Dissertation

Elementary Teachers' Perceptions Focused upon the Quality of Professional Development of the ELA Instructional Shifts as Defined by the Common Core State Standards within the Alignment of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards

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The purpose of this study was to determine if elementary English language arts (ELA) teachers in a northern New Jersey school district perceived they were receiving quality professional development that enabled them to shift their instructional methodologies to address the learning outcomes identified by the Common Core State Standards and ensure students are prepared for college and career. In this study, I offer an overview of standards-based education, the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards, Common Core State Standards, and New Jersey Student Learning Standards to identify necessary changes to the planning and delivery of Common Core State Standards. I also identify the significance of effective professional development to improving student learning, integrating the standards across subject areas, and transforming elementary teachers’ method of instruction. Finally, I identify tools and resources that help elementary teachers address specific challenges of changing classroom practice (Center for Public Education, 2013). This study \ was conducted using a single-method research design involving quantitative data from a survey. The conceptual framework for this study was centered on the history of standards-based education; the development of the Common Core State Standards; state modifications to the Common Core State Standards, such as the New Jersey Student Learning Standards; and the impact of educators receiving quality professional development to reconstruct pedagogy. Results revealed that teachers had some training in the ELA Common Core State Standards and wanted more. Elementary teachers also expressed that professional learning communities, formal training sessions such as seminars and conferences, and job-embedded training were the most helpful forms of professional development. In addition, elementary teachers of Grades K-5 indicated that the training they received was of high iii quality, that they felt prepared to teach the standards to their students, and that they believed the standards would improve their instruction and classroom practice and would improve student learning.

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