Working within tensions: a study of English language arts teachers at a dual-campus school

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Polec, Joanne A.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education
Alberta’s diploma exams have influenced the landscape of teacher practice since 1983. Over the last eight years, there has been a shift from teaching to the test to a focus on inquiry-based learning and diverse approaches to teaching literacy. However, the diploma exam still exists in its original form, with few modifications. The aim of this study was to investigate how English Language Arts teachers within a dual-campus school navigated the tensions between preparing students for the diploma exam, while embracing elements of inquiry-based learning and broadening definitions of literacy. Data was collected from three high school English Language Arts teachers over one year. It is suggested that years of teacher experience, level of acceptance to implement inquiry-based learning, and engagement in professional learning are determinants of how much a teacher teaches to the test. Implications for Alberta Education, MFWHSR (2013), and high-school English Language Arts teachers conclude the study.
dual-campus , English language arts , inquiry-based learning , standardized testing , teaching literacy , teaching to the test , Dissertations, Academic