Swimming through Murky Water, Trying to Find Your Way

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Swimming through Murky Water, Trying to Find Your Way Teaching Pedagogies and Perceptions that Help Explain Student Underperformance at an Elementary School Serving Low-Income, Predominantly Latino Students
Vanatti, Cheryl S
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University of Florida
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Doctorate ( Ed.D.)
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University of Florida
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Curriculum and Instruction
Teaching and Learning
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Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
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This qualitative case study explored the factors contributing to student underperformance as measured by standardized assessments in a predominantly Latino, low-income public elementary school in the southeastern United States. Findings from teacher interviews and observations with five voluntary teacher participants revealed that despite excellent amenities, services, and a dedicated staff, student performance may still be impacted by teacher perceptions and valuations of themselves and their students as well as imprecise instructional practice. Findings from teacher participant interviews indicated incidences of deficit thinking and inattention toward the predominantly low-income, Latino, emergent bilingual population of the school. Interviews also revealed perceptions of a widespread devaluation of teachers assigned to primary grade-levels. Classroom observational findings indicated deficiencies in rigorous, goal-aligned standards-based instruction. Although schools have sought to address the realities of low-income children and families with meal programs, extended school days, parent engagement incentives, and a host of other wrap-around services, the gaps in student achievement, as measured by standardized tests, remain relatively unresponsive. It is hoped that the findings of this study will contribute to broader understandings of not only specific instructional practices that may aid teachers in better serving the needs of emergent bilingual, low-income, Latino student populations, but also underscore the complexities involved in teaching and learning in an era of standards-based accountability. ( en )
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Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Florida, 2017.
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by Cheryl S Vanatti.

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2017 Cheryl S. Vanatti


for my cherished family


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Above all, I begin with family. Thank you for all of the support that you have given me during the whole of my doctoral studies, but especially during the dissertation phase when I thought that I could no longer think or type or care. Each of you, in one way or another, reminded me that I could do this. I love you all: Bill, Kirk, Fayth, Kraig, Mom, and Sherry. To the five teacher participants who volunteered to inform my study; there are not adequate words to express my gratitude for the selfless giving of your time. As I told you at the start of this journey, you are amazing and dedicated educators. Please know that I respect each of you and the stor ies that you told me. They are valid and enlightening To the professional educator scholars of UF Cohort Three, thank you for the unwavering encouragement, the Facebook smiles, and the intelle ctual pushes you gave me. My reliance on your wisdom and friendship will not end with the conferment of a degree. To my UF doctoral professors for your support, kind words, and guidance through the whole of this scholarly pursuit. Dr. Adams, your love of hear no greater testimonial to its excellence than from me. Dr. Dana, your encouragement, as my toes first dipped into practitioner inquiry, gave me first confidence that I would one day be called cio, your insightful understandings and guidance of not only social justice, but simple decent humanity, changed the way in which I completely view the world. To my committee members, Dr. Coady and Dr. Puig your belief in me helped to bring this task to r eality. To Dr. Bondy, my committee chair and Zen master, I absolutely do not know what I would have done without your calm reassurances and directed phraseology when I went off on tangent after tangent. Thank you for being such a warm demander.


5 To my grea t friend, personal cheerleader, and principal, Kelly Maldonado. Our paths first crossed in a student car rider loop in Broward County, Florida, as we quickly pushed kids into cars so that we could go back to our classrooms and yak and yak about education. More than twenty years and many schools later, I am so thankful that we are still yakking. To the professional educators that I have had the pleasure of working and learning with over the years and to the ones who stand out among the many: Linda, Stacey, Traci, Brian, Heather, Jayne, Matt, Judy, Latasha, Corey, Jennifer, Nicole and Kim. Your dedication and contribution to the profession can never be underestimated. Remember to never stop believing that overused and cheesy, but true, phrase: Teachers Touch the Future. To the hundreds of students that have passed through my life. You have taught me more than any professor, any book, or any college degree ever could.


6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 9 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY ................................ ................................ ..................... 12 Historical Context ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 12 Local Context ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 14 School Context ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 15 Background of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 16 Purpose and Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................ 20 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 21 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................ ................................ ................................ 23 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 23 Realities of the Social, Cultural, Political Landscape of the Case ................................ .......... 24 Poverty ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 24 Minoritized Students ................................ ......................... 27 Teaching in Low Income, Latino Schools ................................ ................................ .............. 29 Deficit Thinking Toward Students from Low Income, Latino Families ........................ 30 Teaching Emergent Bilingual Students in a Predominantly English Speaking Society ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 32 Teacher Profes sional Development for Diversely Populated Classrooms ...................... 34 Teaching with Cultural Relevancy & Responsiveness ................................ .................... 36 High Performing Low Income, Latino Schools ................................ ................................ ..... 40 Realities of Standards Based Instruction and Assessment ................................ ..................... 42 Coaching Toward Improved Instruction ................................ ................................ ................. 43 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 46 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 47 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 47 Selection of Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 48 De scription of Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 49 Context of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 50 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 51 Interviews ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 52 Interview 1: Gener ative interview ................................ ................................ ............ 52 Interview 2: Clarification interview ................................ ................................ ......... 53


7 Coaching Observations ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 53 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 56 Interview Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 57 Observation Data Analysis ................................ ................................ .............................. 58 Interview and Observation Common Themes Analysis ................................ .................. 60 Researcher Subjectivity Statement ................................ ................................ ......................... 61 Enhancing Trustworthiness ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 63 4 FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 65 Teacher Perceptions of Teaching in Their School ................................ ................................ .. 66 Perceptions of Teacher Value and Autonomy ................................ ................................ 70 Teacher Perceptions Conclusion ................................ ................................ ..................... 73 Teacher Knowledge of Instructional Practices for Emergent Bilingual Students .................. 73 Teacher Knowledge of Instructional Practices for Low Income, Latino Students ................ 76 Teacher Knowledge of Rigorous Instruction and Standardized Assessments ........................ 78 Teacher Knowledge Conclusion ................................ ................................ ............................. 82 Observed Teacher Instructional Practices ................................ ................................ .............. 83 Rigorous, Standards Based Instruction ................................ ................................ ........... 84 Strategies and Behaviors for Teaching Content ................................ .............................. 86 Clarifying Learning Goals for Students ................................ ................................ .......... 87 Strategies for Purposeful Discussions ................................ ................................ ............. 88 Strategies for Low Income, Emergent Bilingual, Latino Students ................................ 89 Looking Across Interviews and Observations: Possible Factors in Student Underperformance ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 89 Misinformed Standards Based Instruction and Unclear Learning Goals ........................ 90 Lack of Rigorous Instruction ................................ ................................ ........................... 91 Lack of Attention to Specific Needs of the Students ................................ ...................... 91 Teacher Perceptions That Some Grade Level Assignments Are More Valued Than Others and Teacher Efficacy ................................ ................................ ........................ 92 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 94 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 94 Implications for Practice ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 94 Rigorous, Goal Aligned Instructional Practices ................................ ................................ ..... 95 Cultural Relevance and Responsiveness: An Assets Orientation ................................ ........... 97 Toward an Assets Orientation ................................ ................................ ......................... 98 Teaching with Cultural Relevance and Responsiveness ................................ ................. 99 Teaching Emergent Bilingual Students ................................ ................................ ......... 100 Leadership Focused on Building Teacher Efficacy ................................ .............................. 1 02 Limitations & Considerations ................................ ................................ ............................... 105 Next Steps ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 107 Finding Resource s for Teaching Emergent Bilingual Students ................................ .... 107 Providing On Going Opportunities for Teachers to Become Culturally Responsive ... 108 Coaching Teachers to Improve Rigorous, Goal Aligned Instruction ............................ 108 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 109


8 APPENDIX A PARTICIPANT INFORMED CONSENT LETTER ................................ ........................... 110 B RANDOM SELECTION TOOL ................................ ................................ .......................... 112 C GENERATIVE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ................................ ................................ ....... 113 D CLARIFICATION INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ................................ ................................ 114 E MARZANO TEACHER EVALUATION MODEL ................................ ............................ 117 F INTERPRETATION OF INTERVIEW DATA TO INTERVIEW QUESTIONS EXAMPLE ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 118 G INTERPRETATION OF INTERVIEW DATA TO RESEARCH QUESTIONS EXAMPLE ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 119 H INTERPRETATION OF OBSERVATION NOTATIONS DATA EXAMPLE ................. 120 I INTERPRETATION OF OBSERVATION: MARZANO TEACHER EVALUATION MODEL DATA ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 121 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 124 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 136


9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Qualitative case study data related to factors that explain underperformance ....................... 51 2 2 Cross analysis of interview and observation common themes ................................ ............... 61


10 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 Education SWIMMING THROUGH MURKY WATER, TRYING TO FIND YOUR WAY: TEACHING PEDAGOGIES AND PERCEPTIONS THAT HELP EXPLAIN STUDENT UNDERPERFORMANCE AT AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SERVING LOW INCOME, PREDOMINANTLY LATINO STUDENTS By Cheryl S. Vanatti December 2017 Chair: El izabeth Bondy Major: Curriculum and Instruction This qualitative case study explored the factors contributing to student underperformance as measured by standardized assessments in a predominantly Latino, low income public elementary school in the southeastern United States. Findings from teacher interviews and observations with five voluntary teacher participants revealed that despite excellent amenities, services, and a dedicated staff, student performance may still be impacted by teacher percepti ons and valuations of themselves and their students as well as imprecise instructional practice. Findings from teacher participant interviews indicated incidences of deficit thinking and inattention toward the predominantly low income, Latino, emergent bil ingual population of the school. Interviews also revealed perceptions of a widespread devaluation of teachers assigned to primary grade levels. Classroom observational findings indicated deficiencies in rigorous, goal aligned standards based instruction. A lthough schools have sought to address the realities of low income children and families with meal programs, extended school days, parent engagement incentives, and a host of other wrap around services, the gaps in student achievement, as measured by stand ardized tests, remain relatively unresponsive. It is hoped that the findings of this study will contribute to


11 broader understandings of not only specific instructional practices that may aid teachers in better serving the needs of emergent bilingual, low i ncome, Latino student populations, but also underscore the complexities involved in teaching and learning in an era of high stakes, standards based accountability.


12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY With all of the blaringly negative news about impoverished and minoritized public schools, it is easy to picture collapsing, wretched buildings filled with miserable students and unfortunate teachers Headlines and educational best sellers referencing words like failing, gap, crisis, savage, and death all contribute to this picture. This is the stereotyped picture painted of public schools that enroll minoritized and low income students. These stereotypes underscore the single minded deficit thinking aimed at saving failin strengths and diversity in order to assist them in better construction of knowledge (Gonzlez, Moll, & Amanti, 2006; Valencia, 2010). For decades, we have been conditioned to frame impoverished and minoritized publi c schools by perceived gaps in achievement based upon the results of standardized assessments; perceptions that drive our educational policies, in essence, creating a self fulfilling prophecy. The intense focus on standardized, high stakes testing, and the from the multiple factors that have contributed to that gap. Historical Context erlies not only the root of this study but also the last fifty plus years of the American educational landscape, a historical context is merited. In 1965, in response to the War on Poverty, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Elementary and Sec ondary Education Act (ESEA). Title I of ESEA specifically set aside funds for the education of children living in conditions of poverty in an effort to close the observed literacy and math achievement gaps of low income students, when compared to their wealthier peers. This congressional act is considered to be the impetus for the decades long federal government involvement in local public school policy.


13 In 1983, President Ronald Reagan, concerned that American public schools were failing to provide the nation with a competitive workforce, formed the National Commission on Excellence in Education that published A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform (Nationa l Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983). This publication shifted the chool education away from mere funding to a federal reform agenda (Darling Hammond, 1997; Marzano, 2003; Ravitch, 2010). Over the next twenty years, and through many alterations and reauthorizations by otherwise politically public schools increased. The reform through accountability appr oach took no greater leap than with President reauthorization of ESEA to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. Imagined as a refocused effort to equalize the effects of poverty and inequity, NCLB established annual school progress r eports based upon standardized test scores. These reports, sometimes schools, property valuations can now be attributed to them (Black & Machin, 2011; Clapp, Nand a & Ross, 2008; Nguyen Hoang & Yinger, 2011). In 2015, when President Barack Obama retooled NCLB to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), there was optimism that a decrease in the focus placed on testing would relieve some of those realities ( Darling Ham mond et al., 2016). However, though it attempted to shift focus away from standardized testing, attention to teacher monetary incentives tied to student test scores heightened the high stakes accountability focus. All this attention to high stakes testing diverts pedagogical attention away from the realities impacting students. Latino students are affected by poverty at double the rate of their


14 Non Hispanic white peers (U S Census Bureau 2016). Students who speak English as a second language make up more than 9% of our public schools ( McFarland et al., 2017 ). America continues to grow more diverse and teachers may not be fully prepared to consider the unique challenges in teaching students whose cultural resources vary widely from the white, middl e class, European public school model (Merryfield, 2000). Pedagogical decisions, like effective practices for emergent bilingual students or culturally responsive practices for diverse student populations, may take a backseat to test preparation when the f ocus on achieving a strong school rating and garnering teacher bonus monies is so intense (Amrein & Berliner, 2002). Finally, it is also important to note that evidence of an achievement gap is available in data other than standardized test measures. Gaps in achievement also exist in measures of grade point average as well as high school and college completion rates ( U.S. Department of Education 2017) Further important to note, an achievement gap is not unique to the United States, but exists in other dev eloped countries as well (Darling Hammond, 2015). For the purpose of this study the group and the difference in average scores for the two groups is statistical U.S. Department of Education 2017). Whether this gap is the result of years of inequitable opportunity is not at odds with this definition; it is unquestionably due to years of inequitable opportunity and resources (Barton & Coley, 2009; Darling Hammond 2007). That the gap even exists is the motivation for further and continued study. Local Context Florida has been a leader in the accountability reform movement (Amrein & Berliner, del A+ Plan for Education, the Test (FCAT). These gains in test scores were seen across demographics. Teachers got really


15 good at teaching FCAT; students got really good at taking FCAT (Florida Department of Education 2017 ) Less considered were the side effects that the years of intense high stakes focus on FCAT wrought. Merit pay for teachers and students in schools that garnered higher state grades typically we nt to higher socio economic schools; minoritized and poverty impacted schools closed in favor of charter schools, mandatory third grade retention disregarded concerns about the social emotional impact on children; teachers left the profession and young peo ple avoided entering the profession altogether (West & Chingos, 2009). Florida became a state so obsessed ol SAT score (Florida HB 7069 Education 2017). While f ederal and state reform efforts may have begun with good intentions of righting impoverished inequities, the focus on standardized test that are now affecting y 2011; Crocco & Costigan, 2007; Darling Hammond, 2007; Rubin, 2011). With each federal dollar given, accountability driven motivations, like high stakes tests and the ability to maste r them, has become the primary focus of schooling (Nichols, Glass, & Berliner, 2006; Ravitch 2010). This is especially true in states like Florida that embraced the accountability movement in its earliest years. School Context After exposure to years of bl aringly negative news about impoverished and minoritized public schools, perhaps I walked into my new school assignment with some stereotypes of the low income, Latino students I would meet. Perhaps I thought the building would be without every imaginable modern marvel, its teachers despondent wrecks of ineptitude, its students somehow less than. Instead, I was greeted by happy, well cared for children and dedicated


16 as modern and sparkling clean with materials readily available. Yet, my new elementary school was not performing at the level its leadership felt that it could, having earned middling state standardized assessment scores for the past few years. I quickly b egan to wonder what might explain this performance in a school that appeared to have so many resources available to support student learning. My initial conversations at the school were contradictory. These conversa tions included beliefs that student unde rperformance problems were somewhere situated in low expectations for the low Common educational pigeonholing, that low income, minoritized schools with higher popula tions of emergent bilingual learners were simply lower performing, was also present. Either way I looked, my reality was that until I better understood the community I was charged with supporting as an instructional literacy coach and reading specialist, I was not going to be able to cultivate a plan to aim that support. Background of the Study This qualitative case study explored a single public elementary school located in the heart of a large, urban Florida city that serves over 200,000 students. These students represent 197 countries that speak 168 language varietie s. The public elementary school serves approximately 600 students in grades Pre K to 5 and was rebuilt in 2011 as a modern and well equipped U shaped campus that includes a primary wing and a n intermediate wing each cordoned out from a central hallway. This center hub is a bustle of activity with administrative offices, well equipped art and music rooms, a vibrant media center at the curved axis, and a welcoming all purpose room used for cafet eria, auditorium, and community building activities. The outside center of the U shape includes a large grassy area with space for classroom gardening, a covered pavilion, two


17 playgrounds, a basketball court, and three little league styled baseball fields. The front entry is spacious and decorated with a beautiful mural of the school mascot; parent information flyers and notices are prominently available in both English and Spanish The classrooms all include electronic white boards and seven desk top computers. There are five computer laboratories, each with enough modern computers for an entire class. Students have up to date expectations. The student bo dy of approximately 600 students in Pre kindergarten to fifth grade is not an especially large number compared to most schools in the district. Eighty percent of students identify as white Hispanic/Latino, 13% identify as white Non Hispanic/Latino, 3% iden tify as Black/African American, 3% identify as Asian/Pacific Islander and 1% identify as Multi Racial. Of the total student population, 33% of the students are emergent bilingual learners and 20% are identified as Exceptional Education Students (ESE). The school receives full Title I funding where all students are offered free breakfast and lunch as well as dinner for those attending after refrigerator where students can get additional food items if they a re still hungry. There are opportunities for families to get assistance with clothing and school supply needs throughout the year. The majority of students walk to school or are dropped off by their parents, with only one bus arriving from beyond the two m ile limit and one bus for a small number of ESE students. This public elementary school is truly a neighborhood school, and as such, family involvement is strong. Open House, Meet the Teacher, Conference Night and the annual Fall Multicultural Festival are all well attended. There is an active parent teacher organization and school advisory committee. The parents have opportunities to attend


18 Other Languages classes are offered free of charge, with babysitting provided. Students have numerous opportunities to participate in fre e clubs and tutoring activities outside of school hours. Clubs include art, chorus, guitar, math, kinetics, karate, and book discussion. Three afternoons each week and every other Saturday there is free tutoring; twice a week there is Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art and Math (STREAM) tutoring. The media center, with access to thirty computers, is open to families two nights a week until 7:00 pm. The school has a Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) grant, where additional coaches ar rive to manage all day STEM activities in every classroom once a month. An enrichment program, aimed at academically excelling students, meets several times each week. Thirty minutes of protected intervention and enrichment time is allocated daily. Between clubs, tutoring, intervention and enrichment offerings, students are offered many opportunities to extend their learning past the typical classroom space. According to school data, t only two f ratio is 13:1. There are 30 classroom teachers in grades K 5 and 2 classroom teachers in Prekindergarten. The remaining 15 teachers serve in support positions in the arts physical education, exceptional education, media and coaching capacities. The leadership team includes leadership, and experiences teaching in both elementar y and secondary schools. The assistant doctorate in educational leadership, and experience teaching elementary school. The


19 educational leadership, and elementary teaching experience. There are three instructional resource teachers. The curriculum resource teacher has taught both elementary and secondary school and holds a ba specialist. I have taught elementary, as well as secondary English/language arts and reading, and ding education. All six members of the leadership team have served their entire teaching careers in public schools. Reading and language arts curriculum is aligned to the Language Arts Florida Standards ader Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Although a few teachers may occasionally give directions in Spanish to native Spanish speakers, the text, oral, and computer delivered curriculum are all conveyed in the English language. All students in grades K 3 take the national norm referenced test, Measures of Academic Progress school. All students in grades 3 5 take the state standardized achievement test, Florida Stand ards Assessment (FSA), in writing, reading, and math annually in the spring. All 5th grade students take the F CAT Science exam annually in late spring. In addition to measuring student performance, the FSA and FCAT tests are used to measure school perform ance, reward teachers and purchase additional student materials with monetary bonuses. This public elementary school has earned the middling letter grade of C with the state of d the hiring of a


20 proficiency on the state standardized assessment dropped to 44% from 53% the year prior. I was hired over the summer with an expressed charge t o increase student literacy achievement as that each grade level of teachers had one hour per week of literacy professional collaboration with me (in addition to an hour with the math coach with the same charge). These professional collaborations occurred within the structure of professional learning communities (PLC) which were focused almost exclusively on discussing and implementing the state standards through t he adopted curriculum In addition to weekly PLCs, I used classroom observations to engage teachers in professional development coaching aimed at improving overall instructional practices as well as increasing the focus on effective literacy pra ctices. These observations were (Marzano & Toth, 2013). It is important to understand factors impeding student performance at a school that defies the stereotypical pic performance grade should not be deemed a failure, my initial observations and conversations before the formal study even began, suggested that stakeholders had resources and a desire to be a much higher performing school, perhaps even an exemplar of high performing urban schools serving low income, predominantly Latino students Purpose and Research Questions The purpose of this case study was to identify factors contributing to lowered st udent including myself, could provide resources for teachers and students to improve performance. It is important to find ways to navigate the expansive goals of the standards based accountability


21 The end goal is increased student learning and capability, not higher test scores. Yet, the realities of the standards ba sed accountability landscape remain. I began my study building upon more than twenty years as a professional educator with expertise in literacy instruction. I knew that factors connected to students lived societal realities, such as poverty and language rights might contribute to underperformance on standardized tests. However, I was seeking to find ways to ameliorate those inequities through pedagogical resolutions. I theorized that I might encounter factors related to teacher perceptions of their stude nts, as well as misapplied or ignored pedagogies. Because the school appeared to be far removed from the stereotypical depiction of low income minoritized schools, I questioned the standardized test rating of what appeared on many levels to be a stellar pu blic elementary school. The question I asked as a practitioner scholar seeking to better understand my new school and, consequently, strengthen my practice as an instructional literacy coach was: What factors may help explain the underperformance of lear ners on standardized assessments? The scope of potential factors impacting student achievement is broad and fluid. However, as a practitioner scholar, I sought to better understand the teacher perceptions and instructional pedagogies in place so that I mig specialist and thus, have a positive impact upon student performance In addition to the regularly scheduled coaching observations I was already involved with, I further hoped that s peaking with colleagues about perceived instructional factors might inform my ambitions. Therefore, I wondered: How might teacher perceptions inform my understandings of student underperformance? How might teaching practices contribute to student underperf ormance? Significance of the Study Something was going on at my picturesque elementary school that was more than just numbers on a page. Simply looking at school data showed one picture: minoritized,


22 predominantly Latino, emerging bilingual, low income, students who scored 44% proficiency on the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) Looking at the school culture and community showed another: beautiful well equipped building, happy well care d for children, strong family involvement, thoughtful educators, and leadership support. I was unable to marry these two realities in order to forge a path of action to guide the school towards higher performance in my role as its instructional literacy co ach and reading specialist. Whether an explanation of underperformance would emerge as a convergence of dynamics or a single factor was yet to be determined, but I hoped that the story of my stellar elementary school might also have implications for other schools serving low income, emergent bilingual, Latino students. At the time, I did not anticipate that my study would also shed light on what happens when years of intense focus on test scores undermine resources and time allocations for relevant instruct ional pedagogies for diverse learners and create issues surrounding teacher efficacy. Therefore, this study offers not only significant considerations for the leadership of my school, but also for schools serving similar populations, and policymakers that seek insight into how a focus on standardized testing leaves less room for instructional capacity building.


23 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Introduction Although my school is a contemporary, well equipped building, one cannot ignore the fact that the students who inhabit it are touched by poverty and societal minoritization. Statistical data on the exact number of low income families the school serves is skewed because once the free and reduced lunch applications reach 87%, schools no longer k eep specific data, but rather students are offered free breakfast, free lunch, and free dinner for those students staying for after hours programs. It is als o an important fact that 33% are considered emergent bilingual students and 80% identify as Hispanic/Latino, a typically minoritized population in the United States. The socio cultural and political dynamics intersecting at my school involve ways that the teachers who work there interact and understand, or fail to understand, the ways in which their students have been minoritized by societal normalized expectations and structures. Insight into literature that describes the abilities, expectations, and ster eotypes of teachers in schools with low income, minoritized students was warranted. Teachers may also ignore or misapply pedagogies for diverse populations, especially emergent bilingual learners and those culturally marginalized. Attention to the ways tha t effective teachers use cultural relevance and responsiveness were also considered. Policies concerning school realities in an era of high stakes testing additionally inform the study. Teacher satisfaction, efficacy, and professional development have all been tied to the accountability reform movement (Barksdale Ladd & Thomas, 2000; Jones & Egley, 2004 ; Rubin, 2011 ) To frame the story of my case, schools matching similar demographics that successfully maneuver the standardized testing high performance exp ectations also offer added insights. Finally, examining literature on ways that


24 instructional coaches make effective changes to school improvement and teacher effectiveness is applicable. My efforts as a practitioner scholar and instructional literacy coa ch within the setting required an enhanced understanding of research on effective teacher coaching methods and professional development approaches. I began my review with literature that helped to frame the landscape of my school. Realities of the Social, Cultural, Political Landscape of the Case As much as the United States likes to pride itself as a melting pot, one cannot ignore statistics on the minoritization of races and cultures outside of the dominant American archetype. Latino students, especially emergent bilingual students, may find it difficult to navigate public schools built on Englis h language and culture They may be labeled as less than based upon standardized tests that do not measure their knowledge and skill, but rather, their ability to understand English. Adding to these school realities is the societal reality that minoritized races and cultures are touched by poverty at a far greater rate than t he dominant race and culture; while this rate still continues to increase ( Kochhar & Fry 2 014). Poverty The United States economy has become increasingly divergent from the manufacturing jobs that once supplied a solid middle class economy and has evolved to a more inequitable duality of low skill/low wage service and production jobs and high s kill/high wage information and finance jobs; thus, educational attainment has become increasingly essential to earning better wages (Reardon, 2013). Income inequality has been growing at such a rate that children born into pover ty in 2001 have roughly a 30 40% larger gap in measures of achievement than previous generations ; this income gap is twice as large as the more frequently studied black white gap (Reardon, 2013). Higher income families are able to spend almost seven times as much on their children's development than lower income families, a gap in opportunity that has


25 been continually widening, up from four times as much in 1972 (Kornrich & Furstenberg, 2013). Realities surrounding income inequality are certainly a cause for concern for many public sc hool children. When thinking about students impacted by poverty, it is important to understand that low income families are as diverse as the many and varied cultures they represent. Low income people do not share common values or behaviors; they are not a culture (Gorsk i, 2008). All races and cultures are impacted by poverty even though stereotypes abound regarding low income (2013) work studying low income families finds four common stereotypes of low income people: lack of parental involvement and support, laziness, substance abuse, and l anguage deficiency The statistical realities are quite different. The reality is that many low income people work the equivalent of 1.2 jobs in labor intense and harsh conditions, many times without benefit of vacation days or sick leave afforded their wealthier peers (Waldron, Roberts & Reamer, 2004). Involvement in illegal drugs is evenly distributed across societal incomes and alcohol abuse is actually less likely in low income families than wealthier familie s ( United States Department of Health and Human Services 2004). Despite the societal obstacles that low income parents face, they are no less attentive and responsible for their income and minoriti zed students are more likely to have English reading skill insufficiencies, the reasons why illustrate more about their access to literacy resources rather than anything about race and/or culture (Dupere, Leventhal, Crosnoe & Dion, 2010; Milner, 2013). B ecause these societal stereotypes exist regarding students from low income famili es, one must consider how these research on the ways in which schools reinforce societal class systems in society helps us better


26 understand that social organization patterns and behaviors modelled by teachers become ingrained within the classroom (Rist, 1970). Rist further found that school strongly shares in the complicity of maintaining the organizational perpetuat ion of poverty and unequal opportunity. This, of course, is in contrast to the formal doctrine of education in this country to amel iorate rather than aggravate the (p.37). Yet, much of the educational research surrounding poverty is limited in conceptualization and defines poverty around school free and reduced lunch programs and test scores, a limited v iew of the condition (Milner, 2013). Further, educational research related to low income students tends to offer feeble recommendations for improvement of instruction (Milner, 2013). In other words, we know that schools are impacted by poverty related ster eotyping, but how to alter our understandings is less clear. Reading scores, like those I am charged with improving, exhibit disproportions across income levels, but many of those disproportions can be clarified when the quality of the institutions in whi ch students have access are compared (Darling Hammond, 2000; Gorski, 2013). Federal involvement in reading instructional practices for low income students has emphasized specific pedagogical approaches, like phonics instruction into the intermediate and se condary grade levels, that have resulted in teacher centered and inflexible classrooms while engagement, a more student centered approach, as a predictor of achievem ent (Cummins, 2007; National Reading Panel, 2000). Ignoring educational research in the development of federal policies aimed at closing achievement gaps that were created by institutionalized systems of


27 inequity will not solve the problems created by that inequity, but rather create cyclical malpractice. Still, the societal realities that low income students face on a daily basis cannot be ignored while we wait for our institutions to play catch up. Schools need to find ways to counter rather than perpe tuate these inequities. Programs such as Head Start, aimed at reducing the links between social inequalities and academic opportunities, are much needed (Zigler & Muenchow, 1992). Growing evidence that programs extending school hours may help to narrow aca demic gaps is another area where schools can make inroads for educational attainment equality (Kaplan & Chan, 2012). Although institutionalized systems of inequity may never be made fully equitable, aligning our efforts and understandings is a step in ame liorating the systematic disadvantages low income families face. My elementary school has begun a mission to counter income inequalities with programs for free pre school, free daily meals, and extended hours for after school and Saturday tutoring, though it still faces many other inequitable realities of its minoritized students lived experiences. perceived academic failure on the student and/or their families. In reality, schools are facing an measure the values of the dominant society are labelled as failures when what is really be ing measured is the lack of access to educational resources and societal opportunities (Carter & Welner, 2013; Darling Hammond, 2010; Gorski, 2013). The perceived gap is based upon ues are most worthy. Student achievement is a socially constructed notion where the dominant power structures place value on particular behaviors and outcomes over others; one singular example


28 includes ways of valuing certain subject areas as superior to o thers (Counts, 1978; Milner, 2013). At my elementary school, this perceived gap is based upon monolingual assessments for students still in various stages of emerging bilingualism, a form of further systematic minoritization. Adding to the perceived gaps i n student performance for minoritized students is the emphasis placed on testing accountability and the labels that come with it. Low income students who are labeled as below level, appear to be influenced by their labels in ways that may impact their late r decisions to enroll in college (Papay, Murnane, & Willett, 2011). For students identified as emergent bilingual, how they are labeled and tracked proves to be a greater predictor of academic performance than their language acquisition efforts (Callahan, 2005). Students assigned to lower tracks simply do not perform as well as their peers placed in higher tracks (Oakes, 1985 ). De tracking, with high expectations and curriculum, can be an effective strategy for increased student performance (Burris, Wiley, Welner & Murphy, 2008). The leaders at my school have worked hard to eliminate student tracking and promote a more heterogeneous learning environment where all students are mainstreamed into general education classrooms even those in the very beginning st ages of bilingualism School environments that label and track students according to this perceived gap, ignore the funds of knowledge each student brings to the classroom ( Gonzlez Moll, & Amanti, 2006). An intense focus on narrow accountability assessm ents at the cost of ignoring student accomplishment makes social injustices even more pressing for minoritized students as they are deemed unworthy, their schools and teachers labeled failures. When these labeled failures shift diminish inequalities, you have an educational system of misperceived ability as well as missed possibilities (Gonzlez, Moll & Amanti, 2006).


29 howing up in our school communities, we need to also consider the societal gaps such as teacher quality, teacher training, new and challenging curriculum, disparities in school funding, access to technology, employment opportunities, affordable housing, ch ildcare, and healthcare availability (Irvine, 2010). Although segregation orders seem a thing of the past, six decades of research on segregation and educational opportunity demonstrate that separate remains unequal and neighborhood schools, like my elemen tary, face opportunity segregations due to societal minoritization based upon race and income (Orfield, Kucsera & Siegel Hawley, 2012). Studies of successful teaching practices for diverse learners must include a broad look at societal patterns of inequit y and the ways teachers navigate those realities. Teacher consideration for and understanding of their students lived experiences as well as a critical ability to recognize the societal impacts upon classroom learning are essential (Hammond, 2015; Howard, 2003; Milner, 2013). Teaching in Low Income, Latino Schools There is a growing plea to prepare teachers for the twenty diverse classrooms through critical lens (Banks et al., 2001; Cochran Smith, 2004; Darling Hammond, 1997; G ay, 2010; Gorski, 2013; Hammond, 2015, Ladson Billings, 1995; Milner, 2013; Sensoy & DiAngelo, 2012). The American classroom is predominantly led by white, female teachers with negligible professional preparation aimed at navigating, let alone challenging, the pressures of molding culturally, economically, racially, and linguistically Cochran Smith, et al. 2005; Sleeter, 2001). In addition to the lack of diversi ty in the teaching force, teachers in low income, low achieving, and minoritized schools are more typically less skilled or experienced (Barton & Coley, 2009; Lankford, Loeb & Wyckoff, 2002). Though most schools encourage or provide ongoing teacher profess ional development, trainings that teachers


30 receive are not well to f ocus on the high (Barksdale Ladd & Thomas, 2000; Jones & Egley, 2004). D eficit Thinking Toward Students from Low Income Latino Families Teacher and school practices may include stereotypes, bias, and deficit thin king toward low income, Latino students. These attitudes are hard to overcome for non dominant populations, lacking the social or political institutionalized power to transform these deficit narratives (Gorski, 2013). Thus, the narratives appear as truths to the dominant society. seeing students with asset based eyes. Adding another layer to the difficulty many teachers face in confronting their own biases are popularized pedagogical perspectives resting upon notions that low income and minoritized peoples are in some ways inferio r and need to be cured of their deficits. This deficit ideology is a view that justifies academic outcome inequalities by pointing to standardized test scores or levels of educational attainment as evidence of deficiencies within minoritized communities (G orski, 2011; Valencia, 2010). For many years, teachers have been led to believe in deficit characterizations of low income people without supporting anthropological, sociological or pedagogical research on poverty or race (Bomer, Dworin, May, & Semingson, 2008; Gorski, 2013; Valencia, 2010). This deficit ideology contributes to attitudes where student performance outside of dominant norms is viewed as lacking, weak, problematic, or a pathology to be remedied (Ladson Billings, 2009; Valencia, 2010). Unfortu nately, my district has perpetuated some of the popularized pedagogies related to iticized


31 for its treatment of poverty as an abnormal pathology to be remedied through teacher intervention (Bomer, et al. 2008; Gorski, 2013; Payne, 2005; Smiley & Helfenbein, 2011; Ullucci & Howard, 2015; Valencia 2010). Deficit ideology justifies inequality, using examples of bias and stereotype to explain away the inequality (Gorski, 2013). This creates a mindset of nse of responsibility to their student (Bomer, et al. 2008; Pollack, 2012). If teachers can justify that their low expectations a nd absolve themselves of responsibility f or continued cycles of poor academic performance Teachers who are trained toward equity theories, like social justice and cultural relevance and responsiveness, view inequities as the result of less opportunity and not a particular flaw due to income or culture and focus on the assets of their students instead of the deficits (Gorski, 2013; Halvorsen, Lee & Andrade, 2008). Equity oriented teachers do not subscribe to societal ready to start that attempt to mold everyone into a common ideal (Ullucci & Howard, 2015). Finding ways to assist teachers in examining their own deficit thinking, as well as overcoming their bias and stereotyping, may help guide teachers who work with minoritized foundation (Gonzlez, Moll & Amanti, 2006; Ladson Billings, 1992; Valencia, 2010). Teachers who use culturally relevant and responsive practices understand that culture is a resource to be harnessed, building upon family strengths that respect and value culture (Hammond, 2015; Scribner, Young, & Pedroza, 1999).


32 Teaching Emergent Bilingual Students in a Predominantly English Speaking Society In addition to ways that teachers may hold deficit ideologies toward their low income students, teachers may also hold negative views regarding the emergent bilingual students in their classrooms (Walker, Shafer & Iiams, 2004). Consideri ng the growing number of emergent bilingual students that teachers will be charged with teaching, this proves problematic. Since the 1974 Lau v. Nichols decision that schools must take steps to overcome language barriers for emergent bilingual students, th e percentage of students enrolled as English Language Learners (ELL) has continued to grow (Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563, 1974; National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016). For the 2013 students were emergent bilingual. Florida ranks as one of the states serving the greatest number of emergent bilingual students (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016). In Florida, emergent bilingual students take the state standardized test each year in Eng lish and their scores begin to count toward school ratings during their third year in attendance. This is despite the fact that bilingual research establishes a three to five year timetable for emergent bilingual student proficiency in English, even under the best educational circumstances (Baker, 2011; Hahta, Butler & Witt, 2000). On top of a lack of consideration for bilingual research, there is a glaring problem when measuring the emergent bilingual academic performance: the subgroup of ELL students never remains static ( Garca Arias, Murri & Serna, 2010). The ELL subgroup is not a stable measure because schools systematically remove emergent bilingual students from the subgroup as they reach English proficiency, or bilingualism; thus, the ELL subgroup will always Garca et al. 2010). Further, measuring emergent bilingual student ability i s problematic in that students may hold more


33 knowledge than they are able to articulate in English (Abedi & Lord, 2001). Schools that serve large emergent bilingual populations will have difficulty moving past the low performance label due to these inequit able measurement barriers. Adding to the inequitable subgroup assessment of emergent bilingual students are the attitudes and skills their teachers bring to the classroom. Teacher attitudes about having emergent bilingual students in their classrooms can be negative; teachers cite lack of time, lack of preparation for, and inaccurate information about emergent bilingual students as their reasoning for this negativity (Walker, Shafer, & Iiams, 2004). Caldern, Slavin, and Snchez (2011) conducted a meta ana lysis of research on schools that successfully teach emergent bilingual students and found that quality instruction was what mattered most when helping emergent bilingual students achieve. Yet, it is simply not enough to lump emergent bilingual teaching e xpertise into a set of all purpose teaching practices; emergent bilingual students have unique language acquisition needs that must be explicitly addressed (Gersten & Baker, 2000; Harper & de Jong, 2009). Teachers must have emergent bilingual pedagogical k nowledge along with English language and reading pedagogical knowledge (Bunch, 2013; Gersten & Baker, 2000; Harper & de Jong, 2009). acquisition, while also va effectively implement the standardized curriculum (Bunch, 2013; Gersten & Baker, 2000). At my school, English language acquisition is coordinated by a trained specialist who 2.0 for ELLs, a standardized English language profici ency assessment (WIDA Consortium 201 4). Emergent bilingual students are placed in regular, heterogeneous classrooms. Teachers in the state of


34 Florida are required to obtain an endorsement of skill for working with emergent bilingual students within five years of their initial teaching certif ication (Florida Department of Education 1990) The large percentage of emergent bilingual students at my school makes up more than three times the national average. Many students outside of the identified 33% emergent bilingual population have shown Engl classification as an ELL student. However, the reality for many of the students at my elementary school is that a language other than English is their primary/home language and English is th eir secondary, and oftentimes school only, language. A further reality, that 80% of the students identify as a societally minoritized population, Hispanic/Latino, intersects with the s ingle language school barrier. Simply having one person oversee the mana gement of such a large number of bilingual and emergent bilingual students is not enough. The teachers must also be well trained in pedagogies for teaching the non domina nt languages and cultures represented in our school (Dixon, et al., 2012; Fillmore, 20 14 ) Teacher Professional Development for Diversely Populated Classrooms Recent efforts to aim ongoing teacher professional development toward teaching diverse learners may hold some promise and it is laudable to note that teacher professional development aimed specifically at impacting diverse learners is increasing (Wei, Darling Hammond, Adamson, 2010). Yet, several studies have reported that teachers, even if they have had some preparation for teaching a diversity of students, feel unprepared for societ al issues their students face ( Coady, Harper & de Jong, 2011 ; Nieto, 2013). While pre service and in service teacher preparation has been much more focused on teaching a broader student population, teacher preparation programs appear to divide pedagogies reflecting on more inclusive, rather than divisive, practices ( Florian & Linklater, 2010; Ladson


35 Billings, 1999). This divisiveness maintains a narrative of the t ypical, white, middle class, monolingual teacher as regular, or without culture; it implies that she is normal, and thus, people unlike her are abnormal (Ladson stories implying that if we work hard enough we can all one day be president, perpetuate dominant societal thinking that contradicts realities of our public school classrooms. In reality, evidence tells us that unless we are worth a million bucks, went to an ivy league school, are male, and of European descent we have a greatly diminished chance of becoming president (Ladson Billings, 2006; Ullucci & Howard, 2015). Some realities of our institutionalized structures cannot be ignored away and since public schools are lauded as a means to b ridge inequitable systems, professional development opportunities for teachers need to consider the realities of low income, minoritized students and ways to ameliorate inequities Most teacher education programs require related cou rses in the field of psy chology yet fail to examine educational theory through an anthropological or sociological lens (Ladson Billings, 2006). Professional development opportunities for both pre service and in service teachers need to address the complexities and intersections o f race, culture, language and social class as they influence student learning (Banks et al ., 2001). Effective teachers of diverse and ways to utilize that di versity to their advanta ge (Banks, et al 2001; Hammond, 2015). It is essential that professional development opportunities guide teachers in understanding these complexities as well as ways in which race, ethnicity, language, and social class interrelate If professional development is aimed solely at strategies and methodologies, instead of examination of teacher beliefs and relationships with their students, teachers might be led to believe that students are solely responsible for their own underperform ance (Bartolom 1994).


36 One of the most important changes that teacher professional development must embrace is shifting away from stereotypes that place blame on individual students rather than broadening teacher understandings of societal inequi ties (Ul lucci & Howard, 2015). Teacher professional development aimed at increasing collective responsibility for the school may hold some promise (Halvorsen, Lee & Andrade, 2008). In low income and minoritized public schools where teachers have high levels of co llective responsibility for all student learning, reading achievement is positively influenced (Halvorsen, Lee & Andrade, 2008; Hollins, McIntyre, DeBose, Hollins & Towner, 2004). Teachers with a high level of collective responsibility recognize the chall enge as well as the positive rewards of their work; they expend more preparation time, hold more frequent parent conferencing, set high expectations for students, and are inclined toward continual professional learning (Halvorsen, Lee, & Andrade, 2008). Re cent trends toward reflective, critical professional development in the areas of cultural relevance and responsiveness may hold another key to balancing an effective classroom ( Gay, 2010 ; Hammond, 2015) Teaching with Cultural Relevancy & Responsiveness Teachers carry their own lived experiences into classroom in ways that may unintentionally impact their professionalism. Because schools reflect the larger society, they value the skills, languages, and behaviors of the dominant society (Books, 2007). Tea chers, often part of the professional class and dominant society, may have difficulty noticing the ways that schools marginalize diver et al 2001; Sensoy & DiAngelo, 2012). Teachers may have internalized dominant societal a ttitudes, bringing them directly into their classrooms (Walker, Shafer, & Iiams, 2004 ; Sensoy & DiAngelo, 2012 ). Teacher bias seeps into the classroom under the guise of low expectations and less rigorous curriculum. Student performance expectations may be based upon perceptions of student background rather than


37 actual abilities (Nieto & Bode, 2012). Teacher bias in the form of lowered performance capacity to excel (Pollack, 2012). Cultural relevance and responsiveness are pedagogical theories that embrace relevant validating and authentic (Gay, 2010; Hammond, 2015; Lad son Billings, 1992; Ladson Billings, 2009). Culturally relevant and responsive teaching theory seeks to overcome both educator bias, unconscious and normalized attitudes, and stereotypes, so that they may empower student thinking about the realities of the ir world (Hammond, 2015; Ladson Billings, 1992). Culturally responsive pedagogies help students preserve their cultural identities while helping them Billings, 1992). Culturally responsive teachers are consci ous of the sociocultural realities of teaching and learning and have affirming, rather than deficit, outlooks on students who differ from the dominant culture (Gay, 2013; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). Before relevant instructional planning and responsive actio n can occur, a teacher must be able to critically reflect on understandings, beliefs, attitudes, and stereotypes about diverse populations and how theses stances have seeped into their classrooms (Gay, 2013; Hammond, 2015). This is not an easy task. Teache rs begin moving to critical responsiveness by increasing their equity literacy toward eventual recognition, counter stances, and answers to situations where marginalized students are denied equitable educational access (Gay, 2013; Gorski, 2013). Teachers l earning to become culturally responsive must have an understanding of the socio change (Hammond, 2015; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). In addition to critically examining the


38 complexities of their own attitudes and responses, culturally responsive teachers must continually expand their understanding and knowledge of cultures (Hammond, 2015; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). Culturally responsive teachers understand that there are m any ways that students think, should look like (Hammond, 2015). For instance, teachers who employ culturally responsive practices are aware that some cultures val ue collectivism over the more dominant American trait of individualism and they understand that oral tradition and performance based knowledge mastery are features of many non dominant cultures (Hammond, 2015). Culturally responsive teachers take genuine i funds of knowledge, using these funds to stretch their students beyond their known experiences (Moll & Gonzlez 2004; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). These teachers help their student s use lived experiences in order to frame new knowledge (Gay, 2013; Hammond 2015; Ladson Billings, 1992). Teachers who use culturally relevant and responsive practices believe that their students are capable of academic success and use the internal strengt h of diverse students to their Hammond, 2015; Ladson Billings, 1992). Culturally responsive teachers work hard to earn the right to be tough stretching their students past a foundation of the familiar, using culture as a bridge (Hammo nd, 2015; Kleinfeld, 1975; Ville gas & Lucas, 2002). They do this through community building focused on shared and collective responsibility, creating environments where learning is a socio emotional partnership of critically examined, group constructed, and communal knowledge (Hammond, 2015; Ladson Billings, 2009) They offer opportunities for students to be independent learners and give asset based feedback that not only affirms their


39 studen opportunities for progress (Hammond, 2015). Teachers who act with cultural relevance and responsiveness also recognize how learning theory and cognitive science can assist the (Hammond, 2015). They have an understanding of the way the brain constantly works to scan for and avoid threats, move toward rewards, and pursue safety (Hammond, 2015). Most importantly, they use to the attachments and seek safety in order to create environments for student learning (Gay, 2010; Hammond, 2015). In other words, they know that creating a safe, inviting classroo m is more than just a behavior management concern; it is learning theory tied to brain research (Hammond, 2015). Culturally relevant and responsive teachers also tie their instruction to meaningful lived experiences. In many instances marginalized student s have formed dependent learning capacities due to years of underestimation and lack of opportunities to productively struggle with knowledge construction (Hammond, 2015). Culturally responsive teachers negotiate the ways that their students construct sche ma by building on what they know in order to work toward higher order thinking (Hammond, 2015). They attempt to balance rigorous instruction and Research on culturally relevan t and responsive teaching is still in its infancy and evidence of an explicit relationship between culturally responsive instruction and student outcomes is still somewhat unclear (Scanlan & Lpez, 2012). The idea that teaching is, in and of itself, a tran sformative political act (Freire, 1970) indicates that teachers must realize that their pedagogical decisions have far reaching social justice implications for marginalized students. As


40 the dream keepers of society, teachers must examine ways to reach and teach all students (Ladson Billings, 2009). High Performing Low Income, Latino Schools Although schools that teach students from impoverished and minoritized backgrounds seem to dominate the negative news cycle, there are high performing schools that m atch my school s demographic that successfully navigate the standardized testing expectations for their students. It is important to consider that state assessments do not distinguish schools that have uction and learning versus their social class so the examination must begin with high performing low income, minoritized schools, which, unfortunately, are a rare exception to the typical high performing school (Elmore, 2004). High performing low income, minoritized populated schools share a consistent focus on im proved instruction (Herman et al. 2008). Learning environments in these schools focus on excellence by having high expectations for eve ry student (Garca et al. 2010; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999). Teachers in these high performing schools believe that their students are as capable as any student, regardless of societal minoritization (Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). Instruction is strongly focused on academics, is active versus passive, student centered and cooperative; attention to rigorous instructional curricula take priori ty (Garca et al. 2010; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). Instructional emphasis is placed on making meaning and understanding; math is conceptually connected to the concrete and reading is thematically connected to experiences (Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). A determined focus on English language proficiency is explicitly persistent (Gerstein & Baker, 2000; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). Instructional considerations are, very simply, a priority.


41 Teacher autonomy and confidence are present in high performing low income, minoritized sch ools (Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). Teachers are interested in their own professional development and are enthusiastic about their profession ( Garca et al 2010; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). They work to continue their own le arning in strong out other successful practices (Elmore, 2004; Johnson & Asera, 1999; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). Professional development that focuses on teaching diverse populations is essential and embraced (Banks et al., 2001; Caldern, Slavin, & Snchez, 2011). Teachers also share a deep sense of collective and internalized responsibility for all students in the school (Elmore, 2004; Johnson & Asera, 1999; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). In addition to this sense of being responsible for all children, an ethic of care and nurturing is also present in high performing low income, minoritized schools ( Garca et al., 2010; Noddings, 2 013; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). Everything that transpires in these schools is energized by student need (Johnson & Asera, 1999; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). Teachers encourage student self responsibility and honorable behav ior for all students within the school ( Garca et al., 2010; Johnson & Asera, 1999). In essence, these teachers remember that their professional duty is to enhance the lives of children. It is not just the teachers who impact high performing low income, minoritized schools; characteristics of the leadership in these schools provide further insights. Principals in high performing schools serving diverse students view themselves as the primary resource provider for both students and teachers (Johnson & Aser a, 1999; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). They are highly visible, enthusiastic about their role, and have a clear vison that is communicated well with all stakeholders ( Garca et al., 2010; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes


42 Scribner, 1999 ). Principals articulate their expectations for student learning and have a strong sense of urgency in high performing schools (Elmore, 2006). Principals in high performing low income and minoritized schools have high expectations for not only the students, but also th e teachers, who they view and trust as capable professionals ( Garca et al 2010). They are intentional in their recruitment of teachers, always on the lookout for instructional leadership to share collective decision making for the school ( Garca et al., 2010; Herman et al., 2008; Johnson & Asera, 1999). Building a committed and strong staff is a priority for principals in high performing low income, minoritized populated schools (Herman et al., 2008). In addition to care, concern, high expectations, and strong instructional leadership, high performing schools with low income minoritized students also operate in ways that support diversity. Culturally relevant and responsive instruction is present (Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). Culture and f irst languages are valued in ways that incorporate student interest and tap into their funds of knowledge ( Gonzlez Moll, & Amanti, 2006; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). By embracing the larger cultural community, staff in these schools build respect and confidence that lead to an increase connectedness with parents (Johnson & Asera, 1999; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). High performing low income, minoritized schools have open lines of communication between the school and the paren ts or caregivers (Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). Staff members understand the inequities students face and take measures to overcome them by finding ways to help with the greater needs of the community ( Garca et al., 2010). Realities of Stan dards Based Instruction and Assessment In addition to research related to the instruction in high performing, low income, minoritized schools, research surrounding the ways in which these schools approach the state standardized assessment provides further insight into the complexities of measuring student


43 performance. These schools see the state standardized assessment as a starting point, but also incorporate a variety of assessments to observe student performance ( Garca et al., 2010; Reyes, Scribner, & Paredes Scribner, 1999 ). Empowered teachers in these schools are given needs (Reyes, Scribner, & Scribner, 1999). Yet, the reality of my school, located in the hig h stakes testing state of Florida, is very different. The tested standards are the focus of most instruction, creating a narrowed curriculum (Berliner, 2011; Crocco & Costigan, 2007; Darling Hammond & Adamson, 2014) that limits teacher autonomy and efficac y (Darling Hammond, 2010; Rubin 2011). Even more unfortunate, this narrowing of curricular choice is more often found in low income schools (Darling Hammond, 2010) and limits the time spent on culturally relevant and responsive teaching. Most unfortunate, all of this focus on standardization and assessment has failed to increase student achie vement (Hursh, 2007; Nichols & Berliner 2008). Thus, while high performing low income, minoritized schools used state standardized assessment along with a variety of as sessments to observe student performance, this is no longer the case in high stakes testing environments like those in Florida where teacher pay, school ratings, and property values are tightly linked to student performance on the state standardized assess ment (Black & Machin, 2011; Clapp, Nanda &Ross, 2008; Nguyen Hoang & Yinger, 2011). Coaching Toward Improved Instruction Beca use this entire study revolves around my role as both a practitioner scholar and an instructional coach, examining the ways that ef fective coaches navigate landscapes of standardized assessment pressures and low income, minoritized settings seems warranted. Instructional coaches are teachers who work with other teachers to increase effective instructional practice in classrooms (Knigh t, 2007). School based coaches provide job embedded


44 professional development, working alongside teacher colleagues to uncover and address problems of practice specific to their school and students (Croft, Coggshall, Dolan & Powers, 2010). The work of an in structional coach rests upon relationship building; I cite my nine years of experience in defense of that statement. In order for the work of increased student performance to occur, a trusting and non evaluative relationship must be built (Knight, 2007). O nce this relationship has been established, coaches can have a positive impact on teacher attitudes, skill, efficacy, and student achievement (Cornett & Knight, 2008). When coaches are seen as facilitators and not an extension of administration, teachers v iew the coaches as a collaborator and not a boss (Vanderberg & Stephens, 2009). This facilitative coaching model is the one I work hard to employ. Coaches can also be instrumental in demonstrating instructional practice, explaining theory, and providing feedback on observed classroom practice (Joyce & Showers, 2002). Further, coaches can have positive impacts on teacher attitudes; thus, schools focus ing on socio cultural issues around low income, minoritized students may benefit from instructional coaching (Cornett & Knight, 2008; Teemant, Wink, Tyra, 2011). When coaches enact performance based coaching that focuses on socio cultural pedagogy, such as cultural relevance and responsiveness, improvements in teacher skill can be seen (Teemant, Wink, Tyra, 2011). That said, in order for performance based coaching to work, coaches need to have more expertise than the teachers they are coaching and the abili ty to articulate what they observe in classrooms (Dole, 2004). Therefore it is important to remember that coaches are teachers and learners too. Coaches need time to learn and experience new pedagogies t in order to mature into strong teacher leaders (Gal lucci, Van Lare, Yoon & Boatright, 2010). In other words, instructional coaches have


45 potential for far reaching influence within the school so long as they are effective and knowledgeable educators themselves. Coaching requires specialized knowledge in not only content and instructional pedagogy, but also an understanding of how to work closely with adult learners (L'Alli er, Elish Piper & Bean, 2010). Coaches must be able to navigate through teacher resistance. In a study of 33 teachers at an urban, low income elementary school, issues surrounding conflicting curriculum and instructional methodologies impacted the effect that coaches had on curricular and instructional implementation (Al Otaiba, Hosp, Smartt & Dole, 2008). Considerations for the distric t adopted standardized curriculum and the ideologies my colleagues have of their autonomy are a near constant tightrope. In addition to respecting their autonomy, I have to find ways to bridge their professional endeavors expectations. Instructional coaches who are also reading specialists, like myself, have specialized knowledge in reading instruction that may help the many levels of reader ability in low income, minoritized schools, (Dole, 2004). My reading expertise is one way that I am able to create that bridge. When a reading coach is a component of school based professional development in high poverty schools, reading achievement can improve (Carlisle & Berebitsky, 2011; L'Allier & 'Allier, 2007). Teaching practices are impacted when a teacher spends time with an instructional coach; thus, time spent with teachers should be the primary & Bean, 2010). The leadership memb ers of my school value my coaching efforts and the majority of my time is spent with teachers. The school leadership often employs my efforts to launch new initiatives. In addition to implement new policies


46 and procedures (Coburn & Woulfin, 2012; Cornett & Knight, 2008). School based coaching helps to transfer training ob jectives into practice, contributing to collegiality which builds risk taking that is necessary for teachers to try new pedagogical approaches (Joyce & Showers, 2002). In the end, the most important consideration regarding coaching is that instructional coaches have a positive impact on student achievement by increasing the capacity of teachers (Cornett & Knight, 2008). Coaches can be a strong component towards building a high performing school. Conclusion To contextualize this study, I reviewed literature on perceptions of teaching and learning, as well as effective practices for, and conditions similar to the realitie s of my school. Final literature considerations for the circumstances of high stakes standardized assessments and effective coaching practices helped to guide my work. The purpose of this study was to determine teacher perceptions and pedagogies that were factors in student performance on the specific areas that I could address as an instructional literacy coach and reading specialist at the school. Chapter 3 wil l describe the methodology of this study, including data collection, data analysis, as well as a description of my role as a practitioner researcher within the school setting


47 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY A qualitative case study methodology was used t o explore teacher perceptions and instructional factors that might be impeding student performance on standardized measures of assessment at an urban, public elementary school of approximately 600 predominantly Latino, low income students located in the st ate of Florida. Time limitations inhibited the use of all 47 teachers; a voluntary sample of teacher participants was used. Purposive sampling guidelines regarding length of time the teacher participants had served within the school added trustworthiness to this study (Creswell, 2013) In addition, cross analyzed data from both interviews and observations were examined to find common themes related to teacher perceptions and practices of the case. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this qualitative case study of a low income, predominantly Latino public elementary school was to explore instructional factors and teacher perceptions that might be impeding student performance on standardized measures of assessment in order to aim my support and expertise as specialist. In addition, school based leadership expressed an interest in providing resources that might I chose an expl oratory case methodology as it lent itself to my desire to be tter understand a school with a distinct demographic: urban, predominantly Latino, low income, and serving a larg e number of emergent bilingual students. Case study design assists in studying rea l life, small scale, contemporary systems through collection of multiple and detailed sources of data to confront problems (Creswell, 2013 ; Merriam, 1988 ). By exploring the distinctive features to the single case of my public elementary school, through two detailed


48 data sources, I hoped to reveal instructional factors and teacher perceptions that might be contributing to student under performance on standardized measures of assessment Because pecific and previously unrevealed problems might assist me in postulating theories and aim ing actions to improve student performance both features of effective case studies (Creswell, 2013 ; Merriam, 1988 ) Selection of Participants Purposive selection wa s used to choose participants from among all classroom teachers those charged with the day to day instruction of students Purposive selection is used in qualitative studies to isolate participants that potentially increase or deepen understanding of the case to be studied (Creswell, 2013). Three purposive selection criteria were central for this case study : length of time at the school equal distribution across grade levels, and willingness to participate. The time criterion was based upon the idea that teachers who had been at the school for more than two years would have greater familiarity with the school and students than a new teacher, and thus, a richer understanding of instructional pedagogies and community perceptions that might contribute to stud ent under performance. The purpose for selecting teachers across grade levels was two fold. The primary and intermediate wings are physically isolated from one another and the grade levels work in PLCs. These features of the physical context may add to comm on perceptions and practices among teachers who work in close proximity and/or in grade level professional learning communities. By spreading the conversations across grade levels, it was hoped that a richer picture of the case would emerge. Finally, a ll e ligible participants were given an informed Appendix A ). The informed consent fo rm was distributed to eligible participants during a weekly literacy PLC meeting; teachers were


49 instructed to either place the signed willingness to participate form in my school mailbox or bring it to my office in an effort to keep their participation ano nymous. These three purposive criteria were meant to increase the depth of meaning related to the entire case by isolating teachers who had a rich knowledge of and a willingness to discuss our school. Description of Participants Of the 47 instructional pe rsonnel, 30 were classroom teachers involved in the day to day instruction of students. Of those 30, nine had been at the school less than two years. From the remaining 21 purposively sampled teach er participants, 12 volunteered, t wo of the 10 eligible pri mary teachers and 10 of the 11 eligible intermediate teachers. No participants from kindergarten volunteered. Because I was a practitioner scholar within the setting, I was aware of and wanted to decrease any bias or orientations good or bad, that I may h ave had towards the volunteering teachers ( Merriam, 1988) Therefore, I decided to randomize the selection of each grade level so that no bias would occur through my selection of the participants The single first grade teacher participant and single second grade teacher participant volunteers were each selected as no randomization was possible. Five of six eligible third grade teacher participants volunteered; two of two fourth grade teacher participants volunteered; and three of three fifth grade tea cher participants volunteered. The website, was used to randomize numerical identities into the program that ordered the numerical identities; the top recorded numerical teacher participant was the random selection ( Appendix B single sample). All teacher volunteers were notified by sealed letter, both those selected and those not selected, of their status as a selected p articipant. The letter informing those selected included a copy of their signed informed consent form so that they always had the information available should they


50 desire to leave the study. At the beginning of both interviews, participants were reminded o f their voluntary participation and ability to remove themselves from the study if they so desired. Context of the Study The public elementary school studied is located in a large, urban school district in Florida. The community poverty is such that all s tudents receive free meals at the school daily. During the school year preceding the study, only 44% of the 3rd 5th grade students met reading The approximately 600 students are predominantly Latino (80%) and many are considered emergent bilingual students (33%). The school, though established many years ago, was renovated in 2011 and has modern technology access and a well stocked library. Access to the arts and recess are protected within the daily schedule. There is a strong sense of community as evidenced by parent involvement in the numerous opportunities offered to families. There are 30 classroom teachers in grades Pre K to five. The additional instruction al staff includes three exceptional education teachers, a behavioral specialist, a behavior classroom teacher, a physical education teacher, an art teacher, a music teacher, a gifted education teacher, and eight paraprofessionals. There are five clerks to leadership team includes a principal, an assistant principal, an administrative dean, the media specialist, the staffing specialist, and three instructional coaches. Frequent visits from the tor and area superintendent occur as well as regular, weekly coaching sessions led by the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) department. Curriculum is up to The underperfo rming students are identified within this study as those students not considered proficient on the reading portion of the state standardized assessment. In reading, 56% of the students in grades 3 5 were not considered proficient.


51 Data Collection I relied on two primary sources of data to inform this exploratory case study: interviews and classroom coaching observations (Table 2 1). Table 2 1. Qualitative case study data related to factors that explain underperformance Data Source 1 Collection An alysis Rationale for Data Interviews with 5 Teachers Two semi structured, in person, one on one, audio recorded interviews: a generative first interview and a second clarification interview Interview 1: Generative interview: Purposeful questions seekin g to generate themes that might explain underperformance for the case ( Appendix C ). Interview 2: Clarification interview: Purposeful questions seeking to expand and clarify themes, both individual and collective, from the gen erative interview ( Appendix D ). Interviews were analyzed using 4 step inquiry analysis method (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2014). Interview 1 was analyzed through description and sense making steps before the second interview in order to create expanding and clarifying questions for the second interview. However, step 3 (Interpretations) & step 4 (Implications) of interviews were no t completed until all data from both interviews were collected Interviews are useful to uncover unobservable perspectives of teachers. Semi structured interviews assist in uncovering topics identified in the literature and specific to the single case. The second clarification interview contributed to the trustworthiness of emergent themes by asking participants specific clarifications as well as questions regarding common themes across participants. This form of member checking further increased trustworth iness. Classroom Observations of 5 teachers Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model: A meta analysis of effective teaching pedagogies delineated into 41 classroom strategies and behavior elements along with detailed linear notations (Marzano & Toth, 2013); ( Appendix E ). Classroom observation notations data, lean coded into common themes ( Appendix H ). Observed elements numerically counted into a frequency and scale scored matrix ( Appendix I ). From identified elements and notations, common instructi onal themes were noted (Creswell, 2013; Marzano & Toth, 2013). Examining observation data may reveal patterns of instruction, as defined by the Marzano Teach er Evaluation Model. By examining these patterns, the instructional factors impeding student academic performance emerge.


52 Interviews Following advice outlined for conducting interviews by Creswell (2013) and Merriam (1988) a udio recorded interviews were conducted with five teacher participants, one from each grade l evel, first through fifth (Cres well, 2013; Merriam, 1988). Interviews were written so as to uncover teacher perceptions of the school community and their responsibilities within it, as wel l as typical instructional pedagogies. The interviews were semi structured with the first interview being generative toward unearthing common themes (Creswell, 2013) The interview questions were created from my personal understandings as a participant obs erver in the school and my scholarly understandings from literature, taking into account the factors of the student population and underperformance. All interviews were transcribed using a transcription service and checked for accuracy during the first rea ding of interviews at the very start of the data analysis phase (Creswell, 2013) Interview 1: Generative i nterview Although I began with prepared questions, every initial interview continued in a generative manner as each interview unfolded organically. T his helped to establish rapport and (Creswell, 2013) Each generative interview lasted approximately 40 minutes and was conducted at the discretion of the teacher participant s ( Appendix C ). while listening to the audio recording to check for accuracy. On the second reading, I examined Learners, Exceptional Education students, low income, cultural relevanc y and responsiveness, instructional pedagogy perceptions, and comments, I created individual clarification questions for the second interview to elicit further


53 explanation and increase the trustworthiness of the eventual findings through member checking (Creswell, 2013) Interview 2: Clarification i nterview Noting that participants were not being precise in the descriptions of their instructional practice I added a broad question, related to their percept ions of exemplary teaching practice, as well as a question related to unanticipated comments regarding teacher efficacy ( Appendix D ). e first interview. I included teacher participant quotes from the first interview in order to contribute to trustworthiness through member checking. Each clarification interview lasted approximately 40 minutes and was once again scheduled at the discreti on of the participants. While it was important for the generative interview to evolve somewhat organically, the clarification intent, to confirm that I indeed und erstood the participant correctly. These validation efforts aimed to add trustworthiness to my eventual interpretations of the data (Creswell, 2013) Coaching O bservations One of my responsibilities as an instructional coach is to conduct observations of a ll classrooms using the 2014 Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model ( Appendix E ). For the purpose of coaching, the model is meant to direct instructional coaching conversations in an effort to build greater teacher capacities. Althou gh administrators use the same model to evaluate teacher performance, my observations are non evaluative and cannot be viewed by administrators, keeping the essential issues of trust and collegial relationships separate from performance evaluation while al so maintaining the anonymity of participants in the study. I have been well trained on the use of this model, have implemented it into my coaching for five years, and have recently been recertified in inter rater reliability using the model.


54 The Marzano T eacher Evaluation Model was developed by Dr. Robert Marzano through a meta analysis of research on effective teaching practice (Marzano & Toth, 2013). The model involves four domains: classroom strategies and behaviors, planning and preparing, reflecting o n teaching, and collegiality and professionalism. Although teachers may request feedback in any of classroom strategies and behaviors For this study, I includ ed only the 41 elements listed in domain 1, classroom strategies and behaviors since those were the elements routinely used within my established coaching observation relationships and because they constituted the bulk of elements related to instructional practice. Each of these 41 elements is scored in one of five ways: not using, beginning, developing, applying, or innovating. Without a lengthy discussion on ratings; would need to read the many books he has written and peruse his extensive website Effective Educators (M arzano & Toth, 2013). The lowest rating a teacher can rece using, which is recorded when a teaching element should be executed, but is not being executed. teacher is attempting to execute a strategy, but it is not when a teacher is using the strategy effectively, but she is not monitoring the desired effect in ven when the teacher is using the strategy correctly and is monitoring her students to make sure that the desired effect is occurring with the majority of the corre ctly and monitors t he majority of her students but also adapts and/or creates a new strategy


55 based on the unique needs of her students or a unique situation that occurs (Marzano & Toth, 2013). The Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model does not include specific elements for cultural relevance and responsiveness or emergent bilingual students. Therefore, in a targeted study of the large emergent bilingual population of my school, this model might not have been the best choice. However, because I anticipated observ income, when I observed any instances of specialized practices related to emergent bilingua l students or diversity practices aimed at our specific student population (Marzano & Toth, 2013). Additionally, my district has placed an emphasis on instructional rigor as an essential the forty one elements in the domain 1 section of the model constitute the essential classroom strategies and behaviors for instructional rigor, guided my observational knowledge (Marzano & Toth, 2014). Teachers in my district have been exposed to this gui dance on the thirteen rigorous elements contained within the model oncept of instructional rigor. In addition to using this model consistently, as other coaches in my district are charged to d o, I regularly keep detailed linear notations in a Word document as I conduct the observation. I transfer these notations to an electro nic database which automatically emails teachers notifying them of my coaching observation These linear notations assis t me in coaching teachers through the instructional elements that I have observed. For the purpose of this study, these notations served as an addition al window into the actual scale scored pedagogies observed, resulting in a


56 much richer picture of the par This more detailed picture assisted in guiding my direction toward improved student performance. Because teachers are accustomed to being observed with the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model, this form of data collection was not intrusi ve for the participants, but rather a regular part of their daily work. I had hoped to complete four observations per teacher, but was unable to do so due to observation time limitations set by my district. I had two participants who did not meet the four observation goal, one owing to our conflicting schedules and another who turned me away on two occasions. A third participant ended with five observations due to my being in her classroom more frequently at the request of the principal Two participants ha d the expected four observations, for a total of eighteen classroom observations for the five teacher participants. Data Analysis My goal for this study was to uncover factors that helped to explain student underperformance at my public elementary school in order to tailor my instructional literacy coaching and increase student achievement, as measured by student performance on stand ardized assessments. I used practitioner inquiry methods of sense making coding, research question interpretation, and thematic implication to arrive at my findings (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2014). During the sense making and coding phase, broad themes were b roken down into smaller categorical themes through a color delineation lean coding process based upon the teacher responses to each question and/or observation, looking for common broad themes across participants (Creswell, 2013; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2014 ). In order to interpret the research questions with the emerging themes from the first coding process a secondary coding of the data aligned to the research questions helped to further narrow common themes across participants (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2014) Once these themes had


57 been extracted through sense making, lean coding, and research question interpretation, I arrived at findings by from both sources of data, interviews and observ ations, in order to cross analyze the common themes that had emerged so that I could isolate findings toward actions as a practitioner scholar (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2014). Data analysis was a three stage process. I first analyzed only the interview data w ithout examining any of the observation data, resulting in common themes central to the interview data only. I then moved into the observation data without comparison or reexamination of the interview data, resulting in common themes central to the observa tional data only. Once I had identified the distinctive themes within each data source, I created a cross ana lysis chart related to themes from each data source, looking for associated pedagogies and perceptions that emerged as contributing factors to stud ent underperformance on standardized assessments from both data sources (Table 2 2 below ). Interview Data Analysis Once all data were collected, I began the sense making phase by reading each ng, as an individual set, while listening to the actual audio recording in order to check transcription accuracy (Creswell, 2013; Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2014; Rubin & Rubin, 2011) I next created an Excel spreadsheet, where I listed each interview question, both generative and clarifying, as well as direct quotes time in order to record responses to each interview question. Once all interviews had been added to the spreadsheet, I read across interview questions to look for common themes related to each specific interview question, noting them at the end of each interview question row ( Appendix F )


58 themes to common themes across the five teacher participants, using color coding ( Appendix F ). I repeated this process on another Excel spreadsheet, this time using the three research questions as my guide ( Appendix G ). Each time I encountered a response that appeared to answer one of the three research questions, I paraphrased responses directly next to that research question. Once all inter views had been added to this second research question focused spreadsheet, I read across research questions to look for common themes related to that research question, noting them at the end of each research question column. I once again used color deline ation to extract common themes across the five teacher participants in a secondary analysis of emerging themes this time related to answering the research questions and as a secondary check of developing themes Using the color delineated common themes th at had emerged from both analysis of the individual interview questions and the three research questions, I created Word documents for each theme. I next copied exact quotes from the teacher participant transcript s that supported the larger common themes These thematically quoted Word documents served as support and direction for the findings section of this dissertation. This process was not based upon any particular rationale other than my own organizational style, but served me well during the writing p hase where I did not have to return to the lengthy interviews to extract quotes to support my findings Observation Data Analysis At the end of this study, I had observed the teacher participants eighteen times. I first transcribed the Marzano Teacher Eval uation Model classroom strategy and behaviors observational data stored electronically onto my original dated classroom notation documents, making sure I had all of the data from each observation into one document. This allowed me to


59 have both the coaching notations I had made during the actual observation and the scale scored elements in one central document. Later observations, though already scale scored using the model, had not been placed into the electronic database, but remained in original linear no tation teacher who turned me away after two observations. Once all elec troni c submissions were transcribed o nto the original dated observation documents, I began data analysis of the classroom strategy and behavior observations by movi ng to the next teacher participant. In doing so, I hoped to gain a broader understanding of each individual and her practice. Much like the interview data, I created an Excel spreadsheet for each teacher participant with the main research question as the g uiding identifier for factors that might be contributing to student underperformance on standardized assessments. Under each research question, I paraphrased notations that might help to answer the research I recorded common themes related to the coaching notations I had made while observing. From these individual common themes, I again used color delineation to extract common themes that emerged across all teacher participants ( Appendix H ). The eighteen observations resulted in ninety uniq uely scored classroom strategy and behavior elements using the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model (Marzano & Toth, 2013). These scale scored elements were counted and sorted on an Excel spreadsheet according to frequency, assigning a letter equivalency of NU for Not Using, B for beginning, D for developing, and A for applying ( Append ix I ). There were no innovating ratings recorded. Average scale scores were


60 computed for each of the elements to ascertain an average level of implementation for each classroom strategy or behavior element by assigning a numerical equivalency from 1 for no t using, to 5 for innovating. Because I understood that there were thirteen specific elements related to essential classroom strategies and behaviors for instructional rigor, I then isolated frequency and scale scored averages for those elements by highlig hting them in yellow. I next calculated percentages related to the total times teacher participants were engaged in the thirteen specific elements related to essential classroom strategies and behaviors for instructional rigor, their average score while in those elements, the amount of time spent in those elements compared to all elements and the number of elements related to essential classroom strategies and behaviors for instructional rigor that were not observed Since I was additionally concerned with classroom income, Latino Interview and Observation Common Them es Analysis I began the cross analysis of interviews and observation by first listing the common themes fro m the interviews ( Appendix F and Appendix G ) against the common themes o f the observations ( Appendix H and Appendix I ) yielding a comparison of the common themes across interview and classroom observation data (Table 2 2 ). By comparing the interview common themes to the observation commo n themes, I arrived at common themes across both data. Below this table, I created findings statements that became central topics for the findings chapter.


61 Table 2 2. Cross a nalysis of interview and o bservation c ommon t hemes Common Themes A B C C C D Interviews Standardized Assessments Instruction (Rigor and Goals) Deficit Thinking Teaching Emergent Bilingual Students Teaching Diverse Student Populations Teacher Efficacy Observations Off Standard, Clear Goals Elaboration/ Processing, Low Rigor, Clear Goals Guided Discussion Diversity Strategies Findings statement A: Misinformed standards based instruction and unclear learning goals may be a factor in student performance Findings statement B: Lack of r igorous instruction may be a factor in student performance Findings statement C: Lack of a ttention to the specific needs of students may be a factor in student performance Findings statement D: Teacher perception that some grade levels are more valued than others may affect teacher efficacy a nd, in turn, student performance Researcher Subjectivity Statement Because of my role as a practitioner researcher for this study, I was careful to examine the ways in which my participation as a member of this learning community could impact my lens. I a m a member of the dominant group of white females that are typical of elementary school teachers. This fact may have granted me access to conversations because other white females may conclude that we have a shared culture, where meanings and values are si milar. I may have also encountered resistance from minoritized teacher participants who doubt my sincerity or understanding of their lived experiences when conversations about race or Latino heritage developed. Building relationships and developing my list ening abilities, without interjection of opinion, was critical to both establishing myself within the learning community, as well as performing my job as an instructional literacy coach.


62 I also encountered decreased trust issues because of my closeness to the principal and leadership team. My past history working closely with the principal, as both a teacher and instructional leader, may have prompted at least one teacher participant to question my trustworthiness, which may have, in turn, impeded her full honesty in fear of my closeness to her employment supervisor, the principal. Reminders of confidentiality were given at the beginning of each interview and at times when it naturally occurred during the interviews. In addition, I remind my colleagues that they were neither required to participate nor required to remain in the research effort at the start of each interview. It was very important that I conveyed my status as an observer rather than an experimenter. Case study research does not involve experim entation, but rather exploration of a specific case. No changes were made to the school as a result of this study. Any coaching conversations that occurred with the teacher participants were part of the school experience and not shaped by anything I saw sp ecifically related to an observation or interview for this study. The goal of the study was to better understand our community, not manipulate it. Any recommendatio ns that develop from this study are an outgrowth of my membership within and responsibility for our school community; I want my colleagues to understand this emphatically. Finally, acknowledgement of my own membership within the dominant society of privileged, white, middle class citizens was an important step in addressing my subjectivity. Over the last ten years of my twenty two year professional life, I have developed a passion for righting the marginalizing employed against students based upon their perceived reading deficits. From this indignation grew an interest in social justice and cultural relevancy. These factors, as wel l as some personal goals, ignited my interest in a doctoral program with a social justice foundation like the one this dissertation completes. Therefore, acknowledging that passion along


63 with my increased scholarly understandings of the societal and system atic inequities the students in my low income, predominantly Latino school face both informs me and frames my endeavored subjectivity. Enhancing Trustworthiness The greatest counter I have to my own bias was the multiple data forms and the cross analysis validation of that data (Creswell, 2013). Cross analysis was a lengthy process with two sources of data, but I considered it an important component in order to answer my research questions and strengthen the trustworthiness of my findings The interviews served as a means to explore both teacher participant perceptions and stated practices while the observations served to support or contradict those perceptions and/or stated practices. Using two data sources increased the credibility of the findings, outsi de of my stated passions and bias, especially since common themes emerged across both data sources (Creswell, 2013). My credentials as a practitioner scholar undertaking this study include twenty two years education, and seven years as an instructional literacy coach. I was one of the first in my district trained in the Marzano Teacher Evaluation inter rater relia bility with the tool. Use of the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model, which was scoring features and the teachers are accustomed to be ing observed with this tool. In addition to my knowledge and experience related to reading and literacy scholarship, I have extensive training in effective instructional practices and teacher professional development. I have served on school leadership tea ms for over ten years in multiple settings, both secondary and elementary. My scholarly understandings of job embedded


64 professional learning that utilizes questions of ongoing problems of practice is a skillset I draw upon as well. Given that this case st udy was also concerned with the ways in which social structures shape the education of marginalized populations, my doctoral level concentrations in critical pedagogical and social justice theory added another layer of trustworthiness. My deep interest in ways to impact student achievement through culturally relevant and responsive teaching was a continued lens throughout the study. I conducted an ongoing search for literature on the implications of possible societal factors influencing student academic pe rformance throughout the study including the topics of socio cultural and political realities, the realities of teaching in similar demographic settings, high Topics w ithin this literature included the ways in which poverty, marginalization, deficit thinking, language barriers, and the realities of high stakes testing impacted student achievement. Positive instances of high performing schools including professional deve lopment practices, cultural relevant and responsive teaching, and effective coaching were also explored. I sought additional literature on effective interviewing and coding techniques used in qualitative research, especially case studies, to build on the k nowledge I held from my doctoral classes and years in the social science field of education ( Creswell, 2013; Merriam, 1988 ; Rubin & Rubin, 2011 )


65 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS For this study, I explored the teaching practices and perceptions of teacher partici pants in a low income, predominantly Latino, urban elementary school. The main research question guiding the study was: What factors may help explain the underperformance of learners on standardized assessments? The two related sub questions were: 1. How migh t teacher perceptions inform my understandin gs of student underperformance? 2. How might teaching practices contribute to student underperformance? I collected two kinds of data to answer the research questions: teacher interviews and observations. There wer e five teacher participants chosen randomly from a voluntary sampling of teachers. In an effort to maintain anonymity, I have assigned letter pseudonyms to each of the teacher participants: A, B, C, D and E. To facilitate writing clarity, all teacher parti cipants will I begin a description of the findings using the interview data to address the sub question of how teacher perceptions might inform my understandings of student underper forman ce. I continue the description of findings using the teacher observations to address the sub question of how teacher practices might inform my understandings of student underperformance. Finally, usin g these two data sources, I cross analyze common f indings in order to answer the primary research question Although I anticipated that the participant s interviews would yield teacher perceptions that might help to answer the research questions, I had not anticipated that the interviews would also yield indications of teacher knowledge. These insights into teacher knowledge, or lack thereof, played a prominent role in the findings. Therefore, I divided the interview findings section into two parts: teacher perceptions and teacher knowledge.


66 Teacher Perceptions of Teaching in Their School The catalyst for this study was to explore inconsistencies I initially observed when I began working as an instructional literacy coach at the school. In addition to the positive physical features of the school, I ob served what appeared to be a dedicated and caring staff. Throughout the interviews, I continued to trust that my initial observation of the staff was accurate. All five aching school. I love these kids. The staff members, we have a familial like relationship and a lot of us e a challenge. So, I accept the challenge. I embra ce the challenge of a student. . It's to how challenging her job was compared to her friends at other sch ools, I mentioned that she credence to my initial observation s of a dedicated and caring staff. Yet, my initial question still remained, if the teachers are dedicated and the building is a modern beauty, what factors could be contributing to student underperformance on standardized assessments? I begin the descript ion of findings by first exploring the common perceptions that voice of the teachers in this low income, predominantly Latino, public elementary school (Creswell, 2013). Thematic coding of interview data revealed that teacher participants expressed instances of deficit thinking regarding low income students and their families as well as


67 struggles with teacher efficacy. These common perceptions may help to answer th e first sub question: How might teacher perceptions inform my understandings of student underperformance? The first common theme related to teacher perception derives from interview responses that included instances of deficit thinking, ways that teachers viewed students and their families as lacking due to poverty, culture, or language. Four of the participants expressed deficit thinking, though some were more pronounced than others. Even when pressed, through questions aimed at diversity and cultural rele vance and responsiveness, teachers consistently described impacts home A lot of families living together, and I think with that, they're sharing rooms. You might have a three bedroom house with multiple families living in there. Kids don't have their own bedrooms. Kids don't, they can't find a place to read. So, from right away, they're not able to do the basics. T he reading, writing, math basics, and they're not finding the quiet time, or the place that's their own nook to learn, to study at home. And, I don't know if the parents understand. I think they're just trying to make money, and survive, and feed their chi l dren, and I don't think that . I'm not saying education isn't a priority to them, but I think the basic Like Teacher D, Teacher C felt that parents were mostly focused on providing food and shelter. When I asked her what it would take to improve student performance at the school, she replied, if that missing part is something that's beyond our control, if it's the home, the parents. I think that mak es a difference. If they have high expectations of their own children, expect them to graduate and go on and do something more, they'll do that, but when the parents don't have that expectation because th ey're just trying to survive. . I don't know. I mean, I don't know if they're too busy thinking about putting food on the table and a roof over the head, education kind of gets pushed. think a lot of their parents are so focused on providing the needs, that education becomes a want.


68 It's not a need. It's not the necessity. So, it's kind of like you do school at school, and that's the This emphasis on what parents were not doing continued with other participants ; for example, Teacher A said because I mean, I have friends that teach at other schools, and they're posting their stacks of gift cards they get for Teacher Appreciation Week, and I'm like [throws hands up]. Teacher B also wanted parents to be more involved, and she believed that Latino culture play ed a part in what she viewed as their lack of involvement. When I asked what we could do to help emergent bilingual students instructionally she stated, A lot of parental involvement though, definitely. Just making sure that the parents understand that we are partners and I know that from just speaking with a lot of people who I know who are Latino or Latina, that in that culture they let the teacher handle everything and they're very much so hands off. That's something that, where as Americans, we're not used to that. Our parents are involved in everything. Later, she went so far as to imply a lack of parental care and even possibly love, related to poverty when she said, That's probably the reason why I work in title one schools is because those are the any affirmation from, any attention from, any kind of conversation from so I think just making sure they know that this is a safe place and I'm here for them, whatever they need. Thi s assigning of poor performance due to culture and poverty was echoed by Teacher D, You know whatever the culture of the Hispanic community is. They can sometimes value their child's education, they can also sometimes not care because from a different country, and they don't understand America's values about education, that if you do well now, it will pay off in the long run, so then there's that.


69 She continued by explaining t year. That's how far behind they are because of their poverty, because they walk into us without the cquisition realities in this school with an 80% Latino demographic. Teacher B noted, They don't have the vocabulary that other students might have who are in a higher socioeconomic area. When the teacher is using this language or these acad emic terms, if t hey're not explicitly teaching it, [the students] have no clue what's going on and what they're talking about. I think that it does play some part in it and I think that is something that we should look at and it should be a factor when it comes to standar dized testing or just instruction in general. they came from a home where there's really low vocabulary or, intellect is the best word I can While teachers appeared to understand the realities of the low income families they served, they did not often mention ways in which they could draw upon family abilities and culture, instead focusing on deficits based on white, mid dle class, English speaking expectations. Teacher E, the lone participant without an explicit deficit orientation, teetered at the edge of deficit thinking, but she also understood how language might be a barrier to parent participation, she explained, I t hink that parents who may want to be involved have a hard time feeling I don't want to judge the parents, I hate to do that, because parents are parents, and they love their children, and so you hate to say anything negative against that. I wonder how many are afraid to come in for things because they don't speak the language, and so do they themselves feel insecure in coming in and trying to speak English or asking for the translator.


70 I do n ot want to language, or that they thought less of their students due to the realities of living in poverty. However, teachers did hold some deficit views of students and their fam ilies that have the effect Perceptions of Teacher Value and Autonomy The second common theme related to teacher perception came from interview responses that revealed teac her beliefs of their own value and autonomy within the school. Four of the teacher participants held strong beliefs regarding the decreased value in teaching primary grade levels, and both of the primary teachers held similar beliefs about the lack of auto nomy afforded them. Based on my literature review, I had anticipated teacher comments related to student performance on standardized assessments and the kinds of instructional practices teacher were or were not using. However, I had not considered the role of teacher efficacy and how the emphasis on standards perceptions of themselves and their colleagues. In order to maintain anonymity, for this section only, I will switch fr om identifying teacher participants by their letter pseudonyms and simply One primary certain way or what someone perceives as the right way, which is not the right way because I'm not going to . Ther e was a lot of things I was not allowed to do. So, I lock the door and do testing assessment and calendar for delivery, she asserted that the curriculum alignme nt was cause for concern,


71 So, you're not even getting the whole amount of time f or them to make it into a habit. . If you just follow the [district curriculum and pacing] you're sure your kids are not going to pass. Another primary public school systems in that they have a timeframe for everything and they want you to be done with this by that because they did have foundational skills embedded in the [district curriculum] befor e and then Two teachers made comments regarding their perception that primary grade teachers were less capable than intermediate teachers. One stated, Every year we'll get a dud. Last year w e got a dud, and w e moved her. That same teacher that we moved is down now in the primary level, so that's what happens, I believe. I've always been of the opinion that if you're a bad teacher you teach second grade, if you're not effective. Not a bad teac her, but not effective. In the intermediate levels you go down to primary. So that's the philosophy of what happens is, you get a constant build up of ineffective teachers in t he primary levels. hat people don't know or don't care to kno w how hard teachers really work. . you're just moved. . We were a great team and that In addition to being surprised by the themes of devaluing primary teachers and a lack of autonomy, I perceived that some teachers were holding back due to my close association with the ng a primary teacher]


72 of the administrative team. . during the first interview and my feel ings that some teachers were holding back from full disclosure, I had observed a large discrepancy in voluntary participation in the study between the primary and intermediate teachers. Therefore, I added the following question for all participants during volunteered to participate; out of the available primary participants for this study 20% volunteered to participate; why do you think that intermediate participant s were more willing to Because we on this hallway [primary] have been feeling so beat down and so, you we're just trying to survive. And you know we just feel like we've been so put down that I think that it has come to a trust issue in all honesty grade level teacher was also forthcoming, I volunteered because I felt bad because I knew no one would; we're not appreciated here and so we all know it. We know that we're second class citizens and we're babysitting. And it's been put to us that way many times before you got here. It's been going on for several years that we are just not very important. You get worn down after a while and a lot of people don't volun teer because they just don't . what do you need my opinion for? It doesn't matter. And I think that that's what a lot of people think that movement of teache rs had predated the current administration when I asked her if the previous broke up a bu moving fifth grade teachers down and f ourth teaching also, as evident by her comment,


73 I think that it's more about the job, down there [in primary]. That's more like what g they don't care about the kids between those them. Teacher Perceptions Conclusion Interview themes help to explore the question: How might teacher perceptions inform my under standings of student underperformance? From the thematic coding across the ten interviews, teacher participants had common perceptions regarding both themselves and their students. They spoke multiple times, across both interviews, about things their stude nts lacked due to poverty, culture or language, seeing their student though a lens of deficits, rather than funds of knowledge and culture to be tapped (Gonzlez, Moll & Amanti, 2006). Teacher participants cited home life, cultural expectations, backgroun d knowledge, and parental involvement as reasons for lowered student performance. Even as I probed about factors related to instruction al practice, teachers returned to deficit thinking. Additionally, and to my surprise, teacher efficacy issues related t o autonomy and their perceptions of the value of teachers assigned to primary or intermediate grades emerged as prominent. These issues of teacher efficacy were underscored by comments related to the greater worth and value of intermediate teachers whose s tudents were subject to the high stakes, standardized assessments. Teacher Knowledge of Instructional Practices for Emergent Bilingual Students knowledge, or lack thereof, of s pecific instruction for low income, emergent bilingual, Latino students. During the interviews, teachers were not clear about teaching strategies for emergent bilingual students. When they did refer to a strategy, they did not explain how they used it wit h


74 population and the 33% of students ca tegorized as emergent bilingual I asked the same three questions of all teachers during the first interview in hopes of generating discussion related to instructional practices and/or perceptions of teaching students at various stages of English language acquisition. I used the term English Language Learner (ELL) as it is the commonly used acronym for emergent bilingual students in my district. These questions were: Are there any considerations related to the high numbe r of ELL students that might be n the state standardized test? What are some pedagogies you use when working with ELL students? Have you felt prepared to work with diverse student populations? Why or why not? Imprecise descriptions of instructional practice for emergent bilingual students were present several times throughout both interviews despite my efforts to eli cit details of instruction. When I asked Teacher C about specific pedagogies she used for emergent bilingual students she but it's just explaining, using added that one of her teaching practices for emergent bilingual students included the use of an English Spanish dictionary but added, I tried to show him, but the only Spanish English dictio nary I have is, I mean, it's a big one, you know? And it has too many words for him to even find. He was like, "What? What am I doing with this thing?" And I didn't know how to explain how to use it, and none of my students could figure out h ow to explain how to translate. . I only have, the one I have, it's big, and there are little tiny words This same teacher had told me only moments before that she had everything she needed to be same stuff that I feel like my friends at other schools that I talk to, we teach the same grades, and they have the same for emergent bilingual students, they are a requirement of the state during standardized


75 assessments. It would then seem to be a necessary instructional practice for emergent bilingual students to be fluent in using a translation dictionary. Teacher B was concerned that teaching English spel ling and sound patterns had little effect on her Spanish speaking abilities way and I teach spelling patterns. I teach them to think about the words you're going to say, say it out loud so you hear the sounds, then write a letter for each sound and that still doesn't do English cognates. Students in various stages of language acquisition may frequently confuse cognates and a bilingual accent is not indicative of vocabulary mastery or reading comprehension. Teachers D and E discussed the importance of providing emergent bilingual students with opportunities to talk in a safe, classroom community of learners. Teacher E w as the most articulate about specific strategies she incorporated for emergent bilingual students, listing picture representations, copying, peer tutoring, showing her own vulnerabilities at Spanish language learning, a computer assistance program, and wor d association. However, Teacher E failed to examine the ways in which these strategies assisted her emergent bilingual students. Instead, her responses were a laundry list of common instructional strategies based upon the desire to make her students feel comfortable and willing to talk, not necessarily designed to increase language proficiency or deliver content through intentional strategies for emergent bilingual students. Perhaps Teacher D best expressed the absence of specified instructional strategies for emergent bilingual students when she said, We get our students. We don't really have a choice. I don't really think trying to dissect the ELL student as much as all the higher think you need to just accept the fact that we are, we're America and we take on everybody from the world. . So, I don't think, really, trying to analyze them with the, and try to align it to any standardized test


76 guage learners is just fine for emergent bilingual learners. She fails to consider cognitive demands of learning a considering the ways that her emergent bilingual students will be academically assessed, and many times tracked and marginalized, according to ancillary language. Teacher Knowledge of Instructional Practices for Low Income, Latino Students knowledge and their knowledge of culturally relevant and responsive practice. The generative interview included two specific questions with regard to teaching culturally diverse populations. They were: Have you felt prepared to work with diverse student populations? Why or why not? Tell me what you know or think about culturally relevant and responsive teaching. I anticipated that some teacher participants might be unfamiliar with the terms culturally relevant and responsive teaching, so I prepared a definition beforehand using seminal researcher Gloria Ladson ents intellectually, socially, (Ladson Billings, 1994, pp.17 18). Four of the five participants asked for the definition. Three of the five participants s tated that they felt prepared for working with diverse student populations. Teacher B, the lone participant with a working knowledge of cultural relevance and responsiveness, was adamant in her response that she had not felt prepared stating, the o when I came this way and got the job . Prepared, probably not. I don't feel overwhelmed, though, at the


77 same time Perhaps ironically, the two teachers who stated that they had felt unprepared to work with diverse student populations, were the two participants who spoke closest to an understanding of cultural relevance and responsiveness. Cultural r elevance and r espo nsiveness Even though I anticipated that some teachers might need a definition of culturally relevant and responsive teaching, I was not prepared for the s he was certain that her instruction included instances of it, such as when she told her students, Don't be using the slang. You write correctly because people look at your writing and they think how stupid you are or how smart you are. They think about whe n you can go out on the street, if you go out on the playground you can talk to each other any way you want. When you get in my line and you're walking back in we don't speak like that to each other She further described how she had once taught a sheltered class of all emergent bilingual students, insisting, If you said a Spanish word in my room, you got in trouble . You need to go home and speak in Spanish to Mommy beca use you want to still be Spanish. Read in Spanish with Mommy. Learn that. But you also need to read in English to Mommy so she learns it. Most teachers identified cultural relevance and responsiveness with surface level instances of multiculturalism, citin g instances where they acknowledged other cultures. Teacher D even tied every month there's always . there's Black History Month. There's Women's History Month. Whatever month it is, I try to find a lot of m y reading won't even want to read this. It won't be interestin g to them. Let's find something that's a little bit


78 pressed further, she added that the selection was really based on the text matching the standard and the addition o f a Latino person within it was simply a happy bonus, she said, No, I don't know if I particularly picked it for that. It was in our reading book, and it met the standards, and it was one of those things, I was like, this would be a good one, because this is someone that they've probably heard of. . But did I pick that story . I don't know. That might've just been a story that matched the standards, and it was in the reading book, so it was easy e I've heard that term, but listening to that, I'm like, okay, that makes sense, but I can't think of an example of what would be an example of I tend to try to get thi ngs that I know the students will be interested in reading, so if it is any student, low income or not . how does that, does it relate to them? Does it make them feel part of a community, as opposed to feeling like, well, this tand this. This is about a school I would never go to, or a Although Teacher E, communicated some insight into culturally relevant and responsive teaching, she did not appear to know enou gh to use it as a lens to guide instruction. All in all, skill through culturally relevant and responsive instructional decisions. Teacher Knowledge of Rigorous In struction and Standardized Assessments Teacher participants were not explicit in their instructional practices for the low income, Latino and emergent bilingual students in our school. I attempted to push the teachers thinking about specific practices for our school population of students several times throughout both interviews. Yet, the teachers did not respond with specific instructional pedagogy, typically falling back to conversations on deficits. In addition to overlooking the realities of their stude precise instructional needs, broad instructional practices for overall rigorous instruction as well were not evident.


79 Although Florida teachers are not allo wed to see the actual standardized assessment their students will take, they are given test specifications and example questions to help guide their instruction. In addition, my district has spent a considerable amount of time offering professional develop ment opportunities to increase teachers understanding of the Florida Standards. While I do not know how many professional development opportunities the particular teacher participants may have attended, in my estimation as a member of this district for ove r eight years knowledge about the assessment to which their students were working toward. They did not appear to have a clear understanding of their end goal for student performance. student performance, but they held several misconceptions rega rding standardized assessment. m just confusing it in my head . I don't think it's hard. It's accurate. It shows how much they grow, w hat they're learning and stuff . I think it's a little more difficult than kids from different populations, which makes they don't have the backgroun d . I think there are some things that they don't have the background knowledge. You ask them about building a master a reading standard. The ability to use


80 context clues and infer meaning from a text is a universal standard that all students need to acquire in order to be strong readers, regardless of income level. Another misconception was offered by Teacher D, w ho believed that the state intelligence test. I b elieve it aligns to an IQ test. . believes that a test measure s intelligence, and she does not view her students as intelligent, she the test. Teacher participant A was concerned with the number of standards that stud ents had to hat really frustrates teachers . Teacher C, though still unsure about the standardized assessments, appeared to understand the special challenges the tests posed to her emergent bi sure I'm not sure if it's, like the vocabulary. A lot of these students, I feel like, they don't have the academic vocabulary that maybe other kids do that come from a home where they use it, because align ing her instruction to help her students master the skills needed to pass the standardized assessments. Teacher E observed that some of her colleagues struggled with standards based teaching when she said, [they are] sort of set in their ways about what they believe they're doing is right. Maybe it is or maybe it was, but not being open enough to say, as an example, standard based instruction, deconstructing of a standard. Showing the students what the standards are. They don't wa nt to do it for whatever reason . I think, they think they are protecting the kids, but at the same time, the world has changed. You have to change with it, otherwise you're not really protecting them and helping them. The kids will then get to a test.


81 Instructional r igor Te acher perceptions of their colleagues also revealed opinions on the complexity of instruction, or rigor, that teachers were using to instruct students in the school. Rigorous instruction requires that teachers provide opportunities for students to apply knowledge, build inferences regarding that knowledge, make and defend claims with evidence, all while being asked to validate the accuracy of their own thinking (Marzano & Toth, 2014). Teacher D believed that lack of instructional rigor was impacting stude nt performance at the school, she stated, You know, those higher I just don't see the opportunity being given to the students. I still see low level . it's recall. It's listing. It's not hypothesizing; it's not evaluating ; it's not given. And I don't know if teachers understand that. mentioned that she felt some good intentioned teachers were only presenting students with text s and tasks that they were able to do out of a misguided attempt to build on student success. She said, I think that there's a lot of teachers who, that I've heard say to me, or that I've grade level and you're giving them only grade texts, the students feel not successful because they don't understand it, which I do see, but I think if that's all you're doing, is giving them the [lower] grade texts to try to make it easier for them, then those students are naturally going to struggle because they haven't even been exposed to anything. Teacher C had a different opinion of her colleagues. When asked if there were any specific factors that might be impeding student performance on standardized assessments, Teacher C mentioned that she felt her colleagues held the students to h everyone seems to have high expectations of their students. They have the expectation that they expectations were, she stated,


82 I thin k just in the conversations that we've had with my differe nt colleagues, not necessarily . I guess even in the PLCs, hearing what they're wanting their kids to do, what they're giving them. . Then, just h earing talking among . I'm trying to thi nk. Trying to get her to further elaborate, I asked her what it would take, given that she thinks the cio economic schools were given more biological children, and she said, Right, it makes me so angry the education that my children got. I know they were ready and I know that they had the basics and everything, but if you walk into their classroom and you'd see they were working on this project or they got to do this wo nderful activity, and these kids don't get these opportunities because we're so busy cramming basics that they never got at home. process where her lowered expectation impedes her instruction which reinforces low expectations for student performance (Pollock, 2012). Teacher Knowledge Conclusion Teachers communicated vague knowledge of specific instructional practices for the demographic they served. Even as I pushed for more information about instructional practice for low inc ome, Latino, emergent bilingual students, the teachers tended to point to deficits that had to be overcome before instruction could succeed. Teacher E did offer some examples of cultural relevance and responsiveness with regard to building an inclusive cla ssroom community when


83 and they're learning, and we're creating, again, that community where this is a place to feel safe, Additionally, and not surprisingly given the deficit ideologies the teachers revealed when press ed for detail about instructional practices, teachers provided little evidence of rigor in their instruction. In short, teachers appeared to have a murky knowledge of the instruction required to enable their students to perform well on standardized assessm ents. Observed Teacher Instructional Practices In my district, instructional coaches are required to observe teachers teach and provide instructional coaching on a regular basis. My district uses the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model, a guide for effective teaching, to direct coaching conversations in an effort to build greater teacher capacities (Marzano & Toth, 2013). The model consists of four domains: classroom strategies and behaviors, planning and preparing, reflecting on teaching, and collegiality an d professionalism. Although teachers may ask coaches for feedback in any of the concerted efforts rest mainly in classroom strategies and behaviors. These are the elements most obviously present when one would observe lesson execution. F or this study, I included only the 41 elements listed in the classroom strategies and behaviors domain 1 section ( Appendix E ). At the end of the study, I had observed the teacher participants eighteen times resulting in ninety uniquely scored strategy and behavior elements. All elements were counted and sorted on an Excel spreadsheet according to frequency and scale score ( Appendix I ). Average scale scores were computed for each of the scored element s to ascertain an average level of performance on each element. income, Latino population, I


8 4 would be where I recorded practices specifically relat ed to effective teaching of our student population (Marzano, 2014). Additionally, Dr. Marzano has stated that instructional rigor is essential when preparing students for the expectations of a college and career ready citizenry, so I decided to use his guidance which pointed to thirteen indicators of instructional rigor within the model (Marzano & Toth, 2014). Teachers in my district have been exposed to this guidance, though I was unsure of my particip Finally, in addition to using the Marzano scoring ratings during my coaching observations, I kept detailed linear notations while I was observing instruction within classrooms. Typically, these comments serve as a conversational aide when I am coaching teachers through the instructional elements that I have observed, but for the purpose of this study they also provided a more detailed window into the actual teaching practice as it occurred, a much deeper observation t han just an element scale scored model. Using both data, Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model elements and my notations, I sought answers to my second research sub question: How might teaching practices contribute to student underperformance? ? Rigorous, Standards Based In struction As stated earlier, rigor is an important focus when one considers the intensity of the standards students are expected to master in our efforts to send them off as college and career thirteen indicators located within the model, I found that teachers were attempting to use the thirteen rigorous elements 34% of the time ( Appendix I ). However, looking more closely, one sees that the scale score for those thi attempted strategies were used either incorrectly or with missing parts (Marzano & Toth, 2014). Because rigor is closely tied to a standard, what a student should be a ble to do, the most


85 instances, teacher participants were teaching a lower grade level standard, and in other instances as a coloring activity. Other notations included comments about the teacher doing too much of the work instead more could have been accomplished with this assignment with were two comments regarding ways that teacher participants missed applying rigorous instructional practices. Still other times, I noted instances where the teacher gave the students a task too easy or not at the depth of the standard. Regarding my thoughts on the rigor of a math ematics computational practice During another observation where students were completing a grammar workbook page, I noted, ere Observation notations regarding times when students should have been more actively a way to have students


86 means to further scrutin ize the 34% of instructional practices spent on strategies and behaviors 2013). Strategies and Behaviors for Teaching Content Dr. Marzano clusters instruction al strategies for teaching content and skills into the center section of his model: Lesson Segment Addressing Content (Marzano & Toth, 2013). This section of the model is made up of eighteen of the forty one elements that are effective classroom strategie s for teaching content or skills to students. The other twenty three elements concern instances when the teacher is conducting routines, attending to classroom management, engaging students, and/or addressing relationships with their students. While all of these classroom strategies create an orchestra of effective teaching, my primary focus as an instructional literacy coach is on the strategies for teaching standards based content and skills. Therefore, and because of the common themes I observed, I avera ged the scale scores for just the eighteen content and skill elements ( Appendix I ). When examining the elements surrounding teaching content and skill, elements six through twenty three, I found that teacher participants were most frequently executing these strategies and behaviors at a beginning level. This indicates that the teacher par ticipants were most frequently either executing the delivery of content and skill strategies and behaviors incorrectly or with missing parts (Marzano & Toth, 2013). Furthermore, out of the fifteen times where teachers should have been executing a strategy, but were not using it, six were during the teaching of content and skills. That is, 40% of the time they were supposed to be using a classroom strategy element related to the content, they were not. Clearly, teachers were more effective at strategies invo lving conducting routines, attending to classroom management,


87 engaging students, and/or addressing relationships with their students and not as effective at the strategies for teaching content and skills. Clarifying Learning Goals for Students The most fre quently scored classroom strategy was element 1: Providing Rigorous Learning Goals and Scales. In other pedagogical jargon, a learning goal might be called an obje ctive or some other such word. No matter the choice of words, e very lesson needs a clearly de fined goal for students. Of the eighteen observations that I conducted on the five teacher participants, nine of them included scoring and notations regarding element 1. In several of the observations, my notations include referents to students being uncle ar on the intent of the goal, notation, where the strategy was not on ly unclear to the students, but also unclear to me, was learning goal had been to use a particular reading strategy, I would have expected to see a referent to it either visually or modeled when she noticed they were not using the stated teachers scored on this element, indicating that the strategy was either incor rectly executed or missing parts When teachers do not provide clear learning goals, students are likely to misunderstand or fail to understand what to do and for what purpose. Other times, there was an absence of a goal altogether. As I observed a teacher at the the goal, vocabulary review, and essential questioning/metacognition load


88 hen the learning goal was not stated or clearly executed, were noted during eight of nine observations. Considering the importance of having a clear goal before execution of a standards based lesson can proceed, these data are disquieting. Strategies for Purposeful Discussions One of the most noticeable common themes across observations was an absence of opportunities for students to participate in purposeful talk (Allington, 2002 ; Zweirs, 2013 ). The emergent bilingual and language realities of the stude nts make the absence of purposeful talk particularly concerning. Elements 7 and 15 concern ways that teachers organize students to interact with content. Elements 10 and 11 concern ways that teachers help students process and elaborate and element 18 has t eachers helping studiers examine their reasoning. All but element 15 are considered rigorous elements that may include student grouping and discussion (Marzano & Toth, 2014). There were 22 instances where teachers were teaching within these instructional e lements. However, teachers were most commonly practicing the element at the beginning level. This indicates that the attempted strategies or behaviors were used either incorrectly or with missing parts (Marzano & Toth, 2013). Looking further into my nota tions, I saw numerous instances where I had expected to student discus expected to see discussion but did not, I also made notations regarding an absence of guided working in groups to talk about their activities, but there is no accountable talk or direction to their


89 sentence starters, accountable talk, etc. . stra tegies to do this. Thus, the groups are a mix of on discussion could could look back to summarize with their partner, even if they were given sentence stems to aide ong with instances of low rigor and unclear learning goals, th ese observed strategies and behaviors relating to providing students an opportunity for purposeful discussion were far from accomplished practices needed in order to positively impacting student performance. Strategies for Low Income, Emergent Bilingual, Latino Students Because the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model did not explicitly include effective teaching strategies and behaviors for emergent bilingual students, I reserved the portion of the model Students , this includes Design Question 9, elements 39, 40, and 41 Of the ninety times that I scale scored elements, six were scored within this domain, and two o f these were related to ESE student accommodation. I made no notations related to bilingual accommodations in these classrooms with a Latino population of 80%. In short, teachers used few, if any, strategies specifically designed for their emergent bilingu al students. In addition to weak effective teaching strategies and behaviors for all students, the emergent bilingual student considerations appeared even more deficient. Looking Across Interviews and Observations : Possible Factors in Student Underperform ance was abundantly clear that they cared deeply for their students and their profession. The mere fact


90 that they had volunteered to participant in my study helped me recognize this, but it was even with students. Examining the transcripts for this study, I was reminded of the joy that filled their interviews. In examining t he observation data I found that two of the highest scaled scored elements were for Demonstrating Value & Resp ect for Low Expectancy Students and Using Verbal and Nonverbal Behaviors that Indicate Affection for Students (Marzano & Toth, 2013). Again, this voices throughout their interviews. But while those initial impressions regarding teacher dedication were made evident through both conversation and observation, I st ill needed to answer my primary research question related to perceptions held by teacher participants and the pedagogies they employed: What factors may help explain the underperformance of learners on standardized assessments? Misinformed Standards Based Instruction and Unclear Learning Goals Across interviews and observations, common themes indicated that teachers held misunderstandings and implemented weak pedagogies related to standards based instruction and clear learning goals. Misunderstandings relat ed to standardized assessments and a deficit oriented view of students and their ability to master standards Imprecise execution of standards based instruction misunderstandings about the assessments students would be required to take a long with perceptions of their ability to master th ose standards. In addition, observations revea led that 51% of the time, when teachers sho uld have been using an instructional strategy or behavior to assist students in mastering content, they were either not using it or using it i ncorrectly L earning goals were either unclear or not present 78% of the time Taken together, the interviews and classroom


91 high quality instruction around standards based learning goals for their students Lack of Rigorous Instruction Across both the interviews and observation s, common themes indicated that a lack of rigorous instruction may be a factor in student underperformance. Interviews revealed that some teachers might try to protec t students by giving them lower level instructional texts. Interviews also revealed the pe toward making up for perceived missing skills instead of rigorous, standards aligned instruction. Classroom observations revealed that teachers attempted rigorous instruction 34% of the observed time but that attempts at rigorous instruction was either used incorrectly or missing parts. Various notations across multiple classroom observations indicated that instruction was not rigorous, including many instances where discussion b etween students was present, but not directed or effective. Taken together, the interviews and classroom observations consistently showed instances of instruction that lacked the rigor necessary for students to process content at the level the Florida Stan dards require. Lack of Attention to Specific Needs of the Students attention to the specific needs of their students could be a factor in student underperformance. Interv iews reveled that strategies for low income, emergent bilingual, Latino students were imprecise or non existent. Teachers held perceptions that many of the same instructional strategies they used for all students were adequate for their emergent bilingual students. They reading ability Teachers were not familiar with culturally relevant and responsive practices and, instead, confused them with multiculturalism. Probably most startling were th e instances of deficit thinking and cultural


92 devaluation revealed in the interviews. Observations revealed very few strategies aimed at meeting the needs of the distinct student population of the school especially strategies for emergent bilingual student s No notations were made regarding any specific observed instances, and one incidence was noted where an emergent bilingual student needed specific instructional intervention and was not offered. Taken together, the interviews and classroom observations d isplayed a staggering lack of attention to the specific and unique instructional needs of the students. Teacher Pe rceptions That Some Grade Level Assignments Are More Valued Than Others and Teacher Efficacy Interviews revealed that both primary and interm ediate grade level teachers had the perception that teaching primary grade levels is less valued than teaching intermediate grade levels. This perception appeared to be due to the fact that intermediate grade levels were subject to high stakes testing, and therefore the strongest teachers were placed in these classrooms. This perception of the devaluation of the primary grade level teachers was held across four of the five participants and was simply not mentioned by the fifth teacher participant, thus it i s unknown whether she held the same belief. The two primary teachers clearly felt devalued and believed they had less autonomy than their intermediate peers, mentioning specific instances of being placed in a primary grade as a punishment. Intermediate tea chers spoke of instances where they efficacy and the ways in which th at efficacy, both individual and shared, impacts teacher instruction and student performance. The four findings that emerged from this exploratory case study present targets for assisting my school in overcoming the previously middling performance on stand ardized


93 assessments. Through targeted coaching and professional development opportunities aimed at increasing teacher capacities, as well as supportive administrative understandings for the needs of the professional educators charged with increasing studen t performance, we can create an action plan to move our school to the stellar example it is meant to be.


94 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Introduction I began my study hoping to isolate factors related to teacher perceptions and pedagogies influencing student underperformance on standardized assessments. Any discussion around performance on standardized assessments must be framed around the fact that per ceived underperformance is a judgmental reality for low income, Latino, emergent bilingual students, as well as other minoritized populations. In the United States, we refer to this underperformance as Hammond, 2010; Gorski, 2013). Schools, such as my own, have made attempts to overcome these opportunity gaps with wrap around services aimed at balancing the disadvantages of mi noritized populations. In some instances, we can call these wrap around services a great success, instances where hungry children get fed, where parents who want to learn English can, and where teachers work in modern equipped buildings with resources aple almost all measures, excepting that of a letter grade assigned to them by a standardized assessment. Still, my work as an instructional literacy coach and reading specialist requires greater pedagogical scholarship than a beautiful, well equipped public elementary school faade can provide. On testing day, my students will be judged and tracked and further marginalized by their inability to perform on standardized tests. It i s toward this end that I aim my work. Implications for Practice This study provides instructional coaches and school leaders with a story of a low income, predominantly Latino, public elementary school. Specifically, it reveals instructional


95 practices that are lacking in rigor and goal aligned instruction due to teacher misconceptions about effective instructional strategies and behaviors (Marzano & Toth, 2014). The study also documents ways in which those instructional practices were weak due to, at least in part, teacher misperceptions about and lack of knowledge of their students and the strategies that could help them excel. Finally, this study uncovered surprising issues surrounding teacher efficacy as related to the pressures of a high stakes setting. From the four broad findings, I have identified three targets connected to student underperformance that help me to aim my work toward improving instruction at my school. Rigorous, Goal Aligned Instructional Practices As a member of the community and pract itioner scholar, I can affirm that our district has made efforts at teacher professional development in the many instructional areas pertaining to this study. However, I can also affirm that the majority of those were one day, sit and get, lecture styled t rainings, not the type of long term, job embedded, coherent trainings that have been shown as effective for improving practice and, ultimately, student achievement (Desimone, 2009; Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman & Yoon, 2001). Although my district has di scussed the pressed to find evidence of district efforts. In both interviews and observations, factors related to misconceptions and lack of knowledge around standar ds based instruction and rigor were present. Rigorous curriculum and instruction is a strong predictor of student achievement (Barton & Coley, 2009). My aim as an instructional coach and practitioner scholar within my school is to improve the rigor of inst ruction such that students reap the benefits. Teachers mentioned the importance of rigor throughout our conversations, but frequently gave their students low level learning tasks during the classroom observations. Since the


96 Marzano Teacher Evaluation Mod el includes thirteen elements that constitute rigorous classroom strategies and behaviors and is an embedded lexicon within my district, it would seem wise to continue teacher training focused on the elements that address rigorous delivery of the content a nd standards through this model (Marzano & Toth, 2014). By continuing with the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model, my professional development aims will remain coherent, a core feature of effective professional development delivery (Desimone, 2011; Garet et al. 2001). Another core feature of effective professional development is active learning; therefore, opportunities for the teachers to learn, execute, and reflect on specific strategies and behaviors recognized as effective for increasing the rigor of th e lessons should be offered to teachers (Desimone, 2011). Effective strategies and behaviors related to rigor should center around the way students process and elaborate on knowledge and learning, such as guided peer discussion and tasks requiring critical thinking skills (Marzano & Toth, 2014). Offering the teachers professional development opportunities in strategies that improve peer discussion and instructional rigor would be advantageous in improving student underperformance. Even though my district b egan the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model by initially training teachers on creating clear learning goals and performance scales, there appears to be a disconnect in knowledge application. Teacher participants were routinely unclear on the goals they expec ted their students to complete, and students frequently sought clarifications. Yet, even with clarification, the tasks given to students continued to be either unclear or not aligned to the actual standard. Time spent in professional learning communities, aligning the tasks teachers are asking their students to perform with the standards the tasks are expected to measure would be a beneficial use of time (Dufour, 2004; Dufour & Eaker, 2009; Kannapel, Clements, Taylor & Hibpshman, 2005). There is a strong c onnection between the tasks that are given to a student and


97 & Resnick, 2005). In depth performing schools wor k to review and align curriculum and tasks (Kannapel et al. 2005). By more will be positively impacted. Teacher beliefs around rigorous standards based, go al driven instruction indicated that the teacher participants felt that their students were lacking, the standards were too difficult, or that the pacing was inappropriate for their students to be able to master the standards. These beliefs may have transf erred to the delivery of their lessons. In other words, the average scale l strategies. When teachers are not clear about learning goals, students are likely to be confused, thereby reinforcing teacher perception that students are not ready for rigor. In some ways, this may form a cyclical dynamic where the teacher perception s b ecome the reality ( Bartolom 1994). Therefore, in addition to professional development opportunities aimed at increasing rigorous, goal aligned lesson planning and execution, helping teachers to develop an assets orientation toward their students is also warranted. Cultural Relevance and Responsiveness: An Assets Orientation The ways in which the teachers viewed their students as less capable due to poverty, language, or culture may have impacted their teaching practice. Observational data related to the strategies and behaviors teachers practice to build opportunities for critical thinking are contained within the model in elements 21, 22, and 23: Helping Students Generate and Test Hypothesis (Marzano & Toth, 2013). Only one incident of critical thinking instruction was recorded in ninety scale scored elements and it was at a beginning level. Further, only two


98 instances were noted where teachers probed incorrect answers with low expectancy students, this being meant to include both students with disabiliti es and emergent bilingual students. Considering the low level of rigor also observed, this lack of strategy instruction applied to unique student need may have more to do with the low level work students were given. Yet, it could also be due to the teacher within their classrooms, especially when considering the lack of responses given regarding diverse needs in interviews. (Marzano & Toth, 2013) thinking with this choice of language Nevertheless, the observational data bears witness to the Toward an Assets Orientation Considering the evidence of deficit thinking, aiming professional development toward developing an a ssets orientation is necessary. Professional experiences that help teachers recognize and reflect upon their own deficit thinking is urgently warranted as almost all teacher participant data reflected a deficit ideology. My district was a strong adopter of the Dr. Ruby Payne professional development series and through multiple discussions, I have observed many teachers, even outside of this study, expressing the same deficit views. Critical examinations of this popular professional development series have uncovered its strong contribution to deficit thinking and a perpetuation of marginalizing, rather than embracing, minoritized students (Bomer, et al. 2008; Gorski, 2013; Payne, 2005; Smiley & Helfenbein, 2011; Ullucci & Howard, 2015; Valencia, 2010). Help ing teachers to unlearn entrenched beliefs and practice s based upon this ideology will be difficult.


99 Teachers also stated that they believed that the state standardized test was an accurate s a grade of C, I must conclude that the teachers believe their students are only capable of a C. One way to begin this hard discussion is through our PLC meetings, using a structured dialogue framework or protocol to address the ways in which we view ineq uity and opportunity compared to ability, building our collective responsibility for the students within our school (Dufour, 2004; Dufour & Eaker, 2009; Hollins et al. 2004). Helping teachers to identify and consider the ways in which their students bring untapped funds of knowledge and cultural assets to the classroom is an effort that might go a long way to overcoming deficit thinking ( Gonzlez Moll, Amanti, 2006). Once our stereotypes, bias, and miscalculation of our students are out in the open, perhaps professional development in cultural relevancy and responsiveness is a next step. Teaching with Cultural Relevance and Responsiveness All students arrive at school with ways of knowing, and the extent to which teachers build upon these capabilities determines their ability to cultivate and sustain student achievement s dilemma (Grant & Sleeter, 2006). Culturally responsive teachers begin by creating a classroom community of learners where knowledge construction is the community goal (Hammond, 2015; Ladson Billings, 1995). These teachers use cultural relevance to not on ly maintain their students sense of identity, but also connect their lived experiences to the greater world and the content they need to learn in order to be deemed successful by school standards (Gay 2013; Hammond, 2015; Ladson Billings, 1992; Rutherford 1999). Becoming a culturally responsive teacher requires that teachers embrace learning about cultural and

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100 political inequities that shape their realities (Banks et al 2001; Hammond, 2015; Howard, 2003; Milner 2013). This learning includes an examination of how our American ideal of individualism impacts cultures of collectivist learning stances, through oral traditions and performance based skill mastery (Hammond, 201 5). As teachers become more culturally responsive, they challenge systems that perpetuate inequity ( Garca et al. 2010; Gorski, 2013). Professional devel opment opportunities that build culturally responsive teachers should include examinations of the way the brain learns through cultural understandings as well as neuroscientific biological function (Hammond, 2015; Wolf 2008). Culturally responsive teacher s understand that the reason for creating safe learning environments has as much to do with learning theory and neuroscience as it has to do with managing behavior (Hammond, 2015). Valuable sources of information for me to consider for professional develo pment sessions aimed at increasing cultural responsiveness are the websites, Teaching Tolerance and Rethinking Schools and the book, Culturally Responsive Teachi ng and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond (;; Hammond, 2015). Teaching Emergent Bilingual Students In addition to professional learning opportunities aimed at unlearning deficit thinking, cultivating an assets orientation, and creating culturally responsive teachers, I must additionally consider the large population of emergent bilingual and Latino students who are being ignored. What the teachers did not say during interview data was informative. Despite my pu shing and probing, teachers said little about how they addressed the instructional needs of their emergent bilingual students. Thus, I inferred that they lacked understanding of their students and knowledge of how to teach them. When teachers provided exam ples of practices for emergent bilingual students, they indicated a laundry list of generic practices that were not tied to specific

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101 instructional goals. In a Florida case study of English language arts teachers, Harper and de Jong ite the progressive pedagogy and inclusive rhetoric, ELLs continue to be marginalized in mainstream contexts and [emergent bilingual] teacher expertise has been reconstructed as a set of generic good teaching practices appropriate for a broad range of dive rse emergent bilingual students is a strong predictor of their performance (Caldern, Slavin & with English literacy skill, thus ignoring or diminishing the primary language as instanced in the interviews and classroom observations seems injudicious (August, Shanahan, & Escamilla, 2009). The teachers I interviewed appeared to know little about quali ty instruction for their emergent bilingual students. Further concerning were comments related to the devaluation of the emergent bilingual across various schools rega rdless of the communities they serve (Walker, Shafer, Iiams, 2004). As in the inciden t view primary language as a deficit to be fixed rather than an a sset to build upon (Hoff, 2013 ; Ruiz, 1984 ). Hopefully, professional learning opportunities tied to cultural relevance and responsiveness will have an impact on deficit ideologies regardin g emergent bilingual students. However, t eaching emergent bilingual students requires explicitly planned curricular and instructional delivery decisions (Gersten & Baker, 2000). Although my personal expertise does not lie in pedagogical scholarship for emergent bilingual students, effective professional development for te achers with emergent bilingual students needs to be thorough, ongoing and

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102 include instances of technique mixed with personalized coaching (Caldern, Slavin & Snchez, 2011). Our state and district has adopted the WIDA framework, which includes specific de scriptions of performance for varying stages of emergent bilingual students aligned to standards at all grade levels ( WIDA Consortium 2014). However, at least at my school, trainings on this framework were consistently overlooked in favor of professional development opportunities aimed at increasing standardized test scores. Administrators would be wise to add professional learning opportunitie s aimed at the specific pedagogies related to teaching emergent bilingual students Leadership Focused on Building Teacher Efficacy Like deficit thinking, common themes around teacher self efficacy may be contributing to the underperformance of students at my school. Though comments surrounding devaluation and loss of autonomy are much harder to tie to student underperformance on standardized ived valuation must be considered due to the role it may play in classroom dynamics (Halvorson, Lee, & Andrade, 2008; Ross, 1992). Also, in examining the observational data, I found that scaled scores for all primary teacher elements were much lower than t heir intermediate colleagues ( Appendix I ). I question if valued. Long term effects of moving teachers from the high stakes assessment grade levels to grade levels outside of the high stakes assessment environment, appear to create a perception of decreased value within the school. Even after I asked clarification questi ons related to these perceptions with participants who mentioned these views, teachers stood by their claims that primary teachers were perceived as less valued. As an instructional coach in the school, my primary role is to impact instruction, especially related to literacy practices. While the improved

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103 instructional practice that I intend to facilitate might have a positive impact on teacher efficacy, school administrators will need to carefully consider their role in improving teacher efficacy at our sch ool. Under the intense pressure to increase student achievement on high stakes assessments, school administrators may inadvertently damage teacher efficacy and weaken school culture. In one study, most principals reported that they had not received much g uidance on teacher assignment as part of their leadership training (Paufler & Amrein Beardsley, 2014). This same group of principals also reported that they used pedagogical strengths as a measure when assigning teachers to classrooms, rejecting the idea o f random assignment of teachers as illogical (Paufler & Amrein Beardsley, 2014). Within school sorting, based upon teacher perceived competencies has the potential to hurt both individual and collective school efficacy. Principals who create supportive and non threatening environments can impact teacher self efficacy, enhancing teacher commitment to students (Tschannen Moran & Barr, 2004). Collective teacher efficacy in a school has the power to impact student achievement (Goddard, Hoy & Hoy, 2000). Ignori ng these perceptions, and continuing their practice, may be a contributing factor to student underperformance. Research into principal decisions regarding teacher sorting and placement in very limited. In a review of additional literature after the surpri sing finding related to primary teacher devaluation was revealed, I found little research tied to within school teacher sorting based upon grade level perceptions of value. Most of the research on within school teacher assignment was focused on studies loo king to debate the validity of the value added measurement (VAM) of teachers or issues related to inexperienced teacher placement in minoritized classrooms (Dieterle, Guarino, Reckase & Wooldridge, 2015; Nye, Konstantopoulos & Hedges, 2004; Rivkin,

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104 Hanus hek & Kain, 2005). A Florida study did reveal evidence that principals reported giving highly effective teachers their choice of classes (Cohen Vogel & Osborne Lampkin, 2007) and another found that giving effective teachers their choice of assignment was one way principals hoped to retain teachers perceived as effective (Dieterle, et al. 2015). Even though it sought to answer questions surrounding VAM, findings relevant to the idea of matching teachers to specific grade levels based upon their perceived e ffectiveness was evident in one study (Dieterle et al. 2015). However, the study did not explore the specifics regarding which grade level placement occurred, merely finding that teachers were placed into specific grades based upon effectiveness perceptio ns (Dieterle et al. 2015). Specific studies around staffing strategies for high stakes versus low stakes classrooms are a recent response to the high stakes testing environment of public schools. Cohen Vogel (2011) found that some principals report movin g teachers from high stakes classrooms to low Cohen p.483 ). A study using administrative data from Florida found t hat teachers with lower VAM scores were less likely to be reassigned to high stakes classrooms (Chingos & West, 2011). A similar study in North Carolina also found that grade switching was related to pressures of NCLB (Fuller & Ladd, 2013). The act of movi ng an ineffective teacher to a low stakes grade level may prove beneficial in the short term, but hold deleterious consequences for long term reform efforts ( Grissom, Kalogrides & Loeb, 2017 ). Principals and district leadership personnel need to consider the broad and long term effects that the pressures of high stakes testing have created. Although the pressure to increase achievement is great, administrators would do well to carefully consider the impact their placement decisions may have on teachers. Perhaps the most important point for principals to

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105 consider is their responsibility to cultivate school faculty as a collegial community of learners who are dedicated to improving their practice so as to serve students. Doing so requires attention to teach er efficacy, which can surely suffer in the often toxic environment of high stakes testing. Limitations & Considerations It is important to remember that this study is a single case exploration of a low income, predominantly Latino, public elementary schoo l. The study took place over a limited time period and was conducted at the end of the school year, when tensions and demands on teachers are high. Not all points of view were considered; the administrators, families, students, and teachers teaching less t han two years at the school were not as ked to participate. In a narrower study, perhaps explicit practices for rigorous standards based inst ruction for emergent bilingual students would have been further explored. In a study considering the predominance of emergent bilingual learners within this school one would need a different observation tool from the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model as it not only lacks specific pedagogies for emergent bilingual students, but further marginalizes these students with de ficit oriented language (Marzano & Toth, 2013). The 20% of exceptional education students represented in the school were also not considered as part of the underperformance factors. This percentage is above the national level of 13% ( McFarland et al., 201 7 ). Exceptional education students also require specialized instructional practices that may be factors in student underperformance at the school. While the school employs several specialized ESE teachers, their perceptions and pedagogies were not explored An analysis of the performance of the higher than average ESE student population may be revealing and instructive considered low income and received Title 1 design ation. However, this definition fails to

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106 has a negative connotation for many people, and might imply to teachers that our students are oundational premise of deficit thinking. The ways in which this word is used within educational settings, based upon a single measure of free and reduced lunch rate, should also be carefully considered and perhaps altered (Milner, 2013). This study does n ot add to the literature on cultural relevance and responsiveness, other than to note its absence from a school that sorely needs it. Further research is needed regarding high impact professional development for cultural relevance and responsiveness, espec ially when moving a faculty from a deficit mindset to an assets orientation. Although many of the practices Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain offer a starting point, I did not find much literature related to coaching teachers in this effort. Rather, I found calls for more research on cultural relevance and responsiveness in general (Scanlon & Lopez, 2012; Sleeter, 2012). This study also has implications for other leaders serving schools with similar demographics in a h igh stakes, standardized assessment environment. Similar schools would how those perceptions might shape their instructional practices. Finally, it is important to avoid the implication of a causal effect of teacher efficacy on instructional practice. That is, I am not suggesting that low teacher efficacy led to inadequate instruction. The teacher efficacy issues revealed in the study surprised me, and I am sure the y would surprise the school administrators. They are worthy of further study, particularly given the high anxiety and high stakes era in which schools operate.

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107 Next Steps This qualitative case study sought to better understand the perceptions and pedagogie s that are factors in student underperformance at a low income, predominantly Latino public elementary school in order for me to better serve its teachers and students as their instructional literacy coach and reading specialist. Findings indicate that con siderations for the way teachers view their students through a deficit lens needs to be refocused to an asset oriented lens. Instructional practices were often lacking in rigor and do not align goals to the standards based expectations. Additionally, instr uctional practices related to the high number of emergent bilingual students were vague or absent. As an instructional coach, much of my daily effort is aimed toward providing effective professional development opportunities for my colleagues. Sometimes th is takes the form of PLC conversations, structured professional development opportunities, or gathering of resources to facilitate teacher learning. As a result of conducting this practitioner research, my primary attention will be focused upon planning an d facilitating professional development opportun ities for my colleagues based on the findings of this study. This will involve a three pronged effort. Finding Resources for Teaching Emergent Bilingual Students Findings indicated that instructional practice s related to the high number of emergent bilingual students were vague or absent Teachers will need ongoing professional development in specific instructional strategies and behaviors related to teaching the many emergent bilingual students we serve. The needs of our emergent bilingual students are broader than my own expertise; thus, finding experts either with may be helpful. In fac t, I may need to draw on expertise outside of our singular district as this issue is an important and distinct one for our school. Investigating state level resources aligned

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108 to the adopted WIDA is one direction to investigate further (WIDA Consortium, 2014) While literacy coaches have taken on a plethora of responsibilities, kno wing when to call for the experts in specified instructional practice is an important responsibility of being an effective instructional coach. Providing On Going Opportunities for Teachers to Become Culturally Responsive Findings also indicated that teac hers viewed their students through a deficit lens. In order oriented viewpoint, professional development in culturally relevant and responsive practices is merited. Beginning with any attempt at explicitly cha assets and ways to incorporate relevant teaching while building on those assets will be used to help change the deficit views. Finding articles and reflection opport unities, as well as specific strategies for cu lturally responsive instruction, will help to build an asset based lens that may, in turn, reverse deficit ideologies. P rofessional development opportunities delivered through weekly PLCs need to center around culturally relevant and responsive practices that focus on the predominant Latino student population and the assets that they bring to school daily Coaching Teachers to Improve Rigorous, Goal Aligned Instruction Findings further indicated that i ns tructional practices were often lacking in rigor and do not align goals to the standards based expectations n to shift to ward a more asset oriented view due to these PLC experiences their practices m ay begin to cha nge also. P aying close attention to rigorous instructional practices and standards goal alignment during classroom observations will be helpful in determining if this altered viewpoint changes practice However, i ndividual coaching sessions with teachers, including instructional strategy modeling, practice opportunities, and reflection may be helpful in increasing the student chances to practice and deepen their knowledge at the critical thinking level.

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109 This three pronged approach, garnering resources f or professional development, integrating asset based attention around cultural responsiveness in PLCs, and individualized coaching opportunities toward improved instructional practice will assist in successful instruction and have a positive impact on the school. Conclusion trying to find your way Teacher B Based on the findings of this qualitative case study, improving low income, Latino student performance may indeed be like swimming through murky waters for some teachers. My role as an instructional coach and a practitioner scholar offered me the opportuni ty to explore issues that help me better understand the underperformance of the students I serve. Teacher interview and classroom observational data were well aligned, showing that teacher perceptions, knowledge, and instructional practice were all factors toward which I can aim my efforts as a facilitator of increased teacher knowledge and improved practice. When reading coaches facilitate quality professional development opportunities for teachers in low income, minoritized schools, improved student readi ng performance can be achieved (Carlisle & Berebitsky, 2011). It is my hope that this study assists me to distill some of that the murky water

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110 APPENDIX A PARTICIPANT INFORMED CONSENT LETTER Informed Consent Protocol Title: underperformance on standardized tests in a low income, predominantly Latino elementary school Please read this consent document carefully before you decide to participate in th is study. Purpose of the research study: The purpose of this study is to explore the factors contributing to low student performance with the goal of addressing those factors and improving student performance. What you will be asked to do in the study: Yo u will be asked to participate in two audio recorded interviews about your teaching. The audio recordings will be assigned an anonymous number and destroyed at the end of the study. I will observe you teaching four times as part of the normal coaching proc ess already in place, continuing use of the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model (Marzano & Toth, 2013). This model is the current coaching observation tool used as part of your coaching observations. It cannot be viewed by administrators and does not count to ward your effectiveness score. These observations are the normal observations I conduct as my role as your literacy instructional coach. No additional observations will be added, unless requested as part of our coaching process. I will also conduct a brief post observation meeting with you, also part of the current coaching process. I will document observational field notes during and following these coaching meetings. Time required: 45 60 minutes for each of the two interviews 10 15 minutes for the post observation coaching 80 160 minutes for the four observations that are a typical part of my coaching role Risks and Benefits: re likely to enjoy the opportunities to talk about your teaching and to contribute to the improved performance of our students. Nevertheless, I do not anticipate that you will benefit directly by participating in this study. As a practitioner scholar, I a m a member of the school community being studied. This may present some potential discomfort on the part of the participant. If the participant becomes uncomfortable at any time, even after the study has concluded, the participant may request to withdraw f rom the study. Participants may additionally refuse to answer any question that may make them feel uncomfortable during the interviews. Compensation: You will not be provided compensation for participating in this research.

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111 Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your interviews and observation will be assigned a numerical code. The list connecting your name to this code will be kept in a locked file. When the study is completed and the data have been analyze d, the list and the audio recordings will be destroyed. Your name will not be used in any report and I will not disclose any information that would breach the anonymity of the participants in this study. Individual components of this research will not be d iscussed with any member of the school community. The overall findings and implications from this research will be used to provide resources to faculty and plan future staff professional development. Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without consequence. Who to contact if you have questions about the study: Elizabeth (Buff y) Bondy, Ph.D. ( faculty advisor ), School of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, Norman Hall, University of Florida.; 352 273 4242, ext.2215 Who to contact about your rights as a researc h participant in the study IRB02 Office Box 112250 University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611 2250 Phone: 392 0433. Agreement I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the procedure and I have received a copy of this description. Participant: ___________________________________________ Date: ____________ Principal Investigator: ___________________________________ Date: ___________

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112 APPENDIX B RANDOM SELECTION TOOL Research Randomizer Results: 1 Set of 5 Yes Numbers Per Set Range From 3001 to 3005 No Set 1 3002 3003 3001 3004 3005

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113 APPENDIX C GENERATIVE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS Pre Interview discussion: Explain purpose of the interview and approximate time needed Remind about confidentiality and IRB guidelines Explain interview format (recorded, transcribed, open ended discussion) How many years teaching? How many at school? Ask if there are any questions before we begin Questions to generate expanded d iscussion: accurate? Why or Why not? standardized test? Are there any considerat ions related to being a low income school that might be Are there any considerations related to the high number of English language acquisition students that might be influencing the stu test? What are some pedagogies you use when working with ELL students? What are some pedagogies you use when working with ESE students? What are some pedagogies you use when working with low income students? Hav e you felt prepared to work with diverse student populations? Why or why not? Culturally relevant and responsive teaching is intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart k Billings, 1994). Tell me what you know or What is your perception of teaching at ----Elementary? Are there any other things that I, as your instructional literacy coach, need to consider about teaching and learning at -----Elementary?

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114 APPENDIX D CLARIFICATION INTERVIEW QUESTIONS Clarification Teacher A You mentioned that standardized tests, like FSA, are unfair to students from different populations. Can you explain how these tests are unfair to specific students? You mentioned a discrepancy between new teachers who only focus on the scope and sequence and the standards assigned to specific dates and yourself, a veteran teacher, who focuses on in your and this because I saw something." Can you elaborate on this thought? ow does this impact your pedagogical decisions? Out of the available intermediate participants for this study 90% volunteered to participate. Out of the available primary participants for this study 20% volunteered to participate. Why do you think that int ermediate participants were more willing to participate? If an observer were talk to walk into your room on a great day, what would they see? Clarification Teacher B You mentioned that assisting students with computer skills, when we were talking about yo u know what would help with student's performance, you mentioned that computer skills was something that was lacking. Can you elaborate further on how we might help with this? might impact performance and/or your pedagogical decisions? You also mentioned that you were, I'm quoting again, not a big fan of moving on before your students are ready to move on. We talked a little bit about scope and sequence. Elaborate or give me som e examples of what you mean by not being a fan of moving on before the students are ready. ct training on the topic. Does it surprise you that you were the only colleague that actually knew of this term? Why or why not? Out of the available intermediate participants for this study 90% volunteered to participate. Out of the available primary part icipants for this study 20% volunteered to participate. Why do you think that intermediate participants were more willing to participate? What practices do you see as contributing to student underperformance at our school? If an observer were talk to walk into your room on a great day, what would they see? Clarification Teacher C You mentioned academic vocabulary as being a weakness when it comes to student performance on FSA. Do you do a lot of explicit teaching of academic vocabulary? Do you think your colleagues focus on academic vocabulary? You mentioned, with regard to student performance, that some students surprise you and pass, while others go the other direction. We just got our reading scores, was this the case again this year?

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115 You mentioned that you are given the same stuff that your friends at other schools have available. Are there any specific needs related to this particular school that might be You mentioned that you wish there was better parent participation. Can you elaborate on that further? You also mentioned that you feel like teachers have high expectations at this school. What makes you think that? Give me some examples of things, like conversations or things you've seen. What woul d it take to improve student performance at --? Out of the available intermediate participants for this study 90% volunteered to participate. Out of the available primary participants for this study 20% volunteered to participate. Why do you think that intermediate participants were more willing to participate? What practices do you see as contributing to student underperformance at our school? If an observer were talk to walk into your room on a great day, what would they see? Clarification Teacher D You mentioned quite a few of your personal beliefs about instruction. The importance of pedagogies you can think of that are essential to good, strong teaching? You mentioned a ge ographical component of the school's location, and the demographics with relationship to the demographics of our kids. In what ways does this geographical demographic inform your practice? Do you consider the design rigorous instruction? If so what does t hat look like? Do you think that teachers in low income minority schools need to incorporate any unique pedagogies, or do they just need to teach like students who are being taught at higher, and more English proficient schools teach? Out of all of the av ailable intermediate teachers that I asked to participate in this study, 90% of them volunteered to participate. Out of the available primary teachers that I could have chosen for this study, 20% of them volunteered to participate in my study. Why do you t hink the intermediate participants were more willing to participate in my study? [This administrator} brought in things you said were positive: instructional opportunities for professional development, and did you feel like some people didn't embrace those opportunities? Any last things that you haven't told me that might be a factor in student under performance? Clarification Teacher E I noticed two central themes running through our previous conversation: rigor and care. You spoke of having high expectati ons and presenting the students with rigorous instruction, you also spoke of creating a classroom of caring. Would you say that these ideas are central to your teaching? Why or why not? Do you see having a caring classroom at odds with having high expectat ions? Also, related to your comments on a caring community style classroom, I wonder about a ely on

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116 You mentioned a reluctance to ascribe academic performance to low income status due to your previous personal experience with low income family members who became successful adults. Could you elab orate further on the idea of low income and academic performance? But, are there some low income factors you take into consideration when planning or executing instruction? You mentioned that seeking out answers was important to improving your craft. Do yo u think this is true of most of your colleagues? What role does having an inquiring mindset have in teacher professionalism? Out of the available intermediate participants for this study 90% volunteered to participate. Out of the available primary participants for this study 20% volunteered to participate. Why do you think that intermediate participants were more willing to par ticipate? You talked a lot about rigor and care. Talk about those examples in a broader sense than just your classroom. The perception of rigor and high expectation, how is that, or not, contributing to the performance of the students on the standardized tests?

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118 APPENDIX F INTERPRETATION OF INTERVIEW DATA TO INTERVIEW QUESTIONS EXAMPLE Do you think the state standardized test measure of the student performance is accurate? Why or Why not? What instructional factors might be influencing the performance on the state standardized test? Are there any considerations related to being a low income school that might be influencing the performance on the state standardized test? Are there any considerations related to the high number of English language acquisition students that might be influencing the performance on the state standardized test? Question Themes aw are that it is more difficult for some vocabulary mentioned by 2 certain way don't push them too hard they came without and are trying to catch up manipulation abilities er strategies ability rigor and expectations reading as much as possible (all teachers gave different responses here) push them harder to make up what they don't have hardships missing background knowledge vocabulary lacking, especially academic needs met on life circumstances, not school call own, to read parents just trying to survive involved as much still spoken at home 2 Spelling/ Sound pattern difference Home influence is big Vocabulary Struggle not analyze, embrace it Harder for parents to be involved

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120 APPENDIX H INTERPRETATION OF OBSERVATION NOTATIONS DATA EXAMPLE TP # of observations What factors may help explain th e underperformance of learners o n sta ndardized assessments? Notations from observations Common Instructional Practices by TP Participant E 4 Observations needs student progress monitor, students unde rstanding is not monitored progress monitor Participant D 4 Observat i ons off task with intensity and enthusiasm, Students need to be monitored progress monitor, pacing Participant C 3 Observations idle/down time without active learning, only 1 wrong answer entire time (low rigo r), discussion, but dependent upon teacher off standard, does not use needed strategy for diverse, students unclear about goal, no exemplars posted, data wall seems static, off task, below standard, computer students not engaged, students finish quick (l ow rigor), no exemplars or data present low elaborate/process x4, l ow rigor x2, off standard x2, guided discussion, diversity strategies, clear goal x3 Participant B 5 Observations monitoring not evident, needs randomization strategy, student idle time without engagement, lack of evidence (rigor), wait time too short, does not attend to struggling, goal/ directions not clear, below level charts displayed, teacher is abrasive & haph azard, students are not monitored for performance or compliance, off standard / too difficult for many, teacher unsure of standard, off task talk, directions unclear, vocabulary strategies not used, weak writing, shared reading ineffective / off task, discussion not tied to task/standard, needs sentence stems to prompt better discussion, students disengaged / teacher out of view, long wait time / idle, teacher yells / abrasive, gives little direction for talk time makes examples of students who don't follow rules / room seems discussion is ineffective between students, much off task behaviors / disengagement monitoring progress x2 low elaboration/processin g x6, low rigor x3 off standard x3, diversity strategies x2, unclear goals x3, management x3, guided discussion x 4 Participant A 2 Observations standard uneven, learning goal is not apparent, expectations not clear, gives too much assistance, students too dependent upon teacher, high ac hieving students need pushed, learning goal is not clear, students dependent on teacher management, no accountable talk, tasks low rigor off standard, unclear goals x3, low rigor x4, high achieving enrichment, guided discussion

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121 APPENDIX I INTERPRETATION OF OBSERVATION : MARZANO TEACHER EVALUATION MODEL DATA Element Participant A Participant B Participant C Participant D Participant E # A verage Scale Score DQ1E1 Providing Rigorous Learning Goals and Scales B, NU B, B, B B, B A D 9 2 B DQ1E2: Tracking Student Progress NU NU, B NU A, A 6 2 B DQ1E3: Celebrating Success DQ6E4: Establishing Classroom Routines A A A 3 4 A DQ6E5 Organizing the Physical Layout of the Classroom A 1 DQ2E6: Identifying Critical Content NU B, B, B NU A 6 2 B DQ2E7: Organizing Students to Interact with New Content B D, B NU D 5 2 B DQ2E8: Previewing New Content DQ2E9: Chunking Content into Digestible Bites" DQ2E10: Helping Students Process New Content D, D NU 3 2 B DQ2E11: Helping Students Elaborate on New Content B B, B NU B A 6 2 B DQ2E12: Helping Students Record and Represent Knowledge DQ2E13 Helping Students Reflect on Learning A 1 DQ3E14 Reviewing Content D B A 3 3 D DQ3E15 Organizing Students to Practice and Deepen Knowledge B A, D, A A, D 6 3 D DQ3E16: Using Homework DQ3E17: Helping Students Examine Similarities and Differences DQ3E18 Helping Students Examine Their Reasoning NU D 2 2 B

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122 Element Participant A Participant B Participant C Participant D Participant E # A verage Scale Score DQ3E19 Helping Students Practice Skills, Strategies and Processes D B A, A 4 3 D DQ3E20: Helping Students Revise Knowledge DQ4E21: Organizing Students for Cognitively Complex Tasks DQ4E22: Engaging Students in Cognitively Complex Tasks Involving Hypothesis Generation and Testing DQ4E23 Providing Resources for Cognitively Complex Tasks B 1 DQ5E24 Noticing When Students Are Not Engaged A NU, A, A NU A, A A 8 3 D DQ5E25: Using Academic Games B 1 DQ5 E26: Managing Response Rates B A 2 3 D DQ5E27: Using Physical Movement DQ5E28: Maintaining A Lively B D A 3 3 D DQ5E29 Demonstrating Intensity and Enthusiasm D, D A 3 3 D DQ5E30: Using Friendly Controversy DQ5E31: Providing Opportunities for Students to Talk about Themselves DQ5 E32 Presenting Unusual or Intriguing A 1 DQ7E33: Withitness NU, B A A 4 3 D DQ7E34: Applying Consequences for Lack of Adherence to Rules & Procedures DQ7E35: Acknowledging Rules & Procedures DQ7E36: Displaying Objectivity and Control

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123 Element Participant A Participant B Participant C Participant D Participant E # A verage Scale Score DQ8E37 Using Verbal and Nonverbal Behaviors that Indicate Affection for Students A NU A, A A, A 6 4 A DQ8E38: Displaying Objectivity & Control B DQ9E39: Demonstrating Value & Respect for Low Expectancy Students A, NU A, A 4 3 D DQ9E40: Asking Questions of Low Expectancy Students DQ9E41 Probing Incorrect Answers with Low Expectancy Students D A 2 4 A Total scored elements 90 Total scored intermediate 51 Total scored primary 39 R igor total elements scored 31 R igor average times out of all scored 34% total time spent in rigorous elements 8 of 13 rigor elements have scoring 5 rigorous elements not used Rigor average score for elements scored 2 B Design Questions 2, 3, 4: Content Instruction Not Using Beginning Developing Applying Innovating 6 13 9 9 0 Primary Versus Intermediate Teacher Efficacy Scale Score Not Using Beginning Developing Applying Innovating average @ each level P 8/39; I 7/51 P 20/39; I 6/51 P 6/39; I 8/51 P 6/39; I 30/51 0

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129 Grant, C., & Sleeter, C. (2006). Turning on learning: Five approaches to multicultural teaching plans for race, class, gender, and disability Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Grissom, J. A., Kal ogrides, D., & Loeb S. (2017 ). Strategic staffing? How performance pressures affect the distribution of teachers within schools and resulting student achievement. American Educational Research Journal doi: 10.3102/0002831217716301 Hahta, K., Butler, Y. G., & Witt, D. (2000) How l ong d oes i t t ake English l earners to a ttain proficiency? Davis, CA: University of California Linguistic Mino rity Research Institute (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED443275) Halvorsen, A. L., Lee, V. E., & Andrade, F. H. (2008). A mixed met attitudes about teaching in urban and low income schools. Urban Education, 44 (2), 181 224. Hammond, Z. (2015). Culturally responsive teaching and the brain: Promoting authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse students Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Harper, C. A., & de Jong, E. J. (2009). English language teacher expertise: The elephant in the room. Language and Education, 23 (2), 137 151. Herman, R., Dawson, P., Dee, T., Greene, J., Maynard, R., Redd ing, S., & Darwin, M. (2008). Turning Around Chronically Lo w Performing Schools ( NCEE 2008 4020 ) Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Hoff, E. (2013). Interpreting the early language trajectories of children fr om low SES and language minority homes: implications for closing achievement gaps. Developmental Psychology, 49 (1), 4. Hollins, E. R., McIntyre, L. R., DeBose, C., Hollins, K. S., & Towner, A. (2004). Promoting a self sustaining learning community: Investi gating an internal model for teacher development. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 17 (2), 247 264. Hollins, E. R., & Guzman, M. T. (2005). Research on preparing teachers for diverse populations. In M. Cochran Smith & K. M. Zeichne r (Eds.), Studying teacher education: The report of the AERA panel on research and teacher education ( 477 548 ) New York: Routledge. Howard, T. C. (2003). Culturally relevant pedagogy: Ingredients for critical teacher reflection. Theory Into P ractice, 42 (3), 195 202. Hursh, D. (2007). Assessing No Child Left Behind and the rise of neoliberal education policies. American Educational Research Journal, 44 (3), 493 518. Irvine, J. J. (2010). Forward In Milner, H. (Ed.), Culture, curriculum, and identity in education New York: Palgrave McMillan.

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136 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Cheryl S. Vanatti earned a Doctor of Education degree in c urriculum, teaching, and teacher education from the Univers ity of Florida in 2017 Cheryl also earned a Master of Science degree in r eading e ducation from Florida International University in 2006. The bulk of her e lementary e ducation Bachelor of Science degree was completed at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, but was conferred at Nova Southeastern Uni versity in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1995. Cheryl began her education career teaching seventeen retained first graders in Broward County Florida. There, she also taught sheltered bilingual second and third graders, high achieving and gifted third grad ers, as well as heterogeneous third and fifth grade classrooms. Following the appraisal of a principal who once told her she would be the perfect teacher if she could just add an ounce of her reading lesson enthusiasm to her math lessons, Cheryl decided to teach Reading and E nglish Language Arts to middle school students while pursuing her degree in reading education She later served as a reading specialist providing reading intervention instruction to third, fourth and fifth grade students In 2009, she moved to Or lando Florida, where she currently serves as a reading specialist and instructional literacy coach. Cheryl is committed to a scholarly interest in the ways that schools marginalize students through tracking and ill formed practi ces meant to overcome reading sk ill abilities. It is her firm belief that until we start viewing our students from an asset based and individualized perspective, Her further scholarly interest s are aimed at building teacher capacity efficacy, and autonomy through instructional coaching and professional development in an effort to advance respect for professional educators like herself as reflected in her teacher