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An Investigation of the Factors that Influence Reform Implementation Practices of Middle School Mathematics Teachers
Trenkamp, Kara Karch
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For over fifty years, researchers, politicians, policymakers, and educators have struggled with the issue of education reform. While these efforts have made some mark on the field of education, few, if any, have succeeded in changing the teaching and learning that goes on in classrooms at the level we would like to see. By studying a case where reform efforts are high and a case where reform efforts are minimal, researchers can better understand some of the key factors in implementing a reform initiative. The purpose of this study was to describe the conditions under which educational reform can be implemented and sustained, and the conditions under which educational reform can be hindered and restrained. Specifically, this study sought to identify the key factors that influence reform implementation practices of middle school mathematics teachers as they implement a comprehensive school reform program, the Baldrige in Education reform. In addition, this study sought to determine the impact of this reform implementation on student achievement in mathematics over time. This study used a mixed methods approach in order to fully investigate three questions: What factors contribute to the variability of teachers' reform practices?; What is the impact of the Baldrige in Education reform initiative on schools' student achievement?; and What are some of the key factors that reportedly influence reform implementation practices of middle school mathematics teachers as they implement the Baldrige in Education reform initiative The results from analyses using hierarchical linear modeling indicated that one significant factor that influences teachers' implementation practices is whether or not they believe their students learn more as a result of the reform. Findings from analyses using ANCOVA in order to determine the impact of the reform on student achievement at the school level indicated that there was no impact on students' mathematics achievement (as measured by state standardized test scores) that could be attributed to Baldrige alone. A case study analysis of two middle schools revealed seven influential factors on teachers' reform practices. They included: Leadership; Accountability; Knowledge; Coherence; Time; Core Beliefs; and Perceived Behavioral Control.