Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Gregory Firn

Abstract

Educators are charged with reform efforts to improve student achievement. Most efforts focus on accountability reform. The learner-centered model for school reform is organized around the personal domain for systemic reform. How teachers work with students is greatly influenced by policy and what they believe about student learning and behavior. Subsequently, teacher behaviors, beliefs, and practices impact learning. This dissertation attempted to establish teacher beliefs and their effectiveness on student achievement on the eighth-grade End-of-Grade Mathematics Test in the State of North Carolina.

This study was conducted within the Sandhills Regional Education Consortium located in the central part of North Carolina. As of the 2011 school year, 12 school districts made up the Sandhills Regional Education Consortium; 5 of the twelve districts participated in this research study.

A non-experimental quantitative study design was used to examine teachers' beliefs about the learner, learning, and teaching as well as the impact of their beliefs on student mathematics achievement. The researcher collected data via the Teacher Beliefs Survey, a demographic questionnaire, and student achievement on the eighth-grade 2011 North Carolina End-of-Grade Mathematics Test for the purpose of this research.

Data collected revealed that only 1 teacher met McCombs and Whisler's criteria for having learner-centered beliefs and 2 teachers were identified as non-learner-centered. There was no statistical significant difference between teacher beliefs and student achievement on the eighth-grade End-of-Grade Mathematics Test, but there was a difference in teachers' beliefs about non-learner-centered ideas in higher-performing districts than teachers' beliefs about non-learner-centered ideas in lower-performing districts, but not enough to be considered significant.

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