Qatari educational curriculum standards emphasize student-centered classrooms where students actively engage in inquiry and problem solving. Classrooms characterized by these elements should emerge as more successful on Qatari standards-based assessments, but little research has been done to determine whether these elements exist. The purpose of this study was to develop profiles of Qatar schools and to examine the relationships among classroom processes, teacher and student perceptions, and student achievement in math and science classrooms in higher and lower achieving elementary schools. Data were collected in October, 2008, in 17 schools randomly selected from 46 schools that had implemented the standards for at least 3 years. Descriptive data for school profiles were generated and compared qualitatively. Findings indicate that the percentage of standards met by schools is very low and the incidence of classroom behaviors associated with student-centered classrooms is also very low across schools (0% to 9.53%). However, teachers report high levels of efficacy on a 6 point scale for teaching in reform-oriented schools and perceive that they are implementing high levels of standards-based practices. Reports of inquiry practices were lower (4.2 to 5.76) but still high compared to observation of these practices. While schools making more progress meeting standards tended to exhibit higher levels of student-centered behaviors, no patterns existed for teacher perceptions. They tended to be high despite achievement level or level of observed implementation. Students' perceptions of classroom environment and problem solving also were high, but variations by achievement level were noted with higher performing schools reporting greater student-centeredness and problem-solving activities. The mismatch between participant perceptions and both observed behaviors and achievement has implications for the implementation of reform in general and professional development in particular.


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