Date of Graduation

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Doreen F. Jones

Second Advisor

Judith Goodell

Third Advisor

James B. Everitt

Abstract

A central issue in education is whether teachers are preparing students to succeed and serve a rapidly changing world. In Catholic Lasallian schools, teachers are called to accomplish the Church’s ministry of education and therefore to continually renew and adapt their practices to prepare students for their contemporary society and to live out Christian values in service to others.

This study focused on the fundamental beliefs and perceptions of teachers who implement academic changes in Lasallian schools. It utilized the psychological framework of implicit theories (Dweck, 2000) as its theoretical rationale. The purpose of the study was to investigate the extent to which teachers in Lasallian secondary schools in the San Francisco New Orleans (SFNO) District have entity (fixed) or incremental (malleable) theories in the domains of (a) intelligence, (b) the world, and (c) morality. The study also investigated the extent to which teachers in Lasallian secondary schools in the SFNO District have favorable perceptions about implementing academic changes in (a) curriculum, (b) instruction, and (c) assessment. Furthermore, the study investigated whether there is a correlation between the implicit theories of teachers in Lasallian secondary schools in the SFNO District and their perceptions about implementing academic changes.

This study utilized survey methodology. Part I of the online survey utilized measures published by Dweck (2000) with permission. Part II utilized items developed by the researcher to measure respondents’ perceptions about academic changes in curriculum, instruction and assessment. Part III consisted of demographic questions. The survey was administered to teachers in 14 secondary schools in the SFNO District. Fifty-five percent of the population (366 respondents) completed the online survey.

The study found that respondents held incremental theories of intelligence, the world, and morality, and favorable perceptions of academic changes in curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Respondents with incremental theories of the world were more likely to favor academic changes in curriculum and assessment than those with entity theories of the world. These findings were consistent with prior research on implicit theories of teachers in the intelligence domain and contributed new insights regarding the implicit theories of teachers in the world and morality domains.

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