study found that generally, teachers with higher levels of

seniority and j ob security felt less or no sense of urgency regarding implementation of

reforms (Wideen et al., 1997). In my experience as a teacher it was not uncommon to

hear older teachers express opinions that reform efforts are just phases that will pass with

time. Teachers would often comment on how many reform efforts they had already

outlasted in their careers. But because many younger teachers have learned about

standards based reform and FCAT in their university teacher education programs, it

seems reasonable that younger teachers might be more accepting of SBR and FCAT. In

this study, regression analyses of teachers' responses showed no differences between the

attitudes of younger and older teachers toward reform.

Two studies also showed that urban teachers may have less positive attitudes

toward reform than do suburban and rural teachers (Hewson et al., 2001; Settlage &










Meadows, 2002). One study reported that increased racial tensions within the school

undermined cooperative efforts and contributed to negative attitudes toward

implementation of reforms (Hewson et al., 2001). Another study reported that teachers

believe that reform efforts seriously decrease the quality of education inner-city children

receive (Settlage & Meadows, 2002). Except for teacher attitudes toward SBR in science

(ATSBRSCI), where urban teachers expressed more negative attitudes toward SBR in

science, teacher attitudes toward reform did not differ across urban, rural and suburban

areas.

In this study, neither of the other explanatory variables: percentage of students on

free and reduced lunch, or grade level taught, was significant in terms of teacher

attitudes. Percentage of students on free and reduced lunch was chosen as a variable

because it seemed plausible that teachers who are already frustrated by limited resources

might be further stressed by the demands of reform. Responses from the teachers did not

confirm this. It was also speculated that teachers of eighth graders might feel more

pressure to prepare students for the science FCAT since only eighth graders take the

science FCAT at the middle school level. Teachers of different grade levels did not

report different attitudes toward reform.

A Look at the Results Within the Context of Change Theory

Although there is no guaranteed recipe for successful school reform, change

theory outlines some factors that are present in schools that are successful in

improvement. Building a new school culture of collaboration and support, or reculturing

(Fullan, 2001) is an important step in facilitating change. There must also be a balance

between top-down and bottom-up reform, and teachers must have freedom to implement

reforms within the framework of their school's professional learning community (Fullan,










1999, 2001). The principles of change theory have been reinforced by the findings of this

study. According to this study, Florida teachers who receive adequate support from the

administrators at their school, who have been able to participate to some extent in the

reform process, and who believe that a high quality science program is a priority to the

administrators at their school, have positive attitudes toward reform.

Limiting Factors in the Study

Response rates for this study, 50% for the pilot study and 38% for the Statewide

study, were not as high as had been hoped. Timing is one factor that may have played a

role in interfering with teachers' responses. Data collection took place in the spring of

2003, with pilot data collected in mid-March and State wide data collected in the first half

of May. Unfortunately, the pilot mailings coincided with FCAT, and the State wide

mailings coincided with the end of the school year for many counties. Both events are

hectic for teachers and probably limited the amount of time available to spend responding

to the survey.

Moreover, the coinciding of survey mailings with FCAT and the end of the school

may affect the external validity of the study. The extent to which results can be

generalized to other times of the year may be limited. The length of the survey, 1 13

questions, may also have been daunting to many teachers. If the study is repeated, a

streamlined version of the survey may be easier and less time consuming for teachers to

answer. On the other hand, the number of questions in the teacher attitude scale probably

improved the reliability of the scale. Scales with higher numbers of questions typically

have higher reliability.










Implications for Education and Future Research

As discussed earlier, the single most important finding in this study is the powerful

ameliorating effect supportive administrators can have on teachers who work with them.

According to results from the regression analyses in question number six, teachers with

positive attitudes toward administrators at their school also had more positive attitudes

toward all aspects of reform assessed in this study. It is likely that these teachers are also

more motivated and committed to making reform efforts work. The benefits of

committed and motivated teachers can have tremendous effects not only on reform efforts

but also on all areas of school function. It seems clear that increasing the level of support

given to teachers by administrators is an effective means of enhancing the effectiveness

of reform efforts and probably overall school function. No school should overlook the

potential of a supportive administration in efforts to improve their school programs.

Perhaps professional development opportunities can be created for administrators that

focus on how best to support their teachers.

The primary focus of this study was the comprehensive assessment of SBR and its

consequences in Florida' s middle school science programs. As with all research that

examinines consequences of standardized testing aspects of reform, assessments must be

made on an annual basis. Results must be monitored over a period of years in order to

determine what is happening over time. This study involves only the first year of the

science FCAT, and findings are only preliminary and not definitive on their own. It will

be important to survey teachers again to see how and whether their perceptions have

changed. With time teachers may become comfortable with the changes that are now so

new and difficult. Their attitudes toward reform may become more favorable. It is also