Standards-based reform and No Child Left Behind : their effects on kindergarten practices
Examining teacher attitudes about the impact of Standards-Based Reform (SBR) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on current teaching practices in kindergarten classrooms was the focus of this mixed-methods study. The investigation was designed to survey classroom teachers concerning activities and opinions about enactment of governmental policy, One hundred-nine kindergarten teachers responded to a questionnaire about beliefs, educational level, years of kindergarten teaching, and classroom practices. Follow-up semi-structured interviews were carried out with ten teachers to gather information on attitudes, beliefs, and implementation of policy. Quantitative analysis was used on practices and subject changes. Qualitative analysis was used to report attitude, procedural changes, and predictions concerning SBR and NCLB. Triangulation strengthened the study by examination of classroom practices and teacher reporting through plan book inspection.The quantitative research was conducted to measure changes through chi-square analysis to the questionnaire responses, Developmental teaching practices and subject changes were examined. Outcomes demonstrated that teaching practices had become more "blended" but more developmental than teacher-directed. Significant differences were noted in subject changes, confirming that language arts dominates the curriculum. Subjects not tested for NCLB were presented less,Ten teachers who had taught prior to initiation of SBR in Indiana (2000) were interviewed and their plan books were examined. Along with an open-ended question from the questionnaire, these responses provided the qualitative methodology. Analysis created six categories concerning the impact of SBR and NCLB on the child, the classroom, the family, the teacher and profession, and the future of education. Theories were developed that addressed the conflict educators feel between the Structure of legislation and the Humanistic components of teaching. This personal balance that teachers have created between Structure and Humanistic was influenced by a sense of independence garnered by support of principals. Teachers who taught in schools with structured, embedded programs aimed at raising test scores exhibited the most stress and lack of autonomy.This study resulted in five recommendations. They were: encourage developmental practices that support the individual child, increase the role of the parent in the educational partnership process, to support teacher inclusion in decision making to foster autonomy, and the need for professional organizations and teacher preparation programs to heed current teaching practices while supporting the developmental needs of the child.