Adam Angelozzi

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education


Doolittle, Gina


Curriculum change--New Jersey; Education--Standards--United States--Case studies


Curriculum and Instruction | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


This study provides insight into the curriculum and policy implementation process of the English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in a secondary high school setting. The most critical factor to successful implementation of both policy and curriculum involves instructional leadership that provides ongoing support and resources through knowledge- and capacity-building activities. McLaughlin (1976) describes that implementation of educational policy constitutes a mutually adaptive process between the policy implementers and the setting; accordingly, changes in relation to the originally intended outcomes occur across the organizational hierarchy and between policy actors (Anderson, 2011; Fullan, 2007; Sabatier & Mazmanian, 1980). The utilization of an embedded case study design provides an examination of the perceptions and beliefs of those individuals who operate between formal policy implementers and the target population (Fowler, 2004), which include district administrators, school leaders, and teachers. The collection and analysis of qualitative data in the form of participant interviews, field observations, and study artifacts provided rich information, which described the implementation process. The findings include: the use of a compliance model of curriculum revision to meet state mandates for implementation of the ELA CCSS, the establishment of an authentic curriculum development process for an English I freshmen level course, a belief by teachers that professional development must attend to concrete real-world examples of instructional strategies aligned to the ELA CCSS, and resistance from teachers stemming from a perceived loss of fiction literature within the curriculum. The entire case study describes a mutually adaptive curriculum and policy implementation process, whereby the establishment of a well-articulated and well-designed curriculum provides one of the greatest supports to teachers.