Social studies educators' professionalism in an age of high stakes accountability : examining teacher-level and school-level characteristics and testing policy associated with teacher authority in the secondary social studies classroom
Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Teaching and Learning
Gregory E. Hamot
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Using national data from the Survey of the Status of Social Studies (S4), this study examined the associations between teacher-level and school-level factors as well as testing policy, and the self-reported levels of authority and control over key classroom tasks among secondary school social studies teachers in the context of high-stakes accountability. This research sought to identify the importance of teacher authority in the classroom and how 6-12 social studies educators' professional authority is associated with teachers' professional characteristics (their degree background, teaching experience, and licensure paths), school-related factors (school types, school context, school poverty levels, and minority enrollment levels), and state testing policy.
A conceptual framework was developed to guide the selection of specific predictor and control variables and to examine the three theoretically based models through hierarchical multiple regression analysis techniques. The analytic sample included grades 6-12 social studies teachers (N=6,703).
Key findings from this study indicated that, as hypothesized, teacher-level characteristics significantly predicted secondary social studies teachers' classroom authority. Self-reported levels of teacher authority were maldistributed across the types of school, school context, school poverty levels, and minority enrollment levels. Greater minority and low-income student enrollments were associated with less authority and control in the classroom. Also, state testing policy significantly predicted social studies teacher authority. Specifically, middle and junior high school teachers who gave state mandated social studies tests reported significantly lower levels of authority and control than those who did not. On the other hand, high school teachers who gave state mandated social studies tests reported significantly higher levels of authority and control than those who did not. Also, teachers who believed that state test results impacted their job security reported lower levels of authority and control than those who did not feel such pressure.
Social studies testing policy, Teacher authority, Teacher professionalism
xii, 226 pages
Includes bibliographical references (pages 214-226).
Copyright 2014 Hyeri Hong