Pennsylvania's instructional support team and the Pennsylvania Framework: Is there common ground?

Marcia Luanne Moyer, University of Pennsylvania


The purpose of this study was to identify the common ground and points of conflict between the Instructional Support Team (IST) process and the Pennsylvania Framework in terms of instruction, student learning and assessment, and how teachers negotiated any points of conflict. Surveys, IST documents, tape-recordings and reflective journals were analyzed for evidence of underlying assumptions and discourse patterns. The results indicated some of the following stated common beliefs: (a) good assessment is continuous and multidimensional, (b) the focus is not on what is wrong with a child but on what is wrong with the learning environment, (c) teachers have a great deal of knowledge and insight about students, and (d) student learning increases when teachers and parents work together. Some of the teachers' major points of conflict with IST were: (a) the focus on easily measured skills, (b) the large amount of paperwork, (c) the inflexibility of timelines and meetings, and (d) the increasing legalization and formalization of the process. The main conclusions reached were that: (a) one cannot go "beyond theory" when discussing instruction and student learning, (b) IST is based on a behavioristic, transmission theory about language and learning as opposed to the transactive theory underlying the Framework, and (c) the legal discourse and the structure of IST can interfere with meeting student and teacher needs. The following recommendations were made: (a) regular education teachers and special education teachers need to examine what their beliefs are about language and learning and share those beliefs with each other, (b) school districts need to create a model of IST that more closely matches their philosophy of language and learning, (c) the IST process should be restructured so that it is more flexible, (d) IST should not be the only intervention process within a building, and (e) the legal screening purpose of IST should be separated from the collaborative, problem-solving aspects of IST.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Elementary education|Educational evaluation

Recommended Citation

Moyer, Marcia Luanne, "Pennsylvania's instructional support team and the Pennsylvania Framework: Is there common ground?" (1997). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9727013.