Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

August 1980

Abstract

The problem was to determine whether significant relationships exist in the attitudes of eighth-grade teachers, their principals, and their superintendents toward minimum competency testing in Tennessee. Literature was reviewed in order to determine the problems associated with the implementation of a minimum competency testing program. Questionnaires were developed to obtain the attitudes of teachers, principals, and superintendents about the questions most often encountered in the literature. School systems to be surveyed were selected by stratified random sampling from defined pupil enrollment categories after the questionnaires were field tested. Superintendents from 36 public school systems were identified to receive questionnaires and they each selected three eighth-grade teachers and three principals to complete questionnaires as well. Respondents were to have direct knowledge of the administration of the 1979 eighth-grade diagnostic basic skills test (a minimum competency test). Questionnaires were designed to obtain demographic data about the systems or schools represented by the respondents, personal data about the respondents, and attitudinal data on 17 items with responses to be ranked in order of priority by the respondents. A total of 100 questionnaires were received by the cut-off date, and these represented a 40% return. Personal data and demographic data were reported in tables. Nonparametrlc statistics were utilized to analyze the degree of relationship among the ordinal level data obtained from Items A-Q on the questionnaires. Agreement was tested intra-groups by Kendall's coefficient of concordance, and agreement between groups was tested by the Spearman rank-order correlation. The .05 level of significance was applied in all cases using the two-tailed test. Results of the data analyses indicated that agreement was more often significant within groups than between groups. Within groups (eighth-grade teachers, principals, and superintendents), a significant relationship was obtained for all 17 attitudinal items on the questionnaires for teachers and for principals, and for all items except H for superintendents. In the between-group analyses for first, second, and third priority responses, teachers and principals displayed greater agreement of rankings on each item than did teachers and superintendents, or than principals and superintendents displayed. Teachers and principals agreed significantly on 88%. of the items for first priority responses, 71% of the items for second priority responses, and 47% of the items for third priority responses. Teachers and superintendents agreed significantly on 65%, 47%, and 29% of the items for first, second, and third priorities. Principals and superintendents indicated significant agreement on 59%, 41%, and 35% of the items for first, second, and third priorities. Very few differences were noted between groups in the responses most often reported for first, second, and third priorities. Frequently, the same three responses were chosen as first, second, or third priority for each item by the three groups, but in a slightly different order by the different groups. Analysis of rankings beyond third priority was not conducted due to the great number of tied rankings after the third priority. Analysis of the demographic data revealed that most respondents represented students other than urban, upper-class youngsters and schools without a large percentage of minority students. Answers to general questions about the administration procedures for the 1979 basic skills test indicated that most systems administered the test in a comparable manner. Most respondents were between the ages of 20 and 49, and 71% of them had attained a Master's degree or above. Teaching certification was held by 81% of the respondents, and administrative certification by 57%. Teaching experience of 1-15 years was reported by 76% of the respondents and administrative experience of 1-15 years by 47%. Supervisory certification and experience were negligible.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

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