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The Ohio State University

1. Gjini, Xhuljeta. Experiencing the FCAT: A Study of how ELLs, Teachers, and Parents Responded to a State Mandated Test in Florida.

Degree: PhD, EDU Teaching and Learning, 2011, The Ohio State University

This study portrays the experience of English Language Learners (ELLs), their teachers and parents towards the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). The study sheds new light on the ecology of an examination like the FCAT by foregrounding the voices and experiences of the examination’s primary stakeholders and how this state mandated test was interrelated to the daily instruction, and what it meant to the teachers and parents of these children. A case study approach was chosen to match the purpose of the study aiming to examine the FCAT through the more personal lens of key stakeholders connected to the exam. Instead of analyzing the test itself, the study sought to add a human face to the exam by examining those most affected by it. The data for this research was gathered from multiple sources: classroom observations/field notes, individual interviews, students’ classroom work, teachers’ teaching materials (lesson plans, instructional materials, and activities), teachers’ checklist and statistics/testing reports from school and district documents. A purposive sampling was utilized. The criteria employed were: various genders, various L1 and cultural backgrounds, various levels of L2 proficiency, duration in U.S., and active placement in the ESOL program. The participants consisted of four teachers, four ELLs (3rd grade), and three parents. The data analysis method consisted of case analysis, content analysis, and cross-case analysis. Accordingly, an inductive analysis approach was employed to analyze data in order to help answer each research question that was posed in this study. The examination of meaning units was conducted from different angles and synthesized in order to lead to the identification of the patterns and themes that data revealed. During the coding process, as themes emerged, they were grouped into three categories: teachers, students, and parents. The study found that accountability is valued highly by the teachers. They believed FCAT was not a fair assessment tool for ELLs and did not provide an accurate report of their academic knowledge. FCAT is source of stress and frustration for teachers, students, and parents. It forces teachers to “teach to the test” instead of engaging in classroom instructional practices aimed enhancing student learning. There is a mismatch between what transpires in the classroom and what transpires on the FCAT. There is a mismatch between the ELLs’ existing L2 proficiency levels and the academic proficiency required to face a state mandated test like the FCAT. It assumes that ELLs own both general language proficiency and academic proficiency. The impact of NCLB legislation carries significant weight in pre-college education in the United States. It added more stress when promoting standards and assessments that serve nationally to show AYP. Teachers, students, and parents are at a disadvantage in such a climate of accountability. ELLs not achieving at grade level in state mandated tests is an ongoing problem in our educational system. Root of the problem:… Advisors/Committee Members: Hirvela, Alan (Advisor).

Subjects/Keywords: Education; State Mandated Test; FCAT; ELLs; Attitudes; Perceptions

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APA (6th Edition):

Gjini, X. (2011). Experiencing the FCAT: A Study of how ELLs, Teachers, and Parents Responded to a State Mandated Test in Florida. (Doctoral Dissertation). The Ohio State University. Retrieved from http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1293464366

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Gjini, Xhuljeta. “Experiencing the FCAT: A Study of how ELLs, Teachers, and Parents Responded to a State Mandated Test in Florida.” 2011. Doctoral Dissertation, The Ohio State University. Accessed October 23, 2019. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1293464366.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Gjini, Xhuljeta. “Experiencing the FCAT: A Study of how ELLs, Teachers, and Parents Responded to a State Mandated Test in Florida.” 2011. Web. 23 Oct 2019.

Vancouver:

Gjini X. Experiencing the FCAT: A Study of how ELLs, Teachers, and Parents Responded to a State Mandated Test in Florida. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. The Ohio State University; 2011. [cited 2019 Oct 23]. Available from: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1293464366.

Council of Science Editors:

Gjini X. Experiencing the FCAT: A Study of how ELLs, Teachers, and Parents Responded to a State Mandated Test in Florida. [Doctoral Dissertation]. The Ohio State University; 2011. Available from: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1293464366

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