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High stakes testing in lower-performing high schools

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High stakes testing in lower-performing high schools mathematics teachers' perceptions of burnout and retention
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Kirtley, Karmen
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xxiii, 324 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm

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Mathematics teachers -- United States ( lcsh )
Mathematics teachers -- Job stress ( lcsh )
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 308-324) and abstract.
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UMI #3506094.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Karmen Kirtley.

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HIGH STAKES TESTING IN LOWER-PERFORMING HIGH SCHOOLS:
MATHEMATICS TEACHERS PERCEPTIONS OF BURNOUT AND RETENTION
by
Karmen Kirtley
A. A., Northern Wyoming Community College, 1998
B.A., University of Wyoming, 2001
M. A., University of Colorado Denver and Health Sciences Center, 2004
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
2012


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by
Karmen Kirtley
has been approved for the
Educational Leadership and Innovation
by
Michael Marlow, Ph.D., Chair
Michael Marlow, Ph.D., Advisor
Alan Davis, Ph.D.
Susan Giullian, Ph.D.
Catherine Martin, Ph.D.
Date: April 10, 2012
n


Kirtley, Karmen (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
High Stakes Testing in Lower-Performing Schools: Mathematics Teachers
Perceptions of Burnout and Retention
Thesis directed by Dr. Michael Marlow.
ABSTRACT
This dissertation grows from a concern that the current public school accountability
model, designed ostensibly to increase achievement in lower-performing schools, may be
creating unidentified negative consequences for teachers and students within those
schools. This hermeneutical phenomenological study features the perceptions of
seventeen ninth- and tenth-grade mathematics teachers working in four high schools
within one lower-performing urban district. Two of the schools recently increased their
overall accountability ratings, and two of the schools have been stagnant in their ratings,
with the lowest-performing school scheduled to be phased out. The studys conceptual
framework was created to understand how the current accountability legislation affects
teachers, schools, and students either positively or negatively, depending on the schools
overall ratings. The elements of the framework address the levels of and factors behind
teachers perceptions of their accountability pressure, threat-based stress, morale, self-
efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and overall levels of burnout. The
framework also focuses on teachers desires to continue teaching in their current schools
or to stay in the profession altogether. Furthermore, the framework was designed to
examine the four schools levels of staffing shortages, influx of new teachers, and ability
to gain ground academically. This study found the three most important factors affecting
teachers professional-emotional environments were quality and consistency of


leadership, teachers ability to have input and autonomy into situations for which they are
held accountable, and having students held accountable for their standardize test scores.
The most important factors affecting teachers decisions to stay in their current positions
or in the teaching profession altogether were making a difference in their students lives,
having supportive administration, creating strong, collegial relationships within their
department, and feeling successful.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Michael Marlow
IV


DEDICATION
Over my seven years as a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership and
Innovation (EDLI) Ph.D. program, I have been exposed to ideas that have challenged and
changed my thinking in every way possible. As many who went before me have done, I
too, began my doctoral program as one person and finished as another. The journey
through my degree would not have been possible without those around me. I have had the
support and interest of my committee members and the patience, love, and
encouragement of my friends and family. For these reasons, I want to thank the following
people for being by my side during this extended journey of learning and change.
My Committee Members: Mike Marlow, Alan Davis, Sue Giullian, and Cathy
Martin, you have been supportive of my project from the first day I proposed
studying high-stakes testing in lower-performing high schools. Mike, your big
picture perspective guided my way, and each time we met to talk about my
work, you steered me in the direction that made the most sense and the most
impact. Your calm, reassuring demeanor and your willingness to talk
whenever I had a question was one of the reasons I finished this work. Alan,
our conversations about phenomenology helped me focus on what I truly
wanted to convey to the readers of this dissertation. You always were honest,
interested, and helpful. Sue, you were the person to whom I looked for
guidance on educational policy, and you continued to help me appreciate the
profound implications public school accountability can have on our schools,
teachers, and students. I could not have imagined attempting the topic of
high-stakes testing without your expert input. Finally, Cathy, our
v


conversations, no matter where they may have taken place, were meaningful
and clarifying. I enjoyed sending you each chapter of this dissertation,
because you understood the emotional meanings behind each teachers
words.
My Friends and Colleagues: Ed, you were my closest friend and confidant
during the last five years, and I relied on our conversations, both about our
doctoral work and about all things not doctoral work. I will always love and
appreciate you and Peggy. John, your continued interest helped me through
the long stretches of writing. I will laugh each time I remember your stories
about the carpet cleaner and the Ph.D. To those in my EDLI cohort and in our
doctoral lab, you are my friends for life; our experiences have bonded us. To
The Lionesses, my lady friends for decades, thank you for understanding that,
while I wanted to go with you on those fun occasions, I simply could not. But,
now I can! And to my supportive coworkers, I thank you for your continued
interest in my study and in my progress. The flowers and cards were lovely; I
could not ask for better friends.
My Family: Zena, thank you for sacrificing so much so I could finish my work.
Knowing Dad and Mom were in your capable care made everything possible
over the last five years. You also were my role model for finishing my
education. For both of these reasons and more, I love you. Suzie and Kari,
thank you for your interest in the current goings-on in public education. I so
appreciated our conversations, and I will look forward to more of the same.
And finally, thank you to my beautiful mother and father, both of whom I lost
vi


during the last four years of my doctoral work. Seventeen years ago, you
invited me back to Wyoming to finish my bachelors degree, and your
support put me on the road to my Ph.D. Mom, I will always remember our
telephone conversation when I told you I was thinking about starting a Ph.D.
program. You listened patiently, and when I stopped talking, you paused and
said, "Lets do it! Dad, during one of our lovely conversationsjust the two
of us before you passedyou told me I should hurry and finish because you
might not make it if I didnt. Well, Dad, even though I didnt finish in time for
you or Mom to read my dissertation or for you to see me graduate, I have
some exciting news I want to share with you both: After seven long years, we
finally did it!
vn


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
For the seventeen amazing teachers who believed in my project and who sat for
nearly three hours while I dug deeply into your teacher-souls, I thank you for sharing
your feelings with me. I was at once taken aback by your unguarded answers and
thankful you allowed me to hear your stories and your perceptions of what it is like to
teach in your schools. You moved me emotionally over the last year-and-a-half as I
listened to your voices on the interview tapes and as I wrote your words on the pages of
this dissertation. I know you go to work each day with hope in your hearts and passion in
your souls, and I know each one of you is proud of your students and your schools. I also
know what motivates you: you teach because you want to make a difference in the lives
of your students. I consider all seventeen of you my friends and will think of you
whenever the topics of school accountability and teachers surface. You know better than
anyone outside the classroom how accountability legislation affects you and your
students. You know better than anyone outside the classroom what our schools need to be
successful in helping our students. And, you know better than anyone outside the
classroom what works in education and what is counterproductive in attempting to close
the achievement gap. For these reasons and all others, I admire each of you.
vm


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tables......................................................................xxii
Figures.......................................................................xxiii
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION........................................................... 1
Sanctions and Race to the Top...................................2
Sanctions Effects on Schools Organizational Stability....4
Reconstitutions............................................5
Funding and Sanctions......................................6
Teachers and Sanctions.....................................7
Difficulty Recruiting Math Teachers........................8
Teachers Perceptions of Sanctions.........................9
Why Do Policymakers Embrace Sanctions?................... 10
The Purpose of the Dissertation.................................12
The Conceptual Framework....................................... 13
The Research Questions..........................................14
Why This Study Must be Conducted............................... 15
My Experiences................................................. 17
Who Is My Audience?............................................ 18
Key Terms and Definitions...................................... 19
Overview of Research Design.....................................21
ix


Sampling...................................................22
Data Collection Strategy...................................23
Method of Analysis.........................................23
Structure of the Dissertation....................................24
Conclusion.......................................................26
II. REVIEW OI THE LITERATURE................................................28
The Conceptual Framework..........................................29
The Accountability Model...................................31
No Child Left Behind................................32
Race to the Top.....................................34
SB-191..............................................34
Stress and Threats.........................................35
Accountability stressors........................... 35
Threat-based stress.................................37
Stress, trust, cooperation, and school reform.......38
The importance of positive environments.............40
Morale.....................................................41
Teacher morale and lower-performing schools.........42
Unfairness and morale...............................42
Public and media scrutiny...........................43
Teacher Burnout............................................46
Descriptions of teacher burnout.....................46
How is burnout different?...........................47
x


The symptoms of burnout...............................48
The three dimensions of burnout.......................49
Emotional exhaustion............................50
Reduced personal accomplishment................ 50
Depersonalization.............................. 51
Burnout past and present..............................52
The reciprocal relationship...........................54
Teacher Engagement and Job Satisfaction..................... 55
The Existentialist Motivation............................... 57
Teachers Levels of Engagement with Accountability...........57
High levels of engagement with accountability.........59
Low levels of engagement with accountability..........60
Schools responses to engagement......................60
Teacher Retention............................................61
The teacher quality gap...............................61
The revolving door and reconstitutions................63
Upgrading human capital.............................. 63
The best and the brightest............................65
How sanctions affect teachers views of retention.....66
Mathematics Staffing Issues..................................67
Alternate licensure program...........................68
Is there really a shortage?...........................69
Recruitment vs. retention.............................70
xi


The imbalance of staffing issues
71
Influx of New Teachers and Schools Ability to Gain Ground... .72
How much turnover?..................................72
Ability to gain ground academically.................73
Higher-performing schools...........................74
Conclusion...................................................... 75
III. METHOD.................................................................77
The Design of the Study.........................................78
Transcendental vs. Hermeutical Phenomenologies............78
My Historical Contexts................................... 79
The importance of disclosure....................... 80
Leveraging my concern and credibility.............. 80
The Research Questions.......................................... 82
Selecting the School District, the Schools, and the Teachers....83
The Four Schools..........................................84
Newton High School..................................86
Yarborough High School..............................86
Harrison High School............................... 87
Ontario High School.................................88
SamplingSelecting the Teachers.......................... 88
Data Collection Process..........................................92
The Interview Questions...................................92
Instrumentation-MBI-ES....................................94
xii


The three dimensions of burnout
95
Description and scoring of the MBI-ES................95
MBI-ES validity and reliability......................97
Instrumentationthe PIQ.....................................98
The Other Purpose for the MBI-ES and the PIQ................98
Qualitative Data Analysis..........................................98
Summary............................................................99
IV. RESULTS FROM HARRISON AND NEWTON........................................ 101
The Four Research Questions.......................................102
Harrison High School............................................. 103
To What Do Teachers Attribute Harrisons Rating?...........103
Accountability Pressure and Stress.........................106
The factors that exacerbate pressure and stress.... 107
The administrations effects on pressure and stress.109
Threat-based stress.................................110
SB-191............................................. 112
Morale.....................................................113
Burnout................................................... 122
Self-efficacy...................................... 123
Negative factors: lack of support........... 125
Negative factors: lack of trust............. 128
Negative factors: too much to do............ 129
Negative factors: students attitudes...... 131
xiii


Valid measure of students abilities?........ 133
Valid measure of teachers abilities?....... 134
Efficacy to increase schools rating?......... 136
Emotional exhaustion................................. 137
Depersonalization................................... 141
Motivation and Engagement................................... 144
Factors that decrease motivation and engagement.....144
Factors that increase motivation and engagement.....147
Making a difference.................................. 148
Retention................................................... 150
Future plans..........................................150
Teaching in a vlps................................... 155
School Administrations Impact on Teachers Feelings........ 157
Central Administrations Impact on Teachers Perceptions...158
Conclusions to Findings from Harrison High School.................. 160
Newton High School..................................................161
To What Do Teachers Attribute Newtons Rating?...............161
Accountability Pressures.................................... 162
Factors that exacerbate stress and pressures..........164
Threat-based stress.................................. 165
Factors that mitigate stress and pressures............165
Morale...................................................... 166
Factors that increase morale......................... 167
xiv


Caveat to increased morale
168
Decreased morale.................................. 169
Medias and communitys influence................. 169
Burnout.................................................. 170
Self-efficacy..................................... 171
Are high CSAP scores an important goal?..... 171
CSAPs validity to measure students knowledge
and teachers abilities................... 173
Students attitudes and teachers self-efficacy. ..174
Emotional exhaustion.............................. 176
Depersonalization................................. 179
Motivation and engagement......................... 182
Positive factors............................182
Negative factors........................... 185
Retention............................................... 186
Future plans...................................... 186
Teaching in a vlps.................................190
School Administrations Impact on Teachers Perceptions..191
Central Administrations Impact on Teachers Perceptions.194
Conclusion..................................................... 195
V. RESULTS FROM YARBOROUGH AND ONTARIO....................................197
Yarborough High School......................................... 197
To What Do Teachers Attribute Yarborough Highs Rating?.... 198
Accountability Pressure and Stress.......................199
xv


Factors that exacerbate pressure and stress......... 199
Threat-based stress.................................200
Factors that mitigate pressure and stress...........200
Morale.....................................................202
Factors that decrease morale........................203
Pride...............................................204
Burnout....................................................205
Self-efficacy.......................................205
Factors increasing efficacy..................206
Beliefs about increasing rating..............207
An important goal?...........................208
A valid measure of abilities!................208
Emotional exhaustion................................210
Mi tigatingfactors...........................210
Exacerbating factors.........................211
Depersonalization...................................213
Motivation and engagement...........................214
Positive factors.............................215
Negative factors.............................216
Retention..................................................218
Future plans........................................218
Working in a vlps...................................220
School Administrations Impact on Teachers Perceptions....220
xvi


Central Administrations Impact on Teachers Perceptions
221
Conclusion to Yarborough High School..............................222
Ontario High School..............................................222
To What Do Teachers Attribute Ontarios Low Rating?........223
Accountability Pressure and Stress.........................224
Factors that exacerbate pressure and stress.........225
The demands are too high.....................225
Threat-based stress..........................226
Factors that mitigate pressure and stress...........228
Morale.....................................................229
Factors that negatively affect morale...............229
Deception and abandonment....................229
Medias and communitys influence............233
Factors that increase teacher morale................233
Feelings of pride...................................233
Burnout....................................................235
Self-efficacy.......................................235
Negative factors: unrealistic expectations...236
Negative factors: administrators demands...237
Is CSAP valid measure of students abilities?.... 239
Is CSAP valid measure of teachers abilities?.... 240
Is increasing scores an important goal?......241
Emotional exhaustion................................242
xvii


Exacerbating factors: change of leadership....243
Exacerbating factors: mistrust of leadership..244
Exacerbating factors: feeling disconnected....244
Exacerbating factors: lack of substitutes.....245
Mitigating factors............................246
Depersonalization....................................247
Motivation and engagement............................248
Positive factors..............................249
Making a difference...........................249
Negative factors..............................250
Retention..................................................253
Teacher turnover.....................................253
The RIB process......................................254
Staffing Shortages, Influx of New Teachers, and Difficulties
Gaining Ground.............................................255
Principal turnover...................................256
The effects on teachers.......................256
School discipline and student achievement.....257
Reasons for high principal turnover...........258
Future Plans................................................259
Will they stay until school closes?..................260
Teaching in a vlps (very low performing school)......262
School Administrations Impact on Teachers Perceptions.....263
School Districts Impact on Teachers Perceptions...........265
xviii


Conclusion...................................................267
VI. DISCUSSION..........................................................269
Introduction.................................................269
Overall Differences in Teachers Response Styles......269
Research Question 1: With respect to the current standardized testing,
rating, and consequences model of accountability, how do the seventeen
mathematics teachers working in the studys four schools perceive their
levels of pressure, stress, morale, self-efficacy, emotional exhaustion,
depersonalization, and burnout?.....................................270
Pressure, Stress, Morale, and Emotional Exhaustion..........270
Efficacy....................................................271
Depersonalization and Burnout...............................273
Pride.......................................................273
Research Question 2: With respect to the current standardized testing,
rating, and consequences model of accountability, what factors within
their high schools and their school district do the seventeen mathematics
teachers believe either increase or decrease their levels of pressures, stress,
morale, self-efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and
burnout?.........................................................274
Principals................................................274
Input and Autonomy........................................276
Students Accountability..................................277
Research Question 3: With respect to the current standardized testing,
rating, and consequences model of accountability, how do the
mathematics teachers working in their high schools perceive their levels of
engagement and their willingness to continue to teach in their current
assignment or in the teaching profession altogether?...............279
Levels of Engagement........................................279
Willingness to Continue Teaching in Their Current Position.... 280
Willingness to Continue in the Teaching Profession..........281
xix


Research Question 4: With respect to the current standardized testing,
rating, and consequences model of accountability, what mitigating or
exacerbating factors within their high schools or school district do the
mathematics teachers believe affect their levels of engagement and their
desires to stay in their current schools or in the teaching profession
altogether?........................................................281
Factors Affecting Teachers Levels of Engagement.............282
Making a difference..................................282
Supportive administrators............................282
Collegial relationships..............................283
Feeling successful...................................284
Factors Affecting Teachers Willingness to Continue in Their
Current Schools..............................................285
Factors Affecting Teachers Willingness to Continue
Teaching.....................................................285
Five years...........................................285
Ten years............................................286
Conceptual Framework...............................................286
Discussion.........................................................288
Research Question 1..........................................289
Research Question 2..........................................289
Principals...........................................290
Input and autonomy...................................290
Student accountability...............................291
Research Question 3..........................................291
Research Question 4..........................................292
Making a difference..................................292
xx


Stable administration...........................293
Collegial relationships.........................294
Feeling successful..............................294
Discussion Conclusion........................................295
Limitations of This Study....................................295
Changes I Would Make to This Study...........................296
Recommendations for Future Research..........................297
APPENDIX
A. MBI-ES..........................................................299
B. Consent Form....................................................300
C. Personal Information Questionnaire and Interview Questions......304
REFERENCES................................................................308
xxi


LIST OF TABLES
Table
III. 1 School Demographics and Rankings................................. 85
III.2 Teacher Demographics.............................................. 89
VI. 1 The 17 Teachers Levels of Pressure/Stress, Threat-Based Stress, Morale, Pride,
General Self-Efficacy, Efficacy to Increase Schools Rating, Emotional Exhaustion,
Depersonalization, Burnout, Motivation/Engagement, and Wanting to Make a
Difference...................................................................272
VI.2 With Respect to the Current Accountability Model, the 17 Teachers Desires to
Stay in their Current Position, Their Desires to Stay in the Teaching Profession for
the Next Five or Ten Years...................................................280
XXII


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
II. 1 Conceptual Framework...................................................30
VI. 1 Conceptual Framework...................................................287
xxiii


CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
This dissertation grows out of a concern that the current testing, rating, and
consequences model of public school accountability, ostensibly designed to attempt to
increase student achievement in lower-performing schools, may be creating unidentified
negative consequences for teachers and students in those schools. Within the pages of this
dissertation, I will describe and analyze seventeen high school mathematics teachers
perceptions of working in their schools and their lower-performing school district under
the current accountability model. To achieve this goal, I will begin with an introduction
to accountability legislation and follow with descriptions of the issues associated with
public school accountability.
The 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal legislation, enacted under
President Bush and the current Race to the Top federal educational grants, enacted in
2010 under President Obama, were created ostensibly to increase student achievement in
public schools and close the much-publicized achievement gap (EDgov, 2011b). There
are those who believe public schools and the principals and teachers within those schools
should be held accountable for providing the best education possible for all students,
regardless of students race or social class (Haycock, 2006). To that end, there also are
those who believe regular, standardized testing coupled with publishable school ratings is
an efficient and revealing way to determine which schools are progressing well and
which schools are not making the grade (Mintrop & Sunderman, 2009). Paired with each
public schools overall rating is an official consequenceeither a reward or a sanction
determined by a schools overall academic performance. In this dissertation, I will refer
to this method of determining schools effectiveness as the current accountability model.
1


The official reward for a public schools high achievement is a positive rating
(excellent, high, or satisfactory) coupled with the schools ability to continue operating
without restriction or oversight. Unofficial rewards for high achievement may include
positive media coverage (Merrefield, Streib, & Yarett, 2011), overall pride and positive
feelings by the staff and students (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2007), and in some school
districts, teacher pay-for-performance bonuses (Denver Public Schools). Official
sanctions for a schools low academic achievement include a negative publishable rating
(e.g., low, unsatisfactory, or failing) paired with the possibility of operating under
external supervision or facing reorganization, reconstitution, or closure (EDgov, 2011b).
Unofficial sanctions may include negative media coverage (LA Times, n.d.), reduced
levels of positive feelings by staff and students (McQuillan & Salomon-Fernandez, 2008;
Kruger, Wandle, & Struzziero, 2007; Tatar & Gorenczyk, 2003), and reduced
opportunities for teacher pay-for-performance.
Supporters of NCLB and Race to the Top praise the legislation for bringing
national attention to issues of educational inequalities that previously were not addressed
(Daly, 2009; Haycock, 2006; Vega, 2009). Supporters believe that exerting pressure on
public schools and their school districts will help bring a positive educational outcome by
reducing the disparities between low-achieving and high-achieving students (Daly, 2009;
Haycock, 2006; Vega, 2009). However, along with the potential positive outcomes of the
legislation, there exists the potential for serious negative unintended consequences, which
may undermine the good intentions of NCLB and Race to the Top legislation.
Sanctions and Race to the Top
One may ask how holding publically funded schools accountable for educating
2


students to proficient levels in reading, writing, science, and mathematics potentially can
cause negative consequences. The concern lies not in the concept of accountability itself,
but rather in how accountability has the potential to affect teachers experiencesand
subsequently their students experiencesdifferently, based on the overall performance
of the school. For higher-performing schools, accountability legislation can create a
positive upward spiral, in which rewards can support positive environments for those
who teach and learn in those schools. To illustrate this idea, Diamond and Spillanes
(2004) study of how accountability ratings affect teachers emotions found that teachers
in higher-performing schools received praise from their principals, were proud to display
their schools rankings, and were encouraged to share their schools accomplishments
with all who would listen. The principals in the study believed publically exploiting their
schools successful ratings would motivate teachers to work even harder. Moreover,
teachers in these schools were not affected negatively by emotional issues associated with
sanctions, so they were free to focus their energies on increasing instructional
improvement (p. 1163), thereby maintaining or increasing their high schools scores. For
these reasons, teachers in the studys higher-performing schools had higher morale, less
accountability stress, and could be more reflective and purposeful about instructional
improvement (p. 1163). Overall, teachers and students benefitted from their schools
high accountability ratings. However, the spiral can take a downward direction for
teachers working in many lower-performing schools. Educators working in sanctioned
schools have reported feeling extreme pressure, anxiety, shame, and guilt (Jones, et al.,
1999) as well as experiencing lower professional self-efficacy (Berryhill, Linney, &
Fromewick, 2009; Finnigan & Gross, 2007; Friedman, 2000; Rice & Malen, 2003), lower
3


morale (Ferrandino & Tirozzi, n.d.; Finnigan & Gross, 2007; McQuillan & Salomon-
Femandez, 2008; Mintrop, 2003; Mintrop & Trujillo, 2007; Rice & Malen, 2003), and an
increased desire to leave their schools (Boyd, Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2008;
Clotfelter, Ladd, Vigdor, & Diaz, 2004; Jacob, 2007).
Sanctions Effects on Schools Organizational Stability
Each of the negative issues associated with the downward spiral referenced above
affects not only the teachers perceptions of their work environment, but also affects the
quality of education for their students. Ingersoll (2001) has asserted high levels of
employee turnover are both cause and effect of performance problems in organizations
(p. 3). Historically, students in lower-performing schools lose their teachers at higher
rates than do students in higher-performing schools (Darling-Hammond, 2003; Ingersoll,
2001, 2003, 2004). Continual changes in teaching staffs can create negative effects on the
organizational stability of lower-performing schools, with lack of stability negatively
affecting the achievement of students attending those schools (Freedman & Appleman,
2009; Haycock, & Crawford, 2008; Ingersoll, 2001, 2004; Liu, Rosenstein, Swan, &
Khalil, 2008; Paone, Whitcomb, Rose, & Reichardt, 2008; Reichardt, Paone, & Badolato,
2006). Issues of retention and organizational stability can surface as chronically under-
performing schools receive increasingly stiffer sanctions each year they fail to show
sufficient growth. For these schools, sanctions can range from the least punitive action of
placing schools on supervised improvement plans to the most punitive sanction of states
seizing schools from school districts (U.S. Department of Education. Elementary and
Secondary Education). Additional sanctions include withholding all or part of a schools
Title 1 monies, replacing administrators, and reconstituting schoolsa sanction in which
4


all administrators are replaced and no more than 50 percent of the former teachers are
rehired for the new, reconstituted school (U.S. Department of Education. American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of2009) Each of these sanctions has the potential to
affect the organizational stability of lower-performing schools, which in turn, can
negatively affect the achievement levels of students enrolled in those schools (Ingersoll,
2001).
Reconstitutions
Two recent high-profile examples of school reconstitutions made national
headline news in 2010. The first example was the lower-performing Central Falls High
School in Rhode Island, in which school district officials asked teachers to work extra
hours with students and perform extra duties without additional pay. When the staff
refused, the board of trustees fired all teachers and subsequently hired back
approximately half of them (Khadaroo, 2010a). In a second high-profile reconstitution,
the superintendent of Savannah-Chatham Public Schools fired the teachers and the
administrators of the lower-performing Beach High School in Savannah, Georgia. As in
the Rhode Island reconstitution, only about half the staff was allowed to return
(Khadaroo, 2010b). While these two reconstitutions made national headline news, this
type of sanction is not unusual; in a typical year, between 20 and 30 schools nationwide
are reconstituted (Khadaroo, 2010b). In response to the reconstitutions, the current U.S.
Secretary of Education, Amie Duncan, reportedly applauded the firings as a way to apply
pressure to teachers in order to increase student achievement levels (Khadaroo, 2010).
Khadaroo indicated Duncans support of the firings likely means school reconstitutions
5


will not abate, but will continue to arise across the United States in the coming year
(n.p.).
Funding and Sanctions
The Rhode Island and Georgia reconstitutions as well as the predictions of more
reconstitutions are in line with President Obamas recently-created American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act of 2009, under which the federal government has funded the $4.35
billion Race to the Top educational grant competition (Peterson & Johnston, 2010). In
2010, the first round of this competition promised that each winning state would receive
millions of dollarsin some cases, hundreds of millions of dollarsin federal awards to
help fund quality educational opportunities for students from grade[s] K-12 (Ren,
2010, n.p.). States could win Race to the Top grants by creating sanctions for their
lowest-performing schools (Obama Aims,2010 ). In order for states to win grant
money, their proposals must have included one or more of the following four sanctions
for their lower-performing schools: reconstitute the school by replacing the principal(s)
and at least half the teachers; close the school, and reopen it as a charter school; close the
school altogether, and enroll students in higher performing schools; or transform the
school through professional development aimed at improving the current teaching staff
(Obama Aims; U.S. Department of Education. American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act of 2009).
In these financially difficult times, in which states and school districts struggle to
balance educational budgets (Turner, 2010), one could understand why states would want
to garner as much educational funding as possible. Unfortunately, gamering money by
creating stiffer penalties for schools and teachers may be creating unintended negative
6


consequences for the students in lower-performing schools. If such accountability
exacerbates teachers feelings of high stress, low morale, and burnout and influences their
decisions to stay or to leave their current lower-performing schools, this legislation
ultimately has the unintended ability to undermine the goal of increasing student
achievement.
Teachers and Sanctions
In at least two of the four Race to the Top mandated sanctions listed above, the
Obama administration explicitly identified teachers as one of the components that must
be removed or improved (i.e., half of the teachers must be replaced in a reconstitution or
teachers must receive professional development aimed at improving the current teaching
staff). President Obama is not alone in his beliefs that ineffective teachers are a root cause
of the student achievement gap. In a 2009 radio interview, Secretary Duncan pronounced
that wherever there are schools in which children are not succeeding (i.e., the students
have low standardized test scores), teachers likely are a root cause of lower student
achievement. Of schools with low ratings, Duncan said, Educators, quite frankly, are at
fault. . We perpetuate poverty and we perpetuate social failure (Duncan, 2009).
Secretary Duncans identification of teachers as the cause of students low achievement,
poverty and social failure may be difficult for him to prove. However, many Americans,
including politicians, the mass media and even pupils parents (Olsen & Sexton, 2009,
p. 9), recently seem willing to accept his assertion.
There are other educational analysts who present a more moderate tone in their
assessment of the scope of teachers influence on student achievement. These analysts
see teachers not as the most important overall factor in students success, but as the most
7


important in-school factor (Badolato, 2007; Paone, et al., 2008; Reichardt, Paone, &
Badolato, 2006). They assert that a teachers experience level is a prime indicator of
teacher quality and directly affects students achievement (Paone, et al., 2008, p. vi). If
one chooses to accept this link between experience level, teacher quality, and student
achievement, then it is important to determine if and how the current accountability
model affects lower-performing schools goals of retaining experienced and effective
teachers. The issue of teacher retention is of particular importance when focusing on
mathematics teachers, a group that provides chronic staffing challenges, especially in the
lowest-performing schools (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009).
Difficulty Recruiting Math Teachers
Secondary mathematics teaching positions continually make the annual hard-to-
staff lists across the country (U.S. Department of Education, 2010. Teacher Shortage
Areas Nationwide Listing 1990-91 thru 2010-11). The majority of mathematics teacher
recruitment issues occur in lower-performing schools (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009; Liu,
Rosenstein, Swan, & Khalil, 2008), creating potential chronic problems for sanctioned
schools working to increase student achievement. In their study of the implications of
mathematics staffing difficulties, Liu et al. found that of the most challenging secondary
mainstream classroom positions to fill, mathematics was ranked first. Moreover, filling
mathematics positions in lower-performing schools is four times more difficult than
filling positions in English. The studys district and building personnel also were aware
that their schools negative image of being difficult or unappealing places to work
affected their ability to recruit and retain high quality mathematics teachers. They
indicated hiring high quality mathematics teachers for their lowest-performing schools
8


was especially difficult when the few teachers who applied knew they had the upper
hand in the market (p. 306) and could choose to work in higher-performing schools or
school districts. With the challenges of attracting and keeping effective mathematics
teachers coupled with increasingly stiffer sanctions, one may wonder how this pairing
will continue to affect lower-performing schools abilities to increase their students
achievement levels and begin to narrow the achievement gap.
Teachers Perceptions of Sanctions
Regarding the current accountability model and sanctions, many teachers working
in lower-performing schools hold negative perceptions of the fairness and validity of the
methods used to rate their schools (Anagnostopoulos & Rutledge, 2007; Nichols, Glass,
& Berliner, 2006; Malen & Rice, 2004; Mintrop, 2004; Mintrop & Trujillo, 2005; & Rice
& Malen, 2004). Teachers who perceive sanctions as a burden rather than an incentive
consider the sanctions to be unfair because they believe neither the test scores nor the
sanctions recognize other explanatory variables affecting students scores (e.g., students
family income, students home lives, academic habits of family, or parental involvement)
(Mintrop, 2003). Moreover, many mathematics teachers working in sanctioned high
schools do not believe that, within their classrooms, they have the ability to overcome
completely those external influences to significantly affect increases in their students
standardized test scores (Jones et al., 1999). To this end, many teachers in sanctioned
schools often reject the proposition that their students scores, their schools rating, and
the subsequent sanction accurately reflect their teaching abilities (Jones et al.). Rather,
teachers often reported caring more about how they perceive their students daily
9


progress in class than about how students scored on standardized tests. (Mintrop and
Trujillo, 2007).
Paradoxically, even though many teachers argue against the current public school
accountability model, most support some level of accountability for increasing their
students achievement. However, teachers want less draconian consequences for failing
to make larger gains and more positive acknowledgement for making important smaller
gains (Sunderman, Tracey, Kim, & Orfield, 2004; Lutz & Maddirala, 1988). Taking a
wider view of accountability, the studys teachers also believed the consequences were
counterproductive (p. 31) to recruiting and retaining quality teachers.
Why Do Policy Makers Embrace Sanctions?
Given the previously cited studies in which teachers generally do not support
extreme sanctions as a means of improving teaching and learning, why do many
policymakers and legislators seem to embrace sanctions? It is worth noting there are
those who believe the severity and rigidity of public school accountability models are
intended to undermine the nations confidence in public education, thereby setting the
stage for privatization (Berliner & Biddle, 1995; Bracey, 2003, 2004; Ravitch, 2010).
However, within this dissertation, I ignore the privatization theory and accept the basis
for our governments accountability decisions solely as a means to meet the goals of
improving standardized test scores, closing the student achievement gap, creating
students who are ready for college (National Governors Association, 2009), and helping
students succeed as adults in the competitive global economy (Darling-Hammond, 2004;
Peterson & Johnston, 2010; Vega, 2009). To meet these goals, policymakers maintain
that every public school student, regardless of socioeconomic class, race, or geographic
10


location, must be challenged by the best teachers and must learn in the best schools
(Darling-Hammond, 2004). To help create these so-called best teachers and best schools,
supporters of the current accountability model count on sanctions to motivate teachers
working in lower-performing schools (Mintrop, 2004; Sunderman et al., 2004). This line
of reasoning asserts that external pressures will motivate teachers to perform better,
which will result in higher student achievement, which then will bring about increased
school performance (Sunderman et al.). Through the public announcements of lower-
performing schools ratings, supporters of what Mintrop (2003) calls naming and
shaming (p. 3), believe when schools are threatened with severe punishments, teachers
and administrators will be at once embarrassed of their ratings and inspired to work
harder to find ways to increase students test scores (Diamond & Spillane, 2004; Nichols,
Glass, & Berliner, 2006) and repair their public image (Mintrop, 2004, p. 5). To
illustrate the support and purpose of negative schools ratings, Jones et al. (1999), report
that the former North Carolina State Superintendent of Education stated, With the help
of a little public scrutiny, I think youll be amazed at how much better those schools are
going to get in the coming year (p. 200).
In their effort to succinctly present the philosophy of those who support the
current accountability model as a method for improving student achievement, Amrein
and Berliner (2002) suggest the following:
1. students and teachers need high-stakes tests to know what is important to learn
and to teach;
2. teachers need to be held accountable through high-stakes tests to motivate
them to teach better, particularly to push the [least motivated].. .to work
11


harder;
3. students work harder and learn more when they have to take high-stakes tests;
4. students will be motivated to do their best and score well on high-stakes tests;
and
5. scoring well on the test will lead to feelings of success, while doing poorly on
such tests will lead to increased effort to learn (pp. 4-5).
Amrein and Berliner argue that in reality, these beliefs about teachers and students
motivations are true only under certain circumstances and likely to be false a good deal
of the time . [with] some research studies showing] exactly the opposite (p. 5). While
many consider the current accountability model to be a powerful motivational tool for
lower-performing schools (Mintrop & Sunderman, 2009), this approach has the potential
to create emotionally harmful outcomes for teachers (Mintrop & Sunderman, 2009) and
organizationally harmful outcomes for lower-performing schools and the students in them
(Ingersoll, 2004).
The Purpose of the Dissertation
As previously stated, this dissertation grows out of the concern that utilizing the
current accountability model ostensibly designed to attempt to increase student
achievement in lower-performing schools may be creating unidentified negative
consequences for teachers and their students within those schools (Jones, 2007). The
purpose of this study is to understand the following phenomenon: Under the current
public school accountability model, what are the experiences of the seventeen 9th and
10th grade mathematics teachers working in the studys four high schools? The goal of
the study is to determine to what extent the model of accountability affects the seventeen
12


teachers levels of pressure, morale, engagement, self-efficacy, emotional exhaustion,
depersonalization, burnout, and their desires to continue teaching in their lower-
performing schools. Additionally, the purpose of this study is to identify characteristics
within the four schools, the school district, and the accountability model that mitigate or
exacerbate the teachers perceptions of these topics.
The Conceptual Framework
I have developed the studys conceptual framework (see Figure FI) to describe
how, under the accountability model, teachers emotional health can influence their high
schools organizational health, which subsequently can influence schools ability to
increase their ratings. The framework consists of eight elements: the schools testing,
rating, and consequence; the pressure the teachers feel from the rating and consequence;
the subsequent levels of the teachers morale; their feelings of burnout; their decisions to
stay in or leave their current teaching positions; the affect of staffing shortages on the
school; the quality of the replacement teachers; and the schools ability to positively
affect their next years rating and consequence.
I will work to determine if the dissertations conceptual framework holds true and
that the studys two higher-performing high schools are working within an upward
achievement spiral, while the two lower-performing high schools are operating within a
downward achievement spiral. In other words, in the two schools where teachers hold
positive perceptions of their schools rating and consequence, are the teachers
experiencing lower levels of negative stress and burnout, and higher levels of morale and
engagement. Moreover, are the high schools experiencing fewer issues of teacher
retention, and subsequently gaining ground in their students achievement levels?
13


Figure II. The Conceptual Framework. This framework is used to describe the
upward, downward, or status quo spiral of schools under the current
accountability model. The framework begins with the Testing-Rating-
Consequences Model cell and moves right. The spiral begins each year, beginning
with the top cell and ending with Levels of Difficulty Gaining Ground
Academically.
Conversely, are teachers working in lower-performing schools experiencing
higher levels of negative stress and burnout, and experiencing lower levels of morale and
engagement? Are their schools experiencing increased issues with teacher retention, math
staffing shortages, an influx of new teachers, and gaining ground academically?
The Research Questions
If one chooses to believe teachers are the most significant influence on student
achievement, then understanding how to keep effective teachers engaged and retained in
our lowest-performing and hardest-to-staff schools would be information from which
14


many schools and school districts could benefit. For these reasons, I will focus on the
following four research questions:
1. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences
model of accountability, how do the mathematics teachers working in the
studys four high schools perceive their levels of pressures, morale, self-
efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout?
2. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences
model of accountability, what mitigating or exacerbating factors within their
high schools and their school district do the seventeen mathematics teachers
believe affect their levels of pressures, morale, self-efficacy, emotional
exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout?
3. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences
model of accountability, how do the mathematics teachers working in their
high schools perceive their levels of engagement and their willingness to
continue to teach in their current assignment or in the teaching professional
altogether?
4. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating and consequences
model of accountability, what mitigating or exacerbating factors within their
high schools or school district do the mathematics teachers believe affect their
levels of engagement and their desires to stay in their current teaching
profession or in the teaching profession altogether?
Why This Study Must be Conducted
There has been significant research published on how public school accountability
15


affects teachers who work in lower-performing schools; many of those topics are
contained within my studys framework. For example, research has drawn attention to
teachers perceptions of school reconstitutions (Malen, Croninger, Muncey, & Redmond-
Jones, 2002; Rice & Malen, 2003) and other types of sanctions affecting levels of teacher
pressures (Nichols, Glass, & Berliner, 2006; Olsen & Sexton, 2009). Previous studies
also have examined the affects of accountability and sanctions on teacher morale
(Anagnostopoulos & Rutledge, 2007; McQuillan & Salomon-Femandez, 2008), teacher
motivation (Finnigan & Gross, 2007; Mintrop, 2003), teacher self-efficacy (Mintrop &
Trujillo, 2007, Berryhill, Linney, & Fromewick, 2009), and teacher retention (Boyd,
Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2008; Sunderman, Tracey, Kim, & Orfield, 2004).
While there is a growing literature on how accountability sanctions specifically
affect the psyches of high school liberal arts and humanities teachers working in lower-
performing schools (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009; Liu, Rosenstein, Swan, & Khalil, 2008),
there have been, to my knowledge, no studies focusing explicitly on the psyches of high
school mathematics teachers. Additionally, there is currently a lack of research-based
understanding of how school accountability affects mathematics teachers levels of
burnout and their subsequent decisions to continue, either in their current lower-
performing school or in the teaching professional altogether. For these reasons, several
studies (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009; Liu, et al., 2008) have called for additional future
research aimed at understanding how sanctions-based accountability affects mathematics
teachers. Furthermore, while the previously mentioned research brought attention to the
individual topics of teacher pressures, morale, motivation, self-efficacy, and retention,
there exists, to my knowledge, no research that has used a framework similar to mine. As
16


a result, I have chosen to examine holistically and recursively the effects of teachers
emotional responses to their schools rating and consequence and the effect their
perceptions have on their schools ability to operate either within the upward or
downward spiral of this studys framework.
My Experiences
I did not come to study the topics within this dissertation through academic
interest alone. Rather, I came to these topics through my first-hand experiences of
working in two lower-performing high schools, one of which was closed primarily due to
low performance and one that was under the threat of sanction at the time I wrote this
dissertation. The reason I chose to study high school mathematics teachers in particular is
because in the spring of 2012, the same semester I will have completed this dissertation, I
will have completed my eleventh year as a high school mathematics teacher. Since my
fourth year of teaching, I have experienced high levels of burnout and stress along with
low levels of morale, all of which were associated with the accountability model of
attempting to increase my students standardized mathematics scores. Over the past
decade, I have taken to heart the task of helping students learn mathematics at a level that
would have kept each of my schools open and free of sanctions. However, in my fifth
year of teaching, my first lower-performing high school closed; the school district
officials cited low student achievement as the reason for the closure. Despite my
dedication to and focus on helping students learn mathematics to proficient levels, the
school where I began teaching closed and subsequently reopened the following year with
a new staff and a new focus. In the lower-performing school where I currently teach, we
are under watch and may receive additional sanctions if our students scores do not
17


increase to adequate levels.
Topics of accountability pressures and teacher burnout in lower-performing
schools have been the main foci of my writing, reflection, and research for the past seven
years of my doctoral program. My first-hand understanding of teaching under
accountability pressures has continually drawn me to these topics, particularly as a
researcher. Van Manen (1990) suggests, we can only understand something or someone
for whom we care (p. 6). Because of my past and current experiences and perceptions of
public school accountability models, I understand the challenges facing many
mathematics teachers working in lower-performing high schools. That my teaching
career beganand nearly ended due to burnoutunder the NCLB legislation, allows me
to care about the teachers who work each day with the purpose of increasing student
achievement. Moreover, I intimately understand how teachers psyches can directly affect
students satisfaction of and engagement in their classroom environments, which have
significant affects on their levels of mathematics achievement, either positively or
negatively.
Who Is My Audience?
The information within this dissertation is intended for those at the federal, state,
school district, and school levels who create, administer, and influence public school
accountability legislation. The information gathered within this study is aimed at helping
legislators and administrators create a more inclusive understanding of how school
achievement policies may affect high school mathematics teachers working in public
schools, especially those working in schools that struggle to increase students
mathematics achievement. More importantly, this study is intended to broaden the scope
18


of understanding of how the testing, rating, and consequences model initially meant to
close the achievement gap has the potential to achieve the opposite goal through a series
of unintended negative consequences borne from school sanctions.
Key Terms and Definitions
This section contains the definitions of key terms I used throughout the dissertation.
Accountability Pressures: the result of sanctions that are intended to motivate
teachers (and students), particularly in lower-performing schools, to produce higher
levels on students standardized tests, but which often have the opposite effects with
respect to motivation and morale for those teaching (and learning) in such schools
(Abrams, Pedulla, & Madaus, 2003).
Burnout: a malaise unique to those who work in the helping professions. Classic
symptoms of teacher burnout reveal themselves when teachers initially positive
perceptions about their careers gradually turn to increasingly negative perceptions
(Maslach & Leiter, 1997). The three dimensions of burnout are emotional exhaustion,
depersonalization, and lowered self-efficacy; these dimensions are evidenced when
teachers energy turns into exhaustion, involvement turns into cynicism, and efficacy
turns into ineffectiveness (p. 24).
Current Accountability model: see Testing, Rating, and Consequences Model of
Accountability below.
High-Stakes Testing: a yearly standardized test given to public school students in
the areas of reading, writing, science, and mathematics, from which each public school
receives a yearly rating (Colorado Department of Education, 2011a).
Morale: Borrowing from the organizational work of Meyer, Macmillan, and
19


Northfield (2009), this study defines teacher morale as a contextually-based construct in
which each teacher interprets both personal and or interpersonal relationships (p. 173)
to form emotional attachment and satisfaction with the goals of the organization (p.
173).
Reconstitutions: a sanction that can take various forms, but one that generally
involves firing all or most of the current administrators, teachers, and staff (Rice &
Malen, 2003). In a reconstitution, the goal is to enhance the human capital in a school
(p. 635-636) by hiring back no more than 50 percent of the previous teaching staff. The
other 50 percent of the staff is replaced with different teachers, most of whom are thought
to be more capable and committed than those they replace (Rice & Malen, 2003).
Sanctions: a set of consequences that range from least to most punitive intended to
motivate lower-performing schools and teachers to increase student achievement on
standardized tests with a limited period of time to reverse growth deficits (Mintrop,
2003, p. 2).
Senate Bill 191 (SB-191): recent Colorado legislation passed outlining requirements
for evaluating the effectiveness of Colorado public school teachers. The law mandates at
least fifty percent of teachers evaluations be based on multiple measures of students
growth, which include the state standardized test and other assessments determined by
the school districts. This law mandates that teachers lose their tenure if they are deemed
ineffective for two consecutive years. Teachers can regain their tenure if they are deemed
effective for three consecutive years (Colorado Department of Education).
Staffing Shortages: the inability of schoolsgenerally lower-performingto
continually staff their classrooms with qualified or effective teachers (Ingersoll & Perda,
20


2009).
Stress: Psychological stress involves a particular relationship between the person
and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her
resources and endangering his or her well being (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984, p. 19).
Teacher Retention/Teacher Turnover: the phenomena that describe schools levels
of ability to keep teachers in the classrooms. Researchers report that schools with high
levels of teacher retention (i.e., low levels of teacher turnover) are often higher-
performing schools, while those schools with high levels of teacher turnover (i.e., low
levels of teacher retention) are often lower-performing schools (Ingersoll, 2004).
Testing, Rating, and Consequences Model of School Accountability: the name I
created for this study in which each school is given a rating, based in large part on their
students collective standardized test scores. Once the ratings have been assigned, each
school then receives a consequence of either an award or a sanction. Throughout the
dissertation, I also use the term current accountability model interchangeably with the
term testing, rating, and consequences model of school accountability.
Threat-Based Stress: This is a term used to describe the stress associated with the
threat of losing ones teaching position based on a schools sanction (e.g., reconstitution
or closure) or based on a teachers professional evaluation (i.e., non-tenured or SB-191).
Overview of Research Design
This qualitative study follows a hermeneutical phenomenological methodology
(Van Manen, 1990), in which I present the teachers descriptions of their experiences
working under the current accountability model. My goal in this study is not to build
theory or to work toward validating or generalizing the findings, as can be done within
21


other methodologies (Moustakas, 1994). Rather, my goal is to describe and to interpret
(Van Manen) the teachers lived experiences (p. 9) as a means of helping the reader
gain a deeper awareness of the teachers emotions and opinions. The following sections
describe the sampling and data collection strategies and the method of analysis I used in
this study.
Sampling
This study features seventeen mathematics teachers working in four neighborhood
high schools within Mountain View Public Schools (MVPS), a large urban school district
located in Colorado. I chose the schools using a purposive sampling method (Creswell,
2007), from the states stoplight School Accountability Rating (SAR) system (See
Chapter 3 for more details.). While all of the studys schools currently are or were in the
past years, categorized as lower-performing, the highest performing of the four schools
was rated green for meets expectations, the two middle-rated schools were labeled yellow
for accredited on watch, and the lowest-performing of the four schools was rated red for
accredited on probation (Colorado Department of Education, 2011b). Selecting schools
with this range of ratings allowed me to compare whether or not the accountability model
affected teachers in different ways based on their schools rating.
I acquired the studys participants using a non-proportional, voluntary response
sampling technique (Creswell, 2007). I sent an email invitation describing the study to all
full-time mathematics teachers working in the four schools. I then sent subsequent emails
to those teachers from whom I had not received a response, until I felt that further email
communication would generate no more participants. Most of the seventeen teachers are
veteran to their schools (i.e., at least three years experiences), with all participants
22


having taught either freshman or sophomore mathematics classes at least one year prior
to the start of their interview. Selecting the majority of participants using these criteria
allowed me to focus on teachers who currently are and previously had been involved in
the process of attempting to raise students standardized test scores. All but one of the
teachers had previous experience with the current school accountability model; the
inexperienced teacher had only just finished her first year and had not received test data
on her students.
Data Collection Strategy
As the teachers contacted me to participate in the study, we arranged an interview
time and place of their choosing. The participants interviews were conducted
individually and lasted approximately two hours each. The interviews were taped using a
digital recorder, and back-up notes were taken. Within each interview, participants
answered thirty-six open-ended questions based on the studys conceptual framework.
The participants also took and scored the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educators Survey
(MBI-ES), which measured their levels of emotional exhaustion, personal
accomplishment, and depersonalization. Their scores on the MBI-ES were the focus of
approximately one-third of the interview questions.
Method of Analysis
I transcribed and converted the seventeen interviews into individual word
documents and subsequently coded the transcriptions using data analysis software. Prior
to beginning the coding process, I predetermined the thirteen coding categories based on
the eight elements of my conceptual framework and the themes contained within the four
research questions (Saldana, 2009). Within the thirteen main codes, I eventually had fifty
23


sub-codes, which allowed me to place appropriate passages of the participants text under
the correct codes (Krathwohl, 1998).
Structure of the Dissertation
This dissertation will continue with Chapter Two, in which I present a thorough
literature review of the research previously conducted on the topics of accountability
pressure, morale, and burnout. Within Chapter Two, I also will provide a comprehensive
review of studies focused on issues of recruiting and retaining mathematics teacher in
low-performing schools and how those issues affect schools abilities to increase student
achievement.
In Chapter Three, I first will detail the design of this phenomenological study,
present the four research questions, describe the school district, the four schools, and the
seventeen teachers in the study, as well as the procedure for their selection. The chapter
also will describe more thoroughly the data collection process, the interview questions,
and the data analysis. Chapter Three contains an in-depth description of the MBI-ES,
along with information about the MBI-ESs validity and reliability.
After Chapter 3,1 will report the findings of the studys four research questions
within two chapters: Chapter 4 and Chapter 5. My purpose in dividing the findings into
two chapters is to provide the reader enough description and interpretation (Van Manen,
1990) of the participants responses to understand the following phenomenon: Under the
current public school accountability model, what are the experiences of these seventeen
9th and 10th grade mathematics teachers working in the studys four high schools within
their lower-performing school district? Additionally, I will present the characteristics of
the four schools and the school district that teachers believe mitigate or exacerbate any
24


negative feelings they have as they work to increase their schools ratings. Within
Chapter 4,1 will present the findings from the interviews from the teachers at Newton
High School and Harrison High School. I chose to feature these two schools in one
chapter because Newton High School was a green-rated school, while Harrison High
School was the lowest yellow-rated school in the MVPS district. Moreover, their
responses to the interview questions could not have been more different. The responses
from the teachers at the higher-performing Newton High School were calm and
straightforward; the responses from the teachers at the lower-performing Harrison High
School were frenetic and urgent. Within Chapter 5,1 chose to pair the findings from
Yarborough High School with those of Ontario High School. Again, the responses from
the higher-performing Yarborough High were brief and more matter-of-fact, while the
responses from the soon-to-close Ontario were more emotional and much longer. The
differences in the teachers psyches between the two schools was striking, and for that
reason, I chose to feature them together in Chapter 5.
Within Chapter Six, I will broadly describe the phenomenon of working within
each school, as described by the schools teachers. I then will compare and contrast the
phenomena between Newton High School and Harrison High School as well as
Yarborough High School and Ontario High School. Additionally, I will compare and
contrast the phenomena of teaching in the two lower-performing schools, Harrison High
and Ontario High as well as compare and contrast the phenomena of teaching in the
studys two higher-performing schools, Newton and Yarborough. From these analyses, I
then will offer caveats about the current accountability model as well as suggestions to
policymakers, legislators, and administrators on how high schools can attempt to
25


continue to engage and retain their effective veteran mathematics teachers rather than
lose them to higher-performing schools, school districts, or other professions.
Conclusion
Most would agree that working to close the achievement gap between higher- and
lower-performing students is an important educational goal. To that end, every student
deserves a high quality, effective mathematics teacher without regard to students
geographic location, socio-economic background, or race. In order to provide quality
educational opportunities for all students, schools must not only be able to recruit the
most effective teachers for their mathematics classrooms, they must also be able to retain
them. This is especially true for lower-performing schools that currently have greater
challenges in both of these areas than do their higher-performing counterparts (Ingersoll,
2001, 2003, 2004; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009).
If lower-performing public schools want to recruit and retain the most effective
mathematics teachers, it is important to understand how the current accountability model
either positively or negatively affects teachers decisions to stay in their current
assignments, as well as understand the forces that influence their decisions. In schools
where teachers are able to avoid negative feelings about accountability, those schools
may have a better chance of keeping their experienced teachers than do schools where
teachers hold negative emotions of accountability (Ingersoll, 2002; Ingersoll & Perda,
2009).
In their efforts to create and administer legislation ostensibly to help close the
achievement gap, lawmakers, policymakers, and administrators may fail to be fully aware
of how the current accountability modelas well as future accountability legislation
26


may create unintended negative consequences. In other words, for those lower-
performing schools having difficulty recruiting, retaining, and motivating effective
teachers, the legislation may have the potential to impair the achievement progress of the
students and schools the legislation was intended to help. This dissertation is an important
step in giving those who enact, enforce, and administer accountability legislation a richer
understanding of how teachers perceptions of their work environments ultimately can
affect student achievement.
27


CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
This literature review is structured to follow the flow of the studys conceptual
framework in a way that allows me to examine each of the frameworks eight
components (see Figure. The reader may notice that most of the studies cited in this
chapter conclude that sanctions have the ability to create negative emotional reactions
from teachers in lower-performing schools, which can undermine schools attempts to
increase student achievement. This imbalance within the literature review is due to the
shortage of peer-reviewed studies focusing on the benefits of consequence-based
accountability for lower-performing public schools and the teachers and students within.
The shortage is profound; in their report of the distribution of peer-reviewed studies on
the topic of how accountability legislation affects teachers and their students, Buck,
Ritter, Jensen, and Rose (2010) found an overwhelming 9-to-l ratio (p. 50) of those
showing the possibility of harm to those showing the possibility of benefits.
Concerned by my inability to find academic studies suggesting that public school
accountability legislation can motivate teachers to stay in their lower-performing schools
and work to increase student achievement, I emailed the office of Colorado State Senator
Michael Johnston. The Senator was the sponsor of Colorado Senate Bill 191 (SB-191),
now a law that allows tenured teachers deemed ineffective to lose their tenure (see more
information below). Senator Johnston and those who supported his bill believed this
legislation ultimately would help increase student achievement in lower-performing
schools. Therefore, I assumed Senator Johnston or his office staff would be my source for
peer-reviewed studies supporting his believe that his teacher tenure legislation could
positively motivate teachers and positively affect teachers desires to continue working in
28


their lower-performing schools. I received an email reply from the Senators Chief of
Staff indicating they were not aware of any studies suggesting these types of outcomes
for this type of legislation (D. LeeNatali, personal communication, March 1, 2011). The
Chief of Staffs reply confirmed my findings of the literature: valid studies suggesting
sanctions are an overall effective way to motivate and retain teachers working in lower-
performing schools are difficult to find. Therefore, this literature review is in line with the
Buck et al. (2010) ratio of studies indicating the potential harms to those suggesting the
potential benefits of public school accountability. However, wherever studies on the
positive influences of the current accountability model presented themselves, I included
those findings in my literature review.
The Conceptual Framework
The framework (see Figure II.l) of this dissertation was borne from an extensive search
of research focusing on how school accountability affects teachers emotions and their
perceptions of working in lower-performing public schools. Many frameworks have
addressed discretely or in limited combinations the affects of school accountability on
teachers perceptions of pressure (Brouwers, Evers, & Tomic, 1999; Kruger, Wandle, &
Struzziero, 2007; Margolis & Nagel, 2006; Naylor, 2001), morale (Jones, et al.,
1999;Kelchtermans, 2005; McQuillan, Salomon-Femandez, 2008; Smith, 1991; Turner,
1998), burnout (Farber, 2000a; Farber, 2000b; Hanson, 2006; Lutz & Maddirala, 1988;
Tatar & Gorenczyk, 2003), and their desires to stay in their current schools, in their
current school districts, or in teaching altogether (Boyd Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff,
2008; Clotfelter, Ladd, Vigdor, & Diaz, 2004; Kirtley, 2009). Additionally, other studies
frameworks have focused discretely on or in limited combinations of how accountability
29


models affect schools abilities to recruit teachers (Boyd et al., 2008; Ingersoll, 2004;
Johnson, & Birkeland, 2003) affect the influx of new teachers to schools affect schools
abilities to increase or maintain student achievement levels, or affect schools struggles to
gain ground academically (Ingersoll, 2001, 2003; Mintrop & Trujillo, 2005; Rice &
Malen, 2003).
Figure II.l. The Conceptual Framework. This framework is used to describe the
upward, downward, or status quo spiral of schools under the current
accountability model. The framework begins with the Testing-Rating-
Consequences Model cell and moves right. The spiral begins each year, beginning
with the top cell and ending with Levels of Difficulty Gaining Ground
Academically.
This studys framework brings a unique, holistic approach to understanding how
the current public school accountability model of testing students, rating schools, and
30


applying rewards or sanctions can positively or negatively affect teachers emotions,
which have been shown to affect schools organizational effectiveness. Through the
framework presented here, one is better able to understand the factors that can determine
schools student achievement paths, either positively or negatively.
Within this chapter, I will dedicate a section to each of the following components
of the framework: (a) an overview of the standardized testing, rating, and consequences
model of schools accountability; (b) teacher pressures; (c) teacher morale; (d) teacher
burnout; (e) teacher retention; (f) staffing shortages and the reliance on alternate licensure
programs; (g) influx of new teachers; and (h) schools abilities to gain ground
academically.
The Accountability Model
The first component of my conceptual framework is an overview of the testing,
rating, and consequences model of public school accountability. The accountability
model is the foundation of NCLB and begins with all public school students taking their
states standardized tests, generally in the spring of each school year. In Colorado, the
standard testing method is titled the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP), with
testing beginning in 3rd grade and ending in 10th grade. The 9th grade CSAP-tested
subjects are reading, writing, and mathematics; the 10th grade students are tested in those
three subjects as well as science (Colorado Department of Education, 2011a). When all
Colorado public schools have finished administering the CSAP tests to their students, the
tests then are sent to a private company for scoring. Near August of the same year, the
students CSAP test scores are returned to the Colorado Department of Education, and
then those scores are disaggregated by school and become part of each schools School
31


Performance Framework (SPF). The CSAP test scores have a significant affect on the
rating of schools SPFs, which in large part determine each schools performance
consequence. The SPF ratings follow a color-coded system: blue represents a
Distinguished status; green represents a Meets Expectations status; yellow represents an
Accredited On Watch status; orange represents an Accredited On Priority Watch status;
and red represents an Accredited on Probation status (Colorado Department of Education,
2011b). Generally speaking, the blue- and green-rated schools received positive awards
(e.g., the ability to operate without the influence of outside monitoring, without sanctions,
or without school-improvement plans), and the yellow-, orange, and red-rated schools
receive sanctions (e.g., school improvement plans, staff professional development aimed
at improving the teachers, external audits, reconstitutions, or closures) (Colorado
Department of Education, 2011c). These rewards and sanctions, based in large part on
students CSAP test scores, are the foundation for which NCLB pubic school
accountability was created. In order to determine if public schools are serving their
students to the highest standards, NCLB mandates all public schools must be rated and
either rewarded or sanctioned, ostensibly so parents know how well their students
schools are performing and subsequently make informed decisions of which schools they
want their children to attend. The following section gives more information on NCLB
and its creation and controversy.
No Child Left Behind. Signed into law on January 8, 2002 (Ed.gov, 2007), the No
Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 became President George H. W. Bushs number
one domestic priority (EDgov, 2011a). The law is the reauthorization of President
Lyndon B. Johnsons groundbreaking Elementary and Secondary Education Act,
32


legislation originally designed to give extra financial help to our nations minority and
poor students (NEA, 2011). NCLB ostensibly was designed to address and mitigate the
achievement gap between the nations lowest- and highest-performing students. Since
2002, NCLB has stood on four principles of President Bushs reform plan: stronger
accountability for results, expanded flexibility and local control, expanded options for
parents, and an emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work (EDgov,
2011a). Additionally, the law emphasized increased funding for poorer school districts
(EDgov, 2011a).
To announce each schools progress to the public, NCLB mandated that any
public school within any state receiving federal funding must produce an annual report
card with the schools results disaggregated by categories of poverty levels, race,
ethnicity, disabilities, and limited English proficiency (EDgov, 2011a). This
disaggregation of data ostensibly is intended to ensure that schools do not fail to report
the scores of students who fall into these four categories or subgroups. Under NCLB law,
schools serving these subgroups must show adequate yearly progress (AYP) for each
subgroup.
Recently, NCLB has come under fire for mandating unrealistic discrete goals
rather than targeting growth, being too punitive, especially to schools that serve minority
and poor children, encouraging states to lower their standards, and failing to meet
financial goals to states due to underfunding (ED.gov, 2010). In response to the
criticisms, President Obama created his blueprint to overhaul NCLB, calling for
restructuring of the law by the fall of 2011 (ED.gov, 2010). Taking into consideration the
many and varied criticisms of NCLB, President Obama created mandates for states to
33


prepare students to succeed in college and the work place and create accountability
systems that recognize student growth and school progress toward meeting that goal
(ED.gov, 2012).
Race to the Top. The cornerstone of President Obamas overhaul of NCLB will
continue to be high-stakes standardized testing, from which schools will be rated and
consequences will be given, either as an award or as a sanction. President Obamas
intention is illustrated by his administrations recent Race to the Top grants awarded to
states that presented aggressive plans on increasing the performances of their lowest-
performing schools. In order to be considered for the federal grant money, states plans
must have included at least one of the follow four sanctions for their lowest-performing
schools: reconstitute the school by replacing the principal(s) and at least half the teachers;
close the school and reopen as a charter school; close the school altogether and enroll
students in higher performing schools; or transform schools through professional
development aimed at improving the current teaching staff (Bland, 2010).
SB-191. In response to the Race to the Top grants, Colorado SB-191 was created
and subsequently passed into law in May 2010. The legislation mandates new
requirements on how teachers and principals are evaluated. Regarding teachers
evaluations, at least fifty percent of teachers evaluations must be from multiple measures
of student achievement, including students growth on their CSAP tests. The remainder
of teachers evaluation are generated from a combination of twice-yearly evaluations
from their principals, twice-yearly evaluations from trained peer observers, and yearly
student surveys, in which all students have the opportunities to evaluate the effectiveness
of their teachers (Colorado Department of Education). Based on the evaluations above,
34


SB-191 public school teachers may lose their tenure under SB-191 if they are considered
ineffective for two consecutive years. Teachers then may regain their tenure after three
consecutive years of increased student test scores and satisfactory evaluations.
Within the previous section, I began with the first component of the studys
conceptual framework by giving an overview of NCLB, Race to the Top grants, and SB-
191 as the foundational elements of the current accountability model within Colorado.
Over the pages of the next section, I will feature the second component of the framework:
accountability pressures. I will address how working under the accountability model of
school improvement can affect teachers levels of pressure and stress, both negatively
and positively, depending on the environment in which teachers work.
Stress and Threats
Most of us likely hold an implicit understanding of pressure and stress and
generally would understand the nature of stress from our own life experiences. However,
for this study, I will borrow from the work of Lazarus and Folkman (1984), in which
stress is defined as the relationship between a person and his or her environment, and in
which the person perceives the environment to be taxing or exceeding his or her
resources and endangering his or her well being (p. 19). This section will look at
teachers stressors through their workloads, their perceptions of fairness, their
professional and economic fears, and their emotional willingness to engage in school
reforms.
Accountability stressors. For those educators who are highly committed to their
profession, teaching can be inherently stressful (Brouwers, et al., 1999; Naylor, 2001;
Travers & Cooper, 1996) and demanding (Tomic & Tomic, 2008). Moreover, most
35


highly committed educators give substantially more than minimum effort and contracted
time in attempting to reach their students both academically and personally (Naylor). In
the 2007 study of forty high school teachers, DiBara (2007) confirmed these findings
with the studys participants reporting that teaching feels like an all-consuming
profession, with many of the participants wondering if they could sustain the necessary
day-to-day efforts in order to continue teaching in the years to come. These demanding
workloads can become stressors that negatively affect teachers job satisfaction, their
number of absences from work, their perceptions about their ability to meet students
needs, and their attitudes about remaining in their current teaching assignments (Naylor).
While Naylor argued that the majority of teachers in all schools across the nation
voluntarily devote more time and effort than their forty-hour workweek supports, these
issues can be exacerbated for the teachers working in lower-performing schools (Naylor).
This is because the workloads for teachers have expanded in most lower-performing and
sanctioned schools as schools and school districts work to increase student achievement
(Berryhill, Linney, and Fromewick, 2009).
In a study of 100 elementary teachers working in lower-performing schools, half
the studys teachers reported having insufficient time to complete their everyday work,
with 80 percent reporting having either too many accountability tasks or too little time to
complete them (Berryhill et al., 2009). Additionally, a study of 236 elementary education
teachers working in sanctioned South Carolina schools found that more than seventy-six
percent of the studys teachers believed their jobs were more stressful now than they were
before their states accountability program (Jones, Jones, Hardin, Chapman, Yarbrough,
& Davis, 1999). One reason the studys teachers believed their stress had increased was
36


that they were held accountable for their students standardized test scores without being
able to control the students commitment to doing their best on the test (Jones et al.).
Threat-based stress. In addition to increased stress through increased work hours,
workloads, and lack of control over students commitment, there exists another teacher
stressor associated with the current accountability model: the threat of losing ones
teaching position (Kruger, Wandle, & Struzziero, 2007). For teachers working in schools
slated to be reconstituted or closed, teachers can feel professional and economic stress as
they wonder where, or if, they will be teaching in the coming years. I have labeled this
type of pressure threat-based stress. Threat-based stress can be a function of legislators,
school districts or administrators urgency to increase students standardized test scores
and subsequent ratings of lower-performing schools. Evidence of teachers losing their
positions due to students standardized test performance includes the actions of former
Washington, D.C. Educational Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who fired 241 of the districts
teachers in July 2010, based on their students test scores. An additional 737 educators
and staff received notice that they had one year to increase their students test scores, or
they, too, would be fired (Lewin, 2010). When looking at the outcomes of accountability
on Colorado teachers, one may wonder what effects Colorado SB-191 has on the threat-
based stress levels of teachers currently working in lower-performing or sanctioned
schools as well as those who may be considering working in lower-performing or
sanctioned schools.
To further illustrate the concept of threat-based stress, Olson and Sexton (2009)
interviewed six English teachers from a lower-performing rural California high school
facing both declining student enrollment and the threat of state receivership. Several of
37


the teachers reported feeling their schools administration was creating an environment of
secrecy and a climate of fear. Their administration warned the staff that if the schools
enrollment continued to decrease resulting in a staffing reduction, the disobedient
teachers (p. 30) would be the first to be fired. The fear of being fired by being-made-an-
example-of surfaced, as one of the studys teachers described her reaction to her
principals leadership: When you have this shoot one of the soldiers to keep the others
in line kind of philosophy ... its not right (p. 20).
The previous findings align with the Mintrop and Trujillo (2005) study of nearly
2,000 fourth- through eighth-grade teachers in seven states. Teachers in schools with
threat-based leadership reported their principals stressful, blaming attitude created
unfriendly work environments in which they felt defensive. Similar findings by Diamond
and Spillane (2004) focused on four elementary schools, in which one of the studys
principals applied threat-based stress to her teachers during a staff meeting. The principal
attempted to motivate her teachers by advising them the school reform probation manager
asked her to keep track of underperforming teachers . and she [the principal] could
and would replace those who were not pulling their weight (p. 1158). Later, in an
attempt to comfort her staff, the principal advised her teachers she would give them all
one more chance (p. 1158). While these examples illustrate the administrators belief
that threatening teachers jobs will increase student achievement, the practice may
actually do more harm by creating distrust, defensiveness, and anxiety in an already
stressful career (Kruger, Wandle, & Struzziero, 2007).
Stress, trust, cooperation, and school reform. When comparing the levels of trust
and openness of elementary teachers, Daly (2009) studied 453 teachers in eight
38


sanctioned schools and six non-sanctioned schools in southern and central California.
Daly found the teachers working in the sanctioned elementary schools had lower levels of
perceived trust of administrators, policymakers, and legislators and less perceived
professional input in the decision-making within their schools, all of which increased the
teachers levels of stress. In their mixed methods study of teachers across six states,
Mintrop and Trujillo (2005) found that their teachers became more self-protective and
less open under their threat-based school improvement plans. Mintrop and Trujillo warn
that when the effects of the accountability model create environments where teachers feel
professionally defensive and threatened, teachers also can become negative about
themselves and their students. These negative feelings ultimately can alienate teachers,
those on whose willingness and idealism (p. 10) schools must depend to sustain the
efforts to increase student achievement.
The findings of Mintrop and Trujillo (2005) support the work of Margolis and
Nagel (2006) who investigated the interactions between school reforms, administrative
support, and teacher stress levels. They found teachers working in lower-performing or
sanctioned schools often perceived accountability legislation as threatening, autocratic,
and in conflict with the teachers views of effective education. Participants reported that
the mandates and consequences, of which they had no input, caused them to feel more
stressed, less trustful, and less open to engaging in the reform process. Moreover, the
studys teachers were given no time to reflect on the purpose of the reforms and no time
to integrate the proposed change[s] into their philosophy (p. 144); they were simply
told to do it.
Teachers have been called the gatekeepers to reform policies, either accepting or
39


rejecting the school improvement plans in their day-to-day teaching (Cuban, 2004).
However, there is no evidence to suggest that creators and administrators of the reform
mandates give considerationor even know they need to give considerationto how
teachers will engage with the accountabilitys rapid-fire changes (Margolis & Nagel, p.
153). Evans (1996) emphasizes teachers emotional responses associated with reform
changes (e.g., stress, opposition, lack of buy-in, and remorse) typically have been ignored
and disparaged by those who create and administer the mandates. Evans warns that
disregarding and ridiculing teachers emotions will continue to thwart efforts to improve
our nations schools as no innovation can succeed unless it attends to the realities of
people and place (Evans, pp. 91-92).
The importance of positive environments. While teachers working in fear-based
environments have reported negative emotional outcomes, the opposite is true for
teachers working in supportive school environments. These teachers report having higher
expectations for themselves, their schools, and their students; these are the attitudes
necessary for increasing and sustaining student achievement (Finnigan & Gross, 2007).
Naylor (2001) writes that teacher vitality is an important dimension of. . the viability
of school reforms (p. 155). In other words, teachers who exhibit positive professional
outlooks and who feel energetic toward their work exhibit important components of
teacher effectiveness. This argument is substantiated by the work of Margolis and Nagel
(2006) who found that teachers working in lower-performing schools who felt valued
and appreciated and trusted that school leadership had their long-term personal best
interests in mind (p. 151) reported having feelings of resiliency and job satisfaction.
40


Morale
The third component of my framework addresses the issues of teacher morale as
they pertain to the current school accountability model. In their research on employee
morale, Rempel & Averno (1967) define workplace morale as a condition where
employees are interested in and enthusiastic about their work. They add that high levels
of morale are associated with engagement in the achievement of both their own
professional goals as well as those of their group or their team. In terms of school
achievement, the group or team about which Rempel and Averno write could be
characterized as teachers classrooms, departments, schools or districts. This dissertation
also borrows from the work of Meyer, Macmillan, and Northfield (2009) by defining
teacher morale as teachers individual perceptions of their emotional attachment and
satisfaction with the goals of the organization (p. 173).
Bentley and Rempel (1963) believed teachers levels of professional morale are
linked to their levels of satisfaction with their schools work environments. They added
that positive teacher morale is a necessary element in achieving desirable educational
outcomes (p. 1). Moreover, Bentley and Rempel indicated that the professional needs
and subsequent satisfaction of teachers have been shown to be precursors to the academic
needs and satisfaction of the students. Teachers positive attitudes and enthusiasm
significantly affect students attitudes and students receptivity for learning (p. 1).
The strong link between teacher morale, motivation, and school improvement
(Ofoegbu, 2004) is an important concept for policymakers, legislators, and administrators
to understand as they work to increase student achievement as a means to closing the
achievement gap. If lower-performing schools want to increase achievement, they must
41


first have motivated, positive, and enthusiastic teachers in their classrooms. Since
accountability legislation is built on the belief that teachers fears of sanctions and desires
for rewards will motivate them and their students to perform at higher levels (Finnigan &
Gross, 2007), it would be beneficial to those creating, enforcing, and administering the
current accountability model to understand how sanctions and rewards actually affect and
motivate teachers.
Teacher morale and lower-performing schools. Finnigan and Gross (2007) report
that teachers morale is often tied to their schools ability to achieve desired or mandated
accountability ratings. In their study of several of Chicagos lower-performing schools,
Finnigan and Gross found that teachers whose schools were able to turn around their
unsatisfactory ratings felt more motivated, confident, and encouraged. Positive outcomes
can put teachers, students, and their schools, on the positive, upward spiral (Finnigan and
Gross). However, teachers whose schools remained unsatisfactory in their accountability
ratings reported the lowest levels of morale and efficacy and the highest levels of
pressure and anxiety. Finnigan and Gross warn that because of these negative unintended
consequences, the power of teacher morale as a determinant variable in increasing
student achievement cannot be overstated (p. 620).
Unfairness and morale. When examining how the current accountability model
can affect teachers morale, one should include an understanding of teachers perceptions
of the fairness and equity in how mandates and consequences are determined and
distributed. When researching the emotions of teachers working in three Massachusetts
middle and high schools, McQuillan and Salomon-Femandez (2008) reported that their
teachers felt a great sense of unfairness (p. 16) with respect to their schools ratings.
42


They believed their schools, which served a high number of English language learners,
were held to the same standards as charter schools, which the teachers believed could
pick and choose their students. The teachers reported a sense of inequity (p. 13) that the
accountability system held them responsible for the high achievements of their students
who came from homes that did not support high achievement (e.g., not being read to, not
hearing and speaking Englishthe language of standardized testing, and not hearing
high-level usage of a language within the home). The teachers felt these factors should
have been taken into account, since they believed those factors significantly influenced
the students test scores. The teachers reported feeling demoralized by their schools
underperforming label and calling their schools morale horrible (p. 16). They felt the
public announcements of their ratings meant the public labeled them as failures, which
subsequently led the teachers to lose faith in themselves professionally. McQuillan and
Salomon-Fernandez determined the teachers internalized the underperforming label (p.
16) and perceived their schools rankings as indicators of the quality of their own
teaching.
Public and media scrutiny. While there are those who believe that publically
naming and shaming (Mintrop, 2003, n.p.) lower-performing schools is a powerful
method for motivating the teachers and students within, there is research to support that
this practice can have negative psychological effects on teacher morale (Diamond &
Spillane, 2004; Jones et al., 1999). When examining the effects of media coverage on
school reconstitutions, Rice and Malen (2003) found that the tone and content (p. 655)
of the coverage often implied that teachers and principals working in sanctioned schools
were incompetent and uncommitted educators (p. 654). The teachers felt the medias
43


coverage of their schools meant they not only were targets of legislative sanctions, but
that they also were clear and direct objects of public sanctions (p. 654). They labeled
the medias coverage as caustic, unjust, and cruel (p. 654), in which the news
reports suggested, parents would not want these . teachers reassigned to their
childrens schools (p. 655).
In their study of how public reporting of schools scores affected educators in
North Carolina public schools, Jones et al. (1999) discovered that the local newspapers
coverage of their schools low ratings made them feel anxious, pressured, guilty, and
even embarrassed (p. 202). Teachers working in lower-performing schools also have
reported feeling looked down upon not only by the President [of the United States], . .
but more importantly by their local community (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2005, p. 16). In
communities where schools test scores are headline news, the public reporting and
scrutiny of standardized test scores have the potential to negatively affect teachers
psyches (Mintrop & Trujillo). In a lower-performing school in Boston, one of the
schools teachers shared her feelings on her school publically being labeled
underperforming:
If others perceive us that way, then I take it to heart, I take it personally.
Theyre not going to say, Well the school is underperforming but Rachel
is doing a great job. Theyre not going to put it in the paper that way. Its
going to be, The school is underperforming, and theyre not going to
mention anyones name thats doing a good job. They cant. And I would
then perceive ... its my fault (McQuillan & Saloon-Femandez, 2008, p.
16).
Some of the naming-and-shaming can have long-lasting effects on teachers
feelings of losing their professional reputation. Kirtley (2007) uncovered the shameful
feelings of an early-career middle school science teacher whose lower-performing school
44


went into state receivership. Three years after the closure, the teacher continued to carry
what she called the scarlet letter (p. 11) of working in a school she believed others
thought was a bad school (p. 11). She feared that by listing her employment at the
sanctioned school on her resume, she would have a black mark (p. 11) on her
professional accomplishments from the negative publicity her schools closing received.
She wondered if, as she applied for other teaching positions, anyone would want to hire
her or if they would consider her a bad teacher (p. 10).
As referenced in Chapter 1 of this dissertation, the former North Carolina State
Superintendent of Education believed that public scrutiny of public schools ratings
would encourage lower-performing schools to perform better (Jones, et al., 1999). While
this method of attempting to increase teacher motivation and student achievement is used
in school accountability models, shaming is not a strategy generally employed by those
outside public education (Ferrandino & Tirozzi, 2010). Moreover, using shame as a tool
to attempt to motivate teachers in lower-performing schools has no research base
whatsoever (Ferrandino & Tirozzi).
However well intended and valuable purposeful public scrutiny may seem as a
method for motivating teachers, this practice can create a double edged sword
(Mintrop, 2004, p. 150) often producing opposite and unintended consequences
(Clotfelter, Ladd, Vigdor, & Diaz, 2004). Intensified pressures of public accountability
and scrutiny have the potential to make many lower-performing public schools
unattractive place to recruit and retain teachers, which can negatively impact the
achievement of students enrolled in those schools (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2005). If teachers
feel they are being judged and blamed rather than supported and understood, then public
45


accountability pressures could tend to create defensiveness and turn off the very people
on whose willingness, if not idealism, state and districts need to rely (p. 10). For many
teachers, this defensiveness and loss of idealism can lead to a chronic and damaging
condition know as teacher burnout.
Teacher Burnout
This section of the literature review examines the fourth component of the
dissertations conceptual framework, teacher burnout. Within this section, I will examine
burnout from a practical as well as theoretical approach, by first describing and defining
teacher burnout and then detailing the conditions three theoretical dimensions: emotional
exhaustion, self-efficacy, and depersonalization. Through a presentation of the historical
overview of burnout and a recent examination of the current literature, this section will
highlight teacher burnout as it pertains to the current school accountability model as well
as the research indicating ways we can help teachers avoid burnout and remain engaged
and satisfied in their careers.
Descriptions of teacher burnout. Currently viewed as an erosion of engagement
with the job (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001, p. 416), teacher burnout is a crisis
(Rudow, 1991) widely affecting teachers across our nation (Maslach, 1999; Tomic &
Tomic, 2008). Burnout is described as a stressful, continuous, changing process of the
person that is . shown by severe mood changes, doubts, and disappointments (Rudow,
19991, p. 55). Burnout is seen as an advanced position on the stress continuum
(Kelchtermans, 1999, p. 176) and is an intensely psychological (Farber, 1999, p. 165)
experience in which the same set of job stressors are viewed differently by each teacher
(Farber). Each teachers perception of these stressors mediates how each one views the
46


stressors and subsequently influences the coping strategies they use to deal with them
(Kelchtermans, 1999, p. 180). For this reason, the presence of stressorsno matter how
intense they may bedoes not guarantee all teachers will react to the same stressors in
the same way and certainly is no guarantee that all stressed-out teachers will burn out.
Teachers who perceive their work environments to be negative with respect to
stress, pressure, morale, and motivation, may be experiencing some level of burnout
(Maslach, 1999, 2003; Maslach & Leiter, 1997; Maslach & Schaufeli, 1992). Negative
working conditions have been cited as the reason why an estimated thirty-five percent of
teachers report being profoundly unhappy in their careers (Farber, 1999), the reason an
estimated twenty percent of teachers report experiencing high levels of burnout (Farber),
and the reason nearly fifty percent of the nations teachers leave their lower-performing
schools within their first five years of service (Darling-Hammond, 2003; Farber, 1991;
Freedman & Appleman, 2009). These statistics support that teachers feelings of
professional dissatisfaction and teacher burnout are not anomalies, but common
occurrences (Farber, 1991). As a result, burned-out or dissatisfied teachers generally take
one of four actions: leave teaching altogether, move to a higher-performing school, move
into administration, or stay put and feel trapped. Each of these actions has the power to
create, exacerbate, or sustain academically unstable environments for lower-performing
schools and the students within those schools (Finnigan & Gross, 2007; Mintrop, 2004;
Rice & Malen, 2003).
How is burnout different? Obscured by the multitudes of definitions from the
early years of study, the term burnout came to incorporate nearly every possible personal
dissatisfaction one could encounter. Farber (1991) reports that many people continue to
47


haphazardly (p. 4) interchange the term burnout with other labels such as stress,
depression, demoralization, disillusionment, and alienation to describe similar work-
related problems, with little concern for any differentiation between these terms (p. 4).
Burnout became a catch phrase that was expanded to mean everything [and eventually
ended up] meaning nothing at all (Maslach, 1999, p. 212). With respect to the current,
everyday use of the term, there remain competing conceptions and misconceptions, with
some viewing burnout as an epidemic of tragic proportions while others think ... the
[word] is an overused, inconvenient excuse of the lazy and self-indulgent (Maslach, p.
4).
Among burnout theorists, the malady is distinguished as a circumstance only of
workers who enter the helping professions (e.g., teachers, social workers, mental health
workers, nurses, and doctors) (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1996) with high motivation
and expectations of deriving emotional or morale significance from their work. Burnout
occurs in those who care most about the people with whom they work and least about
their paychecks (Pines, 1993, p. 39); in other words, they enter the helping profession
with the purpose of making a difference. The symptoms of burnout, unlike other maladies
(e.g., depression, fatigue, or alienation), are specific to those working in the helping
professions who experience a deep sense of failure (Pines, p. 40) in succeeding in their
goal of making a positive difference in the lives of those they help. Consequently, unless
one enters a helping profession with that intent, one can be unhappy, but one cannot be
burned-out (Pines).
The symptoms of burnout. The classic symptoms of teacher burnout reveal
themselves when teachers initially positive perceptions about their careers gradually and
48


increasingly become negative. If teachers initial enthusiastic and idealistic aspirations of
affecting positive change in those they teach (Byrne, 1999; Maslach, 1999) have been
thwarted, teachers positive perceptions can lead to frustration and angerthe emotional
hallmarks of burnout (Farber, 1991, p. 27). These negative perceptions surface as
teachers begin to believe they are unable to affect the changes in their students they had
originally envisioned. Cherniss (1995) found that when teachers accept these negative
feelings as their realities, additional symptoms generally surface. These symptoms
include dedicating less time to lesson planning, becoming less caring and committed to
professional development, and beginning to see the exciting career in which they planned
to make a difference as now nothing but a job (p. 37). As teachers become more
burned-outor worn-out as Farber (1991) suggeststheir symptoms begin to invade
more of their psyches. Burned-out teachers can lose their patience and optimism, and
they begin complaining more about their working conditions, job requirements, and
salaries that, in the beginning of their careers, were non-issues.
Perhaps the most telling symptom of full-on burnout is when the once-idealistic
teacher begins to believe that teaching is absurd ... I wasnt prepared for this and its
certainly not what Fm going to do the rest of my life (Farber, 1991, p. 83). These once-
positive educators have made explicit to themselves the depth and breadth of their
frustration, pain, anger, and resignation; they have told themselves there is no hope.
Originally needing to feel they are making a difference through their work, burned-out
teachers likely perceive they have failed to meet this closely held and deeply personal
goal (Pines 1993).
The three dimensions of burnout. Teacher burnout is a complex emotional
49


phenomenon defined by three dimensions: emotional exhaustion reduced personal
accomplishment (lowered self-efficacy), and depersonalization. (Byrne, 1999; Chemiss,
1995; Farber, 1991, 1999, 2000b; Maslach, 1999, 2003; Maslach & Leiter, 1997). These
three dimensions reveal themselves when teachers initial enthusiasm turns to exhaustion,
when feelings of self-efficacy turn into feelings of inability, and when teachers
emotional caring for their students turns to pessimism (Byrne; Maslach; Maslach &
Leiter). The following sections describe each of the three dimensions of burnout and then
identify the problems associated with each.
Emotional exhaustion. Generally characterized as the stress component of burnout
(Maslach, 1999, 2001), emotional exhaustion refers to feelings of being worn out,
depleted, empty, and lacking energy (Maslach; Maslach, 2003; DeHeus & Diekstra,
1999; Maslach & Leiter, 1997). Emotional exhaustion relates to the amount of
preparation time and energy required to be an effective teacher; burned-out teachers may
lack the energy to face another project or another [student] (Maslach & Leiter, p. 17).
Although emotional exhaustion is generally considered the necessary stress component of
burnout, emotional exhaustion alone is not sufficient to define burnout. Rather,
exhaustion leads [teachers] ... to engage in other actions to distance themselves
emotionally and cognitively from their work presumably as a way to cope with work
demands (Maslach, 2003, p. 190).
Reduced personal accomplishment. Within the multidimensional framework of
burnout, the reduced personal accomplishment dimension is generally considered to be
the teachers conception-of-self component. Referring to perceptions of lowered self-
efficacy, this component addresses teachers feelings of reduced competence in their
50


ability to achieve their goals (Maslach, 1999; Maslach & Leiter, 1997; De Heus &
Diekstra, 1999). Teachers beliefs in their ability to succeed at given tasks determines
how much effort they are willing to expend and how long they are willing to continue at
those tasks (Bandura, 1997). When teachers perceive themselves as ineffective in
reaching their personal or professional goalsas defined differently by each teacheror
as in the case of this dissertation, when teachers believe they are ineffective at meeting
the mandated increases in student achievement, they often lose their self-confidence and
professional self-esteem (Maslach & Leiter). At this point, teachers may experience
feelings of inadequacy or guilt and may have trouble feeling positive about their
professional abilities. They may choose to withdraw their efforts toward attempting to
increase student achievement or may even decide to leave the teaching profession
altogether (Farber, 1991).
Depersonalization. Considered to be the perceptions-of-students component in
burnout theory, depersonalization refers to a negative, callous, or excessively detached
response (Maslach, 1999, p. 215) about ones students. Depersonalization links teachers
negative, disparaging, or irritated feelings about students to the teachers loss of idealism
(Maslach; De Haus & Diekstra, 1999). Seen as a basic hallmark of the burnout
experience (Maslach, 2003, p. 190), depersonalization is a common response when
teachers perceive their students to be the source of their pain and is the reason teachers
often withdraw emotionally and physically from their students (Maslach & Leiter, 1997;
Maslach; Farber, 1991). Teachers with high levels of depersonalization may believe the
following:
51


Its not worth the effort to keep trying . to be creative ... to care ... to
attempt to educate everyone in the class; Id rather spend time doing
paperwork than interacting with students; most of the kids dont try, why
should I?; Ill try, but its a losing cause.; Most of these kids were lost
by the time they started school.; Ive learned that I have to take care of
myself first. (Farber, p. 82).
Maslach and Leiter (1997) confirm that the self-imposed social isolation (p. 30)
of these struggling teachers has a negative consequence that contributes to the downward
spiral of burnout: withdrawing undermines teachers abilities to receive emotional
feedback from their students, one of the important reasons they became teachers (Lortie,
1975). However, as bad as cynicism and depersonalization may seem, they ostensibly
serve a purpose of protecting the burned-out teacher from feeling exhausted and
disappointed (Maslach & Leiter, p. 18). While burned-out teachers may believe that
disparaging students and keeping students at a distance will help them deal with their
exhaustion and disappointment, cynicism and detachment almost always injure teachers
psyches and their abilities to teach effectively (Maslach & Leiter). This study will work
to understand if the current accountability model affects teachers views of their students,
either positively or negatively, based on their students test scores and their schools
subsequent ratings and consequences.
Burnout past and present. When Herbert Freudenberger introduced the
phenomenon of burnout in a 1974 psychological journal, there had previously been only
descriptions of those who were unhappy in their people-oriented professions. In his 1980
book Burn-Out: How To Beat the High Cost of Success, Freudenberg wrote poignantly of
a burned out building:
52


[It] had once been a throbbing, vital structure . where there had once
been activity, there are now only crumbling reminders of energy and life .
. The outer shell may seem almost intact. Only if you venture inside will
you be struck by the full force of the desolation (p. xv.).
Freudenberger believed that, like buildings that have been burned-out, people also could
be burned-out. After Freudenberger released numerous articles on the newly named
condition, there became an abundance of empirical research and a dearth of theoretical
understanding, because there was more research conducted by practitioners rather than by
scholars (Maslach, 1999). That researchers initially labeled burnout non-scholarly pop
research (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001, p. 398), meant that studies of burnout did
not develop from theoretical frameworks; this made early attempts at interpreting the
findings in a consistent way difficult (Maslach). However, over the past three decades,
teacher burnout has been well researched and documented (Bowers & Tomic, 2000;
Byre, 1999; De Heus & Diekstra, 1999; Farber, 1984, 1991, 1999, 2000; Kelchtermans,
1999; Maslach, 1999; 2003; Maslach & Jackson, 1981; Maslach & Leiter, 1997; Maslach
& Schaufeli, 1992; Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001; Pines, 1993, 2002, 2004; Prince,
2002; & Rudow, 1999), with theoretical frameworks stemming from teachers
personalities (Ghorpade, Lackritz, & Singh, 2007; Kokkinos, 2007), to organizational
factors (Byrne, 1999; Ingersoll, 2001, 2003, 2004) to existentialist motivation (Pines,
2000, 2002, 2004).
However varied the original causes of burnout, sources of teacher burnout are
significantly different now than they were decades ago (Farber, 2000a). Teachers in the
1960s suffered from burnout because of their frustrations and disappointments that their
students were not performing at the level to which the teachers internally desired.
However, teachers in the last twenty years report feeling burned out from receiving
53


external pressures from their principals to increase standardized test scores (Farber,
2000a). Much of the burnout today stems from a malady fueled not so much by teachers
internal disappointments, but by the external demands of school accountability (Farber;
Hanson, 2006). Burnout more often stems from teachers feeling they are judged as being
successful only if their students achieve at mandated levels at or above the mean on
every index of educational performance (Farber, pp. 675-676). These current
accountability gauges can create undue pressure and stress on teachers if they begin to
doubt their professional efficacy in reaching mandated achievement outcomes (Friedman,
2000).
The reciprocal relationship. For most who enter the teaching profession with the
enthusiastic and idealistic goals of affecting positive change in their students (i.e., making
a difference), the reciprocal relationship between teacher and student is central to
teachers work (Byrne, 1991; 1999; Maslach, 1999). These teachers receive and maintain
their energy and enthusiasm from seeing their students work hard and succeed in their
education (Farber, 1991). However, teachers who believe they are devoting more time,
effort, and concern (input) than are their students (output), can begin to decrease their
levels of commitment in order to return to a more balanced input-output equation (p.
125). These teachers can begin to invest less time, energy, and emotion into their work
and do only what is absolutely necessary (Maslach & Leiter, 1997).
However, this input-output equation (Farber, 1991, p. 126) now seems to
include the input and output related to the school accountability model. Teachers
willingness to put forth effort seems related to how they perceive their schools rating and
consequence. Several studies show the connections between low-performing rankings,
54


school sanctions, and increases in teachers levels of emotional exhaustion (Hanson,
2006), increases in stress and cynicism (Lutz & Maddirala, 1988), and decreases in self-
efficacy (Brouwers, Evers, & Tomic, 1999). If teachers perceive their efforts (the input)
are not rewarded, but rather bring about sanctions and negative professional feelings (the
output), they may see an imbalance in the equation and therefore put in less energy, less
commitment, and less idealism. In a study of how accountability affected teachers levels
of burnout and commitment, a veteran teacher said, You get your butt handed to you in
low-performing schools. Moving to an easier district lets you feel like a better teacher
with amazing CSAP scores (Kirtley, 2009, p. 10). When the professional-emotional
costs of school accountability legislation prove to be too great for teachers working in
lower-performing or sanctioned schools, these teachers may choose to leave (Kirtley).
Farber (2000a) warned that burnout. . just will not go away (p. 589). This assertion
supported the 1988 prediction of Lutz and Maddirala (1988), whose study of nearly 3,000
teachers suggested that if we continue to use standardized test scores to publicly find
fault [with] and punish (p. 42) teachers, then burnout will increase and ultimately affect
the future quality of education for students.
Teacher Engagement and Job Satisfaction
The research findings on what keeps teachers satisfied and engagedwhat would
be characterized as antithetical to the condition of burnoutare consistent. With respect
to their day-to-day professional lives, teachers report needing autonomy within the
classroom (Kim & Loadman, 1994) and intellectual stimulation through setting and
meeting new goals, particularly those goals and challenges they have created for
themselves (Brunetti, 2001). Teachers also indicate that collegial relationships, both
55


within their departments and within their schools, help them feel like a member of a
team, which is important in staving off feelings of isolation (Brunetti, 2001; Kim &
Loadman, 1994, & Stanford, 2001). Positive administrative support also is important for
teachers to feel higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction. In their study of the
1999-2000 School and Staffing Survey, Tickle, Chang, and Kim (2011) determined that
teachers perceptions of their administrators levels of support was a stronger indicator of
teachers job satisfaction than teachers years of experience, their salary, and their
students behaviors. In addition, Meyer, Macmillan, and Northfield (2009) determined
that teachers in their study believed stable administrative leadership fostered feelings of
trust within their school environment.
Equally as important as autonomy, stimulation, collegiality, and supportive
administration in keeping teachers satisfied and engaged, was teachers indications that
their wellbeing is connected to their students wellbeing, which is one of the reasons
veteran teachers in the study did not leave teaching for other professions (Brunetti, 2001).
The teachers spoke of the satisfaction they felt when former students came back to thank
them for their help and support. Teachers in the study indicated that the single most-
powerful motivator (p. 61) was teachers desires to continue to work with students, both
professionally and personally. For example, a calculus teacher within the study indicated
she loved her students, saying, I have the best and the brightest to teach (p. 58). Other
teachers indicated that seeing personal and academic growth in their students was
gratifying, especially in those students who were not considered high performing.
Emotional connections to students were evident in even the lowest-performing schools.
Stanford (2001) found that making a difference in childrens lives (p. 81) created
56


engagement and satisfaction for teachers in two elementary schools in the most
distressed environments in Washington, D.C (p. 75). Because of the engaged teachers
strong needs to have positive relationships with the students, they lamented the memories
of the students to whom they felt they were unable to connect, either academically or
personally.
The Existentialist Motivation
When teachers enter the teaching field to make a difference, they are fulfilling
their existentialist goals of finding meaning and purpose in their lives (Cherniss, 1995).
They see teaching as a calling and a way to affect positive change in their students, their
schools, their communities, and perhaps even in the future of their country (Brunetti,
2001). In many cases, teachers have turned their backs on more lucrative occupations
(Cherniss, p. 4) because they see the opportunity to be of service to others more
meaningful than just a paycheck or a special place in the corporate parking lot (p. 4).
These sentiments agree with the work of Tomic and Tomic (2008) who found that the
more teachers connected to existential fulfillment (p. 22), the more purpose they found
in their work and in their lives and the less frequently they burned-out. In addition to
teachers positive internal fulfillment helping to stave off burnout, teachers also report
needing positive external recognition. Friedman and Farber (1992) found in their study of
over 600 elementary school teachers that those teachers who believe they are highly
regarded by their students, the parents, and the administrators were least vulnerable to
burnout (p. 34).
Teachers Levels of Engagement with Accountability
As mentioned earlier in this chapter, there exists an extensive literature indicating
57


that many teachers attribute their decreases in job satisfaction to their increases in the
workloads and stress associated with the current testing, rating, and consequences model
of public school accountability (Day & Leitch, 2001; Finnigan & Gross, 2007; Jones, et
al., 1999; Kelchtermans, 2005; Kirtley, 2009; Kruger, Wandle, & Struzziero, 2007;
McQuillan & Salomon-Fernandez, 2008; Smith, 1991; & Turner, 1998). However, there
is a shortage of studies featuring how public school accountability can help engage
teachers, even in the lowest-performing schools. The following section features studies
that indicate there are teachers who hold positive opinions of school accountability.
In their study of forty-two teachers from five Arkansas schools, Buck et al. (2010)
revealed their teachers found standardized testing and accountability helpful in creating
better instruction. The authors divided the teachers positive responses into five themes:
testing yields important data; standards-based testing creates the direction for instruction;
test preparation does not have to stifle creativity; testing can encourage collaboration; and
accountability is helpful. The authors noted the most surprising findings were that
teachers found testing useful in helping to determine which teachers were really serious
and which teachers are just there to get summers off and an 8-to-3 job (p. 53). One
teacher in the study believed that we all need accountability . [It] helps us be better
teachers and not just take a day off because we . feel like it and let [the students] watch
a movie(p. 53). Unfortunately, this study and its findings appear to be of questionable
and limited use due to its lack of a literature review, lack of a methodology section, and a
reference section with only four citations. While these findings explicitly did not
highlight an absence of stress, morale issues, burnout, and retention issues in their
teachers, one may assume that if teachers are happy with and supportive of standardized
58


testing in their schools, then they likely are not feeling the effects of negative
accountability issues. In their research of elementary teachers, Finnigan and Gross (2007)
determined that some teachers who worked in sanctioned schools describe being inspired
by accountability mandates. The teachers felt the threat of sanctions helped them work
harder to change their practice to include more effective methods. Several teachers
indicated they were attempting to increase their students achievement by implemented
practices they heard had worked for other teachers (Finnigan & Gross). While these two
studies show the accountability model in a more positive way, both studies focused only
on elementary teachers, with no information presented about secondary teachers.
High levels of engagement with accountability. In addition to teachers who report
being inspired to implement new practices as a result of the accountability model, there
are teachers who support the accountability model because it serves as an important
emotional-professional support for them. For those teachers, their students high
standardized scores indicate to the public and to themselves that they are not the so-called
bad teachers; rather, they are the effective teachers (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2007). For these
teachers, their performance success and positive attitudes toward the judging authority
often go hand in hand and can mutually reinforce each other (p. 336). In other words, for
teachers who perceive that state standardized tests are a valid method of demonstrating
their effective teaching abilities, those teachers and their students tend to have a near-
singular focus of dedication toward preparing for the test and a collective willingness to
engage with the accountability (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2007, p. 339). This sharply focused
vision and positive attitude can increase schools scores, subsequent ratings, and
teachers morale (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2007).
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Low levels of engagement with accountability. Conversely, Mintrop and Trujillo
(2007) found that teachers in lower-performing schools tended to dismiss standardized
testing and subsequent scores as a valid way to judge both their effectiveness as teachers
and their students levels of knowledge. The authors studied 317 teachers and determined
that in schools with low scores, many teachers held negative views of the state test and
therefore did not engage with the accountability (p. 339). For this reason, chronically
lower-performing schools may continue to have difficulty increasing their ratings if
teachers struggle to see the benefits of buying into a system that labels their schools, their
students, and them as failing or ineffective.
Schools responses to engagement. Levels of engagement with the accountability
are further illustrated by comparing schools responses to their consequences. Diamond
and Spillane (2004) witnessed that administrators whose schools were on probation spent
most of their time working to get off probation; they attempted to motivate teachers
through a combination of threat and encouragement (p. 1170). Conversely, high-
scoring schools received positive, morale-building incentives, with administrators giving
the teachers feel-good awards. In the higher-performing schools, principals encouraged
teachers to applaud their own and other accomplishments (p. 1160), with the schools
test results displayed proudly around the building. Administrators understood that
publicly recognizing teachers for their students high performance helped motivate
teachers to continue to focus on increasing students test scores and believing the tests
were beneficial to their students, their schools, and to them. Additionally, unlike teachers
in many low-performing schools who must focus on remediation to bring students up to
grade level, teachers working in higher-performing schools are able to spend more time
60


focusing on instructional improvementthe explicit intention of [the NCLB]
accountability policy (p. 1162). One may wonder if the positive, reaffirming rewards,
both intrinsic and extrinsic, from teaching in higher-performing schools may explain the
differences in the teacher retention and recruitment of higher- and lower-performing
schools. The next section of this chapter focuses on the retention issues associated with
the testing, rating, and consequences model of school accountability.
Teacher Retention
In many lower-performing public schools, the current accountability model has
been associated with increased pressure (McCormick & Barnett, 2011; Mertler, 2011)
and lowered morale (Buchanan, 2010; Shyman, 2011) as well as lowered self-efficacy
and emotional exhaustion (Maslach, 1999; 2003; Maslach & Jackson 1981a, 1981b;
Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1986), all of which all have been linked to increases in
teacher burnout. Yet, there is another, perhaps more troubling issue facing many lower-
performing schools: teacher retention. This next section of the literature review highlights
issues of keeping effective teachers in the classroom and encouraging quality teachers to
want to work in lower-performing schools.
The teacher quality gap. Retaining effective teachers in lower-performing schools
is one of the greatest educational challenges facing schools and school districts today
(Freedman & Appleman, 2009; Hanushek, Kain, & Rivkin, 2003; Paone et al, 2008;
Richardson et al., 2008). The problem is staggering; on average, nearly 50 percent of
teachers in lower-performing schools leave the profession within five years (Darling-
Hammond, 2003). In fact, Carroll (2007) reports that in some of the most challenging
schools, teachers rates of quitting are higher than the drop-out rates of those they teach.
61


Prince (2002) argues that the majority of minority and poor students are segregated not
only by their race and their poverty, but also by their access to experienced teachers. The
Alliance for Quality Teaching identifies this phenomenon as the teacher quality gap and
defines the problem as a gap in the equitable distribution of qualified teachers
(Badolato, 2007, p. 3). In other words, there is an imbalance in the qualifications and the
experience levels between teachers in lower- and higher-performing schools.
The teacher quality gap is most often attributable to the chronic exodus of
teachers from lower-performing schools. This exodus creates a continual revolving door
(Ingersoll, 2004) through which veteran teachers leave their lower-performing schools
taking their knowledge and experience with themwhile new teachers enter, many of
whom have had no previous classroom teaching experience (Ingersoll). Losing
experienced, effective teachers and replacing them with often-inexperienced teachers is a
problem for lower-performing schools. This is because there is strong evidence to support
that teachers are less effective in the beginning stages of their careers, with their
effectiveness dramatically increasing after their first few years on the job (Clotfelter, et
al., 2004; Freedman & Appleman, 2009; Haycock & Crawford, 2008; Kain & Singleton,
1996; Paone, et al., 2008; Reichardt, et al., 2006). Unless lower-performing schools can
slow down the rate of this revolving door, they cannot expect to close either the teacher
quality gap or the student achievement gap (Darling-Hammond, 2003; Kain & Singleton,
1996). This dissertation is a next step in understanding what factors associated with
public school accountability affect high school mathematics teachers decisions to remain
in or leave their current teaching assignments.
The revolving door and reconstitutions. While the revolving door phenomenon
62


(Ingersoll, 2004) is widely understood to be a problem associated with teachers who
voluntarily leave their low-performing schools, there exists a new, yet equally
problematic and underexplored phenomenon rooted in the current accountability model:
the revolving door created by policy-based school sanctions, in which teachers are
removed from their low-performing schools. While policymakers assume that removing
and replacing teachers in lower-performing schoolsa tactic known as upgrading
human capital (Rice & Malen, 2003, p. 635)will infuse schools with a more
committed and capable teaching staff, the exchange often yields the opposite.
Upgrading human capital. The theory behind the paradigm of upgrading human
capital assumes that the replacement teachers and administrators are, by default, more
willing and capable than the previous staff in affecting increases in students standardized
test scores (Rice and Malen, 2003). However, these assumptions can be short-sited. When
significant numbers of experienced teachers leave their lower-performing schoolseither
by being replaced or by leaving voluntarilyincreases in student achievement
immediately can be threatened because equally skilled people . [are] not readily
available to replace them (Mintrop, 2004, p. 156).
That teacher turnover occurs more in lower-performing schools means that the
replacements in those schools likely are predominantly first-year teachers. Rice and
Malen (2003) reported that in three of the reconstituted schools in their study,
approximately 75 percent of those hired as replacements were first-year teachers. They
reported that many of the replacement teachers were not certified by the state, so in
addition to coping with the stresses and time requirements of being first-year teachers, the
new teachers also were required to enroll in evening and weekend teacher certification
63


courses (Rice & Malen). Given there is strong evidence to support that teachers
effectiveness dramatically increases after their first few years on the job, one may
question how replacing a large percentage of veteran teachers with a predominance of
first-year, over-extended teachers can bring about the necessary changes in achievement
the previous staff was unable to affect.
In their study on the human costs of accountability sanctions, Rice & Malen
(2003) found that in reconstitutions, the schools previous collegial networks of teachers
were blown apart, broken up, and destroyed (p. 651), which eliminated the
schools professional collaborations and ultimately lowered the morale of the remaining
teachers. As a result, of the teachers who were rehired and newly-hiredall of whom
were characterized as the most committed and effective teachersnearly 25%
subsequently resigned from the reconstituted school by the end of the first year. A large
number of the remaining teachers left after the second year, reporting they were
frustrated, disillusioned, and depressed (p. 651).
These findings in reconstituted schools run counter to the assertions of legislators
and policymakers who believe sanctions can be effective tools in motivating teachers to
try harder to increase their schools ratings (Amrein and Berliner (2002). Moreover, these
findings strongly suggest the belief that replacing existing teachers with new, seemingly
more effective teachers in an effort to increase standardized test scores is misguided.
Replacing a significant number of existing veteran teachers in attempts to increase
student achievement has shown to have the opposite effect on the remaining teachers
within the school, even those who were initially characterized as the most motivated and
capable educators. Similar findings surfaced in a study of Chicago schools that were
64


placed on NCLB-mandated probation. The study reported that of those schools on
academic probation, nearly all of the schools . experienced high levels of teacher
turnover as a result of probation (Finnigan & Gross, 2007, p. 617). While the studys
participants noted that they lost some ineffective teachers as a result of the sanction, they
also called the turnovers a detriment because all of the best teachers [eventually] left
(p. 617).
The best and the brightest. In a recent nationally broadcasted television interview,
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that all classrooms should be filled
with the best and the brightest (Vega, 2009, n.p.), and that when we find the absolute
stars (Vega, n.p.), we should not only recruit them to and retain them in the lowest-
performing schools, but we should also give them the support they need to thrive. For
those who believe the quality and the capability of classroom teachers is the key to
raising student achievement, Secretary Duncans announcement may seem like an
obvious fix to closing both the teacher quality gap and the student achievement gap.
However, the so-called best and the brightest are precisely those teachers who are most
likely to quit or fail in urban schools (Haberman, 2005, p. 162). Several studies have
examined teachers likelihood of leaving the profession and found that most leavers
possess higher I.Q. levels, higher college grade point averages, and higher college
standardized test scores than those who stay in the classroom (Boe, Bobbitt, Cook,
Whitener, & Weber, 1997; Darling-Hammond & Sclan, 1996; Haberman, 2005).
Additionally, for those who advocate closing the achievement gap by bringing in recent
graduates with advanced degrees (e.g., masters, doctorate, and professional degrees),
Boe et al. found that turnover was greatest for those teachers who had earned their most
65


recent graduate or professional degree within the past two years. But, perhaps the most
remarkable data on high-I.Q. teachers who leave the classroom suggest that for those
educators who perceive their goals to be primarily an intellectual undertaking, they are
eight times more likely to leave the profession than those who perceive their goals to be
more relationship centered (i.e., making a difference in students lives) (Quarts et al.,
2001).
Given these grim statistics on teacher retention, Secretary Duncans aspiration of
staffing struggling schools with extraordinary teachers may be frustrated. If the so-called
best and brightest feel they are not supported, if they feel they are blamed for their
schools low performance, if they feel threatened professionally (i.e., they may be one of
the 50 percent who are not rehired in a school reconstitution), or if they feel they are
subjected to any level of public naming and shaming (Mintrop, 2003, p. 3), schools
may not be able to retain them. If legislators, policymakers, and administrators goals are
to retain our most effective teachers, then it is important for them to understand these
retention goals may be thwarted if legislation makes lower-performing schools
unattractive places for extraordinary teachers to work and thrive.
How sanctions affect teachers views of retention. There is research to suggest
that public school accountability legislation may exacerbate the teacher quality gap;
Colorado House Bill 1065 was the focus of one of those studies. The legislation, which
ultimately was not passed but is still on the minds of many legislators, was intended to
link students standardized test scores to their teachers permanent, official state
employment record. In a study of veteran teachers responses to the proposed legislation,
reactions ranged from fear, to anger, to incredulity (Kirtley, 2009, p. 21). The studys
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participants believed that if the proposed bill were passed, it would exacerbate the teacher
quality gap. They believed this accountability move had the potential to drive teachers
out of their lower-performing schools, their lower-performing districts, or out of teaching
altogether (Kirtley). One veteran teacher compared working in lower-performing schools
to the farm leagues in baseball: You do your time, get experience, and then start looking
around (p. 13). Several other of the studys veteran teachers worried that, under HB-
1065, no one with aspirations of being a career teacher would want to work in a lower-
performing school for fear of permanently being labeled ineffective.
If accountability policies continue to target and identify teachers working in
lower-performing schools as the source of schools low accountability ratings, then the
legislation that initially was intended to help close the achievement gap ultimately could
undermine this goal (Clotfelter, et al., 2004). Accountability systems used to rate schools
give higher-performing schools the edge in teacher recruitment and retention (Clotfelter
et al., 2004). In other words, if teachers determine that higher-performing schools are
more attractive, stable, and less punitive places to teach, the accountability policies that
ostensibly were created to decrease the achievement gap and the teacher quality gap may
be creating even larger incentives for teachers to shun schools serving lower-
performing students (p. 270).
Mathematics Staffing Issues
Recruiting and retaining qualified, effective teachers is an issue that continues to
challenge lower-performing schools across the nation. This section of the literature
review concerns the next component of the dissertations conceptual framework:
mathematics staffing shortages. Within this section of the chapter, I will highlight how
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the nation is attempting to mitigate mathematics staffing shortages through the creation of
alternate teacher licensure programs. Additionally, I will examine why our staffing
difficulties may not be about shortages at all, but rather about retaining the teachers we
already have.
Alternate licensure programs. Over the past three decades, hiring sufficient
numbers of qualified secondary mathematics teachers has been a persistently difficult
task for schools in all segments of the country, and is particularly challenging for lower-
performing schools (Ingersoll, 2001; Quartz, et al., 2008; U.S. Department of Education,
2010; Vega, 2009). Because of these chronic staffing difficulties, the nations
government has attempted to solve the problem by creating incentives to entice people to
teach secondary mathematics in the hardest to staff schools (U.S. Department of
Education, 2010). These incentives include providing college tuition grants to encourage
students to earn their bachelors degree in secondary mathematics education, creating loan
forgiveness programs for recent secondary mathematics education graduates, recruiting
potential teachers from other countries, and granting teaching licenses to college
graduates through alternate licensure programs such as Teaching Fellows, Teacher in
Residence, and Troops to Teachers (Ingersoll, 2001; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009; Meyer,
2010).
The alternate teacher licensure programs have become popular programs. The
National Center for Alternative Certification (2010) reports there are currently 48 states
and the District of Columbia who utilize 136 alternate licensure programs to supply
mathematics teachers for their hard-to-staff schools. As a result, over the past twenty-five
years, alternate certification programs have yielded over a half million new teachers.
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Currently, nearly one-third of the new teachers nation-wide come from the programs,
with urban schools relying on them with increasing frequency (National Center for
Alternative Certification, 2010). In addition to government-sponsored programs, the
mostly-privately-funded organization, Teach for America (TFA), reports having placed
over 2,400 mathematics and science teachers in some of the most difficult-to-staff
schools over the last decade; TFA predicts that number will more than double in the next
five years (Teach for America, n.d.).
Is there really a shortage? To what do we attribute this nation-wide reliance on
alternatively licensed secondary mathematics teachers, particularly prevalent in our
lowest-performing schools? There have been two persistent and widely accepted
assumptions about this phenomenonoften labeled the teacher shortage. The first
assumption is that there are not enough new teachers to replace those who are retiring
also called the graying of the teacher work force (Ingersoll, 2001; Ingersoll & Perda,
2009). The second assumption is that there are not enough new teachers to handle the
increase in student enrollment due to the increase in Americas population (American
Association of State Colleges and Universities, 2005; Ingersoll & Perda). In response to
the belief we have a teacher shortage, our nation has charged colleges and universities
with failing to provide enough secondary mathematics education graduates to fill the
nations classrooms, a mindset that supports the ongoing creation and utilization of
alternate licensure programs (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009).
However, there are those who disagree with labeling the problem a teacher
shortage. Through their examination of the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) and the
Teacher Followup Survey (TFS) data from the National Center for Education Statistics,
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researchers found that there are indeed enough traditionally trained teachers coming
through the pipeline (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009, p. 33) from our colleges and universities
into our nations classrooms to cover both the graying of the teacher workforce and the
increase in student enrollment (Ingersoll, 2001; Ingersoll and Perda, 2009). In fact, the
data reveal that there are two-and-a-half mathematics and science teachers entering the
profession through traditional teacher certification programs for every mathematics and
science teacher who retires (Ingersoll, 2004; Ingersoll and Perda, 2009). When analyzing
the SASS and the TFS data, one finds only about twelve percent of teacher turnover can
be traced to traditional teacher retirement. However, more than three times that amount
(forty-two percent) is linked to teacher turnover stemming either from a lack of job
satisfaction or a desire to leave teaching to improve ones career options. Those forty-two
percent of teachers who left due to lack of satisfaction in their teaching careers, cited
issues of low salary, lack of administrative support, and lack of student achievement as
their main reasons for leaving (Ingersoll, 2001).
Recruitment vs. retention. With respect to staffing secondary mathematics
positions, Ingersoll (2001, 2003, 2004) asserted that our nation does not have a teacher
recruitment problem; our nation has a teacher retention problem. The majority of all new
teachers are recruited to replace veteran teachers who prematurely left their schools or the
profession due to lack of job satisfaction (Ingersoll, 2001). This means that schools
staffing issues are neither initially nor primarily a supply-side problem, in which there are
not enough new traditionally, trained teachers available (Ingersoll and Perda, 2009;
Quartz, et al., 2008). Rather, staffing issues are initially and primarily a demand-side
problem, in which schoolsprimarily lower-performinginabilities to retain many of
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their experienced teachers create an increased and an often impossible-to-meet demand
for replacement teachers (Ingersoll, 2001, 2003, 2004; Quartz, et al., 2008). In other
words, while there are at least enough traditionally trained teachers to replace teacher
retirements, increases in student populations, and typical family and medical reasons for
teachers leaving, there are not enough new, traditionally trained teachers to replace the
high percentage of teachers leaving lower-performing schools due to lack of career
satisfaction (Ingersoll, 2001, 2003; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009).
The imbalance of staffing issues. Teachers lack of job satisfaction in lower-
performing schools can create the revolving door phenomenon, through which
experienced teachers leave and, most often, inexperienced teachers enter (Ingersoll,
2001). The staffing issues created by the revolving door are by no means evenly
distributed (Ingersoll, 2001). Many high-income, high-achieving schools with relatively
low turnover rates report having waiting lists of highly qualified teacher applicants, while
lower-achieving schools with greater turnover, often report being unable to find enough
qualified applicants to fill their positions (Ingersoll; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009; Paone, et
al., 2008). Currently, lower-performing, high-poverty urban schools lose teachers at
nearly two-and-a-half times the rate of low-poverty, suburban schools (Ingersoll;
Ingersoll & Perda). Under these circumstances, the demand for replacement teachers in
lower-performing, high-poverty schools can overwhelm the supply of qualified,
traditionally-trained applicants. This imbalance in lower-performing schools abilities to
retain qualified veteran teachers can create recruitment inequalities and teacher quality
gaps, as higher-performing schools pick and choose from the many applicants and low-
performing schools struggle to take whomever they can get (Liu, et al., 2008).
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Evidenced by the lower turnover rates in higher-performing schools and the
higher turnover rates in lower-performing schools, the problems of teacher staffing
shortages point more to an issue of retaining our existing teachers rather than of
recruiting new teachers (Ingersoll, 2001, 2003, 2004; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009). In a
supply and demand model, when the demand for more teachers outpaces the supply of
new teachers, then there are only two solutions to the problem. The first solution is to
increase the number of new teachers available, although there are no guarantees these
new teachers will choose to work in or stay at the understaffed, lower-performing
schools. The second solution is to decrease the number of teachers demanded. In other
words, lower-performing schools must slow down the revolving door (Ingersoll, 2001).
Simply supplying more teachers to lower-performing schools will not stabilize or
mitigate the staffing issues, or help decrease the student achievement gap, if the recently
acquired teachers continue to leave at high rates.
Influx of New Teachers and Schools Ability to Gain Ground
Through my conceptual framework, I have proposed that the current public school
accountability model has the potential to create either an upward or downward spiral of
achievement for schools. The previous sections of the literature review have focused on
the accountability model, teacher pressures, teacher morale, burnout, retention issues, and
teacher staffing. This section examines the last two components of the framework by
exploring how schools ability to retain their effective veteran teachers can influence their
direction on the achievement spiral.
How much turnover? It is worth noting that having no teacher turnover in schools
would be unrealistic and would be unhealthy for the success of academic organizations
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(i.e., schools and school districts) (Ingersoll, 2001, 2003). Therefore, some employee
turnover is seen as normal and efficacious in a well-managed organization (Ingersoll,
2001, p. 3). Bringing in a small percentage of new teachers into schools each year allows
for fresh ideas and innovation (Ingersoll). However, high turnover rates in lower-
performing schoolswhich bring an influx of new teachersoften have the opposite
outcome, being both cause and effect of [schools] performance problems (p. 3). In
other words, high teacher turnover can negatively affect student achievement, which then
can negatively affect teacher retention if schools low-performance and sanctions make
struggling schools undesirable places to work (Ingersoll).
Ability to gain ground academically. With respect to teacher mobility, there are
data to support that effective teachers (as measured by their students growth scores on
standardized tests) who leave their lower-performing schools generally transfer to higher-
performing schools (Boyd, Grossman, Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2009). For this
reason, the revolving door phenomenon is one of the profound factors in lower-
performing schools struggles to gain ground academically (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2005). In
their 2003 study, Rice and Malen found that the veteran teachers in their high-turnover,
lower-performing schools believed the chronic influx of new, inexperienced teachers
made each school year feel as if they were starting over rather than building on the
existing experiences of the previous staff. The influx of new teachers created
organizational instability for schools attempting to increase student achievement. This is
because the new, inexperienced teachers coming into the lower-performing schools were
likely to repeat mistakes (Boyd, p. 1) rather than build upon the collective knowledge
and skills of the previous staff. Contrary to those who believe an infusion of new teachers
73


into lower-performing schools can enhance the human capital in a school (Rice &
Malen, pp. 635-636), the opposite is often true. Mintrop and Trujillo found most of the
newly hired replacement teachers in their study schools did not prove to be of higher
quality (p. 11) than those teachers they replaced.
Higher-performing schools. The issues of teacher turnover are quite different for
higher-performing schools. The consistent, one-directional pattern of teacher mobility, in
which experienced teachers transfer from lower-performing schools to higher-performing
schools, clearly benefits higher-performing students (Mintrop & Trujillo, p. 19). This is
because the experienced teachers bring with them classroom management skills,
curricular knowledge, and problem-solving experiences novice teachers have yet to
encounter or master. This infusion of skilled and knowledgeable teachers into higher-
performing schools has the ability to support and sustain the upward movement of those
schools (Mintrop & Trujillo). Lower turnover rates at higher-performing schools
(Diamond & Spillane, 2004) means veteran staffs are able to build on their collective
years of experience and their organizations stability as a means to productively respond
to high stakes testing (p. 1171). Because higher-performing schools are not threatened
with immediate sanctions, the schools instructional leaders are in a better position to
focus on instructional improvementthe explicit intention of accountability policy (p.
1162). This organizational stability is in sharp contrast to lower-performing or sanctioned
schools that generally experience mandated, rapid-fire changes (Margolis & Nagel, p.
153) and organizational instability as they struggle to increase student achievement in the
face of accountability sanctions.
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Conclusion
Within the pages of Chapter 2,1 have created a comprehensive literature review
guided by the studys eight components of the dissertations conceptual framework. I
began the chapter by giving an overview of the current public school accountability
model. From there, I examined the effects of the accountability model on teachers levels
of stress, morale, burnout, and retention. The last three areas of this chapter examined
how schools abilities to engage and retain experienced teachers, either mitigate or
exacerbate the effects of mathematics teacher staffing shortages. I also examined how
schools degrees of influx of new teachers can affect schools abilities to increase their
students achievement and their schools ratings.
The review of the chapters literature reveals that, while there are many studies of
teachers and accountability, there is a dearth of studies examining how the current
accountability model affects secondary mathematics teachers emotions and feelings of
retention. First, there are multiple studies of how accountability negatively affects
teachers working in lower-performing schools, but the participants were elementary
teachers rather than high school teachers. I reviewed several studies examining how high
school teachers felt about accountability, but there were no studies featuring ninth- and
tenth-grade mathematics teachers and their perceptions of yearly standardized tests. For
these reasons, this dissertation fills a void and adds to understanding the following
phenomenon: With respect to the current public school accountability model, what are
the experiences of the studys seventeen 9th and 10th grade mathematics teachers working
in the studys four high schools as they attempt to increase or sustain their schools
stoplight accountability ratings?
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Within Chapter 2,1 have substantiated that significant factors from the current
accountability model have the ability to affect teachers experiences in both lower- and
higher-performing schools. The affects of these factorsboth positive and negativeare
the focus of this dissertation. Identifying the factors that act on teachers willingness to
engage with and remain in their current schools fulfills another step in hearing and
understanding mathematics teachers perceptions of working under national, state, and
school district accountability mandates. The next step in this dissertation is to describe
the methodology of my study; this information will be detailed in Chapter 3.
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CHAPTER 3: METHOD
This qualitative study follows a hermeneutical phenomenological methodology
and was designed to describe, interpret, and understand the lived experience(s) (Van
Manen, 1990, p. 9) and perceptions of seventeen mathematics teachers working in four
MVPSs high schools. The goal of this study is to understand the following phenomenon:
Under the current public school accountability model, what are the experiences of the
seventeen 9th and 10th grade mathematics teachers working in the studys four high
schools within their lower-performing school district? To understand this phenomenon, I
collected data to answer the studys four research questions using semi-structured
interviews and the MBI-ES (see Appendix A). Through qualitative analyses of these data,
I sought to understand the teachers levels of the three dimensions of burnout, their
feelings of pressures and morale, their frequency of engagement in their work, and their
desires to stay either within their current teaching assignment or in teaching altogether.
Additionally, I wanted to identify characteristics within the four schools, the school
district, and the accountability model that mitigated or exacerbated the teachers
perceptions of these topics.
Chapter 3 begins by my describing and substantiating why, based on my past
experiences as a teacher in two lower-performing high schools, a hermeneutical
phenomenological methodology was the appropriate approach for this dissertation. From
there, I will reiterate the studys research questions as well as describe the sample, the
sampling technique, the data collection process, and the data analysis procedures.
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Full Text

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HIGH STAKES TESTING IN LOWER PERFORMING HIGH SCHOOLS: MATHEMATICS TEACHERS PERCEPTIONS OF BURNOUT AND RETENTION by Karmen Kirtley A.A., Northern Wyoming Community College, 1998 B.A., University of Wyoming, 2001 M.A., University of Colorado Denver and H ealth Sciences Center, 2004 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Educational Leadership and Innovation 2012

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ii This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Karmen Kirtley has been approved for the Educational Leadership and Innovation by Michael Marlow, Ph.D. Chair Michael Marlow, P h.D. Advisor Alan Davis, Ph.D. Susan Giullian, Ph.D. Catherine Martin, Ph.D. Date : April 10, 2012

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iii Kirtley, Karmen (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation) High Stakes Testing in Lower Performing Schools: Mathematics Teachers Perceptions of Burnout and Retention Thesis d irected by Dr Michael Marlow ABSTRA CT This dissertation grows from a concern that the current public school accountability model, designed ostensibly to increase achievement in lower performing schools, may be creating unidentified negative consequences for tea chers and students within those schools. This hermeneutical phenomenological study features the perceptions of seventeen ninth and tenth grade mathematics teachers working in four high schools within on e lower performing urban district. Two of the schools recently increased their overall accountability ratings, and two of the schools have been stagnant in their ratings, with the lowest al framework was created to understand how the current a ccountability legislation affects teachers, schools, and students either positively o overall rating s The elements of the framework address the le vels of and factors behind ty pressure, threat based stress, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and overall levels of burnout The their current schools or to stay in the profession alto gether. Furthermore, the framework was designed to to gain ground acad emically. This study found the three most important factors affect ing e motional environments were quality and consistency of

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iv held accountable, and having students held accountable for their standardize test scores T he most important f s or in the teaching profession altogether were having supportive administration, creating strong, collegial relationships within their depa rtment, and feeling successful. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Michael Marlow

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v DEDICATION Over my seven years as a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership and Innovation (EDLI) Ph.D. program, I have been exposed to ideas that have challenged and changed my thinking in every way possible As many who went before me have done, I too, began my doctoral progra m as o ne person and finished as another. The journey through my degree would not have been possible without those around me. I have had the support and interest of my committee members and the patience, love, and encouragement of my friends and family. For these reasons, I want to thank t he followin g people for being by my side during this extended journey of learning and change. My Committee Members: Mike Marlow, Alan Davis, Sue Giullian, and Cathy Martin, you have been supportiv e of my project from the f irst day I proposed studying high stakes testing in lower per forming high schools. Mike, you r big picture perspective guided my way, and each time we m et to talk about my work, you steered me in the direction that made t he most sense and the most impact. Your calm, reassuring de meanor and your willingness to talk whenever I had a question was on e of the reasons I finished this work. Alan, our conversation s about phenomenology helped me focus on what I truly wanted to convey to the readers of this dissertation. You always were hone st, interested, and helpful. Sue, you were the person to whom I looked for guida nce on education al policy, and you continued to help me appreciate the profound implications public schoo l accountability can have on our schools, teachers, and students. I could not have imagined attempting the topic of high st akes testing without y our expert input. Finally, Cathy, our

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vi conversations, no matter where they may have taken place, were meaningful and clarifying. I e njoyed sending you each chapter of this dissertation, because you understood the emotional meanings behind each teacher s words. My Friends and Colleagues: Ed, you were my closest friend and confidant during the last five years, and I relied on our conversa tions, both about our doctoral work and about all things not doctoral work. I will alway s love and appreciate you and Peggy. Joh n, y o ur continued interest helped me through the long stretches of writing. I will laugh each time I remember your stories about the carpet cleaner and the Ph.D. To those in my EDLI cohort and in our doctoral lab, you are my friends for life; our experience s have bonded us. To The Lionesses, my lady friends for decades, thank you for understanding that, while I wanted to go with you on those fu n occasions, I simply could not. But, now I can! And to my supportive coworkers, I thank you for your continued inte rest in my study and in my progress. The flowers and cards were lovely; I could not ask for better friends. My Family: Zena, thank you for sacrificing so much so I could fi nish my work. Knowing Dad and Mom were in your capable care made everything possible over the last five years. You also were my role model for finishing my education. For both of these reasons and more, I lov e you. Suzie and Kari, thank you for your interest in the current goings on in public education. I so appreciate d our conversations, and I will look forw ard to more of the same. And finally, thank you to my beautiful mother and father both of whom I lost

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vii during the last four years of my doctoral work. Seventeen years ago, you invited me back to Wyoming to fin ish my bachelor s degree, and your support put me on the road to my Ph.D. Mom I will always remember our telephone conv ersation when I told you I was thinking about starting a Ph.D. program. You listened patiently, and when I stopped talking, you paused and said, Let s do it! Dad, during one of our lovely conversations just the two of us before you passed you told me I should hurry and finish because you mig ht not make it if I didn t. Well, Dad, even though I didn t finish in time for you or Mom to read my dissertation or for you to see me graduate, I have some exciting news I want to share with you both: After seven long years, we finally did it!

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viii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS For the seventeen amazing teachers who believe d in my project and who sat for nearly three hours while I dug deeply into your teacher souls I thank you for sharing your feelings with me I was at once taken aback by your unguarded answers and thankful you allowed me to hear your stories and your perc eptions of what it is like to teach in your schools. You moved me emotionally over the last year and a half as I listened to your voices on the interview tape s and as I wrote your words on the pages of this dissertation. I know you go to work each day with hope in your hearts and passion in your souls, and I know each one of you is proud of your students and your schools I also know what motivates you: you teach because you want to make a difference in the lives of your students I consider all seventeen of y ou my fri ends and will think of you whenever the topic s of school accountability and teacher s surface You know better than anyone outside the classroom how accountability legislation affects you and your students. You know better than anyone outside the c lassroom what our schools need to be successf ul in helping our students. And, y ou know better than anyone outside the classroom what works in education and w hat is counterproductive in attempting to close the achievement gap. For these reasons and all othe rs, I admire each of you.

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ix TABLE OF CONTENTS Table .. Fig ... ii CHAPTER I. Sanction rganiz ational S tabili ty. Fu ... Difficulty Recruit ing Why Do Policymakers The Conceptual Framewor The R Why This S Who Is My Audience?................. ... .... ......................... ......... .................... 18 Key Term Overview of Res

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x Dat Method of Analysis Structure of the Dissertation. II. The The Acc No SB St Threat Stress, trust, c oop The i mpor t Teacher m orale and lower 2 Publ ic and me dia scrutiny 3 Descriptions of teacher b ur nout How is burnout d ifferent?....... .......................................... 47

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xi The t hree dimensions of burnout Emotional e xhaustion Red uced personal a ccomplishment Depersonalization B T Teacher Engagement and J 57 H igh levels of engagement with a ccou ntability 59 Low levels of engagement with a 61 The revolving door and r Upgrading human c The b est and t he b How s anctions etention . 66 Mathemat Al ternate licensure program 68 Is there r eally a shortage?.. .............. ................................. 69 R ecruitment vs. retention

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xii The imbalance of staffing i ssu Influx of New Teachers and S How much t urnover?................................. ........ ................ 72 Ability to gain ground Higher III. METHOD The Transcendental vs. Hermeutical Phenomenologies M The importance of d isclosure Leveraging my concern and c redibility The Research Questions Selecting the School District, the Schools, and the Teachers The Y arb H Sampli ng Data C ollection Proc The Int Instrumentation MBI ES

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xiii The t hre e dimensions of b Description and scoring of the MBI MBI ES valid Instrumentation 98 The Other Purpose for the MBI Qualitative D IV. R ESULTS FROM H The Four Harrison H i To What Do Teachers Attribute Harri Acco untabili The factors that e xacerbat ff ects on pressure and stress Threat based stress SB 191 Self e 123 Negative factors: lack of support .. 125 Negative factors: lack of trus t 128 Negative factors: too much to do Negative factor s

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xiv bilities? 133 Valid measure of teache bilities?. ................ 134 ating? .................. 136 ... 141 Motivation and Engagement Factors that d ecre ase motivation and engagement Factors that i ncrea se motivation and engagement Making a difference Teaching s Impa Conclusions to Findings from ... 161 .... 161 Accountab ility Pressur .. 164 Thr eat Factors that mitig 167

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xv 168 ... 169 170 Self Are high CSAP score s an important goal? ......... 171 efficacy Emo . 179 Positive factors .................... ............................... 182 Negative factors 186 Tea 190 s ... .. 194 .. 195 V. RESULTS FROM YARBOROUGH AND ONTARIO Yarborough High Sc To What Do Teachers Attribute Yar

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xvi 199 Threat 200 200 202 .. 205 Self .. 205 Factors increasing efficacy 206 Beliefs about increasing rating 207 An important goal? .. 208 A valid measure of abilities ?.................... .......... 208 Mitigating factors 210 Exacerbating factors 211 213 .. 214 Positive factors 215 Negative factors .................. ......... ..................... .. 216 218 218 .. 220

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xvii Central Administrations Impact on T 221 222 222 .... 223 224 .. 225 The demands are too high ....................... .. .......... 225 Threat based stress 226 228 229 .. 229 Deception and abandonment Factors that i Fe Self Negative factors: unrealistic expectations Is CSAP .... 239 Is CS AP .... 240 Is increasing scores an important goal? ........ ... .. 241 Emot

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xviii Exacerbating factors: change of leadership Exacerbating factors: mistrust of leader ship ...... 244 Exacerbating factors: feeling disconnected Exacerbating factors: lack of substitutes 245 Mitigating factors 246 D Motiva Positive factors Making a difference Negative factors Te .. 254 Staffing Shortages Influx of New Teachers, and Difficulties Ga Prin The effects on teachers School discipline and student achievement Reasons for high principal turnover 258 F Will they stay until school closes? ..................... ............ 260 .. 262 265

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xix 267 VI. DISCUSSION 269 269 Research Question 1: With r espect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of accountability, how do the seventeen levels of pressure, stress, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhausti on, depersonalization, and burnout?.................................. ........................... 270 Pressure, Stress, Morale 271 Depersonaliz 273 Research Question 2: With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of accountability, what factors within their high schools and their school district do the seventeen mathematics teachers be lieve either increase or decrease their levels of pressures, stress, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout?............................................................... ................................... 274 Princi 274 Inpu 276 Students Research Question 3: With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of accountability, how do the math ematics teachers working in their high schools perceive their levels of engagement and their willingness to continue to teach in their current assignment or in the teaching profession altogethe r?............................. 279 279 Willingness to Continue Teaching in Their Current Position Willingness to Continue

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x x Research Question 4: With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of accoun tability, what mitigating or exacerbating factors within their high schools or school district do the mathematics teachers believe affect their levels of engagement and their desires to stay in their current schools or in the teaching profession altogether ?........................................................ ...................................... 281 Factors Affecting Teach Mak Support Colle Fee 286 Concept Dis Resear Resear Inp Studen Research Qu Resear Maki ng a differenc

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xxi Stab Collegi Fe Discussion Conclusio Limitations o C hanges I Would Recommendations fo APPENDIX A. MBI 299 B. ... 300 C. Personal Information Questionnaire and Interview Questions 304 REFERENC

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xxii LIST OF TABLES Table III.1 School Demographics and III.2 Teacher Demographics essure/Stress, Threat Based Stress, Morale, Pride, General Self Depersonalization, Burnout, Motivation/Engagement, and Wanting to Make a Stay in their Current Position, Their Desires to Stay in the Teaching Profession for 280

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xxiii LIST OF FIGURES Figure .. 30 287

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1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Th is dissertation grows out of a concern that the curr ent testing, rating, and consequences model of public school accountability, ostensibly designed to attempt to increase student achievement in lower performing schools, may be creating unidentified negative consequences for teachers and students in those s chools. Within the pages of this perceptions of working in their schools and their lower performing school district under the current accountability model. To achieve thi s goal, I will begin with an introduction to accountability legislation and follow with descriptions of the issues associated with public school accountability. The 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal legislation, enacted under President Bush and th e current Race to the Top federal educational grants, enacted in 2010 under President Obama, were created ostensibly to increase student achievement in public schools and close the much publicized achievement gap (EDgov, 2011b). There are those who believe public schools and the principals and teachers within those schools should be held accountable for providing the best education possible for all students, those who believe regular, standardized testing coupled with publishable school ratings is an efficient and revealing way to determine which schools are progressing well and which schools are not making the grade (Mintrop & Sunderman, 2009). Paired with each public either a reward or a sanction del.

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2 without restriction or oversight. Unofficial rewards for high achievement may include positive media coverage (Merrefield, Streib, & Yarett, 2011), overall pride and positive feelings by the staff and students (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2007), and in some school districts, teacher pay for performance bonuses (Denver Public Schools). Offic ial (e.g., low, unsatisfactory, or failing) paired with the possibility of operating under external supervision or facing reorganization, reconstitution, or closure (ED gov, 2011b). Unofficial sanctions may include negative media coverage (LA Times, n.d.), reduced levels of positive feelings by staff and students (McQuillan & Salomon Fernandez, 2008; Kruger, Wandle, & Struzziero, 2007; Tatar & Gorenczyk, 2003), and reduce d opportunities for teacher pay for performance. Supporters of NCLB and Race to the Top praise the legislation for bringing national attention to issues of educational inequalities that previously were not addressed (Daly, 2009; Haycock, 2006; Vega, 2009) Supporters believe that exerting pressure on public schools and their school districts will help bring a positive educational outcome by reducing the disparities between low achieving and high achieving students (Daly, 2009; Haycock, 2006; Vega, 2009). H owever, along with the potential positive outcomes of the legislation, there exists the potential for serious negative unintended consequences, which may undermine the good intentions of NCLB and Race to the Top legislation. Sanctions and Race to the To p One may ask how holding publically funded schools accountable for educating

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3 students to proficient levels in reading, writing, science, and mathematics potentially can cause negative consequences. The concern lies not in the concept of accountability its elf, and differently, based on the overall performance of the school. For higher performing schools, accountability legislation can create a positive upward spiral, in which rewards can support positive environments for those hat teachers in higher performing schools received praise from their principals, were proud to display with all who would listen. The principals in the study believed publ ically exploiting their teachers in these schools were not affected negatively by emotional issues associated with sanctions, so they were free to focus their energies on in performing schools had higher morale, less and purposeful about instructional high accountability ratings. However, the spiral can take a downward direction for teachers working in many lower performing schools. E ducators working in sanctioned schools have reported feeling extreme pressure, anxiety, shame, and guilt (Jones, et al., 1999) as well as experiencing lower professional self efficacy (Berryhill, Linney, & Fromewick, 2009; Finnigan & Gross, 2007; Friedman, 2000; Rice & Malen, 2003), lower

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4 morale (Ferrandino & Tirozzi, n.d.; Finnigan & Gross, 2007; McQuillan & Salomon Fernandez, 2008; Mintrop, 2003; Mintrop & Trujillo, 2007; Rice & Malen, 2003), and an increased desire to leave their schools (Boyd, Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2008; Clotfelter, Ladd, Vigdor, & Diaz, 2004; Jacob, 2007). Each of the negative issues associated with the downward spiral referenced above ns of their work environment, but also affects the quality of education for their students. Ingersoll (2001) has asserted (p. 3). Historically, students i n lower performing schools lose their teachers at higher rates than do students in higher performing schools (Darling Hammond, 2003; Ingersoll, 2001, 2003, 2004). Continual changes in teaching staffs can create negative effects on the organizational stabil ity of lower performing schools, with lack of stability negatively affecting the achievement of students attending those schools (Freedman & Appleman, 2009; Haycock, & Crawford, 2008; Ingersoll, 2001, 2004; Liu, Rosenstein, Swan, & Khalil, 2008; Paone, Whi tcomb, Rose, & Reichardt, 2008; Reichardt, Paone, & Badolato, 2006). Issues of retention and organizational stability can surface as chronically under performing schools receive increasingly stiffer sanctions each year they fail to show sufficient growth. For these schools, sanctions can range from the least punitive action of placing schools on supervised improvement plans to the most punitive sanction of states seizing schools from school districts (U.S. Department of Education. Elementary and Secondary E ducation Title 1 monies, replacing administrators, and reconstituting schools a sanction in which

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5 all administrators are replaced and no more than 50 percent of the former teachers are re hired for the new, reconstituted school (U.S. Department of Education. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ) Each of these sanctions has the potential to affect the organizational stability of lower performing schools, which in turn, can negative ly affect the achievement levels of students enrolled in those schools (Ingersoll, 2001). Reconstitutions Two recent high profile examples of school reconstitutions made national headline news in 2010. The first example was the lower performing Central Fa lls High School in Rhode Island, in which school district officials asked teachers to work extra hours with students and perform extra duties without additional pay. When the staff refused, the board of trustees fired all teachers and subsequently hired ba ck approximately half of them (Khadaroo, 2010a). In a second high profile reconstitution, the superintendent of Savannah Chatham Public Schools fired the teachers and the administrators of the lower performing Beach High School in Savannah, Georgia. As in the Rhode Island reconstitution, only about half the staff was allowed to return (Khadaroo, 2010b). While these two reconstitutions made national headline news, this type of sanction is not unusual; in a typical year, between 20 and 30 schools nationwide a re reconstituted (Khadaroo, 2010b). In response to the reconstitutions, the current U.S. Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan, reportedly applauded the firings as a way to apply pressure to teachers in order to increase student achievement levels (Khadaroo 2010).

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6 (n.p.). Funding and Sanctions The Rhode Island and Georgia reconstitut ions as well as the predictions of more reconstitutions are in line with created American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, under which the federal government has funded the $4.35 billion Race to the Top educational grant co mpetition (Peterson & Johnston, 2010). In 2010, the first round of this competition promised that each winning state would receive millions of dollars in some cases, hundreds of millions of dollars in federal awards to tunities for students from grade[s] K 2010, n.p.). States could win Race to the Top grants by creating sanctions for their lowest money, their proposals must have included one or more of the following four sanctions for their lower performing schools: reconstitute the school by replacing the principal(s) and at least half the teachers; close the school, and reopen it as a charter school; close the school altogether, and enro ll students in higher performing schools; or transform the school through professional development aimed at improving the current teaching staff Act of 2009). In these financi ally difficult times, in which states and school districts struggle to balance educational budgets (Turner, 2010), one could understand why states would want to garner as much educational funding as possible. Unfortunately, garnering money by creating stif fer penalties for schools and teachers may be creating unintended negative

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7 consequences for the students in lower performing schools. If such accountability decisio ns to stay or to leave their current lower performing schools, this legislation ultimately has the unintended ability to undermine the goal of increasing student achievement. Teachers and Sanctions In at least two of the four Race to the Top mandated sanct ions listed above, the Obama administration explicitly identified teachers as one of the components that must be removed or improved (i.e., half of the teachers must be replaced in a reconstitution or teachers must receive professional development aimed at improving the current teaching staff). President Obama is not alone in his beliefs that ineffective teachers are a root cause of the student achievement gap. In a 2009 radio interview, Secretary Duncan pronounced that wherever there are schools in which c hildren are not succeeding (i.e., the students have low standardized test scores), teachers likely are a root cause of lower student fault. . We perpetuate povert poverty and social failure may be difficult for him to prove. However, many Americans, p. 9), recently seem willing to accept his assertion. There are other educational analysts who present a more moderate tone in their evement. These analysts

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8 important in school factor (Badolato, 2007; Paone, et al., 2008; Reichardt, Paone, & one chooses to accept this link between experience level, teacher quality, and student achievement, then it is important to determ ine if and how the current accountability model affects lower teachers. The issue of teacher retention is of particular importance when focusing on mathematics teachers, a group that provides chronic staffing challenges, especially in the lowest performing schools (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009). Difficulty Recruiting Math Teachers Secondary mathematics teaching positions continually make the annual hard to staff lists across the country (U.S. Depa rtment of Education, 2010. Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listing 1990 91 thru 2010 11 ). The majority of mathematics teacher recruitment issues occur in lower performing schools (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009; Liu, Rosenstein, Swan, & Khalil, 2008), creating potential chronic problems for sanctioned schools working to increase student achievement. In their study of the implications of mathematics staffing difficulties, Liu et al. found that of the most challenging secondary mainstream classroom positions to fi ll, mathematics was ranked first. Moreover, filling mathematics positions in lower performing schools is four times more difficult than mage of being difficult or unappealing places to work affected their ability to recruit and retain high quality mathematics teachers. They indicated hiring high quality mathematics teachers for their lowest performing schools

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9 was especially difficult when performing schools or school districts. With the challenges of attracting and keeping effective mathematics teachers coupled with increasi ngly stiffer sanctions, one may wonder how this pairing will continue to affect lower achievement levels and begin to narrow the achievement gap. Regarding the c urrent accountability model and sanctions, many teachers working in lower performing schools hold negative perceptions of the fairness and validity of the methods used to rate their schools (Anagnostopoulos & Rutledge, 2007; Nichols, Glass, & Berliner, 200 6; Malen & Rice, 2004; Mintrop, 2004; Mintrop & Trujillo, 2005; & Rice & Malen, 2004). Teachers who perceive sanctions as a burden rather than an incentive consider the sanctions to be unfair because they believe neither the test scores nor the sanctions r (Mintrop, 2003). Moreover, many mathematics teachers working in sanctioned high school s do not believe that, within their classrooms, they have the ability to overcome standardized test scores (Jones et al., 1999). To this end, many teachers in sanctio ned the subsequent sanction accurately reflect their teaching abilities (Jones et al.). Rather, teachers often reported caring more about how they perceive their s

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10 progress in class than about how students scored on standardized tests. (Mintrop and Trujillo, 2007). Paradoxically, even though many teachers argue against the current public school accountability model, most support some level of acc ountability for increasing their to make larger gains and more positive acknowledgement for making important smaller gains (Sunderman, Tracey, Kim, & Orfield, 2004; Lutz & Maddirala, 1988). Taking a Why Do Policy Makers Embrace Sanctions? Given the previously cite d studies in which teachers generally do not support extreme sanctions as a means of improving teaching and learning, why do many policymakers and legislators seem to embrace sanctions? It is worth noting there are those who believe the severity and rigidi ty of public school accountability models are stage for privatization (Berliner & Biddle, 1995; Bracey, 2003, 2004; Ravitch, 2010). However, within this dissertation, I ignore the privatization theory and accept the basis improving standardized test scores, closing the student achievement gap, creating students who are ready for college ( National Governors Association, 2009), and helping students succeed as adults in the competitive global economy (Darling Hammond, 2004; Peterson & Johnston, 2010; Vega, 2009). To meet these goals, policymakers maintain that every public school student, reg ardless of socioeconomic class, race, or geographic

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11 location, must be challenged by the best teachers and must learn in the best schools (Darling Hammond, 2004). To help create these so called best teachers and best schools, supporters of the current accou ntability model count on sanctions to motivate teachers working in lower performing schools (Mintrop, 2004; Sunderman et al., 2004). This line of reasoning asserts that external pressures will motivate teachers to perform better, which will result in highe r student achievement, which then will bring about increased school performance (Sunderman et al.). Through the public announcements of lower ools are threatened with severe punishments, teachers and administrators will be at once embarrassed of their ratings and inspired to work Glass, & Berliner, 2006) an illustrate the support and purpose of negative schools ratings, Jones et al. (1999), report of a little public s In their effort to succinctly present the philosophy of those who support the current accountability model as a method for improving student achievement, Amrein and Berliner (2002) suggest the following: 1. students and teachers need high stakes tests to know what is important to learn and to teach; 2. teachers need to be held accountable through high stakes tests to motivate them to teach better,

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12 harder; 3. students work harder and learn more when they have to take high stakes tests; 4. students will be motivated to do their best and score well on high stakes tests; and 5. scoring well on the test will lead to feelings of success, while doing poorly on such tests will lead to increased effort to learn (pp. 4 5). ikely to be false a good deal many consider the current accountability model to be a powerful motivational tool for lower performing schools (Mintrop & Sunderman, 2009), this approach has the potential to create emotionally harmful outcomes for teachers (Mintrop & Sunderman, 2009) and organizationally harmful outcomes for lower performing schools and the students in them (Ingersoll, 2004). The Purpose of the Disser tation As previously stated, this dissertation grows out of the concern that utilizing the current accountability model ostensibly designed to attempt to increase student achievement in lower performing schools may be creating unidentified negative consequ ences for teachers and their students within those schools (Jones, 2007). The purpose of this study is to understand the following phenomenon: Under the current public school accountability model, what are the experiences of the seventeen 9th and 10 th grad the study is to determine to what extent the model of accountability affects the seventeen

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13 efficacy, emotional exhaustion, d epersonalization, burnout, and their desires to continue teaching in their lower performing schools. Additionally, the purpose of this study is to identify characteristics within the four schools, the school district, and the accountability model that miti gate or The Conceptual Framework (see Figure I.1) to describe rating, and consequence; the pressure the teachers feel from the rating and consequ ence; stay in or leave their current teaching positions; the affect of staffing shortages on the ability to positively performing high schools are working within an upward achievement spiral, while the two lower performing high schools are operating within a downward achievement spiral. In other words, in the two schools where teachers hold experiencing lower levels of negative stress and burnout, and higher levels of morale and engagement. Moreover, are the high schools experiencing fewer issues of teacher

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14 Figure I .1. The Conceptual F ramework. This framework is used to describe the upward, downward, or status quo spiral of schools under the current accountability model. The framework begins with the Testing Rating Consequences Model cell and moves right. The spiral begins each year, be ginning with the top cell and ending with Levels of Difficulty Gaining Ground Academically. Conversely, are teachers working in lower performing schools experiencing higher levels of negative stress and burnout, and experiencing lower levels of mora le and engagement? Are their schools experiencing increased issues with teacher retention, math staffing shortages, an influx of new teachers, and gaining ground academically? The Research Questions If one chooses to believe teachers are the most sig nificant influence on student achievement, then understanding how to keep effective teachers engaged and retained in our lowest performing and hardest to staff schools would be information from which

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15 many schools and school districts could benefit. For the se reasons, I will focus on the following four research questions: 1. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of accountability, how do the mathematics teachers working in the levels of pressures, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and burnout? 2. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of accountability, what mitigating or exacerbating factor s within their hig h schools and their school district do the seventeen mathematics teachers believe affect their levels of pressures, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout? 3. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and c onsequences model of accountability, how do the mathematics teachers working in their high schools perceive their levels of engagement and their willingness to continue to teach in their current assignment or in the teaching professional altogether? 4. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating and consequences model of accountability, what mitigating or exacerbating factor s within their high schools or school district do the mathematics teachers believe affect their levels of engagement and the ir desires to stay in their current teaching profession or in the teaching profession altogether? Why This Study Must be Conducted There has been significant research published on how public school accountability

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16 affects teachers who work in lower performi ng schools; many of those topics are Jones, 2002; Rice & Malen, 2003) and other types o f sanctions affecting levels of teacher pressures (Nichols, Glass, & Berliner, 2006; Olsen & Sexton, 2009). Previous studies also have examined the affects of accountability and sanctions on teacher morale (Anagnostopoulos & Rutledge, 2007; McQuillan & Sal omon Fernandez, 2008), teacher motivation (Finnigan & Gross, 2007; Mintrop, 2003), teacher self efficacy (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2007, Berryhill, Linney, & Fromewick, 2009), and teacher retention (Boyd, Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2008; Sunderman, Tracey, Kim, & Orfield, 2004). While there is a growing literature on how accountability sanctions specifically affect the psyches of high school liberal arts and humanities teachers working in lower performing schools (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009; Liu, Rosenstein, Swan, & Khalil, 2008), there have been, to my knowledge, no studies focusing explicitly on the psyches of high school mathematics teachers. Additionally, there is currently a lack of research based understanding of how school accountability affects mathematics burnout and their subsequent decisions to continue, either in their current lower performing school or in the teaching professional altogether. For these reasons, several studies (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009; Liu, et al., 2008) have called for additional future research aimed at understanding how sanctions based accountability affects mathematics teachers. Furthermore, while the previously mentioned research brought attention to the individual topics of teacher pressures, morale, motivation, self efficacy, and retention, there exists, to my knowledge, no research that has used a framework similar to mine. As

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17 d consequence and the effect their My Experiences I did not come to study the topics within this dissertation through academic interest alone. Rather, I came to these topics through my first hand experiences of working in two lower performing high schools, one of which was closed primarily due to low performance and one that was under the threat of sanction at the time I wrote thi s dissertation. The reason I chose to study high school mathematics teachers in particular is because in the spring of 2012, the same semester I will have completed this dissertation, I will have completed my eleventh year as a high school mathematics teac her. Since my fourth year of teaching, I have experienced high levels of burnout and stress along with low levels of morale, all of which were associated with the accountability model of Over the past decade, I have taken to heart the task of helping students learn mathematics at a level that would have kept each of my schools open and free of sanctions. However, in my fifth year of teaching, my first lower performing high school closed; t he school district officials cited low student achievement as the reason for the closure. Despite my dedication to and focus on helping students learn mathematics to proficient levels, the school where I began teaching closed and subsequently reopened the following year with a new staff and a new focus. In the lower performing school where I currently teach, we

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18 increase to adequate levels. Topics of accountability pressures and teacher burnout in lower performing schools have been the main foci of my writing, reflection, and research for the past seven years of my doctoral program. My first hand understanding of teaching under accountability pressures has continually drawn m e to these topics, particularly as a public school accountability models, I understa nd the challenges facing many mathematics teachers working in lower performing high schools. That my teaching career began and nearly ended due to burnout under the NCLB legislation, allows me to care about the teachers who work each day with the purpose o f increasing student significant affects on their levels of mathematics achievemen t, either positively or negatively. Who Is My Audience? The information within this dissertation is intended for those at the federal, state, school district, and school levels who create, administer, and influence public school accountability legislation The information gathered within this study is aimed at helping legislators and administrators create a more inclusive understanding of how school achievement policies may affect high school mathematics teachers working in public schools, especially those mathematics achievement. More importantly, this study is intended to broaden the scope

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19 of understanding of how the testing, rating, and consequences model initially meant to close the achievement gap has the potential to achieve the opposite goal through a series of unintended negative consequences borne from school sanctions. Key Terms and Definitions This section contains the definitions of key terms I used throughout the dissertation. Accountabili ty Pressures: the result of sanctions that are intended to motivate teachers (and students), particularly in lower performing schools, to produce higher respect to motiv ation and morale for those teaching (and learning) in such schools (Abrams, Pedulla, & Madaus, 2003). Burnout: a malaise unique to those who work in the helping professions. Classic ositive perceptions about their careers gradually turn to increasingly negative perceptions (Maslach & Leiter, 1997). The three dimensions of burnout are emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and lowered self efficacy; these dimensions are evidenced whe n Current Accountability model: see Testing, Rating, and Consequences Model of Accountability below. High Stakes Testing: a year ly standardized test given to public school students in the areas of reading, writing, science, and mathematics, from which each public school receives a yearly rating (Colorado Department of Education, 2011a). Morale: Borrowing from the organizational w ork of Meyer, Macmillan, and

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20 Northfield (2009), this study defines teacher morale as a contextually based construct in 173). Reconstitutions: a sanction that can take various forms, but one that generally involves firing all or most of the current administrators, teachers, and staff (Rice & Malen, 2003). In a reconstitution, the go (p. 635 636) by hiring back no more than 50 percent of the previous teaching staff. The other 50 percent of the staff is replaced with different teachers, most of whom are thought to be more capable and comm itted than those they replace (Rice & Malen, 2003). Sanctions: a set of consequences that range from least to most punitive intended to motivate lower performing schools and teachers to increase student achievement on 2003, p. 2). Senate Bill 191 (SB 191): recent Colorado legislation passed outlining requirements for evaluating the effectiveness of Colorado public school teachers. The law mandates at least fifty pe growth, which include the state standardized test and other assessments determined by the school districts. This law mandates that teachers lose their tenure if they are deemed ineff ective for two consecutive years. Teachers can regain their tenure if they are deemed effective for three consecutive years (Colorado Department of Education). Staffing Shortages: the inability of schools generally lower performing to continually staff t heir classrooms with qualified or effective teachers (Ingersoll & Perda,

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21 2009). Stress: and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her reso Teacher Retention/Teacher Turnover: of ability to keep teachers in the classrooms. Researchers report that schools with high levels of teacher retention (i.e., low levels of teacher turnover) are often higher performing schools, while those schools with high levels of teacher turnover (i.e., low levels of teacher retention) are often lower performing schools (Ingersoll, 2004). Testin g, Rating, and Consequences Model of School Accountability: the name I created for this study in which each school is given a rating, based in large part on their scho ol then receives a consequence of either an award or a sanction. Throughout the dissertation, I also use the term current accountability model interchangeably with the term testing, rating, and consequences model of school accountability. Threat Based Str ess: This is a term used to describe the stress associated with the tenured or SB 191). Over view of Research Design This qualitative study follows a hermeneutical phenomenological methodology working under the current accountability model. My goal in this study is not to build theory or to work toward validating or generalizing the findings, as can be done within

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22 other methodologies (Moustakas, 1994). Rather, my goal is to describe and to interpret f helping the reader describe the sampling and data collection strategies and the method of analysis I used in this study. Sampling This study features seventeen mathe matics teachers working in four neighborhood high schools within Mountain View Public Schools (MVPS), a large urban school district located in Colorado. I chose the schools using a purposive sampling method (Creswell, stoplight Scho ol Accountability Rating (SAR) system (See past years, categorized as lower performing, the highest performing of the four schools was rated green for meets expecta tions, the two middle rated schools were labeled yellow for accredited on watch and the lowest performing of the four schools was rated red for accredited on probation (Colorado Department of Education, 2011b). Selecting schools with this range of ratings allowed me to compare whether or not the accountability model proportional, voluntary response sampling technique (Creswell, 2007). I sent an email invitation describing the study to all full time mathematics teachers working in the four schools. I then sent subsequent emails to those teachers from whom I had not received a response, until I felt that further email communication would genera te no more participants. Most of the seventeen teachers are

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23 having taught either freshman or sophomore mathematics classes at least one year prior to the start of the ir interview. Selecting the majority of participants using these criteria allowed me to focus on teachers who currently are and previously had been involved in teache rs had previous experience with the current school accountability model; the inexperienced teacher had only just finished her first year and had not received test data on her students. Data Collection Strategy As the teachers contacted me to participate in the study, we arranged an interview individually and lasted approximately two hours each. The interviews were taped using a digital recorder, and back up notes were taken. Wit hin each interview, participants answered thirty six open The participants also took and scored the Maslach Burnout Inventory Educators Survey (MBI ES), which measured their levels of emotional exh austion, personal accomplishment, and depersonalization. Their scores on the MBI ES were the focus of approximately one third of the interview questions. Method of Analysis I transcribed and converted the seventeen interviews into individual word document s and subsequently coded the transcriptions using data analysis software. Prior to beginning the coding process, I predetermined the thirteen coding categories based on the eight elements of my conceptual framework and the themes contained within the four research questions (Saldana, 2009). Within the thirteen main codes, I eventually had fifty

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24 sub the correct codes (Krathwohl, 1998). Structure of the Dissertation This d issertation will continue with Chapter Two, in which I present a thorough literature review of the research previously conducted on the topics of accountability pressure, morale, and burnout. Within Chapter Two, I also will provide a comprehensive review o f studies focused on issues of recruiting and retaining mathematics teacher in low achievement. In Chapter Three, I first will detail the design of this phenomenological study, present the four research questions, describe the school district, the four schools, and the seventeen teachers in the study, as well as the procedure for their selection. The chapter also will describe more thoroughly the data collection process, the interview questions, and the data analysis. Chapter Three contains an in depth description of the MBI ES along with information about the MBI tions within two chapters: Chapter 4 and Chapter 5. My purpose in dividing the findings into two chapters is to provide the reader enough description and interpretation (Van Manen, : Under the current public school accountability model, what are the experiences of these seventeen 9 th and 10 th their lower performing school district? Additionally, I will present the characteristics of the four schools and the school district that teachers believe mitigate or exacerbate any

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25 Chapter 4, I will present the findings from the interviews from the teachers at Newton High School and Harrison High School. I chose to feature these two schools in one chapter because Newton High School was a green rated school, while Harrison High School was the lowest yellow rated school in the MVPS district. Moreover, their responses to the interview questions could not have been more different. The responses from the teachers at the higher performing Newton High School were calm and straightforward; the responses from the teachers at the lower performing Harr ison High School were frenetic and urgent. Within Chapter 5, I chose to pair the findings from Yarborough High School with those of Ontario High School. Again, the responses from the higher performing Yarborough High were brief and more matter of fact, whi le the responses from the soon to close Ontario were more emotional and much longer. The reason, I chose to feature them together in Chapter 5. Within Chapter Six, I w ill broadly describe the phenomenon of working within phenomena between Newton High School and Harrison High School as well as Yarborough High School and Ontario High School. Additionally, I will compare and contrast the phenomena of teaching in the two lower performing schools, Harrison High and Ontario High as well as compare and contrast the phenomena of teaching in the performing schools, Newton a nd Yarborough. From these analyses, I then will offer caveats about the current accountability model as well as suggestions to policymakers, legislators, and administrators on how high schools can attempt to

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26 continue to engage and retain their effective ve teran mathematics teachers rather than lose them to higher performing schools, school districts, or other professions. Conclusion Most would agree that working to close the achievement gap between higher and lower performing students is an important educ ational goal. To that end, every student geographic location, socio economic background, or race. In order to provide quality educational opportunities for all students, sch ools must not only be able to recruit the most effective teachers for their mathematics classrooms, they must also be able to retain them. This is especially true for lower performing schools that currently have greater challenges in both of these areas th an do their higher performing counterparts (Ingersoll, 2001, 2003, 2004; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009). If lower performing public schools want to recruit and retain the most effective mathematics teachers, it is important to understand how the current accoun tability model assignments, as well as understand the forces that influence their decisions. In schools where teachers are able to avoid negative feelings about accountabi lity, those schools may have a better chance of keeping their experienced teachers than do schools where teachers hold negative emotions of accountability (Ingersoll, 2002; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009). In their efforts to create and administer legislation os tensibly to help close the achievement gap, lawmakers, policymakers, and administrators may fail to be fully aware of how the current accountability model as well as future accountability legislation

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27 may create unintended negative consequences. In other wo rds, for those lower performing schools having difficulty recruiting, retaining, and motivating effective teachers, the legislation may have the potential to impair the achievement progress of the students and schools the legislation was intended to help. This dissertation is an important step in giving those who enact, enforce, and administer accountability legislation a richer affect student achievement.

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28 CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE framework in a way that allows me to examine each of the components (see Figure The reader may notice that most of the studies cited in this chapter conclude that sanctions have the ability to create negative emotional reactions from teachers in lower increase student achievement. This imbalance within the liter ature review is due to the shortage of peer reviewed studies focusing on the benefits of consequence based accountability for lower performing public schools and the teachers and students within. The shortage is profound; in their report of the distributio n of peer reviewed studies on the topic of how accountability legislation affects teachers and their students, Buck, to showing the possibility of harm to those showing the possibility of benefits. Concerned by my inability to find academic studies suggesting that public school accountability legislation can motivate teachers to stay in their lower performing schools and work to increase student achievement, I emailed the o ffice of Colorado State Senator Michael Johnston. The Senator was the sponsor of Colorado Senate Bill 191 (SB 191), now a law that allows tenured teachers deemed ineffective to lose their tenure (see more information below). Senator Johnston and those who supported his bill believed this legislation ultimately would help increase student achievement in lower performing schools. Therefore, I assumed Senator Johnston or his office staff would be my source for peer reviewed studies supporting his believe that his teacher tenure legislation could

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29 their lower Staff indicating they were not aware of a ny studies suggesting these types of outcomes for this type of legislation (D. LeeNatali, personal communication, March 1, 2011). The sanctions are an overall effectiv e way to motivate and retain teachers working in lower performing schools are difficult to find. Therefore, this literature review is in line with the Buck et al. (2010) ratio of studies indicating the potential harms to those suggesting the potential bene fits of public school accountability. However, wherever studies on the positive influences of the current accountability model presented themselves, I included those findings in my literature review. The Conceptual Framework The framework (see Figure II.1 ) of this dissertation was borne from an extensive search perceptions of working in lower performing public schools. Many frameworks have addressed discretely or in limi ted combinations the affects of school accountability on (Brouwers, Evers, & Tomic, 1999; Kruger, Wandle, & Struzziero, 2007; Margolis & Nagel, 2006; Naylor, 2001), morale (Jones, et al., 1999;Kelchtermans, 2005; McQuillan Salomon Fernandez, 2008; Smith, 1991; Turner, 1998), burnout (Farber, 2000a; Farber, 2000b; Hanson, 2006; Lutz & Maddirala, 1988; Tatar & Gorenczyk, 2003), and their desires to stay in their current schools, in their current school districts, or in teach ing altogether (Boyd Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, frameworks have focused discretely on or in limited combinations of how accountability

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30 ties to recruit teachers (Boyd et al., 2008; Ingersoll, 2004; gain ground academically (Ingersoll, 2001, 2003; Mintrop & Trujillo, 2005; Rice & Malen, 2003). Figure I I .1. The Conceptual Framework. This framework is used to describe the upward, downward, or status quo spiral of schools under the current accountability model. T he framework begins with the Testing Rating Consequences Model cell and moves right. The spiral begins each year, beginning with the top cell and ending with Levels of Difficulty Gaining Ground Academically. olistic approach to understanding how the current public school accountability model of testing students, rating schools, and

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31 anizational effectiveness. Through the framework presented here, one is better able to understand the factors that can determine Within this chapter, I will dedicate a section to each of the following components of the framework: (a) an overview of the standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of schools accountability; (b) teacher pressures; (c) teacher morale; (d) teacher burnout; (e) teacher retention; (f) staffing shortages and the reliance on alternate licensure academically. The Accountability Model The first component of my conceptual framework is an overview of the testing, rating, and cons equences model of public school accountability. The accountability model is the foundation of NCLB and begins with all public school students taking their standard te sting method is titled the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP), with testing beginning in 3 rd grade and ending in 10 th grade. The 9 th grade CSAP tested subjects are reading, writing, and mathematics; the 10 th grade students are tested in those three subjects as well as science (Colorado Department of Education, 2011a). When all Colorado public schools have finished administering the CSAP tests to their students, the tests then are sent to a private company for scoring. Near August of the same year, t he

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32 Performance Framework (SPF). The CSAP test scores have a significant affect on the consequence. The SPF ratings follow a color coded system: blue represents a Distinguished status; green represents a Meets Expectations status; yellow represents an Accredite d On Watch status; orange represents an Accredited On Priority Watch status; and red represents an Accredited on Probation status (Colorado Department of Education, 2011b). Generally speaking, the blue and green rated schools received positive awards (e.g ., the ability to operate without the influence of outside monitoring, without sanctions, or without school improvement plans), and the yellow orange, and red rated schools receive sanctions (e.g., school improvement plans, staff professional development aimed at improving the teachers, external audits, reconstitutions, or closures) (Colorado Department of Education, 2011c). These rewards and sanctions, based in large part on accou ntability was created. In order to determine if public schools are serving their students to the highest standards, NCLB mandates all public schools must be rated and school s are performing and subsequently make informed decisions of which schools they want their children to attend. The following section gives more information on NCLB and its creation and controversy. No Child Left Behind Signed into law on January 8, 2002 (Ed.gov, 2007), the No The law is the reauthorization of President n Act,

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33 poor students (NEA, 2011). NCLB ostensibly was designed to address and mitigate the and highest performing student s. Since accountability for results, expanded flexibility and local control, expanded options for (EDgov, 2011a). Additionally, the law emphasized increased funding for poorer school districts (EDgov, 2011a) public school within any state receiving federal funding must produce an annual report ethnicity, disabilities, and limited English proficiency (EDgov, 2011a). This disaggregation of data ostensibly is intended to ensure that schools do not f ail to report the scores of students who fall into these four categories or subgroups. Under NCLB law, schools serving these subgroups must show adequate yearly progress (AYP) for each subgroup. Recently, NCLB has come under fire for mandating unrealistic discrete goals rather than targeting growth, being too punitive, especially to schools that serve minority and poor children, encouraging states to lower their standards, and failing to meet financial goals to states due to underfunding (ED.gov, 2010). In response to the criticisms, President Obama created his blueprint to overhaul NCLB, calling for restructuring of the law by the fall of 2011 (ED.gov, 2010). Taking into consideration the many and varied criticisms of NCLB, President Obama created mandates for states to

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34 (ED.gov, 2012). Race to the Top verhaul of NCLB will continue to be high stakes standardized testing, from which schools will be rated and e Top grants awarded to states that presented aggressive plans on increasing the performances of their lowest must have included at least one of the follow four sancti ons for their lowest performing schools: reconstitute the school by replacing the principal(s) and at least half the teachers; close the school and reopen as a charter school; close the school altogether and enroll students in higher performing schools; or transform schools through professional development aimed at improving the current teaching staff (Bland, 2010). SB 191 In response to the Race to the Top grants, Colorado SB 191 was created and subsequently passed into law in May 2010. The legislation m andates new he remainder yearly evaluations from their principals, twice yearly evaluations from trained peer observers, and yearly student surveys, in which all students have the opportunities to evalu ate the effectiveness of their teachers (Colorado Department of Education). Based on the evaluations above,

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35 SB 191 public school teachers may lose their tenure under SB 191 if they are considered ineffective for two consecutive years. Teachers then may reg ain their tenure after three consecutive years of increased student test scores and satisfactory evaluations. conceptual framework by giving an overview of NCLB, Race to the Top grants, and SB 191 as the foundational elements of the current accountability model within Colorado. Over the pages of the next section, I will feature the second component of the framework: accountability pressures. I will address how working under the a ccountability model of and positively, depending on the environment in which teachers work. Stress and Threats Most of us likely hold an implicit understanding of pres sure and stress and generally would understand the nature of stress from our own life experiences. However, for this study, I will borrow from the work of Lazarus and Folkman (1984), in which stress is defined as the relationship between a person and his o r her environment, and in fairness, their professional and economic fears, and their emotional willingness to engage in school reforms. Accountability s tressors For those educators who are highly committed to their profession, teaching can be inherently stressful (Brouwers, et a l., 1999; Naylor, 2001; Travers & Cooper, 1996) and demanding (Tomic & Tomic, 2008). Moreover, most

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36 highly committed educators give substantially more than minimum effort and contracted time in attempting to reach their students both academically and perso nally (Naylor). In the 2007 study of forty high school teachers, DiBara (2007) confirmed these findings consuming profession, with many of the participants wondering if they could sust ain the necessary day to day efforts in order to continue teaching in the years to come. These demanding number of absences from work, their perceptions about their abi needs, and their attitudes about remaining in their current teaching assignments (Naylor). While Naylor argued that the majority of teachers in all schools across the nation voluntarily devote more time and effort than their forty ho ur workweek supports, these issues can be exacerbated for the teachers working in lower performing schools (Naylor). This is because the workloads for teachers have expanded in most lower performing and sanctioned schools as schools and school districts wo rk to increase student achievement (Berryhill, Linney, and Fromewick, 2009). In a study of 100 elementary teachers working in lower performing schools, half with 80 p ercent reporting having either too many accountability tasks or too little time to complete them (Berryhill et al., 2009). Additionally, a study of 236 elementary education teachers working in sanctioned South Carolina schools found that more than seventy six increased was

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37 Threat based stress In addition to increased stress through increased work hours, teaching position (Kruger, Wandle, & Struzziero, 2007). For t eachers working in schools slated to be reconstituted or closed, teachers can feel professional and economic stress as they wonder where, or if, they will be teaching in the coming years. I have labeled this type of pressure threat based stress. Threat bas ed stress and subsequent ratings of lower performing schools. Evidence of teachers losing their rdized test performance includes the actions of former and staff received notice they, too, would be fired (Lewin, 2010). When looking at the outcomes of accountability on Colorado teachers, one may wonder what effects Colorado SB 191 has on the threat based stress lev els of teachers currently working in lower performing or sanctioned schools as well as those who may be considering working in lower performing or sanctioned schools. To further illustrate the concept of threat based stress, Olson and Sexton (2009) inte rviewed six English teachers from a lower performing rural California high school facing both declining student enrollment and the threat of state receivership. Several of

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38 ent of by being made an example The pre vious findings align with the Mintrop and Trujillo (2005) study of nearly 2,000 fourth through eighth grade teachers in seven states. Teachers in schools with threat unfriendl y work environments in which they felt defensive. Similar findings by Diamond principals applied threat based stress to her teachers during a staff meeting. The principal a ttempted to motivate her teachers by advising them the school reform probation manager an attempt to comfort her staff, the principal advised her teachers she would give them all ice may actually do more harm by creating distrust, defensiveness, and anxiety in an already stressful career (Kruger, Wandle, & Struzziero, 2007). Stress, trust, cooperation, and school r eform When comparing the levels of trust and openness of elementar y teachers, Daly (2009) studied 453 teachers in eight

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39 sanctioned schools and six non sanctioned schools in southern and central California. Daly found the teachers working in the sanctioned elementary schools had lower levels of perceived trust of administ rators, policymakers, and legislators and less perceived professional input in the decision making within their schools, all of which increased the Mintrop and Trujillo (2005) found that their teachers became more self protective and less open under their threat based school improvement plans. Mintrop and Trujillo warn that when the effects of the accountability model create environments where teachers feel professionall y defensive and threatened, teachers also can become negative about themselves and their students. These negative feelings ultimately can alienate teachers, efforts to inc rease student achievement. The findings of Mintrop and Trujillo (2005) support the work of Margolis and Nagel (2006) who investigated the interactions between school reforms, administrative support, and teacher stress levels. They found teachers working i n lower performing or sanctioned schools often perceived accountability legislation as threatening, autocratic, the mandates and consequences, of which they had no input, caused them to feel more stressed, less trustful, and less open to engaging in the reform process. Moreover, the told to do it. Teachers have been called the gatekeepers to reform policies, either accepting or

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40 rejecting the school improvement plans in their day to day teaching (Cuban, 2004). However, there is no evidence to su ggest that creators and administrators of the reform mandates give consideration or even know they need to give consideration to how 153). Evans (1996) emphasizes tea changes (e.g., stress, opposition, lack of buy in, and remorse) typically have been ignored and disparaged by those who create and administer the mandates. Evans warns that disregarding and ridiculing teach 92). The i mporta nce of positive e nvironments While teachers working in fear based environments have reported negative emotional outcomes, the opposite is true for teachers working in supportive school environments. These teachers report having higher expectations for themselves, their schools, and their students; these are the at titudes necessary for increasing and sustaining student achievement (Finnigan & Gross, 2007). itive professional outlooks and who feel energetic toward their work exhibit important components of teacher effectiveness. This argument is substantiated by the work of Margolis and Nagel (2006) who found that teachers working in lower performing schools and appreciated and trusted that school leadership had their long term personal best

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41 Morale The third component of my framework addresses the issues of teacher morale as they pertain to the current school accountability model. In their research on employee morale, Rempel & Averno (1967) define workplace morale as a condition where employees are interested in and enthusiastic about their work. They add that high levels of morale are associated with engagement in the achievement of both their own professional goals as well as those of their group or their team. In terms of school achievement, the group or team about which Rempel and Averno write could be also borrows from the work of Meyer, Macmillan, and Northfield (2009) by defining and that positive teacher m and subsequent satisfaction of teachers have been shown to be precursors to the academic needs and satisfa The strong link between teacher morale, motivation, and school improvement (Ofoegbu, 2004) is an i mportant concept for policymakers, legislators, and administrators to understand as they work to increase student achievement as a means to closing the achievement gap. If lower performing schools want to increase achievement, they must

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42 first have motivate d, positive, and enthusiastic teachers in their classrooms. Since for rewards will motivate them and their students to perform at higher levels (Finnigan & Gros s, 2007), it would be beneficial to those creating, enforcing, and administering the current accountability model to understand how sanctions and rewards actually affect and motivate teachers. Tea cher morale and lower performing s chools Finnigan and Gros s (2007) report performing schools, Finnigan and Gross found that teachers whose schools were able to turn around their unsatisfactory ratings felt more motivated, confident, and encouraged. Positive outcomes can put teachers, students, and their schools, on the positive, upward spiral (Finnigan and Gross). However, teachers whose schools remained unsatisfactory in their accountability ratings reported the lowest levels of morale and efficacy and the highest levels of pressure and anxiety. Finnigan and Gross warn that because of these negative unintended consequences, the power of teacher morale as a determinant variable in increasing Unfairness and m orale When examining how the current accountability model of the fairness and equity in how mandates and consequences are determined and distributed. When researching the emotions of teachers working in three Massachusetts middle and high schools, McQuillan and Salomon Fernandez (2008) reported that their teacher

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43 They believed their schools, which served a high number of English language learners, were held to the same standards as charter schools, which the teachers believed could accountability system held them responsible for the high achievements of their students who came from homes that did not support high achievement (e.g., not being read to, not hearing and speaking English the language of standardized testing, and not hearing high level usage of a language within the home). The teachers felt these factors should have been taken into account, since they believed those factors signifi cantly influenced underperforming public announcements of their ratings meant the public labele d them as failures, which subsequently led the teachers to lose faith in themselves professionally. McQuillan and Salomon of the quality of their own teaching. Public and media s crutiny While there are those who believe that publically performing schools is a powerful method for motivating the teachers and students within, t here is research to support that this practice can have negative psychological effects on teacher morale (Diamond & Spillane, 2004; Jones et al., 1999). When examining the effects of media coverage on school reconstitutions, Rice and Malen (2003) found tha of the coverage often implied that teachers and principals working in sanctioned schools

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44 coverage of their schools meant they not only we re targets of legislative sanctions, but want these . teachers reassigned to their coverage o performing schools also have but m psyche s (Mintrop & Trujillo). In a lower performing school in Boston, one of the underperforming: If others perceive us that way, then I take it to heart, I take it personally. Fernandez, 2008, p. 16). Some of the naming and shaming can have long feelings of losing their professional reputation. Kirtley (2007) uncover ed the shameful feelings of an early career middle school science teacher whose lower performing school

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45 went into state receivership. Three years after the closure, the teacher continued to carry school she believed others professional accomplishments from the negative publicity her scho She wondered if, as she applied for other teaching positions, anyone would want to hire As referenced in Chapter 1 of this dissertation, the former North Carolina State Su would encourage lower performing schools to perform better (Jones, et al., 1999). While this method of attempting to increase teacher motivation and student achievement is u sed in school accountability models, shaming is not a strategy generally employed by those outside public education (Ferrandino & Tirozzi, 2010). Moreover, using shame as a tool to attempt to motivate teachers in lower ase However well intended and valuable purposeful public scrutiny may seem as a (Mintrop, 2004, p. 150) often producing opposite and unint ended consequences (Clotfelter, Ladd, Vigdor, & Diaz, 2004). Intensified pressures of public accountability and scrutiny have the potential to make many lower performing public schools unattractive place to recruit and retain teachers, which can negatively impact the achievement of students enrolled in those schools (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2005). If teachers feel they are being judged and blamed rather than supported and understood, then public

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46 urn off the very people teachers, this defensiveness and loss of idealism can lead to a chronic and damaging condition know as teacher burnout. Teacher Burnout This section of the literature review examines the fourth component of the burnout from a practical as well as theoretical approach, by first describing and defining teac exhaustion, self efficacy, and depersonalization. Through a presentation of the historical overview of burnout and a recent examination of the current literature, this s ection will highlight teacher burnout as it pertains to the current school accountability model as well as the research indicating ways we can help teachers avoid burnout and remain engaged and satisfied in their careers. Descriptions of teacher b urnout (Rudow, 1991) widely affecting teachers across our nation (Maslach, 1999; Tomic & Tomic, 2008). Burnout is described as a (Kelchtermans, 1999, p. 176) and is an experience in which the same set of job stressors are viewed differently by each teacher

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47 stressors and subsequently inf (Kelchtermans, 1999, p. 180). For this reason, the presence of stressors no matter how intense they may be does not guarantee all teachers will react to the same stressors in the same way and certa inly is no guarantee that all stressed out teachers will burn out. Teachers who perceive their work environments to be negative with respect to stress, pressure, morale, and motivation, may be experiencing some level of burnout (Maslach, 1999, 2003; Masla ch & Leiter, 1997; Maslach & Schaufeli, 1992). Negative working conditions have been cited as the reason why an estimated thirty five percent of teachers report being profoundly unhappy in their careers (Farber, 1999), the reason an estimated twenty percen t of teachers report experiencing high levels of burnout (Farber), performing schools within their first five years of service (Darling Hammond, 2003; Farber, 1991; Freedman & A professional dissatisfaction and teacher burnout are not anomalies, but common occurrences (Farber, 1991). As a result, burned out or dissatisfied teachers generally take one of four actio ns: leave teaching altogether, move to a higher performing school, move into administration, or stay put and feel trapped. Each of these actions has the power to create, exacerbate, or sustain academically unstable environments for lower performing schools and the students within those schools (Finnigan & Gross, 2007; Mintrop, 2004; Rice & Malen, 2003). How is burnout d ifferent? Obscured by the multitudes of definitions from the early years of study, the term burnout came to incorporate nearly every possib le personal dissatisfaction one could encounter. Farber (1991) reports that many people continue to

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48 depression, demoralization, disillusionment, and alienation to describe similar work spect to the current, everyday use of the term, there remain competing conceptions and misconceptions, with [word] is an overused, inconvenient excuse of the lazy and s elf 4). Among burnout theorists, the malady is distinguished as a circumstance only of workers who enter the helping professions (e.g., teachers, social workers, mental health workers, nurses, and doctors) (Maslach, Jackson, & Le iter, 1996) with high motivation and expectations of deriving emotional or morale significance from their work. Burnout s, they enter the helping profession with the purpose of making a difference. The symptoms of burnout, unlike other maladies (e.g., depression, fatigue, or alienation), are specific to those working in the helping goal of making a positive difference in the lives of those they help. Consequently, unless one enters a helping profession with that intent, one can be unhappy, but one cannot be burned out (Pines). The sym ptoms of b urnout The classic symptoms of teacher burnout reveal

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49 affect ing positive change in those they teach (Byrne, 1999; Maslach, 1999) have been teac hers begin to believe they are unable to affect the changes in their students they had originally envisioned. Cherniss (1995) found that when teachers accept these negative feelings as their realities, additional symptoms generally surface. These symptoms include dedicating less time to lesson planning, becoming less caring and committed to professional development, and beginning to see the exciting career in which they planned burned out or worn out as Farber (1991) suggests their symptoms begin to invade more of their psyches. Burned out teachers can lose their patience and optimism, and they begin complaining more about their working conditions, job requirements, and salaries that, in the beginning of their careers, were non issues. Perhaps the most telling symptom of full on burnout is when the once idealistic positive educators have made explicit to themselves the depth and breadth of their frustration, pain, anger, and resignation; they have told themselves there is no hope. Originally needing to feel they are making a difference through their work, burned out teachers likely perceive they have failed to meet this closely held and deeply personal goal (Pines 1993). The three d imensions of b urnout Teacher burnout is a complex emotional

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50 phenomen on defined by three dimensions: emotional exhaustion reduced personal accomplishment (lowered self efficacy), and depersonalization. (Byrne, 1999; Cherniss, 1995; Farber, 1991, 1999, 2000b; Maslach, 1999, 2003; Maslach & Leiter, 1997). These three dimensio when feelings of self emotional caring for their students turns to pessimism (Byrne; Maslach; Maslach & Leiter). The fo llowing sections describe each of the three dimensions of burnout and then identify the problems associated with each. Emotional e xhaustion Generally characterized as the stress component of burnout (Maslach, 1999, 2001), emotional exhaustion refers to feelings of being worn out, depleted, empty, and lacking energy (Maslach; Maslach, 2003; DeHeus & Diekstra, 1999; Maslach & Leiter, 1997). Emotional exhaustion relates to the amount of preparation time and energy required to be an effective teacher; burned out teachers may Although emotional exhaustion is generally considered the necessary stress component of burnout, emotional exhaustion alone is not sufficient to def ine burnout. Rather, emotionally and cognitively from their work presumably as a way to cope with work Reduced personal a ccomplishment Within the multidimensional framework of burnout, the reduced personal accomplishment dimension is generally considered to be conception of self component. Referring to perceptions of lowered self feelings of reduced competence in their

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51 ability to achieve their goals (Maslach, 1999; Maslach & Leiter, 1997; De Heus & how much effort they are willing to expend a nd how long they are willing to continue at those tasks (Bandura, 1997). When teachers perceive themselves as ineffective in reaching their personal or professional goals as defined differently by each teacher or as in the case of this dissertation, when t eachers believe they are ineffective at meeting the mandated increases in student achievement, they often lose their self confidence and professional self esteem (Maslach & Leiter). At this point, teachers may experience feelings of inadequacy or guilt and may have trouble feeling positive about their professional abilities. They may choose to withdraw their efforts toward attempting to increase student achievement or may even decide to leave the teaching profession altogether (Farber, 1991). Depersonalizat ion Considered to be the perceptions of students component in negative, dis teachers perceiv e their students to be the source of their pain and is the reason teachers often withdraw emotionally and physically from their students (Maslach & Leiter, 1997; Maslach; Farber, 1991). Teachers with high levels of depersonalization may believe the followi ng:

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52 of these struggling teachers has a negative consequence that contributes to the downward feedback from their students, one of the important reasons they became teachers (Lor tie, 1975). However, as bad as cynicism and depersonalization may seem, they ostensibly serve a purpose of protecting the burned out teachers may believe that dis paraging students and keeping students at a distance will help them deal with their psyches and their abilities to teach effectively (Maslach & Leiter). This study will w ork subsequent ratings and consequences. Burnout past and p resent When H erbert Freudenberger introduced the phenomenon of burnout in a 1974 psychological journal, there had previously been only descriptions of those who were unhappy in their people oriented professions. In his 1980 book Burn Out: How To Beat the High Cost of S uccess, Freudenberg wrote poignan tly of a burned out building:

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53 [It] had once been a throbbing, vital structure . where there had once been activity, there are now only crumbling reminders of energy and life . The outer shell may seem almost intact Only if you venture inside will you be struck by the full force of the desolation (p. xv.). Freudenberger believed that, like buildings that have been burned out, people also could be burned out. After Freudenberger released numerous articles on the n ewly named condition, there became an abundance of empirical research and a dearth of theoretical understanding, because there was more research conducted by practitioners rather than by scholars (Maslach, 1999). That researchers initially labeled burnout not develop from theoretical frameworks; this made early attempts at interpreting the findings in a consistent way difficult (Maslach). However, over the past three decades, teacher burnout has been well researched and documented (Bowers & Tomic, 2000; Byre, 1999; De Heus & Diekstra, 1999; Farber, 1984, 1991, 1999, 2000; Kelchtermans, 1999; Maslach, 1999; 2003; Maslach & Jackson, 1981; Maslach & Le iter, 1997; Maslach & Schaufeli, 1992; Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001; Pines, 1993, 2002, 2004; Prince, personalities (Ghorpade, Lackritz, & Singh, 2007; Kokkinos, 2007), to orga nizational factors (Byrne, 1999; Ingersoll, 2001, 2003, 2004) to existentialist motivation (Pines, 2000, 2002, 2004). However varied the original causes of burnout, sources of teacher burnout are significantly different now than they were decades ago (Far ber, 2000a). Teachers in the 1960s suffered from burnout because of their frustrations and disappointments that their students were not performing at the level to which the teachers internally desired. However, teachers in the last twenty years report feel ing burned out from receiving

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54 external pressures from their principals to increase standardized test scores (Farber, internal disappointments, but by the external demands of school accountability (Farber; Hanson, 2006). Burnout more often stems from teachers feeling they are judged as being pp. 675 676). These current accountability gauges can create undue pressure and stress on teachers if they begin to doubt their professional efficacy in reaching mandated achievement outcomes (Friedman, 2000). The reciprocal r elationship For most who en ter the teaching profession with the enthusiastic and idealistic goals of affecting positive change in their students (i.e., making a difference), the reciprocal relationship between teacher and student is central to ach, 1999). These teachers receive and maintain their energy and enthusiasm from seeing their students work hard and succeed in their education (Farber, 1991). However, teachers who believe they are devoting more time, effort, and concern (input) than are their students (output), can begin to decrease their 125). These teachers can begin to invest less time, energy, and emotion into their work and do only what is absolute ly necessary (Maslach & Leiter, 1997). willingness to put forth effort seems related to how they consequence. Several studies show the connections between low performing rankings,

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55 2006), increases in stress and cynicism (Lutz & Maddi rala, 1988), and decreases in self efficacy (Brouwers, Evers, & Tomic, 1999). If teachers perceive their efforts (the input) are not rewarded, but rather bring about sanctions and negative professional feelings (the output), they may see an imbalance in th e equation and therefore put in less energy, less low performing schools. Movin emotional costs of school accountability legislation prove to be too great for teachers working in lower performing or sanc tioned schools, these teachers may choose to leave (Kirtley). supported the 1988 prediction of Lutz and Maddirala (1988), whose study of nearly 3,000 teachers suggest the future quality of education for students. Teacher Engagement and Job Satisfaction The research findings on what keeps teachers satisfied and engaged what would be characterized as antithetical to the condition of burnout are consistent. With respect to their day to day professional lives, teachers report needing autonomy within the classroo m (Kim & Loadman, 1994) and intellectual stimulation through setting and meeting new goals, particularly those goals and challenges they have created for themselves (Brunetti, 2001). Teachers also indicate that collegial relationships, both

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56 within their de partments and within their schools, help them feel like a member of a team, which is important in staving off feelings of isolation (Brunetti, 2001; Kim & Loadman, 1994, & Stanford, 2001). Positive administrative support also is important for teachers to f eel higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction. In their study of the 1999 2000 School and Staffing Survey, Tickle, Chang, and Kim (2011) determined that tea that teachers in their study believed stable administrative leadership fostered feeling s of trust within their school environment. Equally as important as autonomy, stimulation, collegiality, and supportive their wellbeing is connected to their student veteran teachers in the study did not leave teaching for other professions (Brunetti, 2001). The teachers spoke of the satisfaction they felt when former students came back to thank them for their help and support. professionally and personally. For example, a calculus teacher within the study indicated she loved her student teachers indicated that seeing personal and academic growth in their students was gratifying, especially in those students who were not considered high performing. Emotional connections to students were evident in even the lowest performing schools.

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57 engagement and satisfaction for teachers in two elementary schools in the most strong needs to have positive relationships with the students, they lamented the memories of the students to whom they felt they were unable to connect, either academically or personally. The Ex istentialist M otivation When teachers enter the teaching field to make a difference they are fulfilling their existentialist goals of finding meaning and purpose in their lives (Cherniss, 1995). They see teaching as a calling and a way to affect positive change in their students, their schools, their communities, and perhaps even in the future of their country (Brunetti, (Cherniss, p. 4) because they see the opportunity to be of service to others more These sentiments agree with the work of Tomic and Tomic (2008) who found that the (p. 22), the more purpose they found in their work and in their lives and the less frequently they burned out. In addition to needing positive external recognition. Friedman and Farber (1992) found in their study of over 600 elementary school teachers that those teachers who believe they are highly evels of Engagement with Accountability As mentioned earlier in this chapter, there exists an extensive literature indicating

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58 that many teachers attribute their decreases in job satisfaction to their increases in the workloads and stress associated with th e current testing, rating, and consequences model of public school accountability (Day & Leitch, 2001; Finnigan & Gross, 2007; Jones, et al., 1999; Kelchtermans, 2005; Kirtley, 2009; Kruger, Wandle, & Struzziero, 2007; McQuillan & Salomon Fernandez, 2008; Smith, 1991; & Turner, 1998). However, there is a shortage of studies featuring how public school accountability can help engage teachers, even in the lowest performing schools. The following section features studies that indicate there are teachers who ho ld positive opinions of school accountability. In their study of forty two teachers from five Arkansas schools, Buck et al. (2010) revealed their teachers found standardized testing and accountability helpful in creating better instruction. The authors d testing yields important data; standards based testing creates the direction for instruction; test preparation does not have to stifle creativity; testing can encourage collaboration; and accountabi lity is helpful. The authors noted the most surprising findings were that teachers found testing useful in helping to determine which teachers were really serious to teach teachers and not just take a day off because we . feel like it and let [the students] watch e of questionable and limited use due to its lack of a literature review, lack of a methodology section, and a reference section with only four citations. While these findings explicitly did not highlight an absence of stress, morale issues, burnout, and r etention issues in their teachers, one may assume that if teachers are happy with and supportive of standardized

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59 testing in their schools, then they likely are not feeling the effects of negative accountability issues. In their research of elementary teach ers, Finnigan and Gross (2007) determined that some teachers who worked in sanctioned schools describe being inspired by accountability mandates. The teachers felt the threat of sanctions helped them work harder to change their practice to include more eff ective methods. Several teachers practices they heard had worked for other teachers (Finnigan & Gross). While these two studies show the accountability model in a more po sitive way, both studies focused only on elementary teachers, with no information presented about secondary teachers. High levels of engagement with a ccountability In addition to teachers who report being inspired to implement new practices as a result of the accountability model, there are teachers who support the accountability model because it serves as an important emotional standardized scores indicate to the public and to thems elves that they are not the so called bad teachers; rather, they are the effective teachers (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2007). For these often go hand in hand and can mutuall teachers who perceive that state standardized tests are a valid method of demonstrating their effective teaching abilities, those teachers and their students tend to have a near singular focus of dedica tion toward preparing for the test and a collective willingness to (Mintrop & Trujillo, 2007).

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60 Low levels of engagement with a ccountability Conversely, Mintrop and Trujillo (2007) found that teachers in lower performing schools tended to dismiss standardized testing and subsequent scores as a valid way to judge both th eir effectiveness as teachers that in schools with low scores, many teachers held negative views of the state test and lower performing schools may continue to have difficulty increasing their ratings if teachers struggle to see the benefits of buying into a system that labels their schools, their students, and them as failing or i neffective ngagement Levels of engagement with the accountability and Spillane (2004) witnessed that administrators whose schools were on proba tion spent most of their time working to get off probation; they attempted to motivate teachers scoring schools received positive, morale building incentives, with administrato rs giving the teachers feel good awards. In the higher performing schools, principals encouraged test results displayed proudly around the building. Administrators under stood that were beneficial to their students, their schools, and to them. Addition ally, unlike teachers in many low performing schools who must focus on remediation to bring students up to grade level, teachers working in higher performing schools are able to spend more time

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61 the explicit intention of [the NCLB] both intrinsic and extrinsic, from teaching in higher performing schools may explain the differences in the teacher retention and recruitment of higher an d lower performing schools. The next section of this chapter focuses on the retention issues associated with the testing, rating, and consequences model of school accountability. Teacher Retention In many lower performing public schools, the current acc ountability model has been associated with increased pressure (McCormick & Barnett, 2011; Mertler, 2011) and lowered morale (Buchanan, 2010; Shyman, 2011) as well as lowered self efficacy and emotional exhaustion (Maslach, 1999; 2003; Maslach & Jackson 198 1a, 1981b; Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1986), all of which all have been linked to increases in teacher burnout. Yet, there is another, perhaps more troubling issue facing many lower performing schools: teacher retention. This next section of the literatur e review highlights issues of keeping effective teachers in the classroom and encouraging quality teachers to want to work in lower performing schools. The teacher quality g ap Retaining effective teachers in lower performing schools is one of the great est educational challenges facing schools and school districts today (Freedman & Appleman, 2009; Hanushek, Kain, & Rivkin, 2003; Paone et al, 2008; Richardson et al., 2008). The problem is staggering; on average, nearly 50 percent of teachers in lower perf orming schools leave the profession within five years (Darling Hammond, 2003). In fact, Carroll (2007) reports that in some of the most challenging out rates of those they teach.

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62 Prince (2002) a rgues that the majority of minority and poor students are segregated not only by their race and their poverty, but also by their access to experienced teachers. The Alliance for Quality Teaching identifies this phenomenon as the teacher quality gap and def (Badolato, 2007, p. 3). In other words, there is an imbalance in the qualifications and the experience levels between teachers in lower and higher performing schools. The tea cher quality gap is most often attributable to the chronic exodus of teachers from lower performing schools. This exodus creates a continual revolving door (Ingersoll, 2004) through which veteran teachers leave their lower performing schools taking their k nowledge and experience with them while new teachers enter, many of whom have had no previous classroom teaching experience (Ingersoll). Losing experienced, effective teachers and replacing them with often inexperienced teachers is a problem for lower perf orming schools. This is because there is strong evidence to support that teachers are less effective in the beginning stages of their careers, with their effectiveness dramatically increasing after their first few years on the job (Clotfelter, et al., 2004 ; Freedman & Appleman, 2009; Haycock & Crawford, 2008; Kain & Singleton, 1996; Paone, et al., 2008; Reichardt, et al., 2006). Unless lower performing schools can slow down the rate of this revolving door, they cannot expect to close either the teacher qual ity gap or the student achievement gap (Darling Hammond, 2003; Kain & Singleton, 1996). This dissertation is a next step in understanding what factors associated with in or leave their current teaching assignments. The revolving door and r econstitutions While the revolving door phenomenon

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63 (Ingersoll, 2004) is widely understood to be a problem associated with teachers who voluntarily leave their low performing school s, there exists a new, yet equally problematic and underexplored phenomenon rooted in the current accountability model: the revolving door created by policy based school sanctions, in which teachers are removed from their low performing schools. While poli cymakers assume that removing and replacing teachers in lower performing schools will infuse schools with a more committed and capable teaching staff, the exchange often yields the o pposite. Upgrading human capital The theory behind the paradigm of upgrading human capital assumes that the replacement teachers and administrators are, by default, more dardized test scores (Rice and Malen, 2003). However, these assumptions can be short sited. When significant numbers of experienced teachers leave their lower performing schools either by being replaced or by leaving voluntarily increases in student achiev ement That teacher turnover occurs more in lower performing schools means that the replacements in those schools like ly are predominantly first year teachers. Rice and Malen (2003) reported that in three of the reconstituted schools in their study, approximately 75 percent of those hired as replacements were first year teachers. They reported that many of the replacement teachers were not certified by the state, so in addition to coping with the stresses and time requirements of being first year teachers, the new teachers also were required to enroll in evening and weekend teacher certification

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64 courses (Rice & Malen). Giv effectiveness dramatically increases after their first few years on the job, one may question how replacing a large percentage of veteran teachers with a predominance of first year, over extended teache rs can bring about the necessary changes in achievement the previous staff was unable to affect. In their study on the human costs of accountability sanctions, Rice & Malen eachers teachers. As a result, of the teachers who were rehired and newly hired all of whom were characterized as the most committed and effective teachers nearly 25% subsequently resigned from the reconstituted school by the end of the first year. A large number of the remaining teachers left after the second year, reporting they were These findings in reconstituted schools run counter to the assertions of legislators and policymakers who believe sanctions can be effective tools in motivating teachers to try harder to increase the findings strongly suggest the belief that replacing existing teachers with new, seemingly more effective teachers in an effort to increase standardized test scores is misguided. Replacing a s ignificant number of existing veteran teachers in attempts to increase student achievement has shown to have the opposite effect on the remaining teachers within the school, even those who were initially characterized as the most motivated and capable educ ators. Similar findings surfaced in a study of Chicago schools that were

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65 placed on NCLB mandated probation. The study reported that of those schools on turnover as a re participants noted that they lost some ineffective teachers as a result of the sanction, they (p. 617). The best and the brightest. In a recent nationally broadcasted television interview, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that all classrooms should be filled performing schools, but we should also give them the support they need to thrive. For those who believe the quality and the capability of classroom teachers is the key to obvious fix to closing both the teacher quality gap and the student achievement gap. However, the so o are most possess higher I.Q. levels, higher college grade point averages, and high er college standardized test scores than those who stay in the classroom (Boe, Bobbitt, Cook, Whitener, & Weber, 1997; Darling Hammond & Sclan, 1996; Haberman, 2005). Additionally, for those who advocate closing the achievement gap by bringing in recent gr Boe et al. found that turnover was greatest for those teachers who had earned their most

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66 recent graduate or professional degree within the past two years. But, perhaps the most remarkable data on high I.Q. teachers who leave the classroom suggest that for those educators who perceive their goals to be primarily an intellectual undertaking, they are eight times more likely to leave the profession than those who perceive thei r goals to be 2001). staffing struggling schools with extraordinary teachers may b e frustrated. If the so called best and brightest feel they are not supported, if they feel they are blamed for their the 50 percent who are not rehired in a school reconstitution), or if they feel they are to retain our most effective teacher s, then it is important for them to understand these retention goals may be thwarted if legislation makes lower performing schools unattractive places for extraordinary teachers to work and thrive. How s anctions etention There is research to suggest that public school accountability legislation may exacerbate the teacher quality gap; Colorado House Bill 1065 was the focus of one of those studies. The legislation, which ultimately was not passed but is still on the minds of many legislators, was intended to

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67 participants believed that if the proposed bill were passed, it would exacerbate the teacher quality gap. They believed this accountability move had the potential to drive teachers out of their lower performing schoo ls, their lower performing districts, or out of teaching altogether (Kirtley). One veteran teacher compared working in lower performing schools to You do your time, get experience, and then start looking 1065, no one with aspirations of being a career teacher would want to work in a lower performing school for fear of permanently being labeled ineffective. If accountability policies continue to target and identify teachers working in lower legislation that initially was intended to help close the achievement gap ultimately could undermine this goal (Clotfelter, et al., 2004). Accountability systems used to rate schools give higher performing schools the edge in teacher recruitment and retention (Clotfelter et al., 2004). In other words, if teachers determine that higher performing schools are more attractive, sta ble, and less punitive places to teach, the accountability policies that ostensibly were created to decrease the achievement gap and the teacher quality gap may performing stud Mathematics Staffing Issues Recruiting and retaining qualified, effective teachers is an issue that continues to challenge lower performing schools across the nation. This section of the literature review concerns the next component of th mathematics staffing shortages. Within this section of the chapter, I will highlight how

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68 the nation is attempting to mitigate mathematics staffing shortages through the creation of alternate teacher licensure programs Additionally, I will examine why our staffing difficulties may not be about shortages at all, but rather about retaining the teachers we already have. Alternate licensure p rograms Over the past three decades, hiring sufficient numbers of qualified seco ndary mathematics teachers has been a persistently difficult task for schools in all segments of the country, and is particularly challenging for lower performing schools (Ingersoll, 2001; Quartz, et al., 2008; U.S. Department of Education, 2010; Vega, 200 government has attempted to solve the problem by creating incentives to entice people to teach secondary mathematics in the hardest to staff schools (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Thes e incentives include providing college tuition grants to encourage students to earn their bachelors degree in secondary mathematics education, creating loan forgiveness programs for recent secondary mathematics education graduates, recruiting potential tea chers from other countries, and granting teaching licenses to college graduates through alternate licensure programs such as Teaching Fellows, Teacher in Residence, and Troops to Teachers (Ingersoll, 2001; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009; Meyer, 2010). The altern ate teacher licensure programs have become popular programs. The National Center for Alternative Certification (2010) reports there are currently 48 states and the District of Columbia who utilize 136 alternate licensure programs to supply mathematics teac hers for their hard to staff schools. As a result, over the past twenty five years, alternate certification programs have yielded over a half million new teachers.

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69 Currently, nearly one third of the new teachers nation wide come from the programs, with urb an schools relying on them with increasing frequency (National Center for Alternative Certification, 2010). In addition to government sponsored programs, the mostly privately funded organization, Teach for America (TFA), reports having placed over 2,400 ma thematics and science teachers in some of the most difficult to staff schools over the last decade; TFA predicts that number will more than double in the next five years (Teach for America, n.d.). Is there r eally a s hortage? To what do we attribute this nation wide reliance on alternatively licensed secondary mathematics teachers, particularly prevalent in our lowest performing schools? There have been two persistent and widely accepted assumptions about this phenomenon often labeled the teacher shortage. The first assumption is that there are not enough new teachers to replace those who are retiring also called the graying of the teacher work force (Ingersoll, 2001; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009). The second assumption is that there are not enough new teachers to handle the Association of State Colleges and Universities, 2005; Ingersoll & Perda). In response to the belief we have a teacher shortage, our nation has charged colleg es and universities with failing to provide enough secondary mathematics education graduates to fill the alternate licensure programs (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009). However, there are those who disagree with labeling the problem a teacher shortage Through their examination of the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) and the Teacher Followup Survey (TFS) data from the National Center for Education Statistics,

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70 researchers found t hat there are indeed enough traditionally trained teachers coming increase in student enrollment (Ingersoll, 2001; Ingersoll and Perda, 2009). In fact, the data reveal that there are two and a half mathematics and science teachers entering the profession through traditional teacher certification programs for every mathematics and s cience teacher who retires (Ingersoll, 2004; Ingersoll and Perda, 2009). When analyzing the SASS and the TFS data, one finds only about twelve percent of teacher turnover can be traced to traditional teacher retirement. However, more than three times that amount (forty two percent) is linked to teacher turnover stemming either from a lack of job two percent of teachers who left due to lack of satisfaction in their teachi ng careers, cited issues of low salary, lack of administrative support, and lack of student achievement as their main reasons for leaving (Ingersoll, 2001). Recruitment vs. r etention With respect to staffing secondary mathematics positions, Ingersoll (200 1, 2003, 2004) asserted that our nation does not have a teacher recruitment problem; our nation has a teacher retention problem. The majority of all new teachers are recruited to replace veteran teachers who prematurely left their schools or the profession staffing issues are neither initially nor primarily a supply side problem, in which there are not enough new traditionally, trained teachers available (Ingersoll and Perda, 2009; Quartz, et al., 2008). Rather, staffing issues are initially and primarily a demand side primarily lower performing inabilities to retain many of

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71 their experienced teachers create an increased and an often impossible to meet dema nd for replacement teachers (Ingersoll, 2001, 2003, 2004; Quartz, et al., 2008). In other words, while there are at least enough traditionally trained teachers to replace teacher retirements, increases in student populations, and typical family and medical reasons for teachers leaving, there are not enough new, traditionally trained teachers to replace the high percentage of teachers leaving lower performing schools due to lack of career satisfaction (Ingersoll, 2001, 2003; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009). The im balance of staffing i ssues performing schools can create the revolving door phenomenon, through which experienced teachers leave and, most often, inexperienced teachers enter (Ingersoll, 2001). The staffing issu es created by the revolving door are by no means evenly distributed (Ingersoll, 2001). Many high income, high achieving schools with relatively low turnover rates report having waiting lists of highly qualified teacher applicants, while lower achieving sch ools with greater turnover, often report being unable to find enough qualified applicants to fill their positions (Ingersoll; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009; Paone, et al., 2008). Currently, lower performing, high poverty urban schools lose teachers at nearly two and a half times the rate of low poverty, suburban schools (Ingersoll; Ingersoll & Perda). Under these circumstances, the demand for replacement teachers in lower performing, high poverty schools can overwhelm the supply of qualified, traditionally traine d applicants. This imbalance in lower retain qualified veteran teachers can create recruitment inequalities and teacher quality gaps, as higher performing schools pick and choose from the many applicants and low performing schools struggle to take whomever they can get (Liu, et al., 2008).

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72 Evidenced by the lower turnover rates in higher performing schools and the higher turnover rates in lower performing schools, the problems of teacher staffing shortages point more to an i ssue of retaining our existing teachers rather than of recruiting new teachers (Ingersoll, 2001, 2003, 2004; Ingersoll & Perda, 2009). In a supply and demand model, when the demand for more teachers outpaces the supply of new teachers, then there are only two solutions to the problem. The first solution is to increase the number of new teachers available, although there are no guarantees these new teachers will choose to work in or stay at the understaffed, lower performing schools. The second solution is t o decrease the number of teachers demanded. In other words, lower performing schools must slow down the revolving door (Ingersoll, 2001). Simply supplying more teachers to lower performing schools will not stabilize or mitigate the staffing issues, or help decrease the student achievement gap, if the recently acquired teachers continue to leave at high rates. Through my conceptual framework, I have proposed that the current public school accountab ility model has the potential to create either an upward or downward spiral of achievement for schools. The previous sections of the literature review have focused on the accountability model, teacher pressures, teacher morale, burnout, retention issues, a nd teacher staffing. This section examines the last two components of the framework by direction on the achievement spiral. How much t urnover? It is worth noting that having no teacher turnover in schools would be unrealistic and would be unhealthy for the success of academic organizations

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73 (i.e., schools and school districts) (Ingersoll, 2001, 2003). Therefore, some employee ious in a well 2001, p. 3). Bringing in a small percentage of new teachers into schools each year allows for fresh ideas and innovation (Ingersoll). However, high turnover rates in lower performing schools which bring an i nflux of new teachers often have the opposite other words, high teacher turnover can negatively affect student achievement, which then can negatively affect teacher retent performance and sanctions make struggling schools undesirable places to work (Ingersoll). Ability to gain ground a cademically With respect to teacher mobility, there are data to support that effective teachers (as measured by their stu standardized tests) who leave their lower performing schools generally transfer to higher performing schools (Boyd, Grossman, Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2009). For this reason, the revolving door phenomenon is one of the profound fa ctors in lower their 2003 study, Rice and Malen found that the veteran teachers in their high turnover, lower performing schools believed the chronic influx of new, in experienced teachers made each school year feel as if they were starting over rather than building on the existing experiences of the previous staff. The influx of new teachers created organizational instability for schools attempting to increase student a chievement. This is because the new, inexperienced teachers coming into the lower performing schools were and skills of the previous staff. Contrary to those who belie ve an infusion of new teachers

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74 into lower Malen, pp. 635 636), the opposite is often true. Mintrop and Trujillo found most of the Higher performing s chools The issues of teacher turnover are quite different for higher performing schools. The consistent, one directional pattern of teacher mobility, in which experienced teachers transfer from lower performing schools to higher performing because the experienced teachers bring with them classroom management skil ls, curricular knowledge, and problem solving experiences novice teachers have yet to encounter or master. This infusion of skilled and knowledgeable teachers into higher performing schools has the ability to support and sustain the upward movement of thos e schools (Mintrop & Trujillo). Lower turnover rates at higher performing schools (Diamond & Spillane, 2004) means veteran staffs are able to build on their collective nd performing schools are not threatened focus on instructional improvement the explicit intention of accountability 1162). This organizational stability is in sharp contrast to lower performing or sanctioned 153) and organizational instability as they struggle to increase student achievement in the face of accountability sanctions.

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75 Conclusion Within the pages of Chapter 2, I have created a comprehensive literature review began the chapte r by giving an overview of the current public school accountability of stress, morale, burnout, and retention. The last three areas of this chapter examined how schoo exacerbate the effects of mathematics teacher staffing shortages. I also examined how stu teachers and accountability, there is a dearth of studies examining how the current accountability model affects secondary retention. First, there are multiple studies of how accountability negatively affects teachers working in lower performing schools, but the participants were elementary teachers rather than high school teache rs. I reviewed several studies examining how high school teachers felt about accountability, but there were no studies featuring ninth and tenth grade mathematics teachers and their perceptions of yearly standardized tests. For these reasons, this dissert ation fills a void and adds to understanding the following phenomenon: With respect to the current public school accountability model, what are th and 10 th grade mathematics teachers working stoplight accountability ratings?

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76 Within Chapter 2, I have subs tantiated that significant factor s from the current th lower and higher performing sch ools. The affects of these factor s both positive and negative are the focus of this dis sertation. Identifying the factor engage with and remain in their current schools fulfills anoth er step in hearing and school district accountability mandates. The next step in this dissertation is to describe the methodology of my study; this information will be de tailed in Chapter 3.

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77 CHAPTER 3: METHOD This qualitative study follows a hermeneutical phenomenological methodology Manen, 1990, p. 9) and perceptions o f seventeen mathematics teachers working in four Under the current public school accountability model, what are the experiences of the seventeen 9th and 10 th grade mathe schools within their lower performing school district? To understand this phenomenon, I structu red interviews and the MBI ES (s ee Appen dix A ). Through qualitative analyses of these data, feelings of pressures and morale, their frequency of engagement in their work, and their desires to stay either within their current teaching assignment or in teaching altogether. Additionally, I wanted to identify characteristics within the four schools, the school perceptions of these top ics. Chapter 3 begins by my describing and substantiating why, based on my past experiences as a teacher in two lower performing high schools, a hermeneutical phenomenological methodology was the appropriate approach for this dissertation. From there, I w e the sampling technique, the data collection process, and the data analysis procedures.

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78 The Design of the Study To gain insight and understanding into the experiences of the seven teen methodology. In general, phenomenology often referred to as transcendental phenomenology experiences interpret the meanings behind those descriptions (Van Manen). In general, most phenomenological s sou perceptions (Moustakas). Phenomenological methodologies do not attempt to build theories or to control or predict the world around us by attending to issues of validity, generalizability, or triangulation of data (Moustakas). Rather, phenomenological Transcendental vs. Hermeneutical Phenomenologies While Edmund Husserl (1859 1938) is credited fo r being the father of phenomenology (i.e., transcendental phenomenology), Martin Heidegger (1889 1976) is

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79 hermeneutical phenomenology. The hallmark of transcendental phenomenology is for the preconceptions and biases of the research topic. Doing so allows the researcher to gain a see [the findings] in the researcher not to bracket out the historical contexts either of the participants or, in the case of this study, of the researcher (Van Manen). Inc luding historical contexts helps to create a richer, more complete understanding of the phenomenon at hand (Van Manen). In support of a hermeneutical phenomenological methodology, Heidegger argued that the previous events in our lives create a context that informs both how we describe and how we interpret our feelings of phenomena (Heidegger, 1962). For these reasons, a hermeneutical phenomenological approach to this study of teacher burnout and teacher retention leverages both the contextual and historical experiences of the participants as well my experiences as a classroom teacher in lower performing schools. The following section gives a brief account of my ten years of teaching in two lower performing schools under the current accountability model. My Historical Contexts That I began the teaching profession in 2001 when the No Child Left Behind legislation was introduced, means my professional perceptions have been influenced ac countability consequences. During my fourth and fifth year of teaching in my first lower performing high school, I experienced burnout, with high levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization along with low levels of personal accomplishment and

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80 mora le. The burnout came from the chronic accountability stress present within our school, with the ongoing threats of sanctions looming over our staff and our students. The stress surfaced at every staff meeting, when our principal reminded us that unless we increased CSAP test scores, our school would close. Our staff worked hard to increase standardized test scores. However, during my fifth year at the school, we were told our school would close, based in large part on our low scores. Instead of feeling upse t by the news of the closure, I felt relief. I did not enjoy working at my school, because I perceived the students were not working hard enough to keep our school open. Before we closed, I was burned out, stressed out, and continually frustrated, but I di d not have the courage to leave my school. I was working on my doctoral degree at the time and thought that staying in my current school would be a better decision than spending the time and energy to begin again at a new school. However, once the distri ct closed our school, I was forced to leave. When I subsequently transferred to a higher lower performing high school, I felt an immediate relief from the pressures to increase test scores. For the first three years at my new school, I was under the impres sion that, while our school was lower performing, our problem. Those were incorrect assumptions; during my fourth year at my new school, the principal began to warn us that we needed to increase our standardized test scores. By the beginning of my fifth year, a school district administrator advised us that unless we could increase our scores and overall academic rating, our school, too, would experience a sanction. The feelings of pressure and failure returned, and I once again became demoralized.

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81 The importance of disclosure Based on the events I shared above, the current accountability model profoundly has influenced the context of my most of my teaching experiences. Within t his chapter of my dissertation, I felt it was important to explain the accountability based events that have influenced my perceptions of teaching and of sanctions. Omitting this information from the study would have been at once dishonest to the reader an d disloyal to the methodology. My experiences, perceptions, and opinions from teaching in two lower performing high schools played the fundamental role with regard to the purpose and direction of this dissertation. Leveraging my concern and credibility V understand something or someone for whom we care. . especially where . [we] meet experiences, I hold a deep and unequivocal concern for teachers. Throughout my doctoral degree program, my research has focused almost exclusively on understanding the effects of high stakes accountability on teachers working in lower performing schools. I have, as Van Manen suggests, met the teachers wher e they may be weakest or most vulnerable: working in lower performing high schools under the current accountability model. As a tenured mathematics teacher who has spent my career teaching academically struggling students in academically struggling schoo ls, I bring a high level teachers. This commonality allowed me to bond with the participants and share a tacit understanding of their descriptions and their perceptions. My insider connection allowed outsider unfamiliar with the nuances and the vernacular of the phenomenon. This shared

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82 identity supports the theoretical foundation of he rmeneutical phenomenology, in which the historical contexts of the participants, and in my case, of the researcher, come together to describe and interpret the events and the experiences. The Research Questions The goal of this dissertation is to understan d the perceptions of seventeen 9 th and 10 th school district under the current accountability model. Because this phenomenon is p. 613), I will investigate the research questions by focusing on the sub phenomena of desires to stay in their current teaching assignments. The following research questions are Research Question 1: With respect to the curr ent standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of school accountability, how do mathematics pressures, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout? Research Question 2 : With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of school accountability, what mitigating or exacerbating factor s within their schools and their school district do mathematics teachers believe affect their levels of pressures, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout?

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83 Research Question 3: With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of school accountability, how do mathemati cs teachers working in the four high schools perceive their levels of engagement and their perceptions of continuing to teach in their current assignment or in the teaching professional altogether? Research Question 4: With respect to the current standard ized testing, rating and consequences model of school accountability, what mitigating or exacerbating factor s within their high schools or school district do mathematics teachers believe affect their levels of engagement and their desires to stay in their current teaching profession or in the teaching profession altogether? To begin the process of answering the research questions, I first needed to select a particular school district from which the four lower performing schools and the teachers would come. The following section describes the school district and the schools as well as describing the sampling techniques I used to obtain the seventeen teachers featured in this study. Selecting the School District, the Schools, and the Teachers ols and the teachers working in those schools are located within MVPS, a large urban school district located within a large city in Colorado. I selected MVPS as the district from which to solicit participants, because the district historically has been con sidered low achieving and has struggled with a chronic negative public image due to lower standardized test scores and higher dropout rates. A significant

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84 children eith er to higher performing schools outside their neighborhoods or to schools outside the district. Over the past few years, MVPS has worked to upgrade its reputation through increasing standardized test scores, lowering dropout rates, increasing on time gradu ation rates, allowing the creation of more charter schools, and offering parents schools of choice options for their children. These ongoing changes have shown to have enrollment of the school district. However, there are still a significant number of schools that are labeled lower performing as measured by the CSAP. The Four Schools The four high sc hools in this study (see Table III .1) are all 9 th 12 th grade public, non charter, medium sized (1100 to 1700 students) neighborhood high schools and are all lower performing or have been lower performing in previous years as measured by their The MVPS school district uses a stoplight rating system in their school performance frameworks to indicate, among other ratings criteria, the number of students in a school who are at or above proficiency on their yearly CSAP test scores. The color green indicates the school meets expectations, yellow indicates the school is accredited on watch and red indicates the school is accredited on probation. While there are additional color indicators of orange and blue, those ratings do not apply to the schools in this study. schools using a strategic selection process (Creswell, 2007). I wanted to look at one green rated school, one red rated school, and two yellow rated schools, wi th one of the two yellow schools rated higher than the other. Based on the color ratings, I was

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85 and responses to burnout, accountability pressures, morale issues, a nd their desires to stay in their current teaching positions. I also wanted to know if there would be distinct rated schools. Table III .1: School Demographics and Rankings (Numb ers have been rounded.) Newton (Green) Yarborough (High Yellow) Harrison (Low Yellow) Ontario (Red Closing) Enrollment 1000 (4 th ) 1100 (3 rd ) 1400 (2 nd ) 1700 (1 st ) Free and Reduced Lunch Program 43% (1 st ) 62% (3 rd ) 71% (2 nd ) 85% (1 st ) Minority Stu dents 52% (4 th ) 69% (2 nd ) 59% (3 rd ) 92% (1 st ) English Language Learners 6% (4 th ) 8% (3 rd ) 43% (1 st ) 23% (2 nd ) Special Education Services 16% (1 st ) 15% (3 rd ) 11% (4 th ) 15% (2 nd ) Percent Proficient in Mathematics 26% (1 st ) 22% (2 nd ) 15% (3 rd ) 6% (4 th ) Teacher Turnover Low Low Recently Increased Chronic and High Principal Turnover Low Low Recently Increased Chronic and High

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86 Newton High School Newton High School (see Table III .1) is the highest performing of the four schools in the study and is labeled green for meets expectations Newton has the smallest student population of the four schools and is located in a well established, predominantly White, middle class neighborhood. Of the four schools, Newton has the lowest percentag e of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program (less than 50%), the smallest percentage of minority students (approximately 50%) and English Language Learners (less than 10%), and the highest percentage of students needing special education s ervices (less than 20%). The number of Newton High at or above proficiency recently increased significantly to approximately 26%. At the time of the interviews, Newton High has had a relatively stable ma thematics teaching staff, with any turnover attributed mainly to retirement. The school also has a stable administrative staff, with the current principal being with the school for a number of years. Yarborough High School. Yar borough High School (see Tab le III .1) is the second highest accredited on watch rated schools. Yarborough High has the third highest student enrollment of the four schools and is located in an older, pleasant, middle class neighborhood, similar to that of Newton High School. enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program (approximately 50% ), second in the percentage of minority students (nearly 75%), third in the percentage of English Language learners (less than 10%), and third in the percent of students needing special education services (less than 20%). Approximately 22% of Yarborough Hi

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87 mathematics students scored at or above proficiency which represents an increase over gave Yarborough its yellow rating The mathematics teacher turnover ra te also is low, with most of the turnover due to cuts in staffing due to previous decreases in student enrollment. As is the case with Newton High School, the administrative staff has been in place for a number of years. Harrison High School H arrison Hig h School (see Table III .1) is ranked third in below Yarborough primarily White, upper middle class to high in come neighborhood flanked by a municipality containing mostly apartment buildings. Harrison High has the second highest percentage of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program (over 70%), is ranked third in the percentage of minority students (approximately 60%), and ranked first in the number of English Language Learners enrolled (more than 40%). Harrison High School students collectively have the greatest diversity of student languages and student counties of origins. Harrison High School al so has the lowest at or above proficiency which earned the school a yellow rating of accredited on watch H arrison High currently rated schools and is in danger of moving down to an orange category, which is just above the red (failing) category. Harrison High has a generally stable mathematics department, with teacher turnover attributed to promotions or retirements. However, Harrison High did lose two non tenured, early career

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88 mathematics teachers last year, with those teachers indicating they wanted to leave the teaching profession. At the time of the interviews, Harr ison High was in the second year of their new principal, who later that year left Harrison for another principalship. Ontario High School. The fourth school in this study is Ontario High School (see Table III .1), which also is the lowest performing of the four schools. Ontario currently is rated red, accredited on probation Ontario High has the largest student population and is located in a predominantly Hispanic, lower and lower middle class neighborhood. In ools, Ontario High has the largest percentage of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program (nearly 90%), is ranked first in the percentage of minority students (over 90%), second in the percentage of English Language Learners (less than 25%), and second in the percentage of students at or above proficiency which earned the school thei r red rating Because of their chronic low performance, Ontario High School will be phased out in three years, with three new smaller high schools replacing Ontario High. Ontario High School has chronic issues with teacher and administrator turnover, with much of the mathematics staff so new they are not yet eligible for traditional tenure. Sampling Selecting the Teachers The focus of this study is to understand the perceptions of mathematics teachers working in these four lower performing high schools un der the current accountability model. When I designed my sampling procedure, I envisioned using a purposeful sampling method (Creswell, 2007) to select only veteran mathematics teachers who

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89 taught 9 th and 10 th grade courses for at least three years in thei r current schools. I believed that by focusing on veteran teachers who have taught freshmen and sophomore mathematics classes, I would have a sample of teachers who have been involved in the ese teachers also would have experienced the accountability model for multiple years. My initial goal for the sample size was to have four mathematics teachers from each of the four schools, for a total of sixteen teachers. I determined that four particip ants from each school would be a reasonable sample size, given each of the four mathematics departments has at least seven teachers and that not all staff were veteran 9 th and 10 th grade teachers. Additionally, I knew some teachers would be too busy to par ticipate or not interested in participating. Moreover, given the current climate of accountability, I anticipated there would be teachers reluctant to voice their opinions. For these reasons, I was hopeful I could get four participants from each school. I began my search for participants by sending an email invitation to all mathematics teachers in the four schools outlining the purpose of the study and t he criteria for participat ion After sending the first email, eight veteran teachers volunteered to par ticipate; their interviews were scheduled and conducted. I then sent the same email recruitment script to those who had not responded, excluding the teachers who initially indicated they did not want to participate. The second email produced more responses and more interviews. However, I still did not have sixteen veteran participants and was concerned I would not have enough data to complete my study. At that point, I moved to a convenience sampling technique (Creswell, 1997) to

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90 Table III .2: Teacher De mographics Sex Age Years at School Years Teaching Education Level Type of Degree Newton High (Green) Wanda F 31 34 5 7 MS Applied Math Hank M >50 4 35 MA Math Kandy F 24 27 3 3 BS Math Education Abby F 39 42 1 1 BS Math Education Denise F 31 3 4 4 4 BS Math Education Yarborough High (High Yellow) Craig M 46 50 9 15 BA Math Larry M >50 6 32 BS Chem. & Math Megan F 39 42 10 14 MA Math Education Harrison High (Low Yellow) Brian M 27 30 3 3 BA Math Education Bruce M 39 42 13 13 BS Math Diana F >50 7 26 MA Math Education Helen F 46 50 15 19 MA Math Education Charles M >50 5 5 PhD Math Education Ontario High (Red Closing) Randy M >50 11 41 MA Math Education Melissa F 24 27 1.5 1.5 BS Math Rebecca F 24 27 2.5 2.5 MA Math Educ ation Yvonne F 24 27 2 2 MST Chem. & Education

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91 obtain more participants from the two schools: Yarborough High and Ontario High. I teachers fit the criteria and subsequent ly sent personal emails to those teachers. This approach produced two more Yarborough participants. However, after accessing Ontario veteran teachers. Because Ontario was the lowest rated school in my study and because the school had so many unique characteristics including high teacher and principal turnover rates I wanted to keep Ontario High in the study. Therefore, I sent a personal email to three non veteran teachers whom I previously considered ineligible; they agreed and their interviews were conducted immediately. When I finished all the interviews, I had seventeen te achers in my sample (see Table III urrent high their schools, and one teacher had finished only her first year of teaching. When I had gathered all the teachers I could, Yarborough High had only three p articipants, Ontario High had four, and Harrison and Newton High Schools each had five participants in the study. Because I wanted to keep the number of participants to at least sixteen, I allowed five participants at Harrison and Newton High Schools knowi ng I was having trouble getting enough participants from Yarborough High. In the end, I understood that I needed to rethink my original sampling frame and number of participants in order to move forward with the study. The previous section explained my me thod of sampling as well as the challenges I faced in acquiring participants for this study. The following section explicates the data

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92 collection process beginning by how the interviews were conducted and information about the interv iew questions and infor mation about the MBI ES and the Participant Information Questionnaire (PIQ) Data Collection Process The process of selecting the participants and conducting their individual interviews took seven months, from mid December to mid July. The interviews were schedule for a date, time, and location convenient for each participant. Each session lasted from two to three hours, including reading and signing the consent forms (s ee Appendix B ), gathering demograp hic information using the PIQ (s ee Appendi x C ), and t aking the MBI ES (s ee Appendix A ), and conducting the actual interview. Each interview was recorded using a digital recorder, with back up notes taken as a secondary source; subsequent transcriptions were done in my home office. To transcribe the interview s, I transferred the digital interview recordings to my Apple MacBook computer, and the recordings were stored under the iTunes application. To turn the digital recordings into word documents, I played each recording from the iTunes application and spoke t software. The software typed my spoken words into individual Microsoft Word documents, which were then used in my coding process (See coding information in the Qualitative Dat a Analysis section.). The Interview Q uestions A phenomenological methodology asks a group of people who share a common they perceived them. The beginning interview ques tion may be as open ended and broad

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93 as tell me about your experiences of this phenomenon (Back, Gustafsson, Larsson, & Bertero, 2011; Van Manen, 1990). The purpose of this type of unstructured starting point is to allow themes about the phenomenon to emerg e organically and continually until (Creswell, 2007). However, while my interview questions (s ee Appendix C ) were open ended, they also were more specific than the open ended e xample given above. The interview questions, along with the research questions, were written from the elements of the conceptual framework. Therefore, by being more specific about the topics and progressions of the interview questions, I was able to focus on finding answers to the six questions organized by the components of the conceptual framework. The interview questions began by asking teachers if they knew th attributed their ratings. From there, teachers were asked six questions about the professional pressures they feel and whether or not the accountability model affected their morale, either positively or negative ly. The participants then took and scored the MBI ES and I subsequently asked them a total of thirteen questions relating to their scores and levels of emotional exhaustion, personal accomplishment, and depersonalization. After the series of questions on t he three dimensions of burnout, I asked teachers to determine if they felt they were burned out and why or why not. The next three interview questions were designed for the participants to give policy makers, legislators, and district and school administr ators their opinions on how the current model of accountability affects teachers motivation levels, their feelings of

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94 burnout, and their desires to remain enthused about and committed to working in the lowest performing schools. The final portion of the in terview began by asking the participants to give their opinions on whether or not public school accountability legislation feels threatening to them with respect to their career, job security, the school remaining open, or their professionalism. The last t wo questions asked the participants to administration had on their feelings they expressed during the interview. Instrumentation MBI ES For the purp ose of gathering numer ical data on the three dimensions of burnout, I gave the participants the MBI ES The MBI ES is the third version of the original MBI, with the three versions currently standing as the premier burnout instruments in the world (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1 996). The first two versions of the MBI were the MBI Human Services Survey (MBI HSS) designed for those in the helping professions (e.g., doctors, nurses, therapists, psychologists, and social workers) and the MBI General Survey (MBI GS) designed for those who have indirect or casual contact with people (Maslach et al.). Several years later, the researchers determined there was a need for a subsequently created the MBI ES. They b elieved there were three significant reasons to create the new MBI have expanded beyond what mi ght have been expected in previous years. They argue that teachers now are expected to differentiate for each student, teach students ethics and morals, and correct social problems such as the achievement gap and the socio economic

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95 gaps. Third, Maslach, Ja ckson, and Leiter believed that teachers have been finding themselves under attack by politicians, education experts, business executives, and community members at the same time the funding and human resources needed to correct many of the ills within educ ation have been eroded or stalled. The three dimensions of burnout. Like its two previous counterparts, the MBI ES either low, medium, or high of the three dimensions of burnout: personal accomplishment (i.e., self e fficacy), emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization (Maslach et al, 1996). The personal accomplishment desired goals and is generally considered to be the conception of s elf component in the survey (Maslach, 1999; Maslach & Leiter, 1997; De Heus & Diekstra, 1999). The emotional exhaustion subscale of the MBI ES is considered to be the stress component of leted of energy and desire, and often unwilling or unable to continue to put in the necessary time and energy into the daily requirements of successful teaching (Maslach, 1999, 2001, 2003; Maslach & Leiter, 1997). The depersonalization subscale of the MBI ES measures the perceptions of students component of burnout. The subscale attempts to measure to what extent teachers find students and other people in the school the sources of their negative feelings. The subscale also measures the extent to which teach ers have distanced themselves emotionally from their students (Maslach et al.1996). Descriptions and scoring of the MBI ES. The MBI ES is a 22 item, 7 point Likert scale survey, with responses ranging from 0 representing Never to 6 representing Everyday. The MBI ES contains eight questions on the personal accomplishment

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96 subscale, nine questions on the emotional exhaustion subscale, and five questions on the depersonalization subscale. Once the participant has taken the MBI ES, the participant scores each s ubscale (i.e., emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment) using the MBI ES scoring key. Once a total for each subscale has been calculated, teachers are able to determine where their scores place them on each subscale, either low medium, or high. The higher the scores on the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization subscales, the higher the levels of those two dimensions. In other words, a high score for emotional exhaustion indicates one is highly emotionally exhausted, and a high score for depersonalization indicates on has highly negative feelings toward students (and perhaps coworkers). Conversely, because the personal accomplishment/self efficacy subscale is measured in the opposite direction from the other two subscales, a lower number of points on that subscale indicates a higher level of efficacy and feelings of accomplishment. There currently is a limited understanding of the interactions between the three dimensions of burnout. Therefore, the three scores ar e not intended to be combined into receive three scores regarded separately (Maslach et al., 1996). However, it is possible to combine the three scores to create a range exhaustion and depersonalization subscales and low scores on the personal accomplishment subscale indicate a high degree of burno ut. Moderate scores on each of the three subscales indicate a moderate degree of burnout. Finally, low scores on the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization subscales and high scores on the personal

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97 accomplishment subscale indicate a low level of burnou t (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter). The creators of the MBI ES note that the most valuable reasons to use the on the health of an organizational organizations in the case of this study, the schools or the school district may help the organizations identify issues that may detract from or enhance the health of the organization (Maslach et al.). The authors of the instrument warn that the MBI ES was rather should be used to provide feedback to teachers as they assess their own feelings of burnout (Maslach et al.). Additionally, the MBI ES may also help individual educators understand how their reactions to workplace stress may be affecting them and therefore enable them to create a plan to he lp mitigate negative feelings (Maslach et al. ). MBI ES validity and reliability. Maslach et al. (1996) report that the MBI ES and the MBI HSS vary only slightly; the MBI HSS uses the word recipient and the MBI ES uses the word student Since the stud ent is the recipient reliability of the MBI ES from that of the MBI HSS. Maslach et al. reported in the Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual that two separate studies verified the validity of the MBI ES. A factor analysis conducted by Iwanicki and Schwab (1981) and Gold (1984) determined that the MBI ES was a valid instrument for measuring the three dimensions of burnout. Additionally, Iwanicki and Schwab substantiated the reliability of the data

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98 gathered by the MBI ES with Cronbach alpha internal consistency coefficients of 0.90 for emotional exhaustion 0.76 for personal accomplishment/self efficacy, and 0.76 for depersonalization. Similar findings in the Gold analysis substantiated the reliability of the MBI ES, with scores of 0.88, 0.72, and 0.74 respectively for the three dimensions. Instrumentatio n t he PIQ The PIQ was researcher created specifically for this dissertation. The PIQ was designed to gather demographic information on each participant with respect to age, sex, total years teaching, total years at their current school, current courses tau ght, level of education, degrees held, and type of teaching credential held. The Other P ur pose for the MBI ES and the PIQ There was another, perhaps more essential purpose for the MBI ES and the PIQ instruments: participant anonymity. In order for me to gain access to the MVPS teachers, I needed to commit to giving the MPVS district results from my study. During my discussion with the head of the research department, I expressed my concerns that if I were to present this dissertation in its entirety, I wo uld be jeopardizing the anonymity of the teachers and put them in a dangerous professional position. We agreed giving the school district the quantitative data analyses gathered from the two instruments would be at once helpful to the school and protective of the participants. Qualitative Data Analysis Once the seventeen interviews were converted into individual Microsoft Word documents, I began the process of coding, using the qualitative coding program HyperRESEARCH, Version 3.0.2. I first created th irteen main coding categories based

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99 there, I cr eated fifty one subcategories based on the topics of the interview questions. I reasoned that by using predetermined codes, I perceptions. After two rounds of coding using the method described, I then printed each of the seventeen coded transcriptions and re answers to the interview questions. I then wrote the findings in Chapters 4 and 5, using Summary Over the course of Chapter 3, I have presented my process for designing and conducting my study based on the following phenomenon: Under the current public school accountability model, what are the experiences of these seventeen 9th and 10 th ols within their lower performing school district? To answer this question, I began by describing why a hermeneutical phenomenology was the most appropriate methodology to understand the s participants. I then reiterated the four research questions and gave details of the instrumentation, the interview questions, the data collection process, and the data analysis method. In Chapters 4 and 5, I will present the findings from the analyses of the interviews and the three instruments. The goal of Chapters 4 and 5 is to describe the individual and collective phenomena of the seventeen teachers and, within the scope of the four research questions, interpret the meanings behind their responses. In an attempt to bring rich descriptions and interpretation and clearer understanding of teachers perceptions, I also

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100 from their interviews.

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101 CHAP TER 4: RESULTS FROM HARRISON AND NEWTON With respect to reporting the results from this study, I have chosen to create two chapters in which to present the findings of the four schools. There are several reasons for my decision. When I finished writing t he results, I began to understand that separating the findings into two chapters could create powerful comparisons between each pair of schools within each chapter. Additionally, through my analysis and writing, I realized there were two distinct phenomena that emerged in this study: two schools (Harrison and Ontario) in which the teachers appeared frenetic, troubled, and frustrated and two schools (Newton and Yarborough) in which the teachers appeared more calm, confident and fulfilled. Furthermore, I real ized there were similarities between the pairs of s chools with respect to the factor gher performing schools and factor performing schools. For the se reasons, within the pages of Chapter 4, I chose to pair Harrison High a lower performing high school with Newton High performing high school. In Chapter 5, I chose to pair Yarborough High a higher performing school with Ontario High a school that is scheduled to close. In each of the two chapters, the perceptions and levels of pressure, morale, and burnout, as well as their decisions to stay in or leave their current school, their school district, or teaching altogether. Moreover, within of the two chapters, the reader will have the opportunity to compare and contrast tudent achievement in each of the four schools.

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102 The organization of Chapters 4 and 5 is similar, with the exception of the four research questions, which will appear only in Chapter 4. Within Chapter 4, I will present the findings of Harrison High School first, followed by those findings within Newton accountability pressures and stress; their levels of morale; their levels of burnout, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization; and their feelings of continuing to work in their school, their district, or in teaching altogether. Each of the chapters will conclude by asking the te achers to make recommendations to the policymakers, legislators, and administrators regarding how to keep teachers enthused about and committed to working in our lowest performing schools under the current accountability model. The Four Research Questions 1. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model schools perceive their levels of pressures, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depers onalization, and burnout? 2. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of accountability, what mitigating or exacerbating factor s within their lower performing schools and their school district do the seventeen mathema tics teachers believe affect their levels of pressures, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout?

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103 3. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of accountability, how do the mathematics teachers working in their high schools perceive their levels of engagement and their willingness to continue to teach in their current assignment or in the teaching professional altogether? 4. With respect to the current standardized testing, rating and cons equences model of accountability, what mitigating or exacerbating factor s within their high schools or school district do the mathematics teachers believe affect their levels of engagement and their desires to stay in their current teaching profession or i n the teaching profession altogether? Harrison High School This section of Chapter 4 features the responses of the five mathematics teachers in place at Harrison High School during the time of the interviews: Brian, Bruce, Diana, Charles, and Helen. Two y ears prior to the beginning of these interviews, Harrison High School had one principal for nearly a decade. He was highly respected by the mathematics department, and he was considered an ally of the teachers. After his departure, a new administrative tea m was put in place and subsequently removed two second year, and this team of principal and assistant principals are the people about whom the Harrison High School math ematics teachers refer. At the time of the interviews, Harrison High School was simultaneously rated as a high growth and a low performing school. The school was ranked yellow accredited on watch and was th e lowest performing yellow rated high school in the MVPS district. I

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104 began the interviews by asking each of the five Harrison High School mathematics growth and low performing ratings. The following sect ion of this chapter features their answers to that question. Both Charles and Helen focused on the positive accolades the school received for are] very concerned and very involved with the students. . I think we have one of the best math dep s . just the nature of the students that we have. If you have ELA students coming in, after a few years, their growth is just going to be extraordinary. growth and low proficiency ratings were due to the high numbers of ELL students at Harrison High. He cited this group as both cause growth and low proficiency levels. Brian believed the of ELL students, many of whom may not have had continuous or high level schooling in their countries, limits the levels of proficiency students can reach in one year. Additionally, Brian noted that since there is often a significant amount of reading involved in many of t he CSAP mathematics problems, the ELL students who are just learning English may know more mathematics than they can demonstrate on the test. invalid rating system that does not measure many of the most important indicators of how Bruce explained,

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105 their lives, and give them a better outlook on education, then I think we are doing that. So I think that if the test is not measuring the good stuff going on at our school, then the test is poor. As an example, Bruce cited the four year graduation requirement that is dif ficult for many of the ELLs to achieve. Bruce believed this measure is weighted too heavily when Diana also perceived the high number of ELL s at Harrison High School as one of mandated for all MVPS teachers English language learners at least seven yea rs, on average, to catch up with their native enter school in the United States as early as the sixth or seventh grade or even later ble to score at the same [level] as their native speaker incorrect to say that poss because of other language barriers, education barriers . that our students have to overcome. In addition to the challenges featured above, Diana also believed there is a trend by the mathematics teachers at Harrison High School to lower expectations of many of e homework and are not studying for their tests, which means they are not working and achieving at the levels necessary to pass their

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106 said she understands how, teache rs can begin to set lower academic bars for students to reach. Along with having a high number of ELLs and a critical percent of students not completing homework and studying for their tests, Diana also pointed to the level of parental involvement as an issue at Harrison. Focusing again on the parents of the comfortable coming into our school and may not know all the . things that we expect her final analysis of the reasons she believed Harrison High School is a low yellow and present. Of her past principals, Diana said, school district] . provided us with leadership that was inspirational in helping us identify what we could do to help our students to become higher performi ng, at least on the CSAP test. Accountability Pressure and Stress The stress levels of the Harrison High mathematics teachers were strikingly greater than those of the Newton High School mathematics teachers. With respect to their knowledge of the public school accountability model and other accountability legislation, the Harrison High teachers collectively are a savvy group, educating themselves on and discussing the current accountability model. Their ongoing discussions of the current state of account ability legislation are emotionally charged and overwhelmingly negative. The Harrison teachers expressed anger and angst at the ways they believe they are being

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107 manifested th to leave or did leave the school or the profession. While all of the Harrison High teachers identified negative numerous characteristics of the accountability model that increased their levels of stress, none of the Harrison teachers was able to identify any characteristics of the accountability model that mitigated their stress levels. In the semester of our interview, Brian, a third year teacher, submitted his resignation effective at the end of the first semester. Brian said he felt like a failure in the c urrent accountability system, a feeling he was unfamiliar with in his previous life as a high achieving student and well regarded business employee. His replacement teacher, school year, saying she did not want to be held responsible for low scores. Eight months after Charles sat for his interview, Charles submitted his resignation, stating he was under too much stress from the new principal to increa se the quality of his instruction while receiving too little support from the new administration. A fourth teacher, Diana, applied for positions within other school districts as well as outside of the field of education. She cited high stress levels, low s elf efficacy, and a general disdain for the direction she believed education was headed (i.e., teachers being blamed for the perceived ills of education). The factor s that e xa cerbate pressure and s tress The stress levels of the Harrison High School teach ers appeared to be primarily a function of their perceptions of their work environment under the accountability model. Brian explained how he felt pressure

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108 school or his colleagues: I feel pressure not to let that happen and to bring us up, not just . high growth, but to be better performing . because if things get worse or they th ot of pressure there. Bruce, a veteran teacher of more than ten years, indicated that working to increase each day. Responding to the idea that he may be characterized as an ineffective teacher for failing to help his student achieve hi gher CSAP levels, Bruce added, When you realize in the face of everyt hing [you try], you are failing . and I think we are bending over way further backwards [than before], . S Harrison High School has a high number of immigrants from various countries; many of the students either have been in the country only a few years or have arrived only recently. Bruce believed the task of bringing up the freshman and sophomore level CSAP math scores to proficient or advanced ratings, with which the Harrison mathematics teachers have been charged, is ne arly impossible to meet. He shar ed, I feel a ton of pressure . even if we grow a kid who literally comes in kids are not just going to j ump up and all of a sudden be (higher performing). . Nobody wants to believe us. They believe we are excuse making, and it creates another added stress, which is [that] nobody as

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109 Brian argued, We are growing students. Is the growth not adequate? Because if students their achievement levels], we raise Diana, a nearly 30 year veteran teacher, perceived that the environment at Harrison High Sch ool as well as within the MVPS district is negative toward teachers. She shared her beliefs about teachers from other schools and other districts: They are not under the pressures we are under the pressure we are under . And I just find it kind of am using, because, do I believe their teachers are tress The teachers at Harrison High ministration influenced the levels of stress the teachers perceived. The most frequently mentioned problem was that the administrators created more stress and pressure than they relieved. Bruce believed the principal was eager to prove himself to the schoo l district leaders. Bruce said that over the past year and a half the principal had been at Harrison High, the principal volunteered the school to take on multiple projects related to school reform, all of which Bruce argued required more time and energy f rom the teachers. Bruce spoke angrily as he He brought more stuff on us! . [Harrison High] will volunteer for all of it! Yes! The answer is yes to anything . [our principal] could put his name on! Tha t was ridiculous, and then the way that he treated us. displayed a negative kind o f pressure, a negative attitude about our test scores . and

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110 made many of the teachers in our department and in our school feel as though we were of power Bruce shared his frustration of the daily mandates sent down by the administrators: a linguistics o for my instruction again, and rewriting the new ob jective as well as judging me has to do on a daily basis. That experience is harder than they subscribe sometimes it makes me want to just drop. The teachers also believed the blame and stress created by their administrators was the impetus for conflicts within the department. Charles recalled how h e and two other teachers engaged in an argument, for which he later apologized to one of the department and within the school. Helen shared, I think [the administrators] are being divisive with us and tearing us apart, [not purposefully], bu t thoughtlessly. . I think everyone is negative. I really frustrating. And we have no control over it. T hreat based stress. Several of the teachers perceived the collaboration and shared communication between the administration and the mathematics department was nonexistent. Rather, they believed important decisions affecting both faculty and students

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111 were h anded down from the administrators, with which the faculty was expected to comply. This leadership style created a divisive attitude between the teachers and the administration and was driven by fear and mistrust of the principal and his assistants. Diana principal in charge of the mathematics department not to make friends with the mathematics teachers. Rather, the administrator was told to attend the weekly math department meetings and determine what the teachers were doing wrong and why their res remained low. Diana added, assistant principal . I mean, what kind of person does t hat? I do think When I asked each teacher to talk more of their perceptions of their current administrators, they responded that they had significant feelings of mistrust; they believed they had to watch their backs. Each teacher felt intuitively that being vulnerable and asking for help on issues with which they struggled would be a mistake. As an early career teacher, Brian said he knew he needed help becoming a better teacher, and he believed the best way to become better was to reach out for help. However, he said he soon found out that going to an administrator for help was problematic. Brian said, This goes back to that idea of trust. . That bringing attention down on you in that sort of negative manner is not a positive thing to do for or not asking the administrators for help would have meant m ore work with respect to

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112 additional special professional development and additional administrative monitoring of his classroom and his teaching. Charles shared similar feelings about reaching out for help beyond the department. He said, Oh, I feel very thr eatened doing something like this now. I could never go Bruce, an outspoken teacher, felt significantly threatened by the environment the stayed, and if I would have had to continue working in conditions where I felt it was unsafe to come to my job because there were spies everywhere . I . would have had SB 191. Also contributing to the threat based st ress levels of the teachers at Harrison High School is SB 191, the so called teacher tenure bill. When I asked the Harrison High teachers to share their opinions of whether or not the legislation created stress, Brian shared, With respect to my career, tha to be available for everybody to see. Job security? Yeah, definitely. The numbers would always be there to back up getting rid of somebody. Of SB complete tumult in feeling the pressure right now . [that] the administration thinks that we are the problem.

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113 . The emphasis seems to be on [believing that] people incapable of doing effective Diana believed SB 191 legislation is a threat to the teaching profession in schools that are being closed or reconstituted: I think you can be a good teacher and lose your job just beca use the school you work in is low working in a low and there could be a third year teacher [at a higher performing school] ut they get to keep their job. . I think that is so wrong. When I asked Helen if the current accountability model or other legislation pertaining to student achievement is in any way threatening to her with respect to her career, her job security, her school remaining open, or her professionalism, she of whether or not she would have access to due process (tenure), whether or not she would keep her job, and whether or not she would want to teach the lower performing students if those students do not do well enough on the CSAP for her to keep her job. As negative as the situation at Harrison sounds, Charles and only Charl es lower performing rating had absolutely no effect on his stress levels with respect to how ay in the Morale morale and pride, which unfortunately appear to be significantly low for all five teachers.

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114 I also selected passages from the interviews that describe the factors within the school, within the media coverage, and within the accountability model that either significantly Brian believ ed his low morale was a function of his continually struggling to his lack of ability to affect significant positive change in student achievement as one of the main reason s he felt negative about his work as a teacher. Brian explained, ve been doing the whole year, and You start to feel not as good about that. Brian revealed he was more likely to blame himself for the students who did not show as much grow th or achievement than he would be to take credit for those who scored well on the CSAP. He explained, studen ts who are down low who the good teacher will be able to target [and] be able to bring up. You hear stories about teachers who work to write off the successes and concentrate on the [failures]; I am pretty self critical anyway. I asked Brian how he felt in August, just four months prior to our interview, when the high scores, but was not happ the same or drop down. Brian felt he had tried to help and subsequently failed those

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115 with those students. . then what are you unsat[isfactory] all this time, which is killing our schools . [and] our rating on our CSAPs, then why [stay in teaching]? I wondered h affected the climate of Harrison High. He elaborated, [The rating] affects being proud. When you feel the government, [the] looking at those sc ores to justify their statements without looking at hide a lot. . But at the same time, we have a lot of students here who are Brian then described the discomfort he felt when the media negatively described his there publishing [scores] . in of my efforts in school, my efforts at prior jobs, . [and I have received] fantastic letters of recommendation . I had work published. . So I encountered . a task [that is] so monumental . and feeling absolutely When Brian said he was going to quit teaching, I wanted to know how he would portray the teaching profession and his experiences at Harrison High School to those outside the teaching profession. He said he would say the following:

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116 It was a time of massive learning, both of the way the education system on in education in the country, at least in an urban district. During this time, I learned how I would react to a larger challenge than I had ever faced before, . a time I learned a lot about myself and a lot about public education, a lot about student s and what they face. So, it I asked Brian if he was proud to have worked at Harrison High, and he said his feelings were mixed. He said he was proud to have secured a teaching position right out of college, and he was proud of his dedication to working hard and wanting to see for those work ing in the mathematics department. Brian said he is not proud of the changes in education regarding public school accountability. He explained there was no motivation the legislators and administrators are seeking may not happen. Mocking those who create accountabi lity legislation, Brian said, ok at these results. or they Like, Brian, Bruce had much to share about how the accountability system affects owth rating and yellow ranking affected his morale in a positive way. Bruce answered, I like that our growth rating is good; I think that shows, in general, that people are . doing a good job, . doing what is good teaching . We do [address] . means a lot of us are very aware of content, and a lot of us are very aware not mov ing anybody [up in knowledge].

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117 However Bru ce believed Harrison High could not rating because of the high number of ELLs the school serves. I asked Bruce his perceptions of how the thought of never reaching a green rating aff ected his morale. He answered, ution is high quality teachers. Bruce said his morale was low because he felt he was blamed for low test scores with ELLs as well as being called a low quality teacher. He explained, terization. If the schools are failing, and the way to solve the failing is to get high quality teachers there, in essence, I am being told that I suck . Because affect [positiv source of his decreasing morale. He explain ed he feels he is held to a higher standard of accountability than his administrators are. He argued, by [evaluation] and abo ut what I was thinking or how I was doing it. They want it readily spend their days being so damned transparent to everyone who walks around and sees them, that everyone knows wha t their intentions are, as I am being asked to do. ruce described Harrison and its high numbers of immigrant

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118 described Harriso n as a school where the teachers work to make a safe environment for Diana, a veteran teacher with over two decades of experience, spoke e xtensively about an accountability issue that negatively affected her morale: not receiving the pay for performance growth bonus. The year before our interview, Diana said she received the CSAP growth bonus, which was approximately $2600. Explaining how re ceiving the the year of our interview Diana was notified she did not receive the bonus. She explained, It equally affected me negatively. . I was really surprised that it . But, yeah, certainly I felt bad about that. was one of several circumstances negatively affecting her morale. Diana said she suffered a crisis of confidence in her teaching abilities from not making her growth quota, which set the stage for a lack of resiliency against further disappointments that semester. As a result of her low morale, Diana subsequently investigated and interviewed for other teaching positions in schools that were not only higher performing but also were closer to her home. Diana also applied for and interviewed with companies outside the teaching profession. However, Diana ultimately worked through the issues affecting her morale, and she decided

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119 just that act of thinking I have control over my destiny, [that] I can go apply for jobs, Diana levels of morale and pride, and she pointed to what she believed were the near daily going to do kid whose father married his sister, and his emotionally distraught [son]. Imagine that. . The deprofessio nalizing of the teaching profession, the minimizing it, the undermining it is really disturbing . There have always been people who have been skeptical of teaching as a profession, but . people are buying it [now]. I asked Diana if she thought the negativity in press and publically defend the schools and teachers within MVPS. Diana by describing the challenge students. I then asked Diana if she was proud to teach in her school. She answered strongly, Absolutely! I think [Harrison High] . has such a great student to be here because it is a diverse school. I think we do a good job with our [students] . I think we have a lot of really good teachers i n the school. . could . [not] be happy to be a teacher in the school.

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120 Charles, a 5 year veteran teacher at Harrison High School, told me his morale was not affected either way his morale to CSAP student achievement. Rather than feeling demoralized by scores, what affected him w to day performance in his classroom. He was affected by the consequence s of the scores. He explained, attention to what affects those test scores, most of . which w e have no control over at all. teacher, and compared the differences between teaching at Harrison High to working in the business industry. He explained, other high school. If I was told t o switch to another high school, that would give me some real problems. Helen, a twenty year veteran teacher was experiencing an extremely low level of higher performing s negatively. She said when the current administration came to Harrison High, one of their

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121 main mandates was to increase the CSAP mathematics scores. Helen believed the administration saw the mathematics teachers as the reasons the scores were low and soon began monitor have common planning that was teacher led and was, as she believed, helpful to teachers and was one reason the department was highly regarding in the school district. Helen thrived on the collegiality, but the principal eliminated scheduled time for the departm ent to meet and plan. Helen explained how this issue affected her morale: time t o plan. Helen also described how the percentage of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program had increased significantly, while the percentage of students in the partially proficient category of the CSAP mathematics stayed the same. She rem embered [achievement] level as previous populations that were more likely to succeed on those under the

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122 I wanted to know if Helen was proud to teach at Harrison High Helen explained how she previously would have gone out into the community and promoted Harrison High: I used to be very proud [of Harrison High], and I used to describe to the ki ds are valuable, and why it would be valuable for all kids, no matter what their color or age or income, to come to [Harrison High School] . Helen began crying as she continued: The things that my current adm value anything. Burno ut When attempting to determine if the Harrison High teachers had issues of burnout, I began by asking each one if they believed they were experiencing the condition. Two of the teachers, Diana and Brian, indicat support as a main factor in her burnout. She explained, From our support staff in this school, . I have never had them respond mething wrong with that system. support, Diana told me how she was able to work through the burnout. She also believed

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123 her years of teaching experience helped her cope with her burnout and ultimately make the decision to stay in teaching and stay at Harrison High. Brian, who tendered his resignation the semester of our interview, explained the dynamics of his burnout: The pressure, either brought on dir ectly or indirectly, through administration, through myself, . you know, with scores like this . I g for a able to enjoy it a little more than I was before. Charles, Helen, and Bruce did not bel ieve they were experiencing burnout, or if they were, their levels likely were low. When I asked Charles about his belief of whether or not he was burned out, I sensed it was a feeling to which he did not give much thought. Helen believed what she was feel ing was not burnout, but rather feelings of grief. She level of burnout, Bruce believed he did not have a high level, but he said his wife be lieved otherwise. Bruce added, I have to take a serious look . as to whether or not I am. . I have a very n ruised, but I Self e fficacy Based on their scores on the MBI, all Harrison High School teachers were either in the moderate or high levels of self efficacy. Brian scored in the high range, but had mixed feelings about his score accurately representing his perceptions. He said,

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124 Planning a lesson, handling the mathematics, and when I have time, to make the lesson engaging, these are all things I feel I can accomplish. But . managing a classroom, managing student behavior, and keeping all the different levels of students engaged, . in a vacuum, I can do it. But the reality of the situation has bee n much harder than I thought. Bruce also scored in the high levels of self efficacy and was not surprised by his score. Bruce shared that, because of his reputation of being an effective teacher, people from the school district and from teacher education programs visited his classroom on numerous occasions. Bruce said he was flattered by these visitations, which helped him Charles, like Bruce, scored highly on the self efficacy dimension of the MBI, and number of ELL students in his classes as one of the reasons he moderated his opinion of his effectiveness. efficacy level, she was surprised at her high score. Diana believed the MBI questions felt mo re about her ability to effectively manage a classroom, but she believed she was strong in that area. However, ut her self efficacy score. Her medium high level did not surprise her, because she believed she could have

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125 her the support she needed. She blamed the administration fo r failing to provide time for departmental and curricular planning, failing to provide time for teachers to complete necessary tasks, and scheduling too many meetings that did not allow teachers to complete their work. Helen also believed the lack of disco values and hers was a main reason for her relatively lower level of self efficacy. Negative factors : lack of support were able to articulate clearly the circumstances within their lower performing school or within the accountability model that decreased, increased, or had no effect on their overall levels of self efficacy. Of the several themes that emerged from the Harrison efficacy, lack of admi support was a significant factor. As Brian expressed during much of the interview, he had fears of reaching out to the administrators for support in finding ways to increase student CSAP scores. Brian, who was accustomed t o feeling successful in his previous endeavors, felt at once defeated by his inability to increase student CSAP scores while being reluctant to ask for help from his administrators. When I asked Brian how much his lack of self efficacy and lack of support factored into his leaving the teaching profession, being given the proper resources or the proper situati work. And in my mind . those are the only two reasons I can think of. very long time. Brian added that while his coworkers wanted to be a supportive o f him, he realized they all were too busy to help. Of tho se in his department, he said,

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126 Nobody has three or four hours to sit down and figure things out, . to come in and watch and give you thoughtful advice. That takes a lot of time and they all hav e jobs to do. When critiquing the support his administrators provided, Bruce also responded negatively. By all accounts, Bruce would characterize himself an intelligent, well educated, and reflective professional. He values being able to provide input i nto whatever system he is working and believes his views on educating mathematics students are rational, well founded, and pragmatic. For these reasons, Bruce found the working ruce told me how he approached the principal and advocated for a block schedule for the coming year because the block schedule would mean less work for teachers, fewer preparations, and more time to think deeply about the lessons. However, the principal di explained, [the administrators] do not acknowledge that my work environment is the responsive. . Valid teacher concerns are ignored . There are very great concerns teachers have about the w ay our system is run. type of support administrators could provide. Di believed differentiated professional development would help teachers feel supported and more effective. She explained how, during the year of the interview, all teachers in the sch ool worked on one school wide professional development goal: backward design.

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127 Diana believed this professional development topic was not what all teachers wanted or needed in order to feel successful and supported. She characterized this type of mandated p heard other teachers complaining about the following: backw ard design. I spent all these hours [on backward design], but what I really needed Diana believed one of the most effective supports a principal could provide a staff is High received from their principal. Diana explained that during the school year, the mat hematics department did not have time to plan in cu rricular groups, something she abusive to not to have allowed us that time to do that. . I felt like it was underminin g When Charles spoke of the helpful support he received, he pointed not to his administrative team, but to his coworkers in the mathematics department. Charles calls e suggestions from those in his department. While Charles did not find the administration supportive, helpful, or trustworthy, he said he was not afraid to have administrators come into his room and observe his teaching practices. Of whether or not he woul d be judged

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128 However, he shared a story about one of the visitations that undermined his confidence and had him questioning if he should continue teaching. He explained, until last year . When we were told that we were on watch and that people were going to be coming around from the district visiting . classrooms,. . one of the peo ple from the district walked in, . and then he walk[ed] out. . I saw him in the hallway, and I tried to joke with him . but he said nothing. . [I wanted him to] just give me some feedback. I had nothing. Charles said based on the administrato doubt increased; common planning time for the mathematics department. Helen asked the administrators for more time to common plan; she said, administrators with the administrators in place d uring the interview. She said, Then, we had the best support. . They believed you; you always felt rt from our administration. In fact, w e are told that we are stupid. While Helen indicated she and the previous administration had differences of opinions regarding how the mathematics department should be run, Helen said the previous principal said to he Negative factors : lack of t rust. The issue of trust, about which Helen spoke, surfaced from several Harrison High teachers. They believed the reason the principal did not give the mathemat ics teachers and the department autonomy was because he did not trust them as professionals. Bruce told the story of how the principal would not allow

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129 each teacher in the department to have their own key to the mathematics supply room, where the text books and mathematical manipulatives supplies that can have a positive were kept. He said, the supply room] to get the blocks if I wanted to, because the y changed the locks, and only the department chair can have the key to the supplies that all of use need to use. access much needed materials made him feel less effective and more frustrated. Of the Negative factors : t oo much to do. Another factor in tea efficacy was the increasing and overwhelming amounts of work mandated by district and school administrators aimed at increasing student CSAP scores. Brian shared, The teacher who can look at the low performing students and pull them up here [in achievement], and [get] the high performing students thinking effectively and working on the skills they need to have, and everyone in between. Who can go in there and differentiate [that many] lessons? . feeling effective. Brian added that while he had no philosophical objections to the accountability mandates, he believed the increased lev els of work associated with the mandates were an issue efficacy. Brian stated,

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130 Time becomes an issue. . [We need] more time to plan as a department, s we are asked to perform, such as contacting parents for [students with] Ds and Fs, contacting parents for behavior, contacting parents for advisement, grading . [CSAP predictor] tests, grading [district assessments], lunch meetings, . professiona l development on Thursdays, and time to get this have to be taken home with me. Bruce also believed the amount of work required of him under the accountability mandates affected his level of self effica cy; he believed he could not complete all that was asked of him each day. Citing one of the mandates of increasing communication between teachers and parents, Bruce perceived the push for continual parent contact for low performing students was becoming ex cessive. He explained how the principal argued for more parent phone calls because those calls should take only three minutes each. Exasperated, Bruce explained, s that. . Most of the time, the troubled parents start talking your ear off, and you are done with half of your Bruce a lso believed the one size fits all professional development mandates waste his time and lower his self efficacy. He explained, ve been doing useless occupations of time just to get them done so we could get waste four hours [on professional development topics] . which are completely useless to us. D

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131 believed are important to student achievement, such as grading and returning student work qui ckly, have become more d ifficult to achieve. She said, he lack of recognition from our boss es that time is a big concern. Negative factors : s tudent attitudes and skills Along with lack of support and increased work due to accountability mandates, the Harrison High teachers identified another significant f actor affecting their self greater or lesser degree, their school was lower performing because of the inherent limitations of motivation to learn the material and score well on the test. with the material and score well on the test, but who fell short of that goal, he did not suffer a crisis of lowered efficacy. However, he said, My self efficacy is affected by students who may or may not care or who may or may not come . [into the class] at the level of the curriculum I am teaching. All of these things that are outside, or that I feel are outside, reasoning and philosophy, to be able to come to terms with that, and I as far as the accountability model, because I know I am being held accountable. Brian wanted the principal to create school wide policies holding students accountable for homework, attendance, and CSAP performance. Brian believed these policies would

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132 be k vels of engagement and ability had an effect on his level of self motivation paled in comp accountability model should indicate not that the school is failing the students, but rather but one says students are not performing; the other one says the school is not performing the kids were reaching towards the material and have the wherewithal to reach toward the Diana shared similar beliefs. She perceived her level of self efficacy dropped due tion, a situation Diana feels unable to affect. Diana believed the lack of motivation she sees in many of her students has negatively that makes me feel frustrated, and I feel like throwing up my hands and ou feel sometimes like giving up.

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133 ering expectations, insidiously not consciously. . You give students breaks that perhaps if you were in a higher performing school, you might not we could keep our expectatio ns high. believed Harrison High must create and enforce homework, attendance, and behavio r policies, the supports she believes will help teachers feel they have more power to I wanted to understand whether or not the teachers believed th ey had the ability to affect the changes necessary to increase their mathematical ab ilities. I then asked the Harrison teachers if they believed the CSAP mathematics tests were a valid measure of their teaching abilities. Finally, I asked the teachers to share their perceptions of whether or not they believed they had the self efficacy to green or higher. abilities. He said, by saying the test is a valid mea test the year after more accurate if the test were given in their native languages. Of the students who are not

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134 have te achers say that there are students who, after five minutes, close the book. . I see population. When describing the CSAP mathematics test, Bru ce said, population to be able to work those kinds of problems [on the ninth grade test] by 11 th [the state] want it to m easure that may not be valid for what the [Harrison] students need, want, or oth erwise have the ability to do. because she believes her students know more mathematics than they are able to show on scoring well, because their score is not tied to their grade in the class. Diana added that e tested on material they may not have her non late February or early March, students have nearly three months of material they have not covered at the time of the I then asked the Harrison High teachers if they believed the CSAP mathematics tests were valid measures of their effectiveness

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135 levels. Due to the their quick and unambiguous responses, I was able to see each had given this idea considerable thought over th e past years. None of the five teachers believed the test was a valid instrument to measure their effectiveness. Brian said that while the students who did not score well negatively affected his self efficacy, he still believed under the right circumstance s (i.e., teaching students who worked hard at learning), he would be a more effective teacher with higher student test scores. her made him believe the first semester of each year should be spent teaching his students how to be effective learners, with the test is six to eight weeks earlier than his schedule, the CSAP is not a valid way to measure his effectiveness. Diana also believed the test is not a valid measure of her abilities, reasoning she is n e not a significant factor in how students score. He said, I can point out exactly who is going to do well on the CSAP or how going to do well on it, because they do well in class. H elen explained that if the CSAP were course specific, then it would be easier to judge her abilities as a mathematics teacher. However, as the tests are designed now, she is not in control of what material will be tested, much of which she will never teach in her

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136 classes (i.e., extensive geometry tested on the ninth grade algebra CSAP, and extensive algebra tested on the tenth grade geometry CSAP). She advocated changing the CSAP tests to course rement of At this point, I wanted to know if the teachers believed they had adequate levels of self rating as mandate d by the state, the school district, or their principal. Four of the five teachers said they did not believe they could make the mandated increases in achievement. Charles was the only teacher to believe he could, with a caveat. Charles perceived that the Brian said, want it, or feel even reasonably obliged that they want to have it. . But the reality of the of immigrant students at Harrison High would make it impossible to bump up their High can become a green p roficient rating for Harrison unlikely. Citing the high level of ELLs at the school, she their [non Diana refugee camp in their country, whose educational experiences are unknown, to become

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137 e added, ys spoken Emotional e xhaustion With the exception of Charles, each of the Harrison High asked Charles if he was surprised by his low score, he indicated if he were truly could not wait to quit Harrison High. He explained, The way I wa s feeling emotionally, nothing that I was going to be able to do at this point was going to . pull me out [of these feelings]. . I am that way anymore. I asked Brian to desc ribe his emotional exhaustion. He said, Going home and just wanting to disconnect from the world . spending increasing amounts of time being home but not doing anything. . Trying effective, because in the back of your mind, these are the things you know you should be thinking about or need to be working on. Bruce also scored in the high range of emotional exh austion; his score did not surprise him. I asked him why, and he answered, wreck!. . When you realize . [you] spend so much time trying to deal and that is emotionally exhausting enough. Then, to have to deal with the emotional exhaustion of the blame that you get. . Yes, I feel drained, and I think the accountability model has added to that.

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138 Like Bruce, Diana was not surprised by her high e motional exhaustion score. She shared how much of her emotional exhaustion came from her perceptions that her students were not working hard to learn the material. S score, a number she character the mathematics department was in chaos. She explained that Brian was leaving, Diana wanted to find a new job, and another math teacher not in this study was angry about and was exhaustion. In addition, Helen indicated the administrators had been hard on her over the past few weeks. I asked Hele n to describe her recent interactions with the principals. She I asked each teacher to identify the issues within the school, the school district, or the accountability model that exacerbated their levels of emotional exhaustion. Brian performing schools to continue to increase their achievement each year. He described this improve. Another significant factor within Harrison High School affecting Bria

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139 increased emotional exhaustion came from a lack of trust and autonomy from his sted Bruce attributed much of his ongoing emotional exhaustion to the accountability model, the accoun tability mandates, and associated legislation. The top down mandates and accept input from mathematics teachers. Rather, Bruce believed the principal was brought in no t to collaborate with teachers but to monitor and change the math department. Bruce explained, I feel the accountability model brings people like . [our principal] to locations like ours. He is on board with the whole fix the teachers, fix the system. arrogance is ridiculous, because they know no thing. Of the changes in administration at Harrison, Bruce said, The more little change . You are making experiments with the place that is my work environment, and it will be [my work environ not leaving. Referencing SB 191, Bruce described how teach

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140 emotional exhaustion stemmed from her not believing she had control over outcomes on which she is judged. Diana explained, When you are in business, you have control over your product . Imagine judging doctors for how many patients die when they are o ncologists. stake in taking. It makes no difference in their high school career at all, but we are held acco untable for that. . I think emotional exhaustion comes from feeling helpless. scho ol district set down mandates such as creating and implementing various assessments to gather data, analyze data, changing lessons based on the data gathered, and learning and implementin g backward design. Diana said, My plate is too full, and that contri butes to my emotional exhaustion. . t going t do. Eventually I get it done. For Helen, the administration was the primary sources of her increased emotional exhaustion. She indicated that having no time to plan within the mathematics department, not being treated as a professional by the administration, and not sharing a core set of a new problem associated with accountability ratings that is affecting her emotio nal exhaustion even more: the potentially harmful effects of miscalculated data used to rate teach

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141 were tied to which teachers. She feared the potential for errors in calculation w ould have serious effects on the accuracy of which teachers received their bonuses as well as which teachers retained their tenure status under SB191. Helen explained that in the year prior to our interview, some teachers, whom she categorized as competent did not receive the said she was afraid of how the potentially inaccurate data may be used by administrators to unfairly rate teachers. Helen Depersonalization When determining how the Harrison High mathematics teachers perceived their students under the current accountability model, I asked each ing affected their feelings of their students, either positively or negatively. I found that three of the teachers felt no negativity toward their students at all, even those students whose scores either decreased and he indicated he was not surpris ed by his score. Charles said, I am not cynical toward the kids. I applaud them when they walk into the room for some kind of tutoring. . In terms of talking bad about th e kids, . n o, I do not talk the kids down. With respect feeling differently toward the students who do not try hard or who do not

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142 reason Harrison High would not receive a higher rating. Diana explained, They are good I asked Diana if the hanged the relationship she had with her students. Diana answered, I would be hard pressed to say that. . Only in the sense that we are under g to be able to get a high score, so I Diana said rather than feeling negative toward the student who was not scoring well on the CSAP, she would be more inclined to feel bad because the student was not learning. ersonalization score was in the moderate range, but she clarified that her score was more of an indicator of how she felt about the adults in the building than about the students. In fact, Helen believed she was feeling negative about everyone except the s tudents. I asked her to compare her views of students with those of adults. Helen said, [The students are] so engrossed, positive. They want to work, they say grade was bad, be rea you say anything negative to an adult in the building, just duck. Brian and Bruce were in the moderate and the high categories respectively; both indicated they were ambivalent about whether or not th ey depersonalized the students. Brian said he did not want to have negative relationships with his students. He said,

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143 I started this [career] because I enjoy working with students, and for the on students or make them victims of my situation. Whatever is going on is not their fault. However, Brian saw his relationship with his students as less committed than in the hey came explicitly and asked me for help, I would help them. But the motivation to do all this accountability model affected his feelings toward students who were not helping increase ores might have caused him to feel less respect for those students who did not attempt to achieve. Bruce was not surprised by his high depersonalization score and was explicit about how accountability could affect his relationship with his students. Exp laining how caring deeply about students can cause disappointment, Bruce said, time for you to save that perso n, but [rather] you were just a cog in the wheel of a whole bunch of instances, . you must depersonalize to some degree. I pushed Bruce to say explicitly if the accountability model affected his relationships with [mathematical] that is absolutely intelligent and well thought out, then why the hell they saw the lower achieving student and a half of teaching at

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144 Harrison High, Bruce developed a method for coping with students who are not dedicated to learning the math Motivation and E ngagement efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout, I wondered what factors within their school or their school district affected their levels of motivation and engagement in factors the Harrison High School teachers believe either increase or decrease their levels of motivation and engagement. Factors that decrease motivation and e ngagement I first asked the teachers to describe the feelings pertaining to lack of motivation and engagement and the factors they believed precipitated those f eelings. Brian said his decrease in motivation developed gradually over his three years as a teacher, in which he was highly motivated during his first year, but then became less engaged over the next two years. Brian explained how, because he could not br ing up his motivation level during his third year, he decided to leave teaching. He pointed to the accountability model as a significant factor in his loss of motivation and subsequent decision to leave teaching. He said, t motivate me; it hangs over me . like exactly making you work any harder. In fact, he might even be ruining r opposite way, because of added stress, which makes you not want to work. Or, at least it makes me not want to work. Brian also believed those behind the accountability model dem onstrated a lack of trust in

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145 [increasing achievement] is that simple, implies that without [accountability], we would be doing not hing. We would be playing video signifies a pretty large lack of trust [from] the public [and] the legislation . In my case, I feel . [unmotivated], because I was motivated, and no w, not so much, because of the climate it brings around. Brian explained that part of his lack of motivation under the accountability model also came from giving significant time and effort to teaching students he began to believe were not reciprocating t he same level of academic effort. He explained how increasing us by this accountability to get there [to a higher level]. So I think that disconnection is a result. . done, . I guess one response is to back off and not engage, . and what will be will be. It was at that point in his perception Brian believed he lost his motivation, which then permeated all aspects of his teaching experience and subsequently affe achievement. He said, longer you stay away from them, the harder it is to go back [to them]. . For three days, I should have had [the papers] . back to th em, and now Brian spoke further about how his lack of motivation negatively affected his st achievement. He added, Some o want to learn, and . if I felt more motivated, . I would b e doing a better job for them.

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146 When I asked Bruce how often he was motivated at work, he believed there were two types of mo work everyday. He explained, e have to say that I barely ever these days feel inspirationally motivated. I feel . [unmotivated] a lot. Bruce explained that the school accountability ratings do not accurately reflect the work value within the community and the school district were one of the reasons he felt unmotivated and disengaged. He further explained, We are making kids bet ter, but [we are] still perceived as almost bad . I because the rating system itself . [is] wrong. The fact that other people are putting so much stock in . [accountability r atings] . infuriates me of connection to the other people in her department. She indi cated not having time to talk to other teachers made her feel isolated and without support. In the year of our interview significant factor in her lack of motivation. achievement and engagement, Diana said, Part of my job is trying to find ways to help [students achieve], but . I administration t o be supportive of teachers, and I think those two things have been lacking. So it makes me start fee ling disconnected from my job.

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147 Diana then pointed to a third cause of her lack of motivation: not receiving her bonus money for student growth. Diana had received an effective teacher rating in years past for effective teacher rating, and she did no t receive her growth bonus from the sch ool district. Diana explained, This was the first year I did not receive this bonus, and I was devastated. And in a way, it made me feel lower motivated, . and I felt bad, really bad about not receiving a bonus. Factors that increase motivation and e ngagement affecting her levels of motivation and engagement likely stem from her high level work most to being able to engage in interesting learning opportunities as a way she stays motivated: I always try to grow, and learn, and be reflective, and I think that helps me whatever that thing might be that I could change to be a better teacher. thinking about how to make his teaching bet ter in order to increase student achievement. Helen credits great professional development, membership in professional organizations, and collegial relationships within the department as factors that keep her motivated and confident. While at the time of t he interview Helen did not receive what she would consider quality professional development and described having lost many of the

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148 opportunities to connect collegially with her co workers, she nevertheless identified these factors as being helpful. M aking a d ifference One of the greatest influences the five teachers at Harrison High School credited for keeping them engaged and motivated was that they believed they are making a difference in the lives of their students. Brian wanted to make a difference in believed he was helping them learn rather than letting them down. He shared, Those days where I felt more like a facilitator rather than a lecturer, I . [felt] great after thos e days and . [wanted] to put more work into those days and see that happen more often. . In a particularly effective lesson them over head with mathematics knowledge, but everything just works. leadership. When I a goal, believing Diana also was motivated and engaged by her belief that she could make a ask if she w as motivated by the growth bonus her school district was offering her for

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149 motivated to tailor her instruction in ways that may help her earn the bonus. She explained, teaching to a test. . Diana became a teacher because she said she enjoyed high school aged students; she believed making a difference in the lives of h igh school students was her impetus for teaching. As mentioned in a previous section of this chapter, Diana said her experiences work either in another school, school distr ict, or profession. She shared with me the explained further, I also really like that conne had more of that second semester. Like the other Harrison teachers, Helen said helping students learn was of high importance to her and helped her stay engaged and motivated. When I asked Helen how th students, every day. When difference in the lives of his students helped keep him motivated and engaged in his teaching. I asked Charles if he ever would consider work ing at a higher performing school in order to receive accolades rather than the negative responses he received at

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150 Harrison High. Charles began to weep as he told me his feelings of working in struggling good and bad in terms of teaching, but I think the kids at [Harrison] . need more help than the kids at [high Retention This section of the chapter is devoted to reporting the Harrison High School r not they want to continue teaching in their school, their school district, or in teaching altogether. This section also features the Harrison High low performing schoo l (VLPS) within the school district. Future p lans inability to be successful at achieving the outcomes o f the job as he understood them. He believed he was not capable of being successful at increasing student achievement to significantly higher levels because of his own shortcomings, a lack of support, and feeling the job itself was impossible as defined by his principal, his school district, or the accountability model. Near the end of our interview, I asked Brian if he could say explicitly whether or not the accountability model was the impetus for his leaving. He shared the following:

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151 It was a really comp licated decision. . Not feeling effective, by looking at the scores, watching . coworkers get their growth score bonuses and myself not whereas the year before I had [received it]. . My feelings of . watching the students take that test and . not feeling I have the power to make them care, to make them want it, and being judged on their performance. . And the nature of the meetings at the beginning of this year and . last year [when the district administrators came to Harrison an Each of the reasons Brian gave for leaving was associated with the current accountability model and all were based on increased levels of pressure an d emotional exhaustion as well as lowered morale and self efficacy. Brian said if the perceptions of the Harrison Bruce, on the other hand, said he i s not ready to leave Harrison High or the teaching profession. Bruce plans on staying in the profession for at least the next five to have to drag me kicking and scream Bruce was less certain. He said, That depends on what the good Lord brings me . Maybe . I can start taking classes again or pursue something else . I need to move my life forward. I love [Harris on] . but my life will need to move forward. I asked Bruce if there were factors of the accountability model might encourage him to leave Harrison High School, and he cited bad administrative management as a potential cause. Of the principal, Bruce ex plained, have had to continue working in [the current] conditions . and if stuff was just stupid on a daily basis, I . would have to consider if [Harrison] . was the right [place] . and probably would have to consider if anywhere else.

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152 Bruce believed that school and teacher accountability ultimately would be the demise of Harrison High Scho ol and may affect his decision to stay at Harrison High. He explained, 191 is going to scoop us up eventually, . able to continue teaching at Harrison High. Bruce spoke about his p hilosophical conflicts with school accountability and how he believed narrowly defined benchmarks of success They make it so hard for me to even think that I could do anything th at they were asking me to do. . I would just have to morally object to being placed in that position, . [Like Brian], to be involved in a situation where he was being told that he sucked every day. It was not congruent with his own self image. . go get something else. professional roots and l eave a position readily, but he believed there might come a time when he can no longer stay at Harrison High School. Diana, who has had her own set of challenges when thinking about staying at Harrison or leaving for another position or career, believed she would stay in teaching for the next few years, but likely will retire before five years. I asked Diana if she were not planning to retire, would she would stay at Harrison High School. She said, re I am near retirement, and so if I were really, really miserable, I would quit no matter educational policy] than

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153 She said, Well, if the administration w as even more abusive than they are now, or if they said that we were . going to be a turnaround school . that fifty percent of the teachers were going to lose their jobs, I would just not apply. I just would not even put myself through that. Addit ionally, Diana explained her perceptions on the national negativity toward teachers, a movement that ultimately may cause her to leave teaching. Of the national political negativity, Diana said, unning for president is Governor Christie of New Jersey. . He seems to hate teachers, and he says thinks . we are lazy. . When your national the school, like they di d in Rhode Island; get rid of those lousy teachers. . Did you ever think it would be all right to fire every teacher and every employee in the school? I find that so outrageous that our secretary of to me. Diana expressed she does not want to continue teaching in a negative political environment, an environment she believed is undermining the teaching profession. I asked Charles if he wanted to continue teaching for the next f ive years. He indicated teaching is the best job he ever had and would like to stay, but that his wife wants him to retire within that timeframe. No matter how many years he continues teaching, Charles said he would like to continue his teaching career at Harrison High. He The administration is fine until it changed I feel comfortable there, and I hate to have

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154 I asked Helen if she coul d see herself staying in the teaching profession for the next five years, and she was confident she would stay. However, she was not sure if she would continue to teach for ten more years, because she may want to retire within that time. Would Helen stay a t Harrison High School for the rest of her career? That question ever, at the time of our interview, Helen believed her principal was not making a concerted effort either to convince Helen to stay at Harrison or to find a were any cha racteristics of the accountability model that would encourage her to stay at Harrison. She responded, s And even those that used to be safe [with respect to student achievement] are no longer safe. Of negative characteristics of the accountability model that would encourage Hele n to leave Harrison High or leave teaching altogether, she reasoned that if her test scores were would leave Harrison. Helen explained she enjoyed teaching credit reco very classes as well as lower level mathematics classes, in which general education students and special education students were learning together. She outlined how the accountability model would create a difficult dilemma for her and for other teachers: I affect your growth [scores]. So why would you do that? Why would you kids who you say potentially have the high

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155 Teaching in a vlps (very low performing s chool) Since the lowest performing schools traditionally have the highest rates of beginning teachers and the lowest percentages of veteran teachers, I was interested to learn if any of the Harrison High School teachers would forego the professional safety and predictability of their yellow rated school and work in a VLPS. Would Helen teach in a VLPS under the current public school accountability, especially if the school were under threat of reconsti tution or closure? Helen said, I asked Helen if she worried about her j ob security in a VLPS. Helen explained she had conflicting feelings about going to a sanctioned school, but had a sense of righteous indignation for what is happening to schools, teachers, and students. She said, o those schools because you straight i Of her love for Harrison High School and of the years of effort Helen put into the Harrison mathematics department, I wondered if leaving would be difficult for he r. She explained, This used to be a haven and a great place to teach. . a wful somewhere more convenient.

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156 Charles consistently indicated he was happy at Harrison High School and said he would not want to leave voluntarily, unl ess personally asked by an administrator who believed Charles could bring something positive to the other school. I then asked Charles approached by somebody [say, an administrator] . I have faith in. . But, would I would teach in a VLPS knowing the school either is or could be a school to be reconstituted, with half of the school I would have to be shown on paper the . objective criteria by which the people were released, and they [the administrators] would have to prove to me that . [the firings] were not done in some capri cious manner, [but] that there was some intelligence behind it, and these people deserve [to be let go]. . I think if a teacher is really ineffective . they should be So I Charles added that he felt at home at Harrison High and had a strong sense of consistency there. Explaining why he would be reluctant to go to a sanctioned or VLPS school, I wondered if there were characteristics associated with the accountability model that would encourage Charles to leave his assignment at Harrison. He responded, The whole accountability just too much emphasis on test scores. . The negative part of that is that they may say somebody is ineffective when . [the CSAP is] not a true measure of their effectiveness. Would that make me leav e? No. Why? Because every school district is doing the same thing [with] test scores. So, you go from one place to another, and you still have the same [accountability model].

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157 In this section of the ch apter, I highlight the extent to which the current Harrison responses throughout their interviews. Within the pages of this chapter, I previously affected their feelings of teaching at Harrison High School. In each section of the chapter, the teachers explained how the administration had a profound negative impact on their working environmen morale, and to increasing feelings of burnout through lack of support and perceptions of increased stress based threats. Ultimately two teachers left the department within the span of o ne year, both citing the environment created by their administrators as a root cause of their departures. The information contained in this section features additional information protecting the teachers from increased stress. Bruce explained, [Our principal] chose not to buffer us from or in anyway shield us from that craziness [from central administra tion], but invited more of it into our building. . [That administration] created an air that worsened us for a couple of years . The whole feeling in the building got brought down, even people who were traditionally maybe a little bit more positive had no chance [to stay positive]. . And people who were negative already, only out and cynical and make su re that they feel like their efforts are for naught. Bruce believed the principal volunteered to implement a number of new programs from the school district in order to show himself in a positive light with district administrators, while severing relatio nships with the Harrison teachers by not being supportive. Speaking

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158 they change the curri the interview questions have a similar negative tone. She the mathematics department took on a blaming quality, one which Diana believed brought down the morale of the entire department. Diana t ried to reflect less critically on Motivating by threats is something Diana said she tries not to use with her students, but sometimes finds herself resorting to w This section of the chapter will describe the extent to which the Harrison mathematics teache rs believe the MVPS district administrators have on the perceptions they shared throughout the interviews. Four of the five teachers indicated they were not affected significantly by the school district administrators and had little or nothing to share on that topic. However, Diana spoke at length about her experiences and insights of Diana, who has been with the school district for more than two decades, shared her concerns a bout how the school district chooses its school leaders, provides support for teachers, and implements school improvement programs. Diana indicated she

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159 performing schools, the district off icials are responsible for the tone and quality within those schools. She t he lowest performing schools in the MVPS district have the highest principal turnover [that] school in ten years o Along with a lack of competent and continuous school leadership within the district, Diana believed the school district has been remiss in providing solid professional development f or their teachers. Diana indicated numerous times that she wanted to become a more effective teacher, but there were no supports in place at Harrison to receive meaningful and helpful feedback from administrators. Because of this, Diana shared the followin job in making sure that the systems are really in place to make sure we have good Speaking further about the lack of consistency within the MVPS district, Diana said, had three chief academic officers in five or six years, . [who] performing students in the mathematics classes at Harrison and how most teachers do not know how to help all of

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16 0 the students achieve proficiency without an effective curriculum in place for a significant amount of time. She said, support kids, . [and] it takes time for teachers to get good at in and do it well the first to do it well. Conclusion to Findings from Harrison High School This section of Chapter 4 marks the end of the results from the five t eachers from of their levels of accountability pressures, treat based stress, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and overall feelings of b urnout. I also included district, or in teaching altogether as well as their thoughts on teaching in a VLPS. Within this section of Chapter 4, the Harrison High teache rs spoke of the how their current principal created conditions that increased their levels of pressure, threat based stress, and emotional exhaustion, while decreasing their levels of morale, self efficacy, and overall enjoyment of teaching at their school The teachers spoke of how they did not feel trusted to be a part of the decision making team within their school, and while most were proud to teach at Harrison High, most were not happy and fulfilled under the current

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161 school administrative team. In the next section of Chapter 4, I will share the opinions and perspectives of five mathematics teachers from the green rated Newton High School. Newton High School This section of Chapter 4 features the responses of the five mathematics teachers at Newton Hig h School in place during the time of the interviews: Wanda, Hank, Kandy, Abby, and Denise. Over the past decade, Newton High School has had a stable administrative staff with very little turnover in their mathematics department. To What Do Teachers Attrib ? highest performing school in the study. At the beginning of the year I conducted the yellow (accredited on watch) to green (meets expectations); the school was able to maintain their green rating the following year. This section of the chapter features the reasons the teachers believe they and their school were able to increase both their Wanda, who was in her fifth year of teaching at Newton High, identified the cause long, school wide effort. She credited teachers and stud ents for engaging in a concerted push to increase CSAP mathematics scores. Wanda explained that from October to March the month the CSAP tests are given the school created a positive campaign aimed at helping students take the tests seriously and give thei r best efforts. Wanda also cited assigning freshmen and sophomore students to testing rooms where their own mathematics teachers were

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162 class, so the kids knew what I expected from them, . and I think they tried a little bit Hank, a 35 year teaching veteran who was in his third year at Newton High, wide mathematical standards in which students were weak and working purposefully on those topics. Hank said all people in the school were involved in the push to increase achievement, including students, teachers, and administrators. K andy, a third year teacher, also believed their increase from yellow to green was a school wide effort, with a lot of collaborating and just a fourth year teacher, was hard pressed to identify any one change that brought about a She was not sure if there were major changes in her pedagogy, but she indicated her confidence levels in understanding the curriculum Accountability Pressures I wondered if the increase in the Newton High School rating, much of which was perceived levels of stress and pressure. While the levels of the five teachers varied s lightly, most perceived their levels of stress and pressure as being relatively low, with the exception of Abby, a first year teacher.

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163 increased focus on the CSAP scores and the pu Similarly, Hank did not feel significant external pressures or stress to increase student accountability. Rather, Hank said he ap scores. He also enjoyed the good natured departmental rivalry that sprang from teachers pressures with his coworkers: I me an if . [there is pressure], it would be only ever so slightly from competitive enough; I want my kids to do as well as your kids. . I think only been here three years. So what are you doing differently? Kandy indicated she did not feel extreme pressure from accountability. She the next few years will be to go beyond green, but Kandy says she does not feel overwhelming stress and pressure to get there. Moreover, Kandy said she focused not on how well her students performed on the CSAP, but rather on the quality of education she f elt they received in her class. Kandy explained, I love [Newton], . and I want our school to be perceived as a good school, and I want our kids to say they are attending a good high performing high school, so it is important [our school do well]. . would happen if my kids were to not perform well. Veteran teacher, Denise, reported experiencing almost no pressure or stress over the accountability model. She had a more pragmat ic approach to her perceptions of the accountability model:

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164 You know what? If there is somebody better out there, bring it on. The number one goal: to try to get the kids to learn the math. If you feel there accountability pressures she feels. She answered, Abby, a first CSAP scores from her first year of teaching. However, Abby said she felt the pres sures to be an effective teacher. She explained, is [through] testing. So classroom control . have good relations with them . eat lunch and have to perfo somebody else. Factors that e xacerbate stress and p ressures I then asked the Newton math teachers if there were characteristics of the accountability model that exacerbated their perceived levels of pressure and stress. Wanda felt two pressures that exacerbated her tests seriously; and her concern about how the math department can keep their growth rating i

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165 rating are tenuous prizes and are, to some extent, out of her control. Similarly, Abby The re are so many factors going into that [rating] that are out of your so many factors that go into . Threat based s tress I asked the teachers to identify any situations associated with the accountability model that felt threatening to them. Hank and Kandy shared that they felt slig green rating and subsequently slip back to yellow for a sustained period of time. Kandy and Wanda agreed that they felt the current accountability and legislation (e.g., SB 191) might be a threat to their job security in the future. However, none of the five teachers expressed an overall doom and gloom sentiment about the accountability model. Rather, o a good job; accountability model was not threatening to her career, job security, or her school remaining open, because she is a new teachers. Of her career and account ability, Abby Factor s that mitigate stress and p ressures When describing the conditions within their school that mitigate their levels of pressure an d stress, the Newton teachers emphasized the importance of having a collegial, supportive relationship with those in their department. Of any accountability pressures put on the teachers to increase or

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166 as a collective group, we will work similar positive perceptions about the strength of the mathematics department and the importance of the collegial relationships as t hey continue to work to increase their CSAP scores. many mandates handed down from the MVPS district administrators to principals, work to increase CSAP scores. Han feel a great deal of pressure to increase student achievement, they avoid passing on negative pressure to the teachers. Hank perceived any input from the administrations as ot pressure as much as encouragement . you know, [to] accountability stress than they had in previous years. Moreover, they all believed the tion had more trust and confidence in their department, a feeling they say also mitigated their stress. Of the administrators belief in the abilities of the is most eff Morale

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167 all reporting strong feelings of pride. Wanda is proud of her scho their ability to help her feel happy and fulfilled at her job. Wanda also is proud of the levels of cohesiveness, collegiality, and friendship between the teachers in the mathematics department, and she is proud of her students and their willingness to help one another. Kandy thinks Newton is a positive place to work and is proud of every staff, and our administration is really supportive. . Our kids work really hard. I just because of the dedication of the staff. She explained, ying to help create a positive situation for a lot of kids. . I see people around me . really trying to do their best and really having those personal staff, yeah. Newton High Newton, from being a student to being a teacher. Hank is proud to help his students prepare for college the way his teachers helped to prepare him. Factors that increase m orale I and determine if and how factors associated with the current accountability model the five teachers indicated t he liked the outward cele bratory signs put around the school for returning staff to see. He said,

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168 windows where we have our faculty meetings. . [We had] the Kandy added, It was great! It was great! . You know your kids can do it, and . we green school . It was something I co uld draw on and remember that our kids did really well last year. Denise shared similar reactions to the increased rating. She said, about it, the teachers felt that we are making a change, because sometimes improve morale around school. Several of the Newton High mathematics teachers were, at the time of the interviews, enrolled in the pay for performance bonus program in which teachers rec eive bonuses for increased student and school achievement. Denise received her bonus, and indicated she . I think I worked very hard for it, and it was nice to be co Caveat to increased morale Several of the Newton teachers gave a caveat to the h our math scores, our freshmen showed more growth than our sophomores, so how do we . expand it to to be there the next year. And what happens if you get it and lose it and get it [back]? . The flip flopping would be very hard. I asked the Newton teachers how their morale would have been affected if they had remained a yellow rated school. The gen eral feelings of the teachers were that their

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169 morale within the department would have decreased. Wanda believed the teachers would We would have been down on ourselves. . [However], our department is pretty cohesive, so after we got past that grieving period, Decreased m orale I asked the Newton High teachers if there were any a ffects from the accountability model that decreased the morale. Wanda was the only teacher who reported feeling any issues, and they were associated with the testing. Wanda believed the multiple days of the predictive and diagnostic tests students took in the months prior to the CSAP tests, as well as the week or more of CSAP testing, is a waste until August six months after her students took the tests also decreased her good [give six months later] is as useful as they intended it to be. M influence. I then wondered if the Newton teachers were affected by the m explained that Newton High school, which borders another, higher performing school district, loses a significant number of their neighborhood students to the other district. goal was to figure out how the . community would see us as a

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170 community to know their school was performing well, she said she did not feel pressure from either the neighborhood or from the media. About any pressure she felt from the Burnout In order to understand whether or not the Newton teachers believed they were experiencing burnout, I asked each teacher if they fel t like they were burned out or recently had experienced burnout. Both Hank and Wanda said they were not experiencing school that fall. Kandy answered, I interviewed Abby, a first year teacher, during the beginning of summer break, and she seemed ambivalent in her feelings of the upcoming year. She said she was not exhausted? Yes. Absolutely. Was I feeling like I was putting in a lot of eff ort? Yeah. So, ed about her feelings. She burnout in previous years, and she replied, know [how I worked it like a business. . You leave it at the door and go home. And having a good family life and having other outlets as well ar e very important.

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171 Self e fficacy At this point in the interview, I aske d the Newton teachers to take the MBI; each scored highly on the self efficacy scale. The following section focuses on accountability model. Wanda scored a zero on the self efficacy portion of the MBI; her score indicated the highest level of efficacy of any of the five Newton mathematics teachers. When I asked Wanda how she felt about her unusually high self efficacy score, she said she was not surprised, given that sh e feels she can really reach students who are struggling. Another high scorer, Hank, said he was not surprised by his self efficacy score of 14. He believed he was meant to be a teacher, and over his thirty five years in the classroom, Hank believes he has his many teaching styles works best for each of his students. Kandy scored highly as well, with a score of nine; she said she was not surprised. at that job is. Teaching is no different. . I place a lot of value on that. After her first year as a teacher, Abby was not surprised by her self efficacy score of five. ass] could Are high CSAP s c ores an important g oal? I asked the teachers how important the goals were, to a greater or less er d egree, important. Hank shared,

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172 It is important to me to have higher achieving students. . If you are achievement gap . and [students] are more college ready. Denise believed th e goal was important, but for a different reason: they need to help me get to the point where I can perform and be at that does not want to fall back to their previous yellow rating. About going back to yellow, Kandy gave a qualified answer to whether or not she felt the goal was important. She said she knew the goal is important to the school district, the school administrators, and the community, however, she sees a limit to its importance for her. She explained, I know what [the students] . are capable of, so that measurement [the it has that impact on eve rybody else, then it is important that we stay green. Wanda also added a qualified answer to whether the goal is important. Wanda believed the many days and many sessions of CSAP testing can leave students feeling negative about mathematics. Wanda said, Because so much emphasis is placed on it, it is important. And when we would rather that the kids leave my classroom with a more positive feeling about math, and I think that positive feeling toward math would help increase their scores. Abby was in agreement with Wanda, and her motivation lives internally with her own beliefs rather than externally with a color rating. She shared, hat my students are growing.

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173 doing. bilitie s Each of rating is an important goal albeit for different reasons. Therefore, I wondered if the valid measure Denise said she had never looked at the test questions, however, she thought the ey . put into it, knowledge, she does not believe the tests should be used to measure her abilities as a teacher. She explained, If I had the kids from first grade to ninth grade, and then you test necessarily fair that you are judged based on what a ninth grader knows if you [only] just have been teaching them at the ninth grade level. test topics are too broad and too numerous, with some topics not even included in the school questions on the freshman mathematics test, yet the freshman course is algebra bas ed.

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174 tanding. He added, Even though you think you try to hit everything that you think will be on perform well o n a certain day at a certain time. I asked Hank if he believed the mathematics tests were a valid measure of his abilities; he motivated to. . The exceptional teacher can get those students to be motivated for them but rather, she sees the tests as an incomplete measur e of what they know. Kandy found similarly about using the test as a method of measuring her teachi ng abilities. She explained, d to learn and they grow, they do show that growth on the test. But, . that alone will [not] really say whether a te acher is a good teacher or not. Students e fficacy There seemed to be an overall resignation of the teac hers at Newton that they are only part of the solution to increasing at many other factor s exert equal or greater amounts of influence. Wanda said she wants her students to perform well on the tests, but believed her inf I think I as a math teacher can do part of it, but that it takes a lot more than just me . I know the prospect of being underperforming . is there, but us on it because I feel like if I do what I need to do, what happens after than is kind of out of my control.

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175 Rather, he believed his students control their own successes. Han k explained, A lot of people are saying it is the accountability of the teacher, but after thirty than thing exceptionally different. Hank explained if teachers can get students motivated to be high performing, then their motiva tion will change the school from lower performing to higher performing. He cores], perform on that test, it could have a huge impact on what happens to your school. First something that concerns me. With other things in my life, in control [of] those outcomes and decisions. This [accountability is affected by] so many personalities and so many factors that go into it that I working rea same feeling or that same importance is had by the students. And then my rating is based on their efforts. That kind of bothers me.

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176 significant impact on the ed on the students, and I feel there needs to be an equal amount of accountability placed on the students and their families to perform. Abby described the day she was driving to work and heard a radio spot proclaiming that school needed to get rid of the so in increasing test scores: I me only do the very best I can. . [Scores are] out of my control to some extent . You just have to be realistic about what your abilities are [or] you drive yourself crazy. Den thirty Emotional e xhaustion BI scores for their emotional exhaustion levels spanned from low to high, with all the teachers indicating they were not surprised by their scores. Wanda, Kandy, and Denise scored on the low end of emotional exhaustion, while Hank scored in the mid levels. Abby, the first year teacher, was the only person to score in the high range. This section of the chapter describes their perceptions of their emotional exhaustion and to what they attribute their feelings.

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177 Wanda said her low level of emotional exhaustio n came from her enjoying her work at Newton and the fact that she loves coming to school each day. Wanda added, planning time, which she believed decreased her chance s to become emotionally exhaustion. Kandy also scored low on the emotional exhaustion component of the MBI. She cited making a difference in the lives of the students as the primary factor in keeping her levels of emotional exhaustion low. Additionally, Kandy credited receiving plenty of But I see enough . that I think it keeps achievement rating helped alleviate much of her emotional exhaustion and said she found herself drawing from those good feelings during stressful times. Kandy shared that she appreciated having collaboration bet ween members of the department, and she believed increased her levels of emotional exhau stion. She shared, I think sometimes perhaps the attitude of [some of] the students and the support we get from parents and just [their lack of] . desire to want to have th at desir e, then it becomes a challenge.

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178 Denise also scored on the low end of the emotional exhaustion scale; she credited Moreover, Denise indicated she is purposeful in keep ing her interpretations of situations at school separate from her emotions. She explained, When my thoughts are driven by my emotions, I get very little done . Thinking about something and now letting the emotions [take over], I n life. . I think the better your equip yourself for being able to separate the two [emotions and analysis], the more effective you are in the classroom. accountabi Hank, who joined the Newton High mathema tics department several years ago, came from a high scoring suburban school district where he worked for several decades. Hank credited his moderate level of emotional exhaustion to his belief that he is still emotional exhaustion to the differences in commitment levels between his former suburban students and his current urban students. Hank said, ir desire to learn. . If they are not willing to try, you have a hard time still in. el it bonuses he received made a difference in his levels of emotional exhaust ion. He

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179 explained that, while the money was a nice surprise, the bonuses really did not affect his feelings. Abby was the only Newton High teacher in the study with a high level of emotional exhaustion. Abby indicated her first year of teaching was diff icult, and pointed to having an overloaded Algebra 1 class of forty one students and a perceived lack of support from her administrator to alleviate the overcrowding. She described how she went to her administrator clearly upset about the situation, but he was not sympathetic. d her increased levels of emotional exhaustion on the mandates of differentiating instruction for increased student program teachers were supposed to access and analyze. How ever, Abby said frantically, small group work? CSAP scores and believed she was more invested in their learning than they. Abby said, Depersonalization The depersonalization component of the MBI identif ies how teachers view their students. I was interested in understanding how the teachers perceived

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180 chers, Wanda, Hank, and Kandy, scored low on the depersonalization portion of the MBI, and two of the five, Abby and Denise, scored in the moderate category. I asked Wanda if she felt differently about the students who were not working hard, either in cla ss or on the CSAP test. She said she did not see them as the enemy; rather, she wanted to understand the reasons why the students we re not engaged. She explained, I think we try to figure out who those students are before the test and really get someone w to stress the importance of the test, so they at least com e in and try to take the test. I asked Wanda if she was upset with her low Han k also scored in the low category of depersonalization, and he shared that, even after his thirty five years of teaching, he still believed he connects with most of his and get extra help Kandy also scored in the low end of the depersonalization scale, but had a invested in what

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181 school year progressed, she began to understand she could not reach all students equally. She explained, make a difference with some difference for. . You have to make a difference with the ones that you can r each, and focus on them. Denise, who scored in the moderate category of deperson alization, began her thoughts on her score in a rational tone rather than an emotional tone. Denise said she asked her how she perceives her were students for whom she had less respect due to their lower commitment to the ect that kid even though we I then asked Denise if she felt any of her depersonalization score was due to the pressures of school accountability? She answered, I think so. I think that would be a your focus is to stay in the green performing [rating], I think there is a to work out here for that kid. Abby scored in the mid level range of depersonalization. She described her views of students whom she believed were not working hard to sustain or to increase the

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182 There are some qualities I was disappointed by in my students and that being their own . work ethics and their own efforts. . If there is no effort themselves. I asked Abby if she blamed her students, a up their end of the deal. . I think when I see it enough, I back away from them perspectives on the accountability model an d blame. She continued, If the students were really putting forth a lot of effort, I believe they would the bl somebody, so they blame the teachers. Teachers gotta blame somebody, so they blame the administration and the students. . My review is based on e and raise them.. . I are there to realize w here education could get them. I then wondered if Abby was drawn to the students whom she believed where working harder and putting Motivation and e ngagement The overall levels of motivation and engagement of the Newton High teachers generally were high, with teachers citing autonomy, a strong camaraderie with those in their department, meaningful and challenging work, and making a differences in the live of their students as their main reasons for their motivation. This section of th e chapters will look deeper into these factors. Positive factors ninety her college classes, which she said motiv ates her now to help her students through their

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183 struggles with math. Wanda wants her students to like math, and that continues to engage explained how she focuses on hope and analysis rather than fear and stress as a way to scores, Wanda said, I would wonder why [our scores were low]. . What did we do differently? Was it something I did? Was it the group of kids we had? . It would just be motivation for me to do it better next year. ability to make autonomous curricular decisions as a way of h elping her stay motivated. wondered if the pay for performance bonus affected her motivation to increase student achievement. Wanda explained, that it was there . We were all surprised when we got the notification [that we received the bonus money]. So I d was for that financial incentive. Hank shared that his motivation stems from the strong relationships between the teachers in the mathematics department and the autonomy afforded the teachers from the increased CSAP mathemat ics achievement levels. He said the autonomy of the department brings the teachers closer together and makes him feel grounded. He shared sense of community for him. Ho wever, along with his appreciation of his departmental connections and autonomy, Hank believed his greatest motivator is feeling he is making a

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184 kids to learn. . I just [that]. Kandy shared that she is motivated in her career eighty to ninety percent of the She said, mathematical[ly] and even just personal[ly]. Watching the kids grow ove r always nice to watch that happen. Kandy also described being motivated by the level of support she receives from her ge and motivate students. Abby, who completed her first year prior to our interview, felt very motivated and engaged at Newton. She believed her strong work ethic kept her on track and enthused. Of her efforts at work, Abby said, I do my best every day . I feel like every day I try to structure my class, group or not. . I feel like I very much think about everything. . To me, Abby al so is motivated to help her struggling students understand the mathematics. She Denise indicated she, too, was highly mot ivated and engaged in her work. I asked motivated by the positive relation ships with the students. She shared,

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185 unrealistic in a class of thirty six [students]. But I feel if I can get thirty two out of thirty six [students], then I feel pretty good. . Even those kids them engaged and try to motivate them to do well in math. Negative factors I asked the teachers to describe the situations at work that decreased their levels of mo tivation and engagement. Wanda pointed to two issues: curriculum trainings that took her out of the classroom; and undifferentiated professional several times during our i nterview that testing, training, and data analysis that took away from teaching time upset her, and she considered those events to be time wasters. Earlier in this chapter, Hank indicated he did not feel disconnected from the students who were not engaged in learning the mathematics, but his answer to this question is contradictory to his previous answer. He said, as slow as you need and take as many steps and you need to try to learn . I would say I become disenfranchised about kids not willing to improve on themselves . [I see it as] disrespect, not wanting to improve . wanting to settle fo r mediocrity or failure instead of tr ying to strive for excellence. I then asked Kandy to describe situations where she felt a lack of motivation and engagement, and like Hank, Kandy pointed to the days when the students were not engaged in their learning She described difficult times in her classroom: frustrated, and they are struggling. They themselves are [not engaged], and that causes me to [not engage] a little bit, too, and make s me want to stop pushing as hard. Denise shared that, while the extra work required to increase and maintain level of motivation. However, there were days she felt sh e had to escape the demands of

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186 Retention The mathema tics teacher turnover rate at Newton is low. Of the few teachers who reason or another her knowle dge, no one left the mathematics department because of accountability pressures or because Newton was lower performing. Therefore, unlike many of the lowest staffing shortages or an influx of new teachers. This may be one of the reasons the school is able to gain ground academically, moving from yellow to green. I wanted to know what it woul d take to make the teachers want to leave the school. I also wanted to know if they would be interested in taking a position in a VLPS within the school district. The following section captures their perspectives and responses. Future p lans Wanda said she planned on staying in teaching for the next five years, but was uncertain if she would stay on the job for the next ten years. She said she might want to marry some day, have children, and be a stay at home mother. Unless department went through some changes for the ratings. Rather, her decision comes from her happiness with the mathematics department,

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187 the relationships she has built with her coworkers and students, and her high regard of her principal. Wanda said the principal is so well respected by the staff she and other teachers feel extra pressure to p CSAP scores high. When initially choosing a school in which to teach, Wanda said she did not want to apply at the highest rated school district, because the students were performing too well already. She did not want to go to the highest rated school within the MVPS district, as I then asked Wanda if there were reasons associated with the current accountability mo del that would encourage her to leave Newton High School. She accountability cou ld affect her decision: If I felt like it was influencing how I felt about coming to work so that I was more negative everyday, so worried about what could happen if the is to teach at a college. Hank said he plans to stay in teaching for the next five years, but may see himself retir that he

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188 would not leave Newton because of any accountability pressures; Hank would leave due to physical ailments. Hank said he likes the students at Newton and draws strength from h. I wondered if there were reasons Hank would leave his school. He came up with only one: a decrease in pay. He explained, ids do well or perform well, we Having just finished her third year of teaching, Kandy said she would stay in the profession for at least the next t en years, because she en joys what she does. She added, I really feel like this is what I was meant to do. I really love watching kids and I want to keep doing it. Kandy believed an other reason she would stay at Newton High was her appreciation of experience it. And tha accountability model that would effect her decision to stay in or to leave Newton. She indicated the accountability model currently is not influencing her decision on whether or not to stay, a nd she is not compelled to look for a job in a higher performing school. However, Kandy indicated if her school scored significantly lower on subsequent CSAP tests, her decision to stay or leave would be based on how the school and the school district hand led the new, lower rating. She said,

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189 If there was a major change in the administration, in the way the together, . if there were a major shift in all of that, then possibly [I would le ave]. would stay in teaching were predicated on a deal she made with herself when she first began teaching. She said, I told myself I would do this job for three years, and i f I had not had it However Abby said that during her three year trial period, she wants to stay at Newton High. I asked Abby if there were any positive aspects of the accountability model that conside ration, she added, [But] knowing that I was being effective with my students and that they were learning what they were supposed to be learning would be positive reinforcement . that they were learning the concepts . Yeah, those are good things [a bout the accountability model]. I then asked Denise if she planned on staying in teaching for the next ten years, and she said she would like to stay because she enjoyed being a teacher; Denise indicated she could foresee herself being a career teacher. perspective that the accountability model is a interview questions.

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190 Teaching in a vlps (very low performing school). All five teachers at Newton indicated they enjoyed worki ng at their school and could see themselves staying at Newton, at least for the next few years. I wondered if, at anytime during their careers, the Newton teachers would be interested in or willing to transfer to a VLPS within the MVPS district. Each Newto n teacher had, to a greater or lesser degree, reservations about working in the very lowest performing schools in the district. Wanda explained that working in a VLPS schools would be unpleasant because of the pressure from outside educational specialists autonomy. She also believed the bad reputation of the VLPS would make the working conditions stressful. She said, e . Just the negative energy that people feel about [those] . schools. . I would rather stay away from the negative energy. . I think it would cause more stress than would be worth it. I wondered if offering a higher salary would encourage W anda to move to a VLPS. She agreed that, if she were to take a VLPS position, she would need to make more money to compensate for the lack of job security she perceived at the very lowest performing schools. In response to my question of whether or not s he would be interested in teaching in a VLPS, Kandy believed she would be interested in exploring that idea at some point in the future. She explained that when she began looking for teaching positions, she did not want to work in the higher performing sch

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191 rs of teaching, Kandy now believes she could, if she wanted to, move to a lower when I asked Kandy if SB 191 would influence her decision to work in a VLPS, she responded, It would make me a little big nervous, because I know a lot of what comes out of . [your rating] is just what your students are willing to put into it, have the same effect on a lower performing Denise seemed to have the fewest reservations about moving to a VLPS. She said, 191 ncern School Administrati s Members of the Newton High School administrative team have been in their positions for a number of years and for most of the teachers in this study, represent a stable and supportive foundation for them and for their students. The Newton teachers in the stress of the accountability mandates, increased their morale, gave them autonomy, provided a positive place to teach, and gave them a reason to stay at Newton High. This section describes why, for the most part, the Newton teachers appreciate their ad ministrators, particularly their principal.

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192 As featured several times in this chapter, one of the most important reasons Wanda said she appreciates working under her current administrators is their trust in the mathematics department to work independent mandates. Wanda said the administrators did not always agree with the mathematics something Wanda believed caused stress for the admin Before we received the [increased] growth rating, we made decisions to r the page that it said. And I think the district breathed down our administrators necks, . but they [the administrators] are kind of a buffer zone [for us]. administ adjust Another reason Wanda thinks highly of her administrators is that they hear and raises the m orale of the staff. She added, Part of our pressure is we h ave to do well so it shows that [our principal] . has been doing what he/she needs to do so that he/she can stay [in our school], because, we don d, I think they probably buffer the negativism that comes to them [about] us, and the rewards and the appreciations that come towards them, they give job.

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193 Hank said he also appre ciates the support the administrators provide. He described how the mathematics department and the administrators worked closely and worked well with each other. Crediting the work the administrators do with the mathematics department, Hank believed the su pport the teachers receive goes far to help increase teacher the closeness an d support he felt from the administrative team. He said, administrative team and the faculty team . I think for me, that is a good basis for helping teachers in low performing schools against burnout. When describing her perceptions of the administrative team, Kandy identified many of the same attributes Wanda and Hank mentioned, but added how much she apprec iated working in a school where there was not a revolving door of principals. She explained, kids, and our school, and our expectations, and the day to day. . They are genuinely Kandy then told a story about during her first few days on the job at Newton High. She overheard a group of te achers talking about the administrators: school in general. They were taking about how wonderful the for any body else; they were just talking amongst themselves. I asked Kandy if she was motivated to work harder because of her respect for the

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194 ose them, because they are a huge part of what her class of fort y one Algebra 1 students. I asked Abby if she believed the administration worked for the betterment of the teachers or for themselves. Abby said, [with the other administrators] re run in [with him] changed as the year went on, . [so] I felt sup ported by him towards the end. She, too, said she appreciates the administrators provide autonomy and support. She adds, classroom, and they really put th emselves out on the line to see that . gets did not have the level of support her current administrators provide. She described, Yeah, it would make my job a lot mor very difficult. That would not be very enjoyable ke that. of their administrators, I then asked the teachers to what extent they believed the school district leaders influenced

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195 understand they did not see the district leade rs as an influential force in their experiences to quirement policy of four years of mathematics is the only teacher concerned wit h how the school district officials treat teachers in lower performing schools. She said, If they would just realize what was happening in the low performing schools and just recognize that the teachers are doing their jobs. They are s not for lack of trying that the schools are low performing. Conclusion Within the pages of Chapter 4, I have reported the results from the two hour interviews taken from each of the five teachers from Harrison High and the five teachers from Newton Hig h. The teachers within Harrison High had an abundance of negative feelings and high levels of pessimism, while the teachers within Newton High had a wealth of positive feelings and high levels of optimism. Following the format of the levels of stress and pressure, morale, burnout, and their desires either to stay in or leave their current schools, their school district, or the profession altogether. I also featured teacher performing schools within the MVPS district. The next chapter of this dissertation, Chapter 5, is devoted to reporting and schools: Yarborough

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196 High and Ontario High. Chapter 5 will begin with Yarborough High, a well established, higher performing yellow rated school located in a residential neighborhood. The chapter will focus on three mathematics teachers, all of whom are vet eran teachers to their school and to the MVPS district. From there, I will present the findings of the four teachers from Ontario High, a red rated school located in a lower income neighborhood. Ontario High will be phased out two years after the completio n of this study. I will feature the interviews of the four Ontario teachers, all but one of whom are early career, non tenured teachers.

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197 CHAPTER 5: RESULTS F ROM YARBOROUGH AND ONTARIO The previous chapter featured the responses of the te achers from Harrison High School and Newton High School, two schools with disparate responses to the elements of High School and Ontario High School because of their dissi milar emotional Within the pages of Chapter 5, I first will present the f indings from the interviews of the three Yarborough High teachers, followed by the findings from the four Ontario accountability pressures and stress; their levels of morale; their levels of burnout, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization; and their feelings of continuing to work in their school, their district, or i n teaching altogether. The information about the teachers from each of the two schools will conclude by reporting the recommendations teachers made to policymakers, legislators, and administrators regarding how to help teachers working in lower performing schools with respect to levels of pressure and stress, morale, burnout, and desires to continue teaching in their schools, their district, or in teaching altogether. Yarborough High School This section of Chapter 5 features the responses of three veteran mathematics teachers from Yarborough High School: Larry, Craig, and Megan. These teachers, along with the other members of their department and their students, worked purposefully to

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198 increase their CSAP mathematics scores. In the year prior to the intervie ws, Yarborough scores increased significantly, and while the school is still labeled lower performing, Yarborough is now rated as a high yellow school. As was true of Newton High School, the teachers and students were applauded for their significant growth which created a positive energy in the school. Although Yarborough did not reach green status, the teachers believe a green rating is not out of their reach. With respect to teacher and administrator turnover, the school has been experiencing a stable pe riod with very little voluntary teacher turnover and no recent turnover in the administrative staff. student growth as me indicating significant growth. I began each interview by asking each teacher to what he or year veteran at the school, s aid he attributed the gain in scores to the mathematics department being given autonomy to make their own curricular decisions rather than being forced to follow year Yarborough veteran, believ ed the increase in CSAP mathematics achievement could be traced back to the freshman class, who came to Yarborough that year having had a rigorous middle school mathematics program. Larry said the incoming freshmen came to Yarborough on grade level, so the teachers could push a more rigorous and fast paced level of instruction than they could have in years past. Megan, a six year veteran to Yarborough, attributed the every stu dent in attendance on testing days as well as attempting to inspire students to do

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199 their best on each test. She explained the school promoted the CSAP tests in a positive dra wings for prizes. Accountability Pressure and Stress The overall stress levels of the Yarborough teachers were relatively low, with teachers expressing their responses to the interview questions less emotionally and more analytically. There also was a se nse of stubbornness in their responses, which seemed to personally. Moreover, there was an additional common theme present throughout each of The Curriculum Police, an entity each teacher believed created a significant amount of pressure and stress. F actor s that exacerbate pressure and s tress The Curriculum Police was a group of to high yellow status, progress and instructional strategies. The teachers indicated The Curriculum Police increased their stress levels because they felt they were monitore d too closely and not trusted to make autonomous professional decisions they believed would have increased student achievement. Since the school received their higher rating, The Curriculum Police have not returned. Along with being monitored by The Curri culum Police, Craig said much of his ssors, Larry indicated that, in the recent past,

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200 he felt the pressure for his students to score highly on the mathematics tests so he could be seen as an effective teacher. Larry believed that, during the years when student enrollment decreased and mathema tics positions were cut, those teachers whose students had high CSAP scores would have been the teachers who kept their positions. Threat based s tress While there is a low level of threat based stress among the Yarborough mathematics teachers, Craig sh ared his concerns about the potential of SB 191 to generate negative consequences for teachers. Craig explained how his career could be threatened by the accountability legislation placing too much emphasis on his rvations. Craig worried SB 191 could affect F actor s that mitigate pressure and s tress The pressure on the Yarborough teachers pressure into a reasonably healthy perspective by level and whether or not their students have an inner desire to succeed. This resiliency is a powerful force that can personally. Megan shared, scores are lo every day. . I enjoy my job; I love my job. Everybody else has the then maybe you need to tell me.

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201 effective teachers, is their ability to regulate how external pressures affect their internal levels of stress. Larry seemed indifferent to any stress from accountability legislation: stress is perception that their accountability pressure had abated, at least for the current year. Of It definitely makes feel the general idea is the more progress you show, the less likely the district downtown is to be interfering and putting in more requirements. . gress. strength and comfort they drew from the collegiality within the mathematics department. The teachers indicated they regularly work closely as a team, which they agr eed provides friendly support and also helps them generate ideas to increase student achievement. Each Yarborough teacher shared that if their students were not scoring highly enough on the CSAP tests, they would turn to their team to determine which areas of instruction they could improve. Larry said the high level of camaraderie in the math department also d their department is

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202 within her department and the strength she draws f of one another to increase student achiev ement. She described the events following the re lease of the CSAP test scores: bre ak this down to what h There appears to be a relatively low level of stress among the three mathematics themselves, their ability to put stress to a positive use to increase student achi evement, and their reliance on their department as a source of knowledge and support. Like the teachers from Newton High School, the levels of stress and pressure at Yarborough High School were not debilitating to the teachers. Rather, most teachers found a way to use much of the pressure constructively. Morale I was interested to understand if and how the current accountability model the most part, their levels of mora le were quite high. The three teachers credit the about the school and about their work. Craig shared that in previous years, when the mathematics scores were not h igh, the faculty meetings were not as fun for them. He explained,

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203 We had to sit there while we . [heard about] increases in reading and increasing in writing [but] deceases in or . the same [scores] in math. So But now, to be able to look and say, ol back as far as our ratings. Craig said, when times get tough, he calls on the optimistic feelings and high morale he Craig says his optimism makes his attitude better and helps the students be more optimistic as well. Larry also indicate growth rating has had a positive effect on increase in her st felt that instead of feeling demoralized by lower scores, she would be motivated to work harder and to help her students learn F actor s that decrease m orale I asked the Yarborough teachers if there were any issues relating to school accountability that negative ly affected their levels of morale, and if so, to what they attributed those feelings. Craig explained how for several years in the past, The Curriculum Police negatively affected his feelings. He and others in his department believed the mandated curricul um was not effective in affecting mandated

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204 The district was keeping a close tab on us and making sure we were doing stuck in that [curriculum] year after year and have [higher] results expected, that was particularly hard. . It just made the year longer and harder to be optimistic at work, harder to be satisfi ed with what you are doing. Megan recounted a period of low mora le for the department that also was based on the administrators came down hard on the department for not having CSAP scores comparable to those at Newton High (the highes t performing school in this study). Megan said the Yarborough teachers were unhappy because they believed their low d curriculum that was not Pride wondered i f they were proud to teach at their school. Each teacher answered quickly and convincingly that they were indeed proud. Craig shared, We really had a great group of students at the school. I mean, when it t students at other faculty, I think. The administration [is] mostly good. Megan shared similar feelings of her school and of her students. Megan lives in a suburb with high performing sc hools and is proud to tell her neighbors she teaches at my

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205 The media changes everything; they blow this so much out of proportion. . With all the blame being placed on teachers, I think a lot of parents do not respect us, and I think if we had more respect . maybe we have so many problems. Burnout I wanted to understand if the three teachers felt they were burned out, and if so, to what extent. Craig was quick to say he did not think he currently was experiencing burnout. However, he thought he was burned out several years ago when the school was under the control of The Curriculum Police. Similarly, Larry did not believe he was exper iencing burnout. He explained, I enjoy what I do. I enjoy my work. No matter what work or job I would be doing, I would have to put my total into it. . and maybe th at make s this job a little bit easier. she was experiencing burnout, s Self e fficacy I asked each of the teachers to take the MBI ES to determine their levels of the three d imensions of burnout: self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization. This section of the chapter features the self efficacy scores for Craig, Larry, and Megan. Craig scored in the high range of self efficacy, and I asked him if he was surpris department finally had been given the curricular autonomy they wanted, and the

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206 depart and hard work. Craig believed had the school district continued to mandate the previous curricula, his self efficacy score would not have been as high. Larry also scored highl y on the self efficacy scale. Larry said his score did not surprise him, because as a veteran teacher of over three decades, he believes in his ability to teach effectively, and he enjoys working toward his goal of student understanding. Megan also scored highly on the self efficacy scale and was not surprised by her score. Factors increasing e fficacy I then asked the teachers to identify characteristics of the accountability model that increased their levels of self efficacy. Of all the important scores, the Yarborough teachers believe it i teachers have their curricular autonomy. Craig believes all educators want to have driven curriculum gave the teachers great confidence. He de scribed the situation: The freshman [scores] . improved because we were for the first time in several years allowed to change the curriculum. . We were just looking at how to teach to the CSAP things we thought were important, skills we thought were important [and] not given much attention in the district, . addressing [them] more. Craig added that having autonomy to make the necessary decisions about student achievement increases his belief in his abilities and is one of the reasons he continues to

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207 Larry shared Cr teach what they need to teach, and . kind of a universal pride amongst teac h the things that we see fit. B eliefs about increasing r ating efficacy, I wondered if the three teachers believed they had the ability rais CSAP scores, but was uncertain how high. He explained, Meeting the expectations of the district and the principals and policym reach. So five percent more every year until we get to one hundred percent? Are we really going to get to one hundred percent? . Leave it at seventy five percent for a while and l an automatic increase every year until w Larry believed he does not have the ability to increase the scores to levels mandated by policymakers or administrators. Larry argued the studen ts do not come to school on grade level and do not have the necessary work ethic required to move the policymaker and administrators will require each year and his students to those levels. He explained, . The population has gotten worse every year as far as their apathy and background knowledge, being hooked into technology rather than otal disregard for education has

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208 hopeful. She answered, . what else I could do differently to help. . [The administration] would have to give me more tools. . I would need more guidance on what else I can do . and told these ar e the things that you are lacking. A n important g oal? CSAP scores and color rating were important goals either for them or for their school. Craig answered, do the best job I can and let the rating follow. . If pressure comes down, . I might worry about it. Larry sha red a similar belief; he said, ut it t o see that as my primary goal. Megan answered, and where I work. . People look at you differently. . I would like to be able to say I work . in a A valid measure of a bilities? The CSAP mathematics tests are one of t he key results on the ratings and subsequent positive or negative consequence, I was interested to understand if the teachers believed the CSAP tests were a valid meas mathematical abilities and their teaching abilities. Craig did not believe the tests were a match the district curriculum. He explained ther e is too much geometry on the freshman

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209 test and too much algebra on the sophomore test. Craig also does not feel the test is a valid instrument to measure his abilities as a mathematics teacher, because the test an their growth. It is worth noting that both throughout the year as best as I possibly can. But I know that their basic knowledge and their attitude and their laziness keeps them from doing . is a pretty good measure of the However, Larry was adamant the test is not a valid measure of his teaching a bilities. following: every turn in a paper. . The quality of student . goes down every year, and I have to work harder and harder ev ery year just to maintain [student achievement]. As a group [of teachers], I think we all should take offense to that idea ng to rate and evaluate the our and a half every two days. Megan also beli explained,

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210 are English language learners, and they . get confused on the directions and things like th what they can actually acc omplish and do mathematically. Megan claimed the test is not a reasonable measure of her teaching; she shared, Part of it depends on the attitude of the kids . and me even being in the room with my kids. . and how comfortable they feel. . I can have a group of kids, and I can be teaching them really, really, well, and they really get it . but yet on the day of the test, they walk into the room . and bomb Megan said she has resigned herself to dealing with the test being used to judge her as either effective or ineffective. She explained, your best with it. I mean it does kind wanting them to get into c ollege and do well on the ACT. Emotional e xhaustion This section of Chapter 5 focuses on the emotional exhaustion scores of the teachers and to what do they attribute their levels to this, the second dimension of burnout. The MBI ES emotional exhaustion scores of all three Yarborough teachers were relatively low, which surprised none of them. Mitigating factors Craig scored a sixteen on the emotional exhaustion scale, which is on the high end of low, and he was surprised his score was so high. He thought However, Craig shared that believing in his work is an important way to mitigate any feeling of emotio nal exhaustion he may feel. He explained, have goals, something that needs to be done, something you aim for. If you believe the goals are important and if you believe you could ach ieve them, then I believe that gives you the emotional energy to keep going.

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211 emotional exhaustion. Of the importance of the increased rating, Craig credited it with interviewed during his first few years of teaching. He explained, I think the early years were tougher. . It took a while to get my feet, and I very well may have been one who left in the first few years. I just decided to stick it out, but as time went by, I got more . coping skills . and teaching skills. Craig also cred warding off feelings of emotional exhaustion. not surprised by his score because he said he enjoys hi s work and always felt motivated skills helped him feel reconnected to his work, and the higher growth scores that resulted emotional exhaustion at Yarborough is founded on a sentimental note. Larry shared that years ago, when he was a substitute teacher at Yarborough, he wanted to become a full time faculty member at the scho ol. As a substitute, he enjoyed coming to Yarborough, and felt his teaching home was there. When I asked Larry if it was difficult for him to Exacerbat ing factors With all the good feelings Larry shared about his work and happiness to teach at Yarborough, I wondered if there were situations associated with the school accountability that exacerbated his emotional exhaustion levels. He mentioned

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212 two: havi ng the students pulled out of his mathematics classes for tests, meetings, and other non math different kinds of diagnostic and predictive tests the school district asks the students to take to determine how well they will do on the CSAP, the students are taken out of their learning environment too much. He shared, All that kind of [accountability] crap they bring in the school. Stuff they pull kids out of class for. . Anything tha t takes the kids out of the here back in line. Larry also shared his feelings of students he believed we re not dedicated to learning the mathematics. He explained, Some of us worked really hard to get our scores up. . I really believe our scores are going to go down this year. . because the students are just absolutely lazy. . You give them an assign ment, [the] next day maybe one person might have started the assignment. The rest of them think this everythi ng. Unlike Craig and Larry, Megan scored in the lower moderate range of emotional level work ethic, or from the accountability model in gene ral. Rather, her emotional exhaustion stems from her concern for her students. Megan explained, Caring for [students] . and caring about them getting a good education. invo Sometimes that just drains on me because I think of them and I worry about them.

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213 While Megan was adamant that the accountability model had no effect on her emotional exhaustion, he r belief is somewhat contradictory to what she next described. Megan began to tell her side of The Accountability Police story and how she was frustrated by scores. Megan explained how her emotional exhaustion increased dramatically: [We felt like we] were being watched by dogs. Watchdogs would come in. material in your hand, you would like literally get y elled at and chastised they watched us. . We felt like we were just pawns. . You were just there to deliver the material, not to be a teacher. . .And that was very emotionally d raining. After the department garnered autonomy, Megan said she and her colleagues were then Depersonalization In the next part of the interview, the teachers and I talked about their depersonalization scores the third dimension of burnout which reveal teachers s cored in the low end of the scale, and I was interested to what they attributed their levels of depersonalization. Craig said he was not surprised by his low score, because he said he made an effort not to have negative relationships with or to hold negat ive views of his students. I then asked Craig if the current accountability model affected the way he viewed his students. Craig answered, e so low this year. . I

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214 for the longest time, the students were just the students and you got them to do now]. . I think we all wish there was more accountability for the students on CSAP particularly. their CSAP scores, Craig shared he believes it is possible to help motivate his students to score higher, even more about why his scores where slightly elevated. In an agitated tone, he said, school district passing them on before they get to a certain level of skills. prior to coming to Yarborough High, she was an early career teacher at one of the lowest performing middle schools in the district. Megan said her depersonalization of st udents said she lacked empathy for the students because she did not understand them. Now, as a veteran teacher, Megan spoke about how she builds relationships with stud ents: I rarely write referrals, I talk with them about their attitudes . I can get relationship, and maybe some of the pressure that I try to put back on themselves. Motivation a nd e ngagement With respect to the current accountability model, I was intereste d to understand which factor levels of motivation and engagement. This section of the chapter describes those factors.

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215 Positive fact ors Craig said, over the last year, since his department has been given curricular autonomy, his motivation increased significantly. He believes he is motivated about ninety percent of the time, which is up from his estimated sixty percent three years ago Craig said he believes in what he is doing and that he is making a difference in the lives of his students and of his community. He shared, ment, to actually teach them what they need to know. And then every year at the end of the year, there are just more ideas on how to make it better the next year. I asked Larry to describe how often he feels engaged and motivated. He believed that, due t o his work ethic, he is motivated ninety percent of the time. Larry explained, missed six days of [teaching] . in twenty years. I just want to be the one to do the job re teachers have the autonomy to make decisions they believe are best for the students and their d Larry if his teachers in his department, Larry included his belief that h e could make a difference in the lives of his students as an important factor in keeping him engaged and motivate. He shared,

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216 my time here [on earth] have some value. . So I take a l ot of pride in the want to make a difference in how people understand their world. Larry also considers himself more engaged and motivated at Yarborough than he would be at a hi gher performing school. Larry feels he can affect the greatest amount of change g on the time of the school year. She said she now is motivated seventy five percent of the time but is beginning of the second semester, she said she struggles to stay en gaged and positive. moments, and they are enjoying themselves, and they are actually staying on task. . that really m otivates me. Getting to know the kids a lot better and their daily problems . or just their smiles, their conversations, just them being themselves and showing me a piece of them, that really does keep me motivated. Megan said that making a differenc e in the lives of the students and having the goal of engaged. Negative factors I then asked the three teachers to describe situations dealing with accountability that negatively affect their levels of motivation and engagement. Craig perceived the mandated professional developments as problematic. He shared, A lot of what the district . tries to do through professional development . often does not seem applicab le. . You go to a four hour professional through the four hours. . We felt in the math department that a lot of our

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217 time was wasted [and] that the professional development . .wa s not presented very well. Craig also believed there are too many new initiatives aimed at increasing student achievement. He cited the new LEAP teacher evaluation program and the new diagnostic and predictive tests the students must take throughout the year prior to the CSAP test. He said, something positive, but when it comes down to us, it always seems to just take away the time we need to teach, or plan, or do whateve r we bel ieve is most valuable. I asked Larry if there were characteristics associated with the accountability somewhat conflicted. While he said he wants autonomy in decision making, which includes not having those outside the department interfere with the direction of the curriculum, he said he wants to have meaningful feedback from school district evaluators. He shared how in previous years, evaluators came to his room occasionally to observe, but then those ob servations stopped. He shared, than it is for them to ac e anymore. done, you know? Megan said she struggles with motivation and engagement w hen her students

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218 Sometimes we Retention With respect to turnover at Yarborough High, there had been an ongoing RIBing contin ued to decrease. During each of those years, all Yarborough mathematics teachers had to reapply for their positions. However, the year prior to the interview, there were no mathematics teachers lost to the RIBing process. The school was classified as a hig h teacher turnover school because of the lower student enrollment, however, during the year of the interviews, the mathematics department was considered stable, losing no more teachers. Future p lans on committing to staying in the teaching profession for the next five or ten years and if they planned to continue teaching at Yarborough. All three teachers said they planned to stay in the teaching profession for the next five years, and all expressed a commitment to felt he could stay in the profession another ten year work for a while yet. I like going to work. I like staying busy with it. Definitely not ready past the next five years. She would lik e to stay in the education profession, but would like to explore other options such as being a school counselor or having a position in the curriculum department or the International Baccalaureate program.

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219 With respect to their decisions to stay at Yarbo rough for the remainder of their growth rate. Megan said she wanted stay at Yarborough because of the positive relationships she has with her coworkers and her student s. Craig expressed a feeling of hope as the reason he would stay. He said, . We have a good group of kids, m ostly good staff, [and] I like the er school or a better position Larry said he could go to other schools where the students scored higher on the CSAP, I then asked the teachers what specific issues about the current accountability model would encourage them to leave Yarborough. Megan said there was nothing about the accountability model that would influen ce her decision to leave. Megan spoke e level of autonomy he is given is one of the key points in his ongoing decision to stay or to leave Yarborough. Craig said as a reaction to the negative feelings he had when his department was given no autonomy, he was preparing to leave teaching and go b ack to school to earn a degree in accounting. He accountability model could i nfluence his decision to leave. Larry explained, negative aspects of [the accountability model] are comparing districts of

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220 people as if they were supposed to be equal, when in fact they are not. high levels, and trying to tell the teachers at the . low performing me is enough to make a lot of teachers want to quit, because when you my arms up and want to go to a better performing school too if I heard that all the time. Working in a vlps (very low performing school ). I then raised the question of whether or not the teachers would be willing to transfer from their high growth school to one of the lowest performing schools in the MVPS district. Craig explained if he were to leave Yarborough for another school, he like ly would not choose a lower performing school. Rather, he would make a horizontal or vertical move to schools with a position at a chronically low performing school that may be sanctioned would make the professional stakes (i.e., job security) too high. Larry also felt he likely would not agree to work in a chronically low performing school, but for a different reason. Larry said, performing School Administratio There i s little administrative turnover at Yarborough High School, with the current having been at her post for the past eight years. Of the benefits of keeping the same principal for a number of years, Craig explained, ings are done and what the expectations are. . Every new person comes in with their different points have consistency in administration.

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221 I asked the teachers if they perceived their current administration as being supportive. Larry also found the administrators helpful, particu larly because of the freedom and support they provided the mathematics department in their bid for curricular autonomy. Megan agreed that she has received support from the administrators with respect to increasing their accountability rating. Of her views about her administrators, Megan said, come a long way, because of the support we have gotten from our nt would want. be of little importance to th em. However, Craig made a wry comment about their impact on him: [They are] mostly a nonissue. And of course, you have to be careful, require more teacher work. . I put it as 50 percent good and 50 percent bad for those initiatives. I asked Craig to explain what the district administrators did to make his job easier. He similar response; h However, Megan had a negative view of the impact of the central administrators. She passionately explained,

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222 You think of these lower performing schools not doing well, and then just supporting you and helping you to try to do better. I think [they have] . gone through both, you know, support and no support. And so I think that they do have an impact. Conclusion to Yarborough High School Over the pages of the first section of this chapter, the three teachers from Yarborough High School shared their percep tions of how the current accountability model affects their feelings of pressure and stress, morale, burnout, and remaining in or leaving their current school, their school district, or the teaching profession altogether. For the most part, the Yarborough teachers appeared to have resolved their main negative issue at their school: gaining departmental autonomy from The Curriculum Police to mathematics test scores. Subsequently, the teachers believed Yarborough High and its administrators provided a positive work environment where they and their students could continue to work and achieve and where the teachers could see themselves working for years to come. The next section of Ch apter 5 features the responses of the teachers at Ontario High School, a school scheduled for closure. Ontario High School This section of Chapter 5 features the responses of the four mathematics teachers in place at Ontario High School during the year o f the interviews: Randy, Rebecca, Melissa, and Yvonne. During that time, the teachers at Ontario were told their school would be phased out within three years, and at the end of that time, three new academy high schools will replace the current school. At the time of the interviews Ontario High no longer was accepting new students in the freshman class. The current sophomore,

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223 junior and senior students would continue attending Ontario High, with its last graduation commencement to take place in three years. Over the past decade, Ontario High School has had ten different principals, and throughout the interviews, the teachers spoke While Ontario High had high growth the year prior the interviews, the school is rated red, accredited on probation, and is the lowest achieving high school in the MVPS district. I was interested to und red rating and upcoming closure. Rebecca and Melissa, two early career, non tenured teachers believed the citing a grading policy that does not allow teachers to give students less than 50 percent credit for failed or missing assignments or assessments. Melissa also cites the lack of consistency in the identification and enforcement of school pol icies due to serious about [holding them accountable] . No one is going to get on [them] about this. Then [the students] work the system because they understand ho reasoning of Rebecca and Melissa as to why Ontario has a red rating. Yvonne said she

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224 said finds a lack of consistency due to administrative changes as well as a lack of co mmunication between the teachers and the administrators as the root causes. Of the lack of administrative consistency and communication, Yvonne shared, I went to school . every day last semester not knowing what the day was going to be like. . You n ever knew what to expect. . It was a blame game. If we were complaining . about what the day looks like . it to go? . You should be two weeks ahead in your lesson [plann ing], so it Randy, the only veteran teacher in the group, has been teaching at Ontario for the past eight years, but has over four decades of teaching experience, mostly in lower performing sc rating is due to the attitudes of the students and their parents. Randy said, based on his experience, the students in other high schools and other communities had a difference view of education than students at Ontario. Of those other communities and schools, dded, I just have a feeling talking to the kids, talking to the parents that energy. We thought . with all the changes in the focus, and the improved instruction, an d the coordinated instruction, and the teaming, identifying the key ideas, and working on that [would help]. . And so the teachers and the administration are working toward a problem that we are . The student does total disconnect. Accountability Pressure and Stress perceptions of the second component of the conceptual framework, their levels of accountability pressure and stress. This section of the chapter will describe those factors

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225 feelings of pressur e and stress. Factors that exacerbate pressure and s tress The reports of levels and types of stress from the Ontario mathematics teachers share similarities to those of the Harrison mathematics teachers. The Ontario teachers like the Harrison teachers be lieve there is too much work assigned to them relating to accountability, there is a high level of threat based stress coming from the administration, there is a lack of communication between the teachers and the administrators, and there is a widespread l ack of trust in the The demands are too h igh Several of the early career teachers reported feeling inadequate and overwhelmed, much of which can be normal for novice teachers. However, the teachers believed that, because of th eir red rating, they were blamed for things that other places may not necessarily deal with . You feel like you are constantly Yvonne, a second year teacher, shared her feelings of stress in how she believes her administrators hold teachers responsi ble for mitigating low student attendance at the school: need to call everyday. You are making these phone calls, the parents are at the end of the want me to do? Do you want me to pick them up in the morning?

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226 Rebecca recalled how the Ontario teachers were asked to report back to work from the summer break se veral weeks earlier than the other teachers in the district as a way to increase student achievement: It was two weeks of professional development with really no time to set up our classroom, to do work with our colleagues, and that started off the year v because we were just playing catch up. Both Yvonne and Randy felt strongly negative about the stress the administrators classroom where 100 percent of the [private school student s] were engaged 100 percent administrators who have come to her school for meetings, whom she characterized as sitting in the back fully disengaged, e could sustain the 100 percent goal. He talked a bout a group of sophomores whom he characterized as one of the socially and academically worst classes he had ever taught. Randy shared, of them are turning around. . but my as sistant principal came in and criticized me becaus Threat b ased s tress One of the greatest stressors the Ontario teachers reported were the professional threats from and mistrust of their administrators. Randy called his adm

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227 as a difficult working situation. Randy began his critique of the Ontario administration by as a principal wanted to bully the teachers rather than cooperate with them in order to prove to himself and to the teachers he was in control. Randy said he also had a mistrust of the vironment of mistrust as counterproductive to student achievement. As a second shared that, if she e ver had anything to discuss with the principal, she knew it was important to present her ideas in a tactful way. She characterized her principal as having mafia like culture of fear created by the administration. She remembered a meeting in a strong sense of fear to even just sends the wrong message to feeling valued in your position. outside the school would not understand unless they worked at Ontario. Melissa continued,

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228 I do wond and let go, because they do it so many times here, . where administrators non renew new teachers who they believe are not a good fit for the district. Melissa said some of the teachers w ho were assured a job at Ontario for the coming at Ontario next year or at any of the schools in the district. For Melissa, these situations created mistrust; she s wondered how the administration could believe that creating a culture of fear and unpredictability within thei I asked Yvonne, a second year teacher, about the climate in the school and he moment I walked in the door . there was a sense of mistrust among our entire staff . assured her was not a normal culture in high functioning schools. Of the lack of trust created by the o be caught doing something Factors that m itiga te pressure and s tress While the teachers reported characteristics of their school that exacerbated stress and created fear, they also expressed characteristics that mitigated their stress levels. Ra ndy, a veteran teacher who has the option of retiring at any point he chooses, said he is not stressed over losing his position

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229 when the school closes. He said he still has valuable contributions he can make within the school district, and the connections he has made over his decades of teaching will help him find another position, should he choose to take it. The three non tenured teachers shared feeling less accountability stress now that they know their school is closing. Rebecca said she is not focused students grow academically to succeed in their future ma th classes. She added, I am going to continue to do an ything and everything I can to be the best teachers that want to be with them. Morale As one may imagine, a school closure and in this case, a surprise school closure can profoundly understand how the events that unfolded at Ontario High over the last few years affected Chapter 5 contai ns those perspectives. Factors that negatively a ffec t m orale Randy said the closing of Ontario would spoke of their hurt feelings when they shared their emotions of feeling deceived about the school closure and feeling abandoned by the school district. The teachers also spoke of affected their morale. Deception and a bandonment Prior to the announcement that Ontario would be closing, the school received a multi million dollar grant aimed at increasing student

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230 achievement. The grant came with a promise of continued support and funding for several years to come as well as immunity from being reconstituted or closed during the life of the grant. Yvonne told the story of how, during an afternoon meeting with the faculty, the MVPS administrators came to the school for an urgent conference with the teachers in which the teachers were ad vised Ontario would be closing in three years. Based on the conditions of the school improvement grant, the closing came as a shocking surprise to the teachers. Yvonne recalled, Of cou m being told something different. Yvonne also explained how the confusing actions of the MVPS administrators negatively affected her morale: district come in . and everything ou t of their mouth is a contradictory this talking about, and they come back . and we get a different answer. I political game, and I hate it. Yvonne shared her feeling of how she perceived the MVPS school board activists, working to keeping Ontar io High open, made a school board presentation trying to convince the board members to keep their school open. Yvonne said she felt blamed by

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231 meeting I watched, but yet then the next statement out of their mouth[s] is, teachers are here from 6:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m because they care about you! back the following year and which teachers w ould be let go. She explained, Morale went down drastically during that time. . We were told we were by one to hear . whether we were going to be here or not. However, the administration abandone d that plan. Instead, they sent a staff wide email indicating they would send a private message to each teacher about whether or not each teacher would be coming back the next year. Melissa remembered, People were walking the halls crying, upset . It w as just a very tense out. . [There was] talk going on around the building really fast, and I made sure I just went to my room. Melissa was one of the a few first year teachers who kept her position for the upcoming year, and that created hard feelings with some of the veteran teachers who were not given positions for the following year. This situation created an emotional rift between the two groups. Melissa said that people who were not selected sat together at meetings and did not invite those who were selected to join them, which made her feel excluded. Melissa described an emotionally charged environment that even pitted teachers against their students: Teachers who were upset about the whole process would make comments ed .

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232 effects were pretty extensive. During the RIB process of reducing the number of math teachers in the building, the administrators called in some of the teachers, who previously lost their positions, to ask if they would like their jobs back. Melissa described her perceptions of the morale of those Along with their perceptions of misrepresentations and half truths, several of the teachers identified feelings of abandonment as a source of decreased morale, for both themselves an d their students. Rebecca explained, have gone on this year . We feel hurt and abandoned and like the district and the kids have really been affected by it. . That really affects teacher morale to see their kids so hurt by it. Rebecca said even though Ontario was labeled a high growth school, they were still rated morale, but those good feelings were erased when neither the school nor the district g: There are just certain days where you have a bad day in the classroom going. . I think they feel the sadness and the hurt from the teachers, and that rubs off a litt le bit . The kids have

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233 M Several teachers at Ontario felt they had to really hard to change p [Ontario] has a very bad name in the community. . No one sees what we into our building from the outside. They walk into the classrooms, and they tell our principal, Yvonne believed people hear negative reports about Ontario from the media, because the Whenever I say I work at [Ontario], people cringe probably affected some of the decisi on . to turn us around. However, Rebecca adde d a caveat to her previous perception. She said, that a lot of people understand the strug gles that our kids go through. Factors the i ncrease teacher m orale I wondered if there were any factors of the accountability model that the Ontario teachers felt increased their morale. Several of the teachers said they appreciated the pay for performance bonus a warded for student growth. Randy also feels the monetary bonuses awarded to teachers working in high growth schools can help by encourage teachers to continue to work hard and achieve goals. Feelings of p ride When I asked the teachers if they were proud to teach at Ontario High, there were only enthusiastic and positive responses. All the teachers shared

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234 their pride, even though the CSAP mathematics tests scores showed l ow student proficiency. Of her students, Melissa shared, They came to me not knowing how to multiply and sometimes add, and I feel like they had such a bad attitude towards mathematics, and every e changed their minds. The teachers also said they are proud to work in a school with their fellow teachers. Yvonne articulated her feelings of the staff: two years have been hell for many people. There are those who have that happens every day, the staff members are at school from early in the ed of us. And since I got here, I have gotten nothing but encouragement [from fellow teachers]. Randy also spoke proudly of the mathematics staff, most of whom were early career dedication to their st udents. Yvonne spoke lovingly of her students, and she believes connecting with them helps keep her morale high. Yvonne said she sees her students as people rather than as scores on a standardized test. She explained, I work with my students and see the g rowth . and see the change in myself and change in them in the classroom, and we are moving forward . I know that may never be no ticed; it may not be measured. Yvonne also knows her students outside of school, when she makes home visits and attend s their baby showers. She described how she sees her students working hard caring

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235 for their siblings and witnesses how they handle adult situations she feels she could not have done at their age. Randy is proud to teach at Ontario also because of the relat ionships with his students and their families. He explained, enough that . they know what I can do for them. . I think I still have things that I can offer oud. Burnout While the Ontario teachers have described conditions that may lead one to believe burnout levels are high among the four teachers, the opposite seems to be true. Three of t, even though they have feelings that eventually may lead to burnout. While Randy said he is not burned out, to be a teacher, and says she will be a life long teacher, e yet, even though she thought she might have been experiencing symptoms last year. She y have a little energy left at the end of the Self e fficacy The Ont ES levels of self efficacy all were high, which indicates the teachers believe in their abilities to be effective mathematics teachers. fairly confident, Rebecca also had a high self efficacy score, which did not surprise her. Rebecca

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236 s better than last year. She explained, been able to see some of the frui ts of my labor from last year. Negative factors : unrealistic expectations While the Ontario teachers all believe in their abilities to be effective teachers, there exists an interesting paradox between their general self scores to district or state level was that eighty percent of the students would score either proficient or advanc ed on their math CSAP tests, but he did not believe eighty percent of the freshman and p from six percent proficient and advanced to twenty percent proficient and advanced. She believed she could not reach that level with her students. Melissa teaches ELL s and believed her students were so far behind the other students, that reaching twenty percent proficiency would be unlikely. When I asked Yvonne if she felt she had the ability to eved she could. However, she said,

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237 year. . With math, you are building on ten prior years . all of that is As hopeful as Yvonne may sound, she admitted she is suffering a crisis of confidence on ways to i You feel inadequate at the end of the day. . because you feel like you are not meeting the needs of your kids, and at the same time, you feel like you are constantly reprimanded. . When you have students who come in s o Yvonne thought her feelings of inadequacy may be a function of being a new teacher, but she shared that many of the veteran teachers in her school say they feel like they, too, are new teache Negative factors : demands their self efficacy was diminished in another way: The administration made too many demands of them and thei r time. Yvonne said that as a novice teacher, she had additional requirements of her workday time. She described having to attend multiple new teacher trainings and meetings, along with conferencing with her mentor, which usually took place during her plan regular, day to years really ever getting to have a plan period fully to myself As a tactic to try to increase student attendance and achievement, Yvonne said all act each of their 150

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238 explained that when she calls the parents of the missing students, they parents reassure her that the students will be at school soon. Yvonne is frust rated that those same students do not show up for school that day. She e xplained in an emotional tone, . Well, what do you want me to do? Do you want me to pick the kid up in the responsibility of the teacher. Melissa agreed with Y s semester to deal with stuff. expectations brought on by each new principal. He said, they are asking more of us. It is a difficult school to work. Again, because e Factors increasing self e fficacy performing schools, he said he has found w ays to thrive by experiencing success and coping with disappointments. Randy said he feels most efficacious when teaching in lower performing schools, places where he feels he is needed the most. Randy is internally motivated to make a difference in the li ves of his students and pays little

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239 attention to accountability rewards or punishments. While Randy has received multiple, With respect to increasing her self efficacy, Rebecca sai d working with her department and her professional learning community helped increase her confidence. She cited having common planning of her subject matter as an important factor in making her feel connected and knowledgeable. She shared, Previously, the joke was being a first year teacher at Ontario was really, team in order to give the best strategies and the best things that our kids s differentiation coach for helping her feel like she can meet the needs of more students in her classroom. Is bilities? I wanted to know if the Ontario teachers found the CSAP mathematics tests a valid measure of thei mathematical abilities; there was nearly complete agreement between the teachers. Each believed the test was not a valid measure for the following two reasons: the students did not enter Ontario on grade level; and the students did not seem to care if they scored well. argued the scores the students earn are not representative of what they can achieve in class. Randy explained he wanted to make the tests more high sta kes for the students in capture what her students know, because there i s no buy in for the students. She added,

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240 door and drag them back to school just to sit down to get them to take a test. Yvonne does not believe the tests are a valid measure of her stu students and see the growth, . [the more I know] we are moving forward. I know that Is CSAP a v alid m e bilities? The follow up question to mathematical abilities is whether or not they believe the test is a valid measure of their teaching abilities. Aga strongly believed the test results were not indicative of their effectiveness. Randy said he stands by his belief in his abilities as a mathematics teacher: I present a well ordered, logica l, sequence of steps, so students understand mathematics to students; I teach students mathematics. So as long as doing that, I can see the gains. major factor in their belief the CSAP mathematics test was not a valid measure of their teaching abilities. Rebecca said she is an eff ective teacher, but given what she sees as the in for the test, she rejects the idea that she is to blame. Melissa believes the CSAP test itself is a reasonably valid way of measuring what students should know, and if her students cam e to her on grade level, prepared to learn, and had few

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241 behavioral problems, she believes the test would be a valid way to measure her teaching to head with a different situation. . I Melissa spoke more emotionally about the validity of the CSAP results as a measure of her teaching abilities. She said, effect on them whatsoever, at least not a direct, immediate effect. . All they see is move along. . They tell you they are not taking these test seriously, and here we are, m y bonuses even having a job next year depends on how alue of the test to begin with. Yvonne shared similar feelings: m I could be doing if I were in a different school going more in depth. . I mean I love math, and I love getting into it, I love getting into the hard stuff, but sometimes I Is increasing scores an important g oal? Given the high level of importance increasing student achievement plays in the current accountability model, I wondered if the teachers believed the goal of increasing their students off if we were able to [increase scores]. I think again, since the kids are not held accountable, there is no self discipline to perfor However, Rebecca believed working toward a higher achievement rating is not, at this point, an important factor for keeping the school open. She explained,

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242 if our school was staying around, it would be really important to me, because I feel like increasing our rating . would help show everyone what a wonderful student popul ation we have here. the school will be closing. However, she and Rebecca share the belief that the students n closure. Melissa shared, There are no options to turn around [the closing], even if we do to be close d, nonexistent within the next three years . anymore. ast Emotional e xhaustion This portion of the chapter is dedicated to the third dimension of the MBI, emotional exhaustion. Th ree of the early career teachers scored either moderately or highly on the emotional exhaustion scale and were not surprised by their elevated scores. Randy scored in the low levels, and he, too, was not surprised by his score. Randy credits his four decad es of teaching as a mitigating factor in his feeling of emotional exhaustion. Melissa, Rebecca, and Yvonne, expected to have high levels of emotional exhaustion because of what they believed were difficult situations at Ontario. The next section features t he factors within Ontario and within the MVPS district that

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243 Exacerbating factors : change of leadership The Ontario teachers spoke at length about the factors they believed worse ned their feelings of emotional exhaustion. This portion of the chapter highlights the following issues at Ontario: chronic changes in and not having adequate access t o substitute teachers. Melissa cited a continual change in school leadership as a main source of her emotional Ontario, she asked the principal why there were three positions open in the mathematics department and why the turnover rate was so hig h. Melissa laughed as she recalled his Yvonne, too, credits the chronic change in leadership as a source of her increased emotional exhaustion: We talk about how consistency is so impor tant for our students. We have zero consistency. And as important as [consistency] . is for our students, things when the expectation changes every day. . I have no way of kno surprise; everything is a surprise. Rebecca believed in the mission of the Ontario principal who hired her, and she recalled her feelings when she learned he was leaving: We thought we had le adership who could really pick us up two years ago. . He came in and really ramped us up and made us feel like we were going to make a change, like we were going to make a difference. And then the vote [to close the school] happened, and then we found ou t that he as the students.

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244 Exacerbating factors : m istrust of leadership. The feelings of abandonment an d l has been used to move [administrators] up the ladder . Our recent principal . moved himself up to the coworkers believe principals come to Ontario, make d rastic changes that increase the CSAP scores temporarily, and then move to a higher level position in district be here for a while, or are you going to move yourself Exacerbating factors : f eeling disconnected. Feelings of increased emotional exhaustion also are tied to feeling disconnected, both physically and emotionally, from s ity to get the Randy also perceived a disconnection with the district, but his feelings were based on philosophica l differences between district officials and teachers. He believes the

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245 brief snap he administrators, Randy said, more of how we are attacking the problem. And we are making headway, but th show up as timely as we need. Melissa feels disconnected from the MVPS district because she believes district officials and school board members do not support the Ontario teachers. She shared, . . Granted, when you flat out ng and the work that I do, how am I supposed to believe in myself and what I do everyday? Rebecca also felt disconnected from the school district for their not appreciating the has been labeled high growth, Rebecca felt the work the teachers put in before school started and during the school year was in vain. She argued, d. All they look at is the bottom line number. The only thing they look at is that we are seven percent proficient in math, not the fact that we grew three percent from two years ago to last year. Rebecca added that when the teachers were told the school would close, she believed emotional exhaustion set in for the staff. She remembered, We were all working so hard, and then when we found out this [closing] am I pushing myself to the Exacerbating factors : l ack of substitute s. The Ontario teachers are also identified another administrative expectation that is emotionally exhausting: teachers having to hers are available. Melissa indicated

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246 that continually having to cover classes during her planning periods is upsetting to her and is a factor that increases her emotional exhaustion. Melissa said she desperately needs to make parent phone calls, grade wor k, plan, and tutor students during her off periods, but is unable to do so based on the current staff dynamics within the school. She explained, We have so many teachers out of the building. Sometimes we will have seven teachers gone, and all the [remaini ng] teachers . are asked people Melissa believed the reasons more teachers are out of the building each day is that they are interviewing for positions in other schools or other school districts, or they simply need time away from Ontario. She continued, district] have to choose specific regions, and so our school is really far out receive the best experience from the students here sometimes, because Mitigating factors situations that exacerbated their emotional exhaustion, the teachers also articulated si tuations that mitigated their levels of emotional exhaustion: collegiality; strong on discipline, and

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247 teacher appreciation week. Melissa said the last factor surprised with regard to h ow much Depers onalization This section of the chapter focuses on the third dimension of previously reported, Rebecca, Randy, Melissa, and Yvonne all shared their beliefs that the stude habits of family are the reasons Ontario is a low performing school. However, the teachers do not blame the students or see the students as the source of their professional pain, easons he has rather take an easy way out. . Does it affect me? No. I go in, and I do what I need to do. that . valuing the rel ationship that we have both inside and out of the classroom is the part that helps me. . I know my kids, and I know the struggles that they face outside of the classroom. . And whether my students notice that I care for them, I do.

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248 Like Randy, Melis sa is frustrated that her students do not seem to care about their achievement as much as she, but Melissa does not find the students to be the source of her pain. She explained, what th their environment, and for them to give me pain, is for me not to be above ou and not take it personally. Yvonne said she was not experiencing feelings of depersonalization this year; She evaluations are a lways glowing with respect to the relationships she builds in her elationships with her students, she identified a situation that could end her career at Ontario: the accountability I worry this job is hardening me emotionally. Although . I am still so attached, I could see myself becoming detached, just because the more pressure we feel from [above] . which comes from the accountability energy to do that long te pressure and not letting it affect my relationship with my students. Motivation and e ngagement I wondered how the Ontario teachers could stay motivated and engaged in their work knowing their school soon w ould be closing. I wanted to understand how their reports of feeling abandoned by the district, their sense of being overworked and overwhelmed, and their mistrust of their ever changing administration affected their levels of motivation and engagement in their work. This

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249 section of the chapter features the perspectives of the Onta rio teachers regarding the factor s that keep them motivated and engaged, and the factors that decrease those feelings. Positive factors The teachers at Ontario High, much like t he teachers from Harrison, Newton, and Yarborough Highs, indicated their motivation and engagement in their work increased when they were able to have positive, collegial relationships with their coworkers, when they had the opportunity to engage in meanin gful and helpful discussions with their mentors and administrators, and when the professional development sessions were helpful to them in their work. However, as much as those relationships and conditions were important, like the teachers in the other thr ee schools, the Ontario teachers claimed their most important motivation was making a difference in the lives of their students. Making a d ifference Randy explained his mission for making a difference was to help struggling students realize that learning mathematics is not an impossible goal. He is proud of his work in the lower performing schools, where he has taught over the past three decades. Randy said he knows his efforts were fruitful, because he believes what he Rebecca also put her goal of making a difference in the lives of students at the top of her list of motivators. Rebecca shared that she does not pay attention to ratings and growth scores. Rather, she said, years, and we still have to give them the best education they deserve.

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250 When I asked Rebecca if the pay for performance incentive for increasing studen t achievement increased her engagement or motivation, she said others in her school may Making a difference in the lives of the students at CSAP scores to impress the school district or the just for us to be proud of the work we are doing and . me being proud of the education mathematics curricula so they will be ready for college. Yvonne described the surprises on the faces of visitors to Ontario. She said people are impressed with the solid teaching happening in the mathematics classrooms. She said, Why are you so surprise there, and you are dedicated. Even through the RIBing process the year before the interview, Yvonne did not want to leave voluntarily; she wanted to stay at Ontario for another year and continue to make a difference in the lives of her students. Negative factors While the Ontario teachers stay motivated and engage d by their beliefs in making a difference, they also spoke candidly about the aspects of Ontario High School and the current accountability model that decreased their motivation and engagement. Randy believed the lack of support of administrators was a neg ative force.

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251 Randy believes his evaluating administrator tries to gain the upper hand thro ugh a LEAP, under which teachers are rate d as effective or ineffective, a practice that decreased his evaluations of the teachers Those evaluations then are used to determine which teachers keep their tenure and which teachers do not. Randy shared his feelings of the new evaluation method: You know, there are times I have to lecture just to get the base information out, because the following the new model. So the perception of learning is more important than the actual learning. Rebecca indicated she curren tly is motivated 75 to 80 percent of the time, which is significantly less than before she learned of the closure. She explained, Before the November vote [to phase out Ontario], I was motivated 100 . to be motivated and attitudes of the recent string of administrators have decreased her motivation and engagement:

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252 care about our sadness and our hurt, the struggles we are feeling within how they feel and how we feel [about the closing]. tivation and lack of engagement stem from having the administration put too many unrealistic expectations on her time and energy with respect to student achievement. She described an after school program at Ontario geared toward dge and grades. According to Melissa, all freshmen with grades of D or F are mandated to daily program attendance. However, for students do not added, orient yourself. Melissa identified another factor that decreased her motivation and engagement in her work: feeling deceived by the school district. Melissa said the environment became he spoke about how the school district gave conflicting information to the teachers and the community members about the future of the school. Melissa was passionate when she shared the following: It just felt deceptive that we were promised two years [to increase our test scores] and then we only had like four months [before the announcement]. So if they could be true to their word and actually give us the opportunity that we were promised . then maybe it would be very motivating . to students and

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253 true, and then that feels like people are lying to the staff. Retention With the numerous challenges facing Ontar io High teachers with respect too many demands on their time, lack of support, and mistrust of their administrators and school district, there exists another challenge: Ontario has the highest rates of teacher and administrator turnover in any high school in MVPS. The following section features the of turnover. Teacher t urnover Over his nearly decade long tenure at Ontario, Randy has seen in the teachers at his school. Randy explained, [Those who] experienced burnout or just frustration are no longer here, substitute teachers go in, and there was never consistency. recounted the story of the time she was a student teacher at Ontario, and a full time mathematics teacher quit in October. Rebecca said she stepped into the position and became the ful ltime math teacher for the remainder of the year without pay, because, . in the past, in one

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254 rs out the door. . I feel like their goal is to bring in teachers, work them hard for out of the sur ely not good for the students. When I asked the teachers to assess the reasons why they felt Ontario had a high teacher turnover rate, most agreed Ontario was a difficult place to work. Rebecca believed one reason for the high turnover is the lack of student achievement, but she also cited lack of support, continual change in leadership, and too many unrealistic sure. . Math is being watched like a hawk . I notice higher turnover in math teachers than in teachers are under and the amount of blame put on them for their stude brand The RIB p rocess Due to the phase out of Ontario High School in the next few years, no new students are admitted into the lower grades, so many teachers have lost their positions due to the RIB process. Of the reduction process, Rebecca indicated, he coming school year]. Melissa A lot of great teachers are [leaving], because you have to. You have to think about yourself. I mean, I agonized and I agonized over wh ether or not to apply for this one position . because I want to be there for my kids. But I have to think of me, and there is not going to be a job in scary.

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255 For those teachers w ho were invited to return for the coming school year, many began looking for other positions in other schools and districts, while still holding their position saving even fu rther. Jennifer explained how Ontario actually had to hire new teachers for the coming year: are leaving, so now we are hiring several people. . After RIBing ten math teachers, now we have to fill two positions because of the people that got to stay, they found better opportunities, more secure opportunities. RIBed teacher who decided not to return, the school will need to hire new teachers for a two year contract at which time Ontario will be phased out. Staffing Shortages, Influx of New Teachers, and Difficulties Gaining Ground The issue of losing a significant number of mathematics teachers over the years has create d chronic staffing shortages at Ontario. Rebecca reported that most of the open positions have consistently been filled by novice teachers, many of whom are first year teachers and those on alternative licensure programs who may or may not have degrees in mathematics. Rebecca reported, untrained teachers who have to . fly by the seat of the pants and learn the ropes never having been i n a classroom.

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256 Several of the Ontario teachers had concerns about the negative effects the I know the type of instruction the kids have been getting out here with our year teachers put in the freshman [algebra] level. . The kids were never taught algebra, and they control, so we have to give them a grade. . The fact that we have no moved on to the next year with no Algebra 1 background. . So I feel I understand why the kids . do not do well in math. lamented, le Because they say we are so bad. . But how do you make change and a change in growth? Principal t urnover The been a significant source of instability for the school and a significant source of angst and negative emotion for the teachers. This section of the chapter is devoted to describing the affects the h igh rates of principal leadership have on the faculty, the students, and The effects on t eachers At the time of the interview, Rebecca had been teaching at Ontario for less than three years, and during that time, she worked under five different she arrived: We had a principal that was hired at the end of the previous year, and he started through the summer and was let go in September. Then we had an

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257 interim principal who was actually a previous principal of Ontario, and he our principal come in . from another school. He was an assistant principal there, and he came to our sc hool and was our leader from Yvonne experienced firsthand how a continual change in leadership did not allow principals to know the staf f. Yvonne was upset as she described a situation with one of had a lockdown, and I was rushed out of the building with the students. School discipline and student achievement be complete two years after the inter to be placed in other schools, unless they chose to leave the MVPS district. Melissa spoke of how, since Ontario became a phase positions have negatively affected the leadership and direction of the school. She said of in the building, and teachers can only do so much. We keep receiving emails [from the administrators] saying you need to do [more about discipline]. . These are direct emails [from administrators telling us are no sys inconsistencies in leadership exacerbated negative student behavior at Ontario. Rebecca believed the continual turnover in administrators meant they are not focused on student

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258 behaviors i n the halls and at school not a top priority for them, . [but] how are they not embarrassed when our kids act that way . and they are being so rude [to the performers on stage]? Yvonne explaine d that the lack of consistency creates confusion for teachers and shared, months, three months? Good for you. Thanks for sticking it out. . We talk about how consistency is so impor important for teachers . I have no way of knowing what . [a] policy is Randy explained how each new principal came to the school: art over again. principal has abandoned them? . The kids feel really abandoned by their leaders . Reasons for high principal t urnover To what do the Ontario teachers attribute the high rates of turnover in their principals? Randy, Rebecca, and Melissa view the turnovers as a way to for the principals to use their time at Ontario as a stepping stone to higher or other positions within the school district. Randy exhibited a high level of cynicism when he talked about the reasons principals come to Ontario and then leave shortly thereafter:

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259 sustainable results, but i t does show . what you were doing does make a difference And then [you] . take off before the program starts dipping back down like it normally would. principals fo Melissa also wondered if Ontario is being used as a stepping stone. She said, f all teachers. . Our recent principal we had . moved himself up to the district level really fast . because this is the effe ctive. While there is plenty of bad news to believes most of the administrators coming back next year care about the feelings of the students and the teachers. She share as sistant principal; she shared, that I wa nt to have hers . I have a lot of faith in her; . I just wa nt to learn from what she does. Of the same assistant principal, Yvonne shared her feelings: She cares for the teachers, and through the hard times, she was checking on us, writing us no going to have a compassionate admin that are listening to us. Future Plans I wanted to determine if each of the four teachers fro m Ontario could see themselves staying in the teaching profession for the next five to ten years. While each of

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260 the teachers agreed that discussing the idea of staying at Ontario beyond the closure was a moot point, they spoke about their futures outside o f Ontario. This section of the Randy sees himself continuing to teach for at least the next five years. Moreover, although he is near retirement age, he said he could see himself st aying in teaching for wants to be a career teacher, shared a similar feeling. S been what I wanted to do with my life. I asked for a whiteboard and a flag when I was career teacher, a profession she, too, dreamed o stay at Ontario until her freshman class graduated as seniors, has mixed feelings about her future as a classroom teacher. She shared, around the clock. . I need to be able to enjoy coming home and being done with work. . I strongly believe . [work and private life] have to l. So how do you feel Wil l they stay until school closes? While three of the four teachers indicated they would continue in the teaching profession for years to come, I also was interested to know whether or not the Ontari o teachers would continue working in their school until it is phased out. Randy said he was committed to staying at Ontario until the school closes. Randy shared his reasons for wanting to stay:

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261 ormer students] at [Colorado] School of Mines in engineering . A lot of kids are picking up I asked Randy what situation would make him decide to leave Ontario. He explained, ilosophical difference with the the administrators. unable to secure a position at Ontario for the upcoming year, there is really nothing about the current accountability model that would force her out of the schoo Melissa is ready to commit to teaching at Ontario for at least one more year, if she can secure a position at the school, without being RIBed. However, Melissa felt r elatively too many hours and being blamed for situations she feels are out of h er control, she wants to return to the school because of one of the current administrators. However, Melissa believed the reason she would leave Ontario would be over the imbalance of time between work and home and the self preservation she seeks. She expl ained,

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262 and on my Saturdays. . [I] could give more time to being a coach . because I want to feel like a more well rounded teacher [rather than about] academics all the time. Yvonne also has mixed feelings about staying at Ontario through the phase out process. She shared, The taste I had [at Ontario these last two years] has not been a good one. I staying around to finish w know how much longer I can work in a toxic environment of distrust. Yvonne said she would consider leaving Ontario High before the clo sing if she felt the accountability mandates were too difficult to meet. She gave an example of one of the categories in the LEAP teacher evaluations, in which the teacher is to have 100 percent of students engaged 100 percent of the time. Yvonne said she a low Teaching in a vlps (very low performing school). Now that the future of Ontario High School is known, I wo ndered if the Ontario teachers would consider working in another VLPS, either within or outside the MVPS district. Randy, who spent most of his four decades of teaching working in lower performing schools and struggling districts, is not afraid to work in the lowest performing schools. Randy shared that, now that he is close to retirement, he feels he can work in any school at any level without fear of losing his job or his benefits. Randy feels he now has the freedom to make decisions based on

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263 where he wan ts to work rather than choosing schools based on which are most likely to stay open under the accountability legislation. Rebecca said when she begins looking for another position outside of Ontario, gs will matter. She explained, now if I would say I would never take a red [school], but I would definitely try for schools that are in the yellow and in the green or orange and yellow before I w ould go to another red school. She then retracted her comment about wanting to go to a gree of working in a school that may eventually be recons tituted or closed and called that Yvonne, too, is reluctant to work in another lower performing school. She said, School Administrati s of working under ten administr ators over the past decade. I wanted to understand the feelings they shared. This section of the chapter focuses on their responses.

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264 Yvonne answered briefly but quickly. She believed about ninety percent of the negative feelings she has about teaching at Ontario High came from issues with or treated the teachers profes sionally and caringly. She explained, care about our sadness and our hurt, the struggles we are feeling within a ppreciated for the hard work that we do. We all work 70 hours a week. Yvonne added, I really thought everything I was going through last year was normal, and then talking to other people, . [th . and they are happy, and they feel supported by their administ rators. I the mistrust, the culture, and everything that comes with it. Throughout her interview, Meli ssa characterized the problems at Ontario as a cohesive, and efficient educational system at Ontario difficult. She said, such a lack of leadership. I would love to have our school improve in this area, . just have a direction. Because how can we perform well if we re doing. Rebecca shared her perceptions of ho of the events that unfolded on the day the teachers and the students learned the school would be closing, Reb ecca charged the administration with failing to provide basic information and emotional support. Rebecca explained,

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265 there And then the teachers kind of gathered together, grieved in our own way before class started, and then it was pretty much our job to have a conversation with the kids. . Th ey made a small announcement on the intercom, but then I just remember spending my whole first period just what, we [as teachers] are going to be there for them. I asked Rebecca if th e principal held any kind of emergency meeting for the teachers or any school perspectives. When I asked what im shared with me, Randy explained, For the most part, I have a very personal relation with the administrators I work with, . [but] when you have somebody who is insecure as your evaluator, that tend s to force my feelings. . I spoke more about had gotten me a few years ago, my administrators were great then, I would my feelings are colored today because of the situation. Randy characterized several of his current administrators as untrustworthy, defensive, lot of strange thin School Distri s Since the teachers previously did not speak about their perceptions of the MVPS ir feelings, I wondered to what extent the MVPS district affected their perceptions of working at Ontario High. This section of the chapter features several

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266 Yvonne did not hold strong feelings about how the school district affe cted her or little influence on the day to day running of Ontario, however, she believed they had a total impact on her experiences about the closi ng of Ontario. She explained, I feel like central administration was the decision on whether or not our done [e ffectively] at our school, and that affected their decisio n. . .They closed our school. scho rate, teachers from other schools throughout the district who lost their positions in other schools due to RIBing, school closures, school reconstitutions, or other situati ons were as a district, we have abandoned this area, and then we will blame thi s area; . That may explained the policy of allowing students to come back to Ontario after being ex pelled from other schools by extreme negative behavior or by violating student contracts with other schools. Melissa also spoke of Ontario students who were not expelled due to recent criminal activity. She gave an extreme example of how she believed this policy did not protect the Ontario teachers and students. She explained,

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267 We had an armed robbery that we were informed of as a staff of students that robbed the convenience store down the street. And I was pretty sure that was a strong enough offense to no t [have those students] be in the school the next week. But there they were. They were going to school here amongst the other students. Conclusion Within the pages of Chapter 5, I have given an account of the two hour long interviews with each of the sev the chapter with the results of the interviews from the three Yarborough teachers and followed with the responses from the four Ontario teachers. Each of the teachers offered their perspectives on t how the accountability model affected their levels of pressure and stress, morale, and burnout, as well as their desires to continue teaching in their schools or in the teaching profession alt ogether. I also gave an account of the advice each teacher wanted to share with policymakers, administrators, and school and school district administrators regarding how they believe public school accountability affects them either positively or negatively regarding the types and levels of stress and pressures, the levels of morale, and the desires and reasons to stay in their schools. These differences and the reasons behind the differences will be the contents of Chapter 6, the final chapter in the dissertation. ns

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268 personal perspectives about the effects of the accountability model as they pertain to the my suggestions for future studies in the area of public school accountability and the effect on teachers and principals. I also will suggest topics for future research on how the current accountability model ultimately can affect the goals of attempting to teacher quality gap as well as the student achievement gap.

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269 CHAPTER 6: DISCUSSION Introduction Within the pages of Chapter 6, I will begin by giving a brief comparison of the communication styles between teachers from the higher and lower performing schools. I r will find the discussion section followed future research. Overall Differences in When reflecting on the differences in the tone and foci of the responses of teachers working in the two higher performing schools with those in the two lower performing schools, there were dramatic differences. While all seventeen teachers were extremely friendly and eager to be a part of the study, this is wh ere the similarities stopped. Teachers from the higher performing Newton and Yarborough, exhibited overall demeanors that were happy, calm, and focused, and they appeared to be highly satisfied by their work. They spoke to one interview question at a time in a rather specific, thoughtful, and controlled fashion. In the beginning, their answers were relatively business like, and at times, I felt they previously had not given much thought to the to accountability mandates). Because they rarely deviated from the questions I asked, the transcripts of their responses were short and easy to code. Moreover, in Chapters 4 and 5, the results

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270 sections of the two schools were significantly shorter those of the two lower performing schools. Conversely, teachers from the lower performing Harrison and Ontario responded in more frenetic, emotional, urgent, and in the case of Charles and Helen, tearful ways. The teachers had a great deal to share about the ques tions I asked, and their responses were long and less focused than those from the teachers at the higher performing schools. The teachers had a great deal to say about each interview topic, so they often spoke beyond the questions. Their answers came easil y, and I believed they previously had given significant thought to their feelings. I had the impression they were thankful someone was interested to hear their stories, and, in the case of many of the teachers, they were not going to stop talking until the y described everything they felt. The teachers were passionate, and most spoke emotionally with obvious pain. I was at once taken aback by their unguarded answers and thankful for their willingness to share their emotions. The transcriptions of their inte rviews were more difficult to code, because their responses did not speak only to the question at hand. Additionally, their answers in Chapters 4 and 5 were significantly longer than those of the teachers in the higher performing schools. Research Questio n 1: With respect to the current standardized testing, rating, and consequences model of accountability, how do the seventeen mathematics teachers efficacy, emotion al exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout? Pressure, Stress, Morale, and Emotional Exhaustion were striking (see Table VI .1). For the most part, teachers from the higher p erforming

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271 schools perceived lower levels of accountability pressure and threat based stress, while teachers from the lower performing schools perceived high levels of both. It is significant to note that all of the teachers in both lower performing schools reported high levels of stress based threat, while none of the teachers in the two higher performing schools higher performing schools perceived high levels, and o nly teachers at the two lower level schools perceived low levels of morale. These sharp contrasts likely indicate common mitigating factors within the two higher performing schools and common exacerbating factors shared within the two lower performing scho ols. The pattern is less delineated when looking at emotional exhaustion (see Table VI .1). Lower performing Harrison had nearly all teachers with high levels of emotional exhaustion, while the other three schools had a mixture of levels. This speaks to exa cerbating conditions within Harrison that may be mitigated in the other three schools. Efficacy ES self efficacy with their self reported levels of efficacy to increase the ir (see Table VI .1). With the exception of Helen, each of the seventeen teachers scored highly on the general MBI ES self efficacy scale. Theoretically, each believed he or she had the ability to be a highly effective mathematics teacher. How ever, in practice, none hirteen teachers at

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272 Table VI. Stress, Threat Based Stress, Morale, Pride, General Self Exhaustion, Depersonalization, Burnout, Motivation/Engagement, and Wanting to Make a Difference. (H = High; M = Moderate; L = Low: X = Not Ap plicable) Name of High School Newton (Green) Yarbor ough (High Yellow) Harrison (Low Yellow) Ontario (Red) Teacher Wanda Hank Kandy Abby Denise Craig Larry Megan Brian Bruce Diana Helen Charles Randy Rebecca Melissa Yvonne Pressures and Stress L L L H L L L L H H H H M H H H H Threat Based Stress L L L L L M L L H H H H H H H H H Morale H H H H H H H H L L L L M M L L L Pride H H H H H H H H M H H L H H H H H General Self Efficacy H H H H H H H H H H H M H H H H H Efficacy to Increase Rating M M M L L M L M L L L L M X X X X Emotional Exhaustion H M L H M L L M H H H H L L M M H Depersonal ization L L L M M L M L L H H M L L L L M Feels Burned Out? L L L L L L L L H L H L L L L M L Motivation and Engagement H H H H H H H M L M L L H H M M M Wanting to Make a Difference H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H

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273 Newton, Yarborough, and Harrison, approximately half had low levels and half had moderate levels of efficacy to increase their ratings. That none of the teachers strongly iscovery. This affect their levels of willingness to work toward furthering increases in their schools ratings? As a point of clarification, because Ontario is scheduled to close in the near rating. Depersonalization and Burnout res from the MBI ES (see Table VI .1) showed an overall high number of t eachers scoring in the low levels of depersonalization, and an even higher number scoring in the low levels of burnout. The exception is the Harrison group; half the teachers reported high levels of either depersonalization or burnout and were the only tea chers to have high levels of either. However, the most compelling finding about burnout and depersonalization came from the Ontario teachers. For the most part, the teachers were at the same level of burnout and depersonalization as teachers from the two h igher career teachers continue to show resiliency in spite of the chronically negative environment they have described. Pride When looking at teache .1), the find ings showed performing schools, but also from those in the two lower performing schools. Teachers from each school

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274 expressed great levels of pride in their students, their schools, and th eir fellow teachers. in their school, said they were proud of the work of their students and their department. Research Question 2: With respect to the current standardiz ed testing, rating, and consequences model of accountability, what factors within their high schools and their school district do the seventeen mathematics teachers believe either increase or decrease their levels of pressures, stress, morale, self efficac y, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout? levels of pressure, stress, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout, three emerged a s the most significant factors common to the four schools. the low levels of turnover in their administrators, and the professional emotional environments their p rincipals created. This was followed by the level of professional accountability w Principals The administrative leadership teams within the green rated Newton and the high yellow rated Yarborough have been in place for many years an d have created strong schools is an important factor in building academic capacity within both schools. The

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275 Newton and Yarborough teachers spoke highly of the relati onships they had built with their principals over the years, and shared how their principals created environments in which they felt valued, trusted, and successful. Moreover, they had significantly high levels of respect for their principals, and the teac hers considered them allies who buffered them from accountability pressures and provided support. The teachers did not feel their administrators blamed them, and while they said they would work hard to keep their ratings from decreasing, they believed ther e would be no threatening consequences from their administrators if that were to happen. The teachers believed they were in no danger threat based stress were signif icantly low. Conversely, teachers from the low yellow rated Harrison and the red rated Ontario shared experiences and perceptions of their principals were counter to those shared by teachers from Newton and Yarborough. The Harrison teachers were in the se cond year of their new principal who would be replaced at the end of the year and the Ontario teachers had received a another new principal, their tenth in ten years. The Harrison teachers believed their new principal was placed at their school to turn aro und the academic achievement levels, and the principal subsequently created hard feelings with the teachers from the start of his appointment. The Ontario teachers reported ongoing emotional turmoil due to their chronic turnover of principals. Each princip al brought new expectations and new policies, and the rapid turnover in leadership did not allow the principals and teachers to build academic capacity within Ontario. professiona lly emotionally hurt and disrespected by their principals. There was an overall

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276 lack of trust in the administration, and the teachers shared a lack of respect for their administrators. They believed their principals were the cause of their negative emotion s handed approaches in attempting to increase both schools believed their achievement mandates were too high for their student populations and could not succeed at meeting those quotas. The teachers did not see their principals as allies, resources, or sources of support who understood the challenges associated with increasing achievement levels. Rather, teachers believed their principals created threatening environments, where the teachers were afraid to ask for help or voice their opinions. Input and Autonomy Another important factor in fostering t performing schools was the ability to have input into important issues affecting the principals trusted them, and they were given d epartmental input and autonomy to make decisions about the mathematics curricula. In both schools, having professional trust from their principals gave the teachers back important control over issues for which they were being held accountable. These teache r driven decisions generated increases in their levels of stress and emotional exhaustion. Conversely, the teachers from Harrison and Ontario believed there was little opportunity for meaningful input into decisions affecting their work environment. For the

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277 ignored. Teachers from both Ontario and Harrison knew to speak guardedly with their principals about issues of school improvement or making changes in the ways the schools were run. Teachers at both schools were given little input or professional autonomy regarding decisions within their department. In the case of Harrison, the teac hers reported being watched by an administrator during their principal mandated lunchtime departmental meetings. The assistant principal was to bring back information to the principal to determine why the teachers were ineffective in increasing their stude CSAP scores. Additionally, as mentioned previously, teachers at both schools believed their proficiency mandates were too high for their student populations to succeed, but felt their administrators saw their input as excuse making rather than real is sues about which the teachers had been considering. All teachers within the four schools held similar beliefs that the lack of student CSAP accountability seriously affected their professional abilities to increase their overall ratings above where they currently are. The differences between the higher and lower performing schools were in the ways the teachers from the four schools responded to the lack of student accountability. Teachers from the higher performing Newto n and Yarborough accepted that their students had no accountability and that not all students tried their hardest. Each teacher spoke about many of their due to entering school behind grade leve l. However, their depersonalization scores were generally low (see Table VI .1), and they believed they did not disparage their lower performing students.

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278 The teachers believed they had taught their best and that the subsequent outcomes were out of their co ntrol. They rejected the notion that their teaching abilities were the reasons behind their lower s On the other hand, teachers from Harrison and Ontario were less detached from their lower performi negative emotional responses and decreased levels of positive emotional responses. Each believed they had a responsibility to help students toward higher achievement, and most were troubled t hey were unable to move their lower performing schools in that direction. The teachers believed they were capable teachers when it came to helping students achieve growth in mathematics. However, due to lack of student accountability and student motivation they believed the job of increasing their proficiency scores was beyond their capabilities and largely out of their control. Like the teachers from Newton scores were a valid measure of their teaching abilities. However, not being able to affect positive academic change in the lower performing students resulted in more frustration and significant negative emotional effects on the Harrison and Ontario teachers. While none overall negative environment.

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279 Research Question 3 : With respect to the current standardize d testing, rating, and consequences model of accountability, how do the mathematics teachers working in their high schools perceive their levels of engagement and their willingness to continue to teach in their current assignment or in the teaching profess ion altogether? Levels of Engagement evels of engagement (see Table VI .1) the responses the two higher performing schools appeared highly engaged and motivated, while the results from the two lower performing schools were mixed. Harrison had the only teachers who reported low levels of engagement and motivation, which was in contrast to Ontario, which had no teachers reporting low levels of engagement and motivation. I was not surprised that all but one of the teachers from Newton and Yarborough were highly engaged. These two groups continued to exhibit positive behaviors regarding their work and their school and were consistent with other p ositive feelings for which they scored highly. Due to the many reported emotional struggles at Harrison, I also was not surprised that three of the five teachers reported low engagement levels and that none were highly engaged. What was surprising, however were the higher levels of engagement found in the Ontario teachers. Their descriptions of the many negative conditions at the school led me to believe Ontario was a place where people could lose their engagement and motivation.

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280 Willingness to Continue T eaching in Their Current Position t three .2). Brian resigned at the end of the first semester, while two others, Diana, and Yvonne, indicated they might sta y, but only if the accountability pressures were not too great. Wanda and Kandy were definite in their desires to stay at Newton, but they too said they would be influenced to leave if the accountability pressures made working at their school less desirabl e. Table VI to Stay in their Current Position, Their Desires to Stay in the Teaching Profession for the Next Five or Ten Years. (Y = Yes; N = No; M = Maybe; R = May Retire Duri ng that Time) Name of High School Newton (Green) Yarbor ough (High Yellow) Harrison (Low Yellow) Ontario (Red) Teacher Wanda Hank Kandy Abby Denise Craig Larry Megan Brian Bruce Diana Helen Charles Randy Rebecca Melissa Yvonne Stay in Current School Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y M Y Y Y Y Y M Stay in Teaching for 5 Years Y Y Y M Y Y Y Y N Y M Y R Y Y M Y Stay in Teaching for 10 Years M R Y M Y Y Y M N M R R R R Y M Y This teacher indicated she would stay unless the accountability pressures become too great.

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281 Willingness to Continue in the Teaching Profession When answering the questions of whether or not they could see themselves staying in the teaching profession for the next five years (See Table VI.2), twelve of the seventeen teachers felt certain they wanted to continue teaching. Abby, Rebecca, and Diana were only moderately sure they would continue, and Charles believed he would retire sometime within the next five years. Could the teachers see themselves in the teaching profession for the next ten were not certain. Of the other twelve teachers, none, with the exception of Brian, indicated they whether or not they would stay for ten years, there did not appear to be any pattern of retention attributable to a particular school. Rather, three of the schools, Newton, Yarborough, and within that t ime. Research Question 4: With respect to the current standardized testing, rating and consequences model of accountability, what mitigating or exacerbating factors within their high schools or school district do the mathematics teachers believe affect t heir levels of engagement and their desires to stay in their current schools or in the teaching profession altogether?

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282 There are a significant number of common factors that teachers indicated positively affe cted their levels of engagement and motivation. However, the most salient of their students, having supportive administrators, cultivating collegial relationships, an d feeling successful at their work. The following section features these four factors as they pertain to the four schools. Making a d ifference For the teachers in this study, the main motivating factor was their need to believe they were making a differe nce in the lives of their students. With the exception of Yvonne, who was uncertain if she could maintain the level of work needed to teach at Ontario, none of the teachers wanted to work in a higher performing school. They all believed they were in a scho ol that would allow them to make the most significant differences in their students. Pines (1993) labeled this the existentialist motivation, in which people search for purpose and meaning in their lives. Pines argued that wanting to make a difference is a powerful motivator, and according to those in the study who said they did not become teachers for the bonuses, appeared to be a more powerful motivator than money. This idea of wanting to make a difference likely is one of the important reasons behind the unusually higher levels of engagement for the performing high school. Supportive a dministrators From the findings of this study, the principals set the tone in each of the four schools. Newton and Yarborough te achers shared positive stories about how their principals leadership helped create a better work environment for them and keep them engaged in their teaching. On the other hand, Harrison and Ontario

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283 teachers described how their principals diminished their positive feelings and created negative environments. The Newton and Yarborough principals gave the teachers autonomy within their departments, had open lines of communication, and created supportive environments where teachers saw their principals as allie s, resources, and buffers from much of the accountability stressors. The teachers felt praised for their work and did not believe their administrators were threatening. These feeling kept the teachers engaged in their positive environment. Conversely, the teachers at Harrison and Ontario described having low levels of autonomy, felt their ideas about how to make their schools better were ignored, and created environments filled with threat based stress. Teachers did not see their administrators as allies or resources; rather the teachers felt they were being watched closely. They knew not to go to the administrators with instructional problems because they feared being labeled as ineffective and ultimately would be monitored more closely. Moreover, the teach ers believed their principals did not buffer them from stress. They believed the principals created more stress and problems through wanting to make a name for themselves in the MVPS district without regard for the emotional health of their teachers. The t eachers at Harrison and Ontario shared that each of these conditions diminished their connections and engagement with their schools. Collegial r elationships Each teacher identified the importance of creating and sustaining collegial relationships with th ose in their department. Additionally, teachers in every school said common planning time was important for them to become more effective teachers. Newton and Yarborough principals scheduled time within the achers met with their departmental coach. The Harrison teachers believed their principal did not value common planning so

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284 planning and collegiality may help explain the high levels of motivation and engagement in Newton, Yarborough, and Ontario and the lower levels of engagement in Harrison. Feeling s uccessful Teachers at Harrison and Ontario perceived there was significantly more accountability work for teachers in lower pe rforming than there was for teachers in higher performing schools. The teachers reported feeling overwhelmed and not able to complete their regular work, citing too much to do in too little time. The teachers at Harrison and Ontario also believed the distr seem out of touch for their populations and impossible to reach. While several Harrison teachers admitted they could do more to increase the scores of their native English speakers, they also felt their high level of ELLs w ho came in behind grade level often years behind precluded them from bringing those students to mathematical proficiency and their school to a green rating. Similarly, the Ontario teachers believed moving from a seven percent mathematics proficiency level to twenty percent proficiency was unrealistic. The teachers explained that many of their students come in behind grade level, have elevated levels of truancy, do not show up willingly to school to take the CSAP tests, and do not take the tests seriously. M oreover, teachers from all four schools expressed a variety of emotions, from incredulity to anger, that they were held nfair and unproductive and will not negative emotions in teachers.

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285 s When reviewing leave their current schools, two essential themes emerged: happiness and unhappiness. emotional nee ds. When examining the reasons teachers would stay, they identified collegiality, relationships, diversity, commitment, potential, trust, staying put, liking continuity, and of course, making a difference. These words and phrases projected happiness. When examining the factors teachers gave for wanting to leave their school, those, too, were emotionally based ideas. They spoke of accountability pressures, negative environment, feeling ineffective, losing autonomy, negative leadership, wanting a life outside mandates. The former words and phrases conveyed joy, and the latter conveyed hurt, both environments. Fact ors Affecting Willingness to Continue Teaching Five y ears profession for the next five years. They enjoy their work, and they believed they still could make contributions to th eir students. Many of the teachers in their fifties and sixties, said they are not ready to retire. The other five teachers who either were definitely leaving or who were not sure if they would continue teaching for the next five years, gave the following reasons: Brian left due to issues from the accountability model, Diana might want to work in a profession she believed was becoming increasingly negative toward teachers, Melissa was uncertain if she could sustain the current imbalance of her

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286 work time ove r her personal time, Abby wanted to reevaluate her effectiveness at the end of three years, and Charles might want to retire. Brian, Diana, and Melissa all gave reasons that indicated they were experiencing significant negative reactions to accountability. Ten y ears Of the twelve teachers who believed they would stay for the next five years, approximately half indicated they likely would stay for ten years. Those who thought they would leave after ten years gave the following reasons: retirement (4 teache rs), marriage and children (1 teacher), going back to school and beginning a new career (1 teacher), and moving into an educational leadership position (1 teacher). Unlike the reasons cited by Brian, Diana, and Melissa above, the factors these teachers cit ed appear not to be associated with the accountability model. Rather, these are characterized as typical reasons teachers give for quitting (Ingersoll & Perda, 2009). Therefore, it appears those who can sustain their careers for the next ten years under t he accountability model work in schools where the conditions support the emotional needs of the teachers, or perhaps the teachers found a way to come to terms with any negative factors associated with accountability. However, it was not clear if the early career teachers who believed they would teach for ten more years will continue to feel similarly over the next decade. Conceptual Framework dynamics present at three of the four scho ols: Newton, Yarborough, and Ontario. In Newton and Ontario, the two higher performing schools, the schools were on the

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287 Figure VI .1. The Conceptual Framework. This framework is used to describe the upward, downward, or status quo spiral of schools under the current accountability model. The framework begins with the Testing Rating Consequences Model cell and moves right. The spiral begins each year, beginning with the top cell and ending with Levels of Difficulty Gaining Ground Academically. upward spiral of achievement. Their reactions to the testing rating and consequences model created an environment where there was little pressure and threat based stress (except for Abby at Newton). This led to higher levels of morale, which led to lower levels of emotional exhaustion and burnout. The teachers reported being happy, with no talk of wanting to leave their positions. With positive teacher retention rates, there were no staffing shortages, there was no influx of new teachers, and there were no diffic ulties gaining ground academically. The results were the opposite for Ontario. Results from the accountability model led to higher levels of pressure and threat based stress, lower levels

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28 8 of morale, higher levels of emotional exhaustion, and issues associa ted with general teacher retention in the department, which is why Ontario has a high num ber of new mathematics teachers. This led to chronic issues of math staffing shortages and an influx of new teachers that led to significant difficulties in increasing student achievement However, the results for Harrison were not fully explained by the framework. The yellow rating brought negative attention to the school, which increased pressures and threat based stress, lowered morale, and increased leve ls of emotional shortage and did not bring in an inexperienced instructor to replace him. Rather, a veteran been even lower performing or if their principal would have stayed f or a number of years? Discussion The findings of this dissertation show many of the positive conditions present in the two higher performing schools were not present in the two lower performing schools. Conversely, many of the negative conditions found in the lower performing schools were not present in the higher performing schools. These findings strongly suggest Harrison and Ontario were not lower performing schools because their teachers were indifferent to working hard to increase student achievement. Rather, this dissertation has suggested there are other factor s at work within each of these schools that appear either to be

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289 finding in this study suggest thes e facto r decisions. Research Question 1 pressure, str ess, morale, self efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, burnout, stress, and emotional exhaustion), the levels are divided into two phenomena: higher performi ng schools generally have low levels of negative emotions and lower performing schools generally have higher levels of negative emotions. These patterns speak to eith er positively or negatively. Additionally, that teacher morale is high for all teachers in the higher performing schools and mostly low for teachers in the other schools indicates negative emotional and organizational issues in Harrison and Ontario. When e xamining the positive emotions of general efficacy, pride, and morale, district administrators and school principals would be wise to understand the levels of emotions of their teachers, especially in the lowest performing schools. Unless administrators ar e aware of the achievement may continue to be frustrated. Research Question 2 This question attempted to find the factors within the schools, the school district,

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290 autonomy, and student accountability. Principals. When evaluating the factor s within the schools that have an effect on wanted their principals to have high expectations of them, but they wanted adequate, effective principal support to meet those expectations. In addition to providing support, teachers also wanted their principals to create positive, trusting, professional relationships with them. However, creating solid relationships with teachers is only half of the principal teacher equation. Th e other half is keeping effective principals in their schools for sustained periods of time. If schools can keep their principals who provide adequate support and create mutual respect with their teachers, as was the case with Newton and Yarborough, then i t is likely the principal teacher team can create stability and ultimately build achievement capacity. This stability and capacity then can allow schools to enter Input and a utonomy. The findings from this study are clear: these seventeen teachers considered themselves capable professionals who were proud to teach in their schools and who cared about their students. They wanted input into the system by which they were being evaluated, and they wanted a level of departmental autonomy that allowed them to make curricular decisions for their students. If teachers are held professional input and autonomy to make decisi ons they believe will be most helpful in of the solution, rather than being viewed as the problem. Administrators who invite their

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291 mathematics teachers to be part of t he decision making team, as did the administrators at achievement. However, keeping teachers out of the decision making loop, as was the case in Harrison and Ontario, create d negative, distrustful feelings toward the administration and toward the accountability model. This may be one of the important factors in why both schools struggled to board the upward spiral of achievement. Student a ccountability. All teachers in this study wanted to be held accountable sided. This speaks to the current model that does not hold students responsible for their own scores, yet has the potential to create significant consequences (e.g., SB 191) for their teachers. It is important for policymakers, legislators, and administrators to emotional states, especially if teachers believe t hey are being held accountable unfairly. Policymakers and legislators would be prudent to research and reflect further about how incorporating a student accountability piece into the legislation could help increase not Research Question 3 their levels of willingness to s tay in their current schools. That the levels of motivation and engagement were mostly high at all schools except for Harrison suggests a accountability mandates. When school districts send in new principals into lower

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292 performing schools ostensibly to lead the school to an increase in ratings levels, teachers, such as those at Harrison, can perceive their environment as threatening or unfriendly. This is especially true when t he teachers believe the principal perceives they are the reason the school is lower performing. This may be why one of the Harrison teachers left mid year and another Harrison teacher wanted to resign. Regarding teachers levels of desires to stay in the c urrent schools, it is interesting all but two of the seventeen teachers indicated they held high levels of desire to stay in their current schools. However, their answers came with a caveat: they would stay as long as the accountability pressures were not too great. Therefore, the question schools and school districts would be wise to continue to ask is how to have high expectations for teachers and schools and retain the most effective teachers in the process? Research Question 4 attempts to answer this qu estion. Research Question 4 This research question was designed to understand the factors that affected influenced their desires to continue in their schools. The most co mmon responses about motivation and staying in their schools were connected to believing they were making a difference, having stable leadership within their schools, having strong collegial relationships within their departments, and feeling successful at goals that are set appropriately. Making a d ifference. With the exception of Yvonne from Ontario and Diana from Harrison (who were not sure if they would stay), each of these teachers indicated multiple ghest performing schools, nor did they

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293 want to move to a higher performing district. They wanted to work in their current schools, where they believed they could make the biggest difference in the lives of their students. More importantly, these teachers a ppeared to come with the internal motivation of wanting to be effective teachers who would help their students learn mathematics. With respect to understanding the factors that motivate and engage teachers, the will work harder to become more effective if there is the opportunity for financial reward teachers for the intrinsic rewards of building relationships and helping students learn, external rewards and punishments were not an effective in motivating them to work harder. At least one teacher within each school who believed the pay for performance bonus money was insulting to them as professionals; they did not expect to be paid extra devote their efforts to their current schools are already in place, and they are motivated to help students succ eed, school districts and principals would be prudent to utilize the rather than create situations that can decrease their levels of engagement and commitment. Stabl e a dministration. The Newton and Ontario teachers spoke positively about the strong, stable relationships they had built with their administrators over the years. creat e chronic principal turnover at Ontario created ongoing organizational instability within in the school. The chronic principal turnover also created negative issues of

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294 teacher motivation and engagement as the teachers endured the revolving door of principa turnover, mathematics staffing issues, and ongoing influx of new, mostly inexperienced teachers. Moreover, these staffing issues likely were one of the reasons Ontario had dif ficulty gaining academic ground over the years. This dynamic is consistent with quo spiral illustrated in the conceptual framework. Collegial r elationships. Each of the teachers expressed how important their collegial relationship were with those in their departments and were critical to their feeling supported, learning new ideas, and believing they were more effective teachers. Therefore, collegial relationships should not be an afterthought or a concession of school leadership. Common planning should be priority scheduled, with teachers having ample time to work together to feel effec tive in their subject matter. Feeling s uccessful If the goal of schools and districts is to increase student achievement, then having an unhappy, demoralized teaching staff as was the case with Harrison and Ontario likely will not produce those desired r esults. Additionally, if, as Arnie Duncan (Vega, 2009) suggested, we want the best and the brightest college especially lower performing schools then these schools must not be places where teachers feel blamed and inadequate. Accountability mandates should not be so punitive that the emotional professional costs make struggling schools unattractive places to teach. Moreover, as long as teachers stay mired in negative emotions and negative perceptions of their work environment, their

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295 thoughts are not free to focus on workable solutions to increase student achievement within their schools. Therefore, it would be helpful if policymakers, legislators, and administrators strongly considered the findings of this study and closing the achievement gap. Discussion Conclusion achievement and sch administrators must be willing to rethink their current assumptions about teachers and their influence in increasing student achievement. They must begin to understand which forces motivat e teachers and which forces cause them to lose engagement and willingness to stay in their current schools. This is especially true for teachers working in the lowest performing schools. School districts should be honest and willing to address their organi zational decisions that contribute to problems within struggling schools. This study was another step in creating a more complete understanding of the forces within schools tions Limitations of This Study A main limitation of this phenomenological study of high school mathematics teachers working in four public schools within one lower performing district is its potential limitation in making concl usions about teachers in other disciplines, grade levels, or school districts. Additionally, generalizing the findings will also be difficult due to the small sample size and the sampling techniques. That I used a voluntary response

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296 technique meant the tea chers selected themselves for this study (Yates, Starnes, & Moore, 2005). This self selection sampling technique generally produces a group having strong feelings on a subject, which are often in the negative direction (Yates, et al.). There was, however, an interesting mix of opinions and perspectives from each of the schools. In other words, the perspectives from the high performing schools were not all positive, and the perspectives from the two lower performing schools were not all negative. Changes I Would Make to This Study The first change I would make would be to reduce the scope of the study. Rather than have four schools with three to five teachers each, I would consider choosing two schools, one higher performing and one lower performing, with ei ght to ten teachers from each. Doing so likely would allow more themes to emerge, which may give a clearer, more certain picture of the factors in each school affecting the environments and Also, I would retool the research questions, especially the second research question asking to which factors do teachers attribute their feelings of pressure, stress, morale, efficacy, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and burnout. That there were many elements to discuss proved to be a chall enge in keeping the analyses down to a exacerbating and mitigating factors as they related to the different elements. Therefore, by simplifying the research questions, I coul d avoid redundancy in reporting the same factors over several research questions. It appears pressure, morale, and self efficacy are the overarching emotions. Therefore, I could change the wording of first two research

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297 questions to include only levels and factors associated with those three elements and simplify the analyses. However, doing so may sacrifice detail. Additionally, I would amend my framework to include a component on principals and leadership. I now understand the important roles principals pl ay in the environment of their schools and Recommendations for Future Research From the results of this study, I believe there is room fo r continued significant research related to the following questions: 1. Do schools create their own collective perceptions through their shared experiences? Why do teachers from one school appear to hold similar perceptions and emotions as others in their dep artment? In other words, do collegial relationships foster positive or negative collective perceptions in each school? If so, how can school leadership exploit the positive perceptions and mitigate the negative perceptions to increase student achievement a nd school ratings? 2. What factors within the environment of lower performing schools do the student achievement and overall ratings? 3. How does the current model of public sch ool accountability affect school and district administrators working in lower performing schools? What effects do schools?

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298 4. What roles do principals play in affecting the levels o f morale of high school mathematics teachers working in lower performing school districts? 5. Under what conditions would veteran teachers and principals be willing to transfer into the lowest performing schools? How does this transfer affect

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299 APPENDIX A Maslach Burnout Inventory Educator Survey How Often: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Never A few times Once a month A few times Once a week A few times Every a year or less or less a month a week day How Often 0 6 Statements: 1. __________ I feel emotionally drained from my work. 2. __________ I feel used up at the end of the workday. 3. __________ I feel fatigued when I get up in the morning and have to face another day on the job. 4. __________ I can easily understand how my students feel about things. 5. _________ I feel I treat some students as if they were impersonal objects. 6. __________ Working with people all day is really a strain form me. 7. __________ I deal very effectively with the problems of my students. 8. __________ I feel burned out from my work. 11. __________ I worr y that this job is hardening me emotionally. 12. __________ I feel very energetic. 13. __________ I feel frustrated by my job. happens to some students. 16. __________ Working with people directly puts too much stress on me. 17. __________ I can easily create a relaxed atmosphere with my students. 18. __________ I feel exhilarated after working closely with my students. 19. __________ I have accomplished many worthwhile things in this job. 21. __________ In my work, I deal with emotional problems very calmly. 22. __________ I feel students blame me for some of their problems. (Administrative use only) EE: __________ DP: __________ PA: __________

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300 APPENDIX B Date: August 9, 2010 Valid for Use Through: Study Title: High Stakes Testing in Low Performi Perceptions of Burnout and Retention Principal Investigator: Karmen Kirtley HSRC No: Version D ate: Version No: You are bein g asked to participate in a research study. This form provides you with information about the study. A member of the research team will describe this study to you and answer all of your questions. Please read the information below and ask questions about anything you do no t understand before deciding whether or not to take part. Why i s this study being done? This study is a doctoral dissertation that is designed to learn more about the perceptions of high school mathematics teachers working in low performing schools with respect to the current ratings and conseq uences accountability mo del, which levies rewards or sanctions on schools based on annual high stakes test scores. This study to and their desires to stay in their current teaching assignments or in the teaching profession altogether. Additionally, with respect to the current rating and consequence model of accountability, this study will attempt to identify influences that either help alleviate or continue to exacerbate high school and impact their decisions on whether or not to stay in their current teaching assignments You are being asked to be in this research study because you are a veteran teacher (three or more years) at your current school and because you teach either freshman or sophomore mathematics classes. You also have been chosen because of your involvement Other people in this study: Up to 24 high school mathematics teachers will participate in this study. What happens if I join this study?

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301 If you join the study, you wi ll be asked to take the Maslach Burnout Inventory survey prior to beginning your interview. Within the interview, yo u will be asked questions regarding your feelings of the current rating and consequence model of school accountability and your perceptions of this model with respect to teacher burnout and issues of teacher retention. Unless it is necessary to contact yo u after the interview to add to or clarify your interview answers, your participation in this study will require one meeting session that should last between ninety minutes and two hours. What are the possible discomforts or risks? Discomforts you may exp erience while in this study include possible embarrassment or reluctance to share your feelings and your experiences about the rating and consequence model of accountability Other possible risks include feeling vulnerable for sharing your thoughts about w regarding burnout and teacher retention. What are the possible benefits of the study? This study is designed for the researcher to learn more about how mathematics teachers working in low performing high schools are affected, either positively or negatively, by the current rating and consequence model of school accountability. One of the main benefits of participation in this study is to have your perspectives and your opinions on these issues made known in a confidential way. An additional benefit may a feeling of having made a difference in future accountability policies, which may result if other researchers, policy makers, or school district officials read the findings from this publ ished dissertation. Will I be paid for being in the study? Will I have to pay for anything? You will not be paid to participate in the study and it will not cost you anything to be in the study. Is my participation voluntary? Taking part in this study is voluntary. You have the right to choose not to take part in this study. If you choose to take part, you have the right to stop at any time. If you refuse or decide to withdraw later, y ou will not lose any benefit s or rights to which you are entitled. Who m do I call i f I have q uestions? The researcher carrying out this study is Karmen Kirtley You may ask any questions you have now. If you have questions later, you may call Karmen Kirtley at 303 XXX

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302 XXXX or Dr. M ike Marlow at the University of Colorado Denver and Health Sciences Center at 303 XXX XXXX You will be given a copy of this form to keep. You may have questions about your rights as someone in this study. You can call Karmen Kirtley with questions. You can also call the Human Subj ect Research Committee (HSRC). You can call them at 303 315 2732 Who will see my research information? We will do everything we can to keep your records a secret. It cannot be guaranteed. Both the records that identify you and the consent form signed by you may be looked at by others. They are : H uman Subject Research Committee Regulatory officials from the institution where the research is being conducted who want to make sure the research is safe Federal agencies that mo nitor human subject research The results from the research may be shared at a meeting. The results from the research may be in published articles. Your name will be kept private when information is presented. Use of audio recording equipment and written documents: During the course of our interviews, I will use one or more digital recorders, as well written back up notes, to capture your answers. Additionally, participation in this study asks that you complete a paper survey of the Maslach Burnout Inven tory. All digital and paper data will be stored in my home office in a locked cabinet and will not be taken out of the office except to conduct a subsequent interview. At the end of three years, all data, both digital and on paper, will be destroyed by era sing the recordings and shredding the paper documents. Agreement to be in this study I have read this paper about the study or it was read to me. I understand the possible risks and benefits of this study. I know that being in this study is voluntary. I choose to be in this study: I will get a copy of this consent form. Signature : Date: Pr int Name: Conse nt form explained by: Date :

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303 Print Name: Investigator : Date:

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304 APPENDIX C Participant Information Name_____________________________________________________________ Pseudonym ______________ School Name ____________________________ _______ School Pseudonym _______________ Mathematics Course(s) Taught_ _____________________ _______________ _________ Sex ____ Age __ _____ Years at This School _______ Total Years Teaching _________ Level of Education _________________ Degree(s) ____ ______________ ____ ________ Teaching Credenti als: Degree in Education ____ __ Alternate L icensure (Type)_______ Date of I nterview _____ ____ ____ Location of Interview ________________________ The Vocabulary of This Study 1. Standardized Testing, Rating, and Consequences Model of Accountability : This is the name my study will use to describe the current school accountability standardized test scores, with subsequent awards, mandates, or sanctions given as performance consequences. 2. Teacher Burnout : This enthusiastic goals of affecting positive change in their students and their school ultimately leads to anger, frustration, and apathy as teachers perceive they are unable to affect the change they had originally envisioned. Teacher burnout has three components: emotional exhaustion, lowered self efficacy, and depersonalization (Maslach & Leiter, 1997). 3. Emotional Exhaustion : Generally characterized as the stress component of burnout, emotional exhaust depleted, or empty (Maslach, 2003). Emotionally exhausted teachers generally lack the necessary energy or motivation the job demands require (Maslach & Leiter, 1997). 4. Self Efficacy : Another component of burnout, self perceptions of their abilities to achieve required tasks and goals (Maslach, 1999). Self confidence and professional self esteem (Maslach & Leiter, 1997). 5. Depersona lization : As the third component of teacher burnout, depersonalization negative, or disparagi ng feelings teachers may feel toward students and, in many

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305 cases, stems from a loss of idealism that one is not making a difference (Maslach, 2003). 6. Teacher Retention : Considered to be a chronic problem in many schools, data on teacher retention documen t that between 30 50 percent of teachers leave their teaching assignments or the profession altogether within their first five years, with low performing urban schools losing the greatest percentage of teachers. Retaining engaged, effective, and experience d teachers in the inner city classroom districts today. (Darling Hammond, 2003). Interview Questions A. Ratings Levels and Consequences: 1. Do you know if your school received an a ward, consequence, or sanction? _______ If so, what is it? ___________ 2. B. Pressures and Morale: 1. Do you feel any other pressures from the current accountability model? If so, please describ e those pressures. 2. 3. negatively? 4. Has the accountability model affected your morale in other ways, ei ther positively or negatively? Please explain. 5. How often would you describe yourself as motivated in your work? a. What keeps you feeling motivated about your work? b. What keeps you feeling disconnected to your work? 6. Are you proud to teach at your current sc hool? Why or why not? C. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI): 1. Take the survey. 2. Individuals score their own surveys D. Emotional Exhaustion as a Result of the Model (Research Questions: Burnout): 1. Your emotional exhaustion score is ______. a. Does your scor e surprise you? b. Why or why not? 2. To what do you attribute your level (either low or high) of emotional exhaustion? 3. exhaustion, either positively or negatively? a. Please explain. 4. school district worsen any feelings of emotional exhaustion you may have?

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306 5. school dis trict help alleviate any feelings of emotional exhaustion you may have? E. Self Efficacy as a Result of the Model (Research Questions: Burnout): 1. Your self efficacy score is ______. a. Does your score surprise you? Why or why not? 2. Do you believe the current mathematical abilities? Why or why not? 3. Do you believe the current standardized tests are a valid measure of your teaching abilities? Why or why not? 4. e either positively or negatively in your abilities to be a successful mathematics teacher? Please explain. 5. scores and subsequent rating to the level mandated by your principa l, school district, or state policy makers? Why or why not? 6. F. Depersonalization as a Result of the Model (Research Questions: Burnout): 1. Your score on depersonalization is _______. a. Does your score surprise you? b. Why or why not? 2. Does the current model of accountability affect your feelings, either positively or negatively, toward your students? If so, how? G. Decisions Regarding Staying or Leaving (Research Questions: Retention) 1. D o you plan to stay in the teaching profession in the next 5 years? a. In the next 10 years? b. If not, why not? c. If yes, then why? 2. Do you plan to continue teaching in your current school? a. If yes, why? b. If no, why? c. If no, in which school or school district would you like to be teaching? Why? 3. current assignment or your district? 4. Explicitly, what positive aspects of the current model of accountability would encourage you to stay /conti nue to stay in your current teaching position? 5. Explicitly, what negative aspects of the current model of accountability would encourage you to leave your current teaching position? J. Feelings of Burnout: 1. Do you believe you are experiencing burnout? _____ Why or why not? K. Survey: 1. Take the survey.

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307 L. What Could Those in Charge Learn from Teachers in Low Performing Schools: 1. There are those who believe that linking awards and sanctions to school performance accountability is effective in reducing the student achievement gap enhance student learning when faced with large incentives and threatening nd to those in charge (i.e., administrators and policy makers) who currently use this model for motivation? 2. Based on your teaching experiences with the current accountability model in your school, how can school districts and principals attempt to reduce issues of teacher burnout in our lowest performing schools? 3. Based on your teaching experiences with the current accountability model in your school, how can school districts and principals keep teachers enthused about and committed to working in our lowes t performing schools?

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