Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Alyssa McDowell

Second Advisor

Joseph Rumenapp


Literacy is an essential human right that serves as the basis for advancing one’s education. Literacy education focuses on two key areas: foundational reading and reading comprehension skills. The five foundational literacy skills are phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension. Providing students with direct literacy instruction and opportunities to utilize learned skills in meaningful ways helps to establish a strong foundation necessary for lifelong success. One potential barrier to delivering strong literacy education may be the premature implementation of standardized assessments. Standardized assessments have been implemented in the classroom for hundreds of years; however, the idea of utilizing standardized assessments in the early childhood classroom is still widely debated. Standardized assessment scores are commonly used by schools to gauge teacher performance. Thus, it has been suggested that this influences the amount of time spent on “teaching to the test”. Heavy emphasis on standardized test preparation consumes time that may be better spent on developmentally appropriate literacy instruction. The prospect of neglecting these instrumental skills as a result of the implementation of standardized assessments is concerning. A multi semi case study was performed on four current kindergarten teachers who are mandated to use FastBridge reading assessment in their classroom. This study examines two key research topics: 1) How kindergarten teachers view their ability to teach foundational literacy skills while preparing students for the FastBridge Reading assessment and 2) how the kindergarten classroom environment influences a teacher’s ability to deliver literacy instruction while preparing students to take the FastBridge Reading assessment. This study revealed that teaching experience and educational background may influence teacher confidence in delivering literacy instruction. Additionally, teachers with high expectations and good time management skills generally felt that curriculum and skills did not need to be pushed aside when preparing students for the FastBridge Reading assessment. Lastly, there may be a relationship between confidence in teaching foundational literacy skills and the teachers’ pedagogy and classroom environment. It is envisioned that results from this study may inspire future research studies on how the delivery of foundational literacy skills is impacted by standardized assessments across additional grade levels.

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