Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Greg Fim

Abstract

This dissertation was designed to examine the personal domain in systemic reform. In an effort to improve student achievement, this study focused on accountability reform. The learner-centered model was based on what teachers believe about teaching and learning and how student motivation and achievement was influenced by those beliefs. Teacher practices, beliefs and behaviors had the greatest impact on student learning; therefore this study sought to establish identification of learner-centered teachers and their effectiveness on student achievement on the seventh grade mathematics section of the North Carolina End-of-Grade Assessment.

To that end, a non-experimental quantitative study design was used to examine teacher's beliefs about the learner, learning, and teaching as well as the impact of their beliefs on mathematics student achievement. The researcher collected data via the Teacher Beliefs Survey and student achievement on the mathematics section of the seventh grade 2011 North Carolina End-of-Grade Assessment. The 35-item Teacher Beliefs Survey generated Likert-scale data, which was stored and analyzed in a Statistical Package for Social Sciences (Green, Salkind, & Akey, 2000). Differences in survey responses of teachers and the learner-centered beliefs of teachers using: 1) a T-test for simple differences and 2) an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to compare the differences within and between two or more means were analyzed. Differences were found in the means between and within groups, but the results failed the statistical significance threshold. Descriptive statistics including means and standard deviation were reported, as well as the Pearson Product Moment Correlational Coefficient to determine if, and to what extent, the relationship between one or more variables existed. Three different correlations were conducted to examine possible relationships between both learner-centered and non-learner-centered groups and total score and mean scale scores. Statistical significance was found to exist between the learner-centered beliefs and non-learner-centered beliefs, as well as the non-learner-centered beliefs for learners and non-learner-centered beliefs for teaching and learning with a statistical significance >.35 for total score. The mean scale score correlation for learner-centered beliefs, non-learner-centered beliefs for learners, and non-learner-centered beliefs for teaching and learning each failed statistical significance.

Though the findings of this study were less than dramatic, they are informative for educators interested in identifying variables influencing both student learning and achievement. Findings in this study did not support the results found by McCombs and Whisler (1997); however, it did support the assertion by Lezotte (1997) and Bowsher (2001) that educational reform has shifted from teacher-centered to learning-centered but has not yet transformed to learner-centered.