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ERIC Number: ED521134
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 251
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-5500-2
When Standardized Test Success Represents Survival: Creating Opportunities for Democratic Participatory Development in Class 5-340
Coviello, Alison Goss
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
In many of today's public school classrooms serving students from low-income and minority backgrounds, high-stakes standardized testing overwhelmingly drives both the explicit and implicit curricula. Accordingly, the lessons that children in these classrooms may learn about valid knowledge and knowers, collaboration, or personal and collective agency are likely to oppose the types of critical thinking skills, habits of thought and action, and self-confidence that are necessary for powerful participation in our democracy. In an attempt to address this paradox, I explore what happens when opportunities for democratic participatory learning are established in my own fifth grade classroom. Anchored in critical liberatory pedagogy, three questions guide this inquiry: (1) Within a context of high-stakes standardized testing, what opportunities can be established for democratic participatory education? What happens in my classroom when these openings are created?; (2) What meanings do my students make from their classroom experiences over the course of the school year?; and (3) As I attempt to simultaneously provide opportunities for democratic participatory development in my fifth grade public school classroom and prepare my students for standardized test success, what tensions do my students experience? How do they negotiate the tensions that emerge or the contradictory messages about knowledge, knowers, learning, and agency that they confront? My students' narratives of their own lived experiences constitute the heart of this study. It is these stories that enabled me to more concretely understand that my students live each day struggling to survive the obstacles that poverty presents and recognize that this standpoint of survival deeply affects their school lives. In the end, I understood that the classroom for democracy I endeavored to create not only contributed to my students' development as powerful democratic participants, but also provided them opportunities to look beyond basic survival. This action research study is intended to offer both hope and insight to practicing educators who seek to create opportunities in their own classrooms for democratic participatory development. It is also meant to offer school outsiders, particularly policy makers, an alternate perspective on teaching and learning during an era of high-stakes standardized testing. [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:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A