Date of Award

Spring 2004

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Sharon Nodie Oja


The purposes of this study are (a) to examine the perceptions of eighth grade mathematics teachers in the state of Maine concerning their classroom instructional and assessment practices and the influence on their students' scores in the MEA tests and (b) to determine if there is a relationship between community social/economic levels and student achievement on the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) mathematics tests. The survey instrument consisting of a mailed questionnaire designed for this study contained 86 Likert scale items that measured teachers' beliefs regarding the following resource 1 indicators: awareness and use of MEA resources, content area knowledge, instructional methods, assessment practices, and the value and influence of the MEA on their school. The schools were selected using a stratified random sampling process. The geographical location of the school was used as the stratifying variable. A total of 126 schools were represented which translated into a rate of 88% representation. There were 210 surveys sent to grade 8 mathematics teachers in these schools. A total of 148 (79 female, 69 male) teachers returned completed surveys (response rate 71%). Two classroom observations and eight telephone interviews amplify and enhance the survey data regarding the participants' instructional practices and attitudes about the value and influence of the MEA on their schools.

Data in the survey were segregated first into sub-divisions of four geographical regions. The data from each region were further sorted by survey items relating to the five resource indicators. Assessment practices were sorted into two subcategories: assessment pedagogy and use of rubrics. The correlation between each resource indicator and 2003 MEA mathematics test scores was determined.

There was no significant correlation between self-reported teacher practices and student achievement on the MEA mathematics test. However, there was a significant correlation between socioeconomic levels and student achievement on the MEA mathematics tests in three regions.

Teachers reported mastery in standards based mathematical content areas and reform based instructional methods. While state testing policy promoted the use of certain performance assessment practices, this did not appear to influence a change in practice. Teachers indicated that they do not receive the state tests in time to influence classroom planning and evaluation. The interview and observation data suggest that Maine mathematics teachers continue to maintain traditional views of mathematics instruction and assessment practices. Implications of these findings are discussed.

1Resource Indicators: Input and process variables that influence student learning.