All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jerry Aldridge

Advisory Committee Members

Jody Brewer

Joseph Burns

Lois Christensen

Lynn Kirkland

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


The authorization of The Elementary and Secondary Act—No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 provided new federal guidelines for accountability in the United States. As a result, schools are required to provide statistical data through standardized test scores to measure adequate yearly progress benchmarks set by each state. The agenda of the federal government was to force school equity for all children. Since the inception of NCLB, teachers have begun the struggle of meeting the demands of federal, state, and local guidelines that impose harsh penalties if benchmarks are not attained by their students. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC, 1997), the Association for Childhood International (ACEI) and other watch-group organizations endorse instructional practices or methods of teaching that focus on the needs, interests, and life-long experiences of the child (Bredekamp, 1997). This qualitative phenomenological study examined the experiences of early childhood teachers who were faced with accountability mandates as measured by standardized testing. The sample included 11 early childhood teachers in a southeastern, public school system. All of the participants were women, taught grades K through 3, and had 6-35 years of teaching experience. Data were was collected through a researcherproduced teacher survey, group and individual interviews, and participants’ journals. The data analysis followed the procedures outlined by various experts on qualitative research (Creswell, 1998, 2005; Denzin, 1989; Geertz, 1938, 1988; iii Moustakas, 1994; Van Manen, 2000). The researcher transcribed all interviews verbatim to provide a useable data set for analysis. Each transcription was hand-coded using marginal notes, and a list of themes began to develop, along with supporting statements. A peer reviewer followed the same procedures for hand-coding. Several debriefing meetings were held to confer and agree upon the data analysis. The statements were organized into a set of 17 themes, with supporting statements dealing with the experiences teachers encounter when using developmentally appropriate practice in classrooms controlled by mandates of NCLB (2002). These findings will help school, local, and state administrators understand the dilemmas teachers face in today’s classrooms and help them make informed decisions about requirements for curriculum, assessments, and accountability.

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