The perceived effects of high stakes testing and Alabama's Plan 2020 on instructional practices and curriculum: a social studies instrumental case study

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential impact of Alabama's high stakes testing policy and Alabama's Plan 2020, on the instructional practices and curriculum of 12th grade secondary social studies teachers. This phenomenological qualitative instrumental case study design of four participants utilized guided interviews, document analysis, and a focus group interview. This study was grounded in the theoretical framework of constructivism, using the methodological foundations of the power relations theory of Michael Foucault. From this process, the researcher was able to understand the impact of these educational policies on instructional practices and curriculum. The results of the study indicated that the participants shifted their instruction and intensity to focus on state mandated testing due to the local school administration and internal pressures experienced. The results also displayed a lack of understanding for the new educational policy, a newly found instructional autonomy, and a fear of the return of state testing.

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Social sciences education, Secondary education