Date of Award

6-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Linsley DeVeau

Second Advisor

Valerie A. Storey

Third Advisor

Floyd Perry Jr.

Abstract

The effectiveness of language arts literacy (LAL) block scheduling on student achievement atid self-efficacy is a strategy of education reform. Language arts skills in urban schools is noted in the 1983 report "A Nation at Risk", which documents the seriousness of urban school literacy difficulties. In addition, state standardized requirements have attested to poor language arts performance in many minority schools.

The purpose of this study is to describe the demographic, health, academic self concept and student achievement of a 6& grade sample of 62 students in two urban schools, one which implements a traditional scheduling language arts program and the other which implements a block scheduling approach to LAL instruction. This study explored possible differences between student characteristics, academic self- concept measured by PASS and student performance using NJASK scores for 4th (2004-2005) and 6'h grade (2006-2007) administrations. The study used explanatory variables to determine whether block scheduling had a greater explanatory power of LAL gains. Data analysis utilized descriptive analysis, T- tests, chi-square, multiple regression analysis and adjusted R-squares.

Findings indicated that there were no significant differences noted between traditional and block scheduling schools when student characteristics, academic self-concept and Language arts Literacy (LAL) achievement were compared. The Block sample did not have a significantly greater academic self- concept or a greater increase in LAL performance than traditional school students. Explanatory variables of age, Lunch eligibility and PASS Full Scale Scores were significant variables to predict change in LAL in traditional students. The block scheduling predictors of age, lunch eligibility, disability/special education and Pass Full scale scores proved to be statistically significant predictors of LAL change. However, block scheduling variables did not have significantly greater explanatory power to predict NJASK change when compared to the traditional sample.

Additional findings revealed that student's participating in "paid and reduced lunch programs scored higher on their PASS scores than those students participating in free lunch in both samples. Further research should address teacher instructional quality during block scheduling, the measure of additional explanatory variables and teacher perceptions in traditional and block scheduling schools.

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