Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University

Advisor

Hare, Rufus D.

Committee Member

Scholtes, Tina

Committee Member

Hopper, Peggy

Committee Member

Morrison, Johnetta

Committee Member

Xu, Jianzhong

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Harland, Rob

Date of Degree

1-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Abstract

In compliance with NCLB, states receiving Title I funding were to ensure that all teachers of core subject areas, including foreign languages, were highly qualified by the end of the 2005-2006 academic year. Given that 44 states assess teacher quality through The Praxis Series tests, and 32 of these rely on one of the Praxis II subject-matter tests to gauge foreign language competency (ETS, 2010a), research examining the perspectives of teacher candidates and faculty members regarding these licensure tests is needed. The purposes of this study were to (a) examine the perspectives of teacher candidates and faculty members regarding the Praxis II, (b) determine how their unique perspectives were influenced by their own classroom experiences as language learners, and (c) consider how the Praxis II experience might contribute to curricular reform including suggestions for altering pedagogical strategies, coursework, and the requirement of additional exposure to the target language independent of the four-walled classroom. Lortie’s (1975) framework of “apprenticeship of observation” (p. 61) provides a context to understand the perspectives of the Praxis II tests for licensure in foreign languages. The data revealed that three categories of Spanish teacher candidates emerged: (a) Confident Completer, (b) Surprised Prevailers, and (c) Frustrated Disregarders and each group prepared differently for the Praxis II as a result of their experiences in the language classroom as apprentice observers. Faculty members offered both similar and different perspectives of the Praxis II than did teacher candidates. Data suggested that the Praxis II can also serve to alter the behavior of teacher candidates and faculty members which may improve foreign language teacher preparation. Suggestions including course development and instructional strategies are included to assist teacher candidates in meeting the expectations of the Praxis II.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/19567

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