Date of Award

Winter 12-19-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

First Advisor

Cathleen Wiggins


There's a lot working against authentic demonstrations of thinking, and legitimate avenues of collaboration in our school cultures. We force-feed students high-stakes tests that promote a single "right answer" instead of multiple solution paths. Despite research that suggests teachers learn best from each other, we promote the ideal of the teacher-as-­maverick. Many of our systems endorse closed-set, closed-door thinking that leaves room for neither independent student thinking nor the collaborative generation of ideas.

Breaking cultures this strong, this endemic, is a weighty task. In a yearlong case study, Alexis Goldberg creates and executes a professional development plan that engages with the question of how to integrate a performance assessment into and across school communities in an effort to promote a different kind of thinking for both learners and educators. To do so, Goldberg brings together teacher leaders from different schools in an attempt to engender dialogue and build culture around shared practice.

The case study, as documented through notes, self reflection and interviews, describes the process of making space for a dialogue that enables teachers to share ideas around the beliefs and practices of teaching. The findings from this study, drawn from observation and interviews with the participants, suggest that while an individual teacher has power to effect change within her classroom, changing a culture is a weightier job than a single teacher can take on and requires the ongoing support of community and the partnership of school leaders. In this study the reader will find description and reflection on the practice of bringing teachers together to engender best practices and allowing teachers to openly discuss challenges and successes at their schools through the dual lenses of performance assessment and student independence.


Leadership in technology and the arts (Program of study)

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