Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Competency-based education--Florida; Education--Aims and objectives--Florida; Elementary school teachers--Florida--Attitudes;


This qualitative study explored the phenomenon of what happened as Florida's high-stakes accountability system intersected with a beginning and veteran teachers' life histories and different stocks of lifeworldly knowledge at demographically different lifeworld communities. Habermas' (1987) theory of communicative action was used as the theoretical framework to explore what the teachers' responses meant for learners and teaching practice. The research purpose of this study (emphasizing an interpretive approach) sought to gain insights and understandings regarding the phenomenon specifically. The practical purpose (according to critical theory) was to then use the insights gained (enlightenment) in order to contemplate the kinds of steering media and mechanisms needed to support teaching practice (emancipation) that can best satisfy the system (accountability) rationale to increase educational opportunities for all learners regardless of need. Three overarching themes central to learners and teaching practice emerged from the data obtained from interviews, classroom observations, and student products: (a) the greater the lifeworld needs of the school community (e.g., high mobility rate, low socio-economic status) the greater the response in terms of instructional and curricular accommodations designed to increase FCAT test scores; (b) the greater the colonization of the lifeworld perspective by Florida's accountability system rationale, the greater the likelihood that various social actors experienced fear in relation to FCAT; and (c) school reform efforts both past and present (including Florida's high-stakes accountability system) have consistently resulted in less educational opportunity for those learners who need it the most.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Robert Boody, Committee Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Christopher Kliewer, Committee Co-Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (x, 325 pages)



File Format