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ERIC Number: ED515739
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 234
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-7638-9
Policy Implementation and Teacher Beliefs regarding the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program
Kenney, Staci Grant
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
The Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP) is the assessment tool that Virginia uses to measure the progress of students with significant cognitive disabilities on the state's Aligned Standards of Learning (ASOL). The VAAP was developed in order to comply with No Child Left Behind's (2001) requirement of educational accountability for all students, even students who have traditionally been excluded from statewide assessments. The inclusion of students with significant cognitive disabilities in statewide assessments has caused some teachers to grapple with how to teach academic content to their students. Teachers have also struggled with the gap between their beliefs of appropriate methods to teach their students and the teaching practices they must incorporate in order to properly implement the VAAP. The focus of this research study was to explore: (a) the intent of VAAP policy, (b) teachers' beliefs about the VAAP, (c) the classroom practices of teachers implementing the VAAP, and (d) whether teachers implementing the VAAP are using a blended curriculum. Interviews were conducted with state department of education personnel to determine the intent of the VAAP. Further interviews were conducted with four teachers who had administered the VAAP during the 2007-2008 school year. The four participating teachers were also observed four times during the course of the study to determine their classroom practices. Lastly, four of the participating teachers' lesson plans were analyzed to determine if teachers were using a blended curriculum. Data from interviews, observations, and lesson plan analyses were examined to determine themes and categories within the data. Findings from interviews with state department of education personnel and participating teachers, observations of participating teachers, and lesson plan content analyses indicated that the intent of the VAAP was to provide: an alternative assessment accessible to students with significant cognitive disabilities, a valid and reliable measure of student achievement, and to promote the inclusion of students with significant cognitive disabilities in statewide testing. Interviews with participating teachers revealed that teachers believed the VAAP was too unrealistic for their students and that VAAP constituted a test of teacher creativity rather than student achievement. Teacher observations revealed that the participating teachers were incorporating the majority of the VAAP's pedagogical principles into their classroom practices. Lastly, lesson plan content analyses revealed that the teachers in this study primarily wrote academically based lesson plans. Results from this study warrant further research. Study limitations and areas of further research were also presented. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001