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The Impact of NCLB Designations on Learning Environments Open Access

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The goal of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) is for all students to become proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014. According to current research, no states are on track to achieve this goal set forth by NCLB (Rebel & Wolff, 2008). As a result of schools failing to meet their academic targets on standardized tests, the United States Department of Education imposes sanctions on schools. This dissertation will analyze the impact of NCLB designations on the quality of school learning environments. This quantitative study was based in an urban public school system located in the Mid-Atlantic States. To conduct the study, the researcher collected data from six elementary schools. The six schools were classified into three equal groups. The first group consisted of two schools without NCLB sanctions (Not in Needs of Improvement). A second group consisted of two schools in Corrective Action. A third group consisted of two schools in Restructuring status. To collect the data, the researcher surveyed the teachers from each school. The survey also included one open-ended question. To measure the learning environment of the each school, four domains were used as focal points including academic expectations, communication, engagement, and safety. The researcher aggregated items in each domain to determine the total score. For each domain, the results of the surveys were compared between groups to determine the levels of significance. The responses from the open-ended question were coded for common themes. The researcher made conclusions based on the results of the survey. The researcher used Valencia's Deficit Theory (1997) to serve as the theoretical framework for the study.Based on the researcher's hypothesis, there were to be statistically significant differences in teachers' perceptions of learning environments given the school's NCLB status. Of the four domains, NCLB designations resulted in significant differences in two, communication and engagement. When comparing the schools' academic expectations and safety responses, significant differences were not discovered based on schools' NCLB designations. The open-ended question resulted in common themes among the teachers in schools with the same NCLB status.

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