Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Early Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

Stephen Graves, Ph.D.


Qualitative, Portraiture, Fcat, Elementary, School


The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of third grade students with high-stakes testing. The study was designed to address this issue from the perspective of the third grade student's experience and offer a venue for them to share their stories. The following research question guides this study: What are the socio-emotional experiences and perceptions of third grade students with high-stakes testing? Data analysis employed here falls under the rubric of qualitative approaches of symbolic interaction and phenomenology written in a narrative format with the provisions of portraiture. This study uses the analytical procedures set out by Marshall and Rossman (1989) to give meaning to the data. The analytical procedures include: organization, synthesis, analysis, and presentation of the data. To ensure that the data remained in purest form for the development of student portraitures, the resulting themes and patterns were then reviewed under five strategies proposed by Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis (1997). These five strategies are: repetitive refrains, resonant metaphors, institutional and cultural rituals, triangulation and revealing patterns. There were 51 participants in this study. Twelve were primary participants and 39 were support participants. The 12 primary participants were students who voluntarily took part in in-depth interviews and focus groups and provided written reflections and drawings. The 39 support participants joined the 12 primary participants by providing written reflections and drawings. Themes that emerged are: (1) Self-Test, (2) Attribution, (3) Prevalent Influences, and (4) Emotions. These themes are analyzed and the results discussed. Then, the analysis turns to the development of portraitures. Three portraitures are revealed to provide the perceived experiences of the participants. A discussion of the findings, along with recommendations for practice and research conclude the study.