Teachers' perceptions of policy influences on science instruction with culturally and linguistically diverse elementary students

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Abstract

This study asked elementary school teachers how educational policies affected their science instruction with a majority of English language learners. The study employed a questionnaire followed by focus group interviews with 43 third and fourth grade teachers from six elementary schools in a large urban school district with high populations of English language learners in the southeastern United States. Results indicate that teachers' opinions concerning all areas of policy evolved as the state enforced stronger measures of accountability during the 2-year period of the study. Although relatively positive regarding standards, their opinions became increasingly negative regarding statewide assessment, and even more so toward accountability measured by reading, writing, and mathematics. The results suggest that it is important to understand how teachers perceive the influence of policies, particularly those relating to English language learners, as science accountability becomes more imminent across the states. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 44: 725–746, 2007

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