Ferrara, A. (2020). "I can, but I can't": Kindergarten teacher perceptions of self-efficacy and agency in their use of formative assessment in the current high-stakes accountability climate. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
Early childhood formative assessment (FA) is a process by which teachers gather data about their students’ knowledge and skills across the five domains of early childhood development in order to scaffold and support their students’ unique learning needs (Heritage, 2013). FA has been the cornerstone of kindergarten instruction for generations (Cuban, 1992); however, with the establishment of the annual accountability mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, nearly two decades of "academic shovedown" (Hatch, 2002) have transformed kindergarten from a play-based, child-centered space to one focused on developing literacy and other academic skills. In 2014, The North Carolina Office of Early Learning created the North Carolina Kindergarten Entry Assessment (NC KEA), a whole-child focused FA designed to both inform the development of programs to support kindergarten readiness across the state by providing a snapshot of the knowledge and skills children possess at kindergarten entry, and to provide kindergarten teachers with data to assist them in individualizing instruction for their new students at the beginning of the school year. This study analyzes three years of qualitative data gathered from educational practitioners across North Carolina to understand teacher perceptions of their self-efficacy and agency in implementing the NC KEA in its developmentally intended manner in the current heightened accountability climate.