Abstract 4, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2016

Minimum vs. Essential?: The Translation and Trajectory of Policy into Practice

Stephanie van Hover

University of Virginia

David Hicks

Virginia Tech

Elizabeth Washington

University of Florida

Melissa Lisanti

Radford University


This study examined and traced the relationship between, and the influence of, the official standards documents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the related day-to-day lesson planning and implementation of a pair of co-teachers.  Using a case study methodology alongside a conventional content analysis we traced the processes of how these policy texts (the Standards of Learning [SOLs] for World History) were connected to and activated within the daily routines of these teachers who taught struggling students in a high-stakes testing context.  The findings illustrated how the policy texts and discursive practices emerging from the State’s SOLs constituted a level of pedagogical governance that saw these teachers organize instruction clearly designed to support student recall on the end of year multiple choice test.  Our work recognized the power of policy texts as they interact with teachers.  The significance of unpacking policy documents in order to examine issues of power, symmetry and potential areas of negotiation in the planning and implementation of instruction for teacher educators is discussed.

Key words: standards-based settings, curriculum, teaching history, policy documents, co-teaching, assessment

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