Date of Award

Fall 12-4-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Arvin Johnson

Committee Chair

Dr. Jihye Kim

Second Committee Member

Dr. Brian R. Lawler


Some students, parents, and teachers are concerned over the apparent disparity between a student’s classroom grades and his/her proficiency levels reported from criterion-referenced standardized assessments, such as the Georgia Milestones. The purpose of this research project was to determine if teachers’ formative assessment practices were reliable indicators of students’ mastery of grade-level standards. This study was a mixed-methods study with an explanatory research design. Qualitative data were collected through observations and interviews that analyzed teachers’ perceptions of the meaning of formative assessments and how they are impacted by the summative assessment system. Also, samples of teacher-selected assessments were analyzed to determine if the formative assessment items were aligned to the standard at the appropriate level of complexity. Findings from this analysis showed that many of the formative assessments given by teachers were not fully aligned to the standard. Quantitative data analysis also found that students’ grades on formative assessments were correlated to their proficiency levels on the Georgia Milestones assessment. Findings from this study have provided evidence for a need for assessment reform through improved professional learning provided by teacher leaders that calibrates an understanding of the standard and how to assess it, as well as the implementation of standards-based grading.