Date of Award

Summer 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

John M. Ritz

Committee Member

William H. Graves, III

Committee Member

Steven Myran

Committee Member

Richard Strauss


This study sought to identify factors in teachers' education and training that may be associated with their capacity to use formative testing to inform instruction and, ultimately, improve their students' achievement. This research involved the identification of teachers' educational and training variables that might influence their abilities to analyze formative testing results, interpret the analyses, and modify instruction so as to improve students' achievement in third grade mathematics. The goal was to identify those factors in (1) teachers' educational histories and (2) teachers' professional development and training histories that contribute to their capacity to use formative testing results to inform instruction. Data were collected from 46 teachers by interview and survey, existing records, and the expert opinions of school district coordinators. Collected data were subjected to principal component analysis (factor analysis) revealing three components as professional training, program design and analysis, and instructional planning. The professional training component represented participation in seven training topics including assessment, testing, evaluation, test results analyses, instructional planning and revision, and data-driven and differentiated instruction. This component appeared to address all aspects of using formative testing results to inform instruction. The design and analysis component included graduate level courses in research design, assessment, testing, and test analysis. The elements of this component appeared to offer the participant a framework and a detailed appreciation of why formative testing can improve achievement. The final component, instructional planning, represented graduate level education in standards, advanced curriculum design, differentiated instruction, and evaluation. The content of these courses appeared to provide insight into the conversion of testing results into meaningful instruction based on those results. These components may provide insight into the topics in teacher graduate education and professional development that contribute to a teacher's capacity to successfully use formative testing results to inform instruction as realized by improved student achievement in mathematics.