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ERIC Number: ED546038
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 197
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-8028-3
Teachers' Motivation and Beliefs in a High-Stakes Testing Context
Dawson, Heather S.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Ohio State University
High-stakes testing has created challenges for teachers, administrators, parents, students, and other related education stakeholders in recent decades (Nichols & Berliner, 2007). While high-stakes tests have a long history (Ravitch, 2009) it was not until No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002 that the tests became law for most states (Hursh, 2007). Standardized tests with stakes attached to them (high-stakes tests) follow the prevalent business model for improvement and efficiency (Amrein & Berliner, 2002). There are many concerns associated with testing, including narrowing of the curriculum (Donnelly & Sadler, 2009; Ryan & Brown, 2005), teacher attrition (Darling-Hammond, 2007), invalid test scores (Arenson, 2003; Kleinfield, 2002) student dropout rates (Dobbs, 2003), and increased workload for teachers (Valli & Beuse, 2007) just to name a few. While the literature on the problems with high-stakes testing is bountiful, few studies have examined teacher and student motivation utilizing a theoretically-driven, empirically-designed method. The effects of high-stakes tests on teachers, students, and classrooms is well-known, however the literature lacks empirical work examining motivation specifically within the context of high-stakes tests. The purposes of this study are to examine (1) teachers perceptions of test-related disruptions in the classroom, (2) the amount of stress these disruptions cause them, and (3) how the stress teachers perceive as a result of tests is related to their motivation for teaching. For the purposes of this study, motivation is operationalized using two widely- accepted frameworks: Social Cognitive Theory (specifically Teacher Self-Efficacy) and Self-Determination Theory (specifically teacher autonomy-supportiveness and controllingness). Specifically, the research questions that drive this study are: (1) What is the relation between teachers' perceptions of stress because of high-stakes tests and their teacher self-efficacy? And (2) What is the relation between teachers' perceptions of stress because of the test and their autonomy-supportiveness and controllingness? Using a quantitative, online survey, 550 teachers from all 50 states participated in the study. Teachers in this sample represented all grade levels, experience levels, education levels, and all income levels. The survey that the teachers were asked to complete included 6 parts: a basic demographic portion, the Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale (Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001), administered twice, the Perceived Stress due to High-Stakes Tests Scale (Dawson, 2011), the Teacher Autonomy-Control Scale (Dawson, 2011), and the Problems in Schools Questionnaire (Deci, Schwartz, Sheinman, & Ryan, 1981). Results indicated that teachers perceive extreme levels of stress as a result of high-stakes tests. Teacher self-efficacy is predicted throughout the school year by their income level, perceptions of administrative support, and experience level. Test-related disruptions also predicted teacher self-efficacy throughout the school year. Teacher self- efficacy in the weeks leading up to a high-stakes testing event is predicted by perceived stress due to the test, the likelihood that the school is going to pass the test, perceptions of administrative support, and teacher income. Teacher autonomy-supportiveness and controllingness is predicted only by the extent to which a teachers' evaluation depends upon the students' test scores. Results, implications, and limitations are discussed. [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 Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Teacher Efficacy Scale