ECOLOGICAL INFLUENCES ON TEACHERS’ UNDERSTANDING OF THE EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS: AN EXPLORATORY SEQUENTIAL MIXED METHODS STUDY
thesisposted on 06.05.2021, 12:32 authored by Wan Hee KimWan Hee Kim
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and many changes were made to offer more flexibility for English language learners (ELLs). Historically, teachers have not been well informed of the changes made to the specific requirements of educational policy despite being at the frontline to implement these changes in their classrooms. This mixed methods study includes the development of a comprehensive online survey to investigate how aware Indiana teachers are of the ESSA specific requirements for ELLs and the results of the survey completed by 46 teachers. For the analysis of the survey data, both statistical analysis and visual analytics were employed. Findings suggest that the teachers were not highly informed of the specific requirements of ESSA for ELLs, as well as were not adequately prepared to teach and assess ELLs under ESSA. Accordingly, very few teachers reported that they have made changes to their classroom instruction and assessment practices that would be beneficial for ELLs under ESSA. This study reiterates that the effectiveness of federal educational policy should be examined at the classroom level and suggests that the first step should be to clearly inform the classroom teachers by offering district level professional development, which includes a summary of the changes resulting from NCLB to ESSA. The study further highlights that without informing Indiana teachers of the changes made in federal educational policies, the shift from NCLB to ESSA will be nothing more than a renaming of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Hence, the study underlines that only when these changes are implemented at the classroom level through teachers, all students, including ELLs, will benefit from these new policy changes under ESSA.