Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Teacher Education and Teacher Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Kathryn Herr

Committee Member

Douglas B. Larkin

Committee Member

Ana Maria Villegas


The purpose of this action research study was to examine how teachers embedded in cultures of accountability, performance, and rewards, attempted to maintain integrity and professionalism in their instructional choices, with administrators as supportive partners. In addition, I aimed to explore how teachers and administrators balance power relations while negotiating this terrain. The research questions that guided this dissertation study were:

1. When given a supportive space for ongoing dialogue in the current era of new professionalism and neoliberalism, how do we as teachers and administrators describe our educational decisions while functioning in evaluation systems?

2. What kinds of actions might teachers recommend or consider taking regarding how administrators can best support their instructional decision-making in this era of heightened accountability?

Teacher accountability policies since 2001 have changed the landscape of education in the United States, with a heightened emphasis on the yearly evaluation scores of educators. Hence, this study took place within the new era of heightened accountability and rewards cultures that prevailed in education. I conducted a participatory action research (PAR) study consisting of eight participants (seven teachers and myself, an administrator) who met weekly in a professional learning community (PLC) and journaled online about these sessions, as well as their everyday experiences. These findings add to research regarding the effects of new professionalism on both teachers and administrators and how an in-depth look at the daily interactions between these groups can inform future legislation and local decisions regarding educator practice and evaluation systems.

File Format


Included in

Education Commons