Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Gregory Firn

Abstract

Current federal, state, and district mandates charge educators with reform efforts to improve student achievement. Efforts to transform the educational system are facing enormous public pressure to improve. Despite increasing support for learner-centered perspectives, approaches that focus on learners and learning are often based on conflicting assumptions about what is needed for learners to achieve desired learning standards and outcomes (McCombs & Whisler, 1997). Such approaches have a big impact on what teachers believe and a subsequent influence on student outcomes. This study attempted to establish teacher beliefs and their effectiveness on student achievement on the North Carolina EOC assessments.

A non-experimental, quantitative study design was used to collect data to examine teachers' beliefs about the learner, learning, and teaching as well as the influence of their beliefs on student achievement in Algebra I, Biology, and English I classes. Data were collected via the Teacher Beliefs Survey from 31 NCVPS teachers, and students' achievement data was gathered from the 2010-2011 NC EOC assessments.

It was determined that learner-centered beliefs of NCVPS teachers are not statistically significant relative to their students' performances on the North Carolina End-of-Course (EOC) assessments. Future researchers should consider conducting a qualitative research study to interview more diverse participants in terms of race and geographical location to determine variations of the effects of teaching strategies, which could be more focused on distance-learning environments.

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