Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The nature of federal and state policies regarding accountability testing narrows the taught curriculum to content tested, thereby changing what is officially valued as student learning. The over-emphasis on standardized test scores has narrowed the curriculum to content that is tested (Amrein & Berliner, 2002; Baker, 2008; Herman, 2008; Koretz & Hamilton, 2003; Linn, 2000). In Louisiana, test-based accountability defines local school quality through a letter grade rating scale that uses an index for school performance scores (SPS), which in turn impacts traditional and nontraditional (e.g. charter) school expansion, closure, and takeover, administration of opportunity scholarships (e.g. voucher) for private school enrollment, and parent petition actions (Louisiana State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education [SBESE], December 2015, §301). Louisiana’s current test-based accountability system is not designed to provide information on student achievement beyond the cognitive domain of learning for accountability purposes, though skills in the affective and psychomotor are integral to life success (Rothstein, 2004). This study examined the test-based accountability system in Louisiana and the extent to which the system provides meaningful and actionable data for stakeholders. The intent of this two-phase, concurrent, mixed-methods study was to discover the educational values most prioritized by Louisiana stakeholders and the extent to which current policymakers were willing to pilot an advanced system for test-based accountability, including tests of the higher levels of the cognitive domain as well as indicators for learning in the affective and psychomotor domains. In the first phase, quantitative research questions addressed the comparison of perceptions about Louisiana’s test-based accountability system and educational values of stakeholders through the administration of a digitally based statewide survey. Over 500 survey responses were collected and interview data from two participating lawmakers were collected. Stakeholders indicate positive interest in holding schools accountable for values other than standardized tests scores and lawmakers indicated interest in piloting an advanced system, while also indicating the political complications for advancing the system in such a way.



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Committee Chair

Fashing-Varner, Kenneth



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Education Commons