Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning



Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 222 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Margaret R Sheehy

Committee Members

James P Collins, Jaime Puccioni


accountability, Actor Network Theory, Common Core, failure, policy, standardization, Common Core State Standards (Education), Actor-network theory, Discrimination in education, Test bias, Educational tests and measurements

Subject Categories

Education | Education Policy


In 2010, New York State both adopted the Common Core Learning Standards and identified the State’s first 67 “persistently lowest achieving” schools, the most severe failure designation available under the State’s accountability system as based upon standardized test performance and/or graduation rates (Common Core Standards Initiative, 2015; NYSED, 2010a). The Common Core Learning Standards were advertised as a pathway to a high-quality education for all American students (Common Core Standards Initiative, 2015; Supovitz & McGuinn, 2019). However, a public uproar occurred in the late summer of 2013 following the release of standardized “Common Core” test scores which showed an increase in the number of New York State students who failed those exams (Riede, 2013). During protests and in public forums, “Common Core” became synonymous with standardization while parents and educators decried “Common Core” as a one size fits all approach to education that undermined teacher autonomy, ignored students’ unique learning needs, drained enjoyment from schooling, and made children feel like failures (Gralla, 2013; MertMelfa, 2013a, 2013b). By 2015, the New York State Education department claimed an increased number of schools had failed to meet standardized expectations as well (Cuomo, 2015). The State’s “persistently lowest achieving” failure designation became known as the “priority” label and 178 schools across New York State existed as “priority” schools in 2015 (Cuomo, 2015). Therefore, since 2010, both students and schools have increasingly experienced educational failure as defined by standardized measures. This close empirical study utilizes Actor Network Theory (or ANT) to analyze standardization as a network of power and discover how the network operates across time and place – from 2010 to 2018 across local, state, and national contexts of practice – to reform American education.