Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Carol Lloyd


The influence of norm-referenced scores on standardized tests has increased dramatically over the past two decades. In many parts of the nation these test scores have been influential in district curricula (including all aspects of instruction) decisions regarding reading. Studies have shown that one major influence of these test scores has been to design reading curricula that teaches to the test. This study examined the influence norm-referenced scores on standardized tests have on elementary classroom teachers and their reading instruction. The participants of this study were elementary teachers, grades two through six from two schools in a large mid-west metropolitan district. The schools were selected based on test performance on the CAT; one school has a history of higher scores while the other school has a history of lower schools. Both schools served children from low socio-economic neighborhoods and included an ethnically and linguistically diverse population. The teachers were asked to respond to an open-ended questionnaire regarding their teaching styles and feelings about standardized reading tests. The results were consistent with studies reported in the literature. The school district has a great deal of influence on reading instruction and on district guidelines concerning grouping of students for skill instruction. The majority of teachers dislike the publication of test scores in the newspaper and put little emphasis on those tests themselves, yet they spend large amounts of instructional time in preparation for those tests.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Teacher Education and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Michael Scott White May, 1999