Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Jeremy Harris Lipschultz
The purpose of this study was to determine if there were identified opinion leaders among teachers and how those opinion leaders may have influenced teachers’ acceptance levels of the standards and assessment implementation for the language arts curriculum. Three phases of research were conducted. Twenty-four secondary language arts teachers and 109 elementary classroom teachers in the Papillion-LaVista School District were first surveyed to determine their level of acceptance of the standards and assessments for language arts. Each of the respondents was then asked to identify the opinion leaders, or those they turn to and trust regarding the standards and assessment implementation. The identified opinion leaders were then asked to participate in focus groups where they were asked to share their sources of information and views regarding the standards and assessment process.
A total of 32 teachers were identified as opinion leaders. The list of identified opinion leaders was compared to the list of teachers who served on the core team that was responsible for writing, and disseminating information regarding the standards and assessments. The acceptance levels of those four schools that had opinion leaders on the core team were compared to the acceptance levels of those schools without opinion leaders on the core team. There were three elementary schools and one secondary school. It was discovered that elementary schools that had teachers on the core team had a higher level of acceptance than the other elementary schools that did not have opinion leaders on the core team. This was not found to be true for the secondary schools.
The findings also indicate that overall elementary and secondary teachers are neutral regarding their acceptance levels of the standards and assessment process. The elementary opinion leader teachers were more positive about the process citing the direct correlation between the assessments and the curriculum as the main strength. The secondary opinion leader teachers were not as positive, citing the fact that the assessments were not taken from the curriculum as a weakness. Additional findings indicate that the media and general talk in the education community were the first sources of information and being involved, for those that were, was the most influential as the opinion leaders determined their level of acceptance.
Eyman, Annette, "Do teacher opinion leaders impact other teachers" (2001). Student Work. 300.