Date of Award

Spring 5-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

Dr. Ronald Styron

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. James T. Johnson

Committee Member 3

Dr. Michael Ward

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

Dr. David Lee

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if the number of minutes allocated for high school instructional periods influences student achievement. The study also examined the perceptions of principals regarding one method of instructional time allocation, block scheduling.

The study examined the differences in student achievement on a high school exit examination in the content areas of Reading and Mathematics between schools in a southern state using a four-period block schedule and schools using a non-block schedule in order to ascertain if the type of schedule has any impact on student achievement. Additionally, information pertaining to scheduling was collected to determine the perceptions of principals regarding those connections, if any, that exist between these forms of scheduling and student achievement.

A Mann-Whitney U test was calculated examining the percentage of eleventh grade high school students who pass the Mathematics and Reading sections of the high school graduation exam between those who receive instruction on a block schedule and those who receive instruction on a non-block schedule.

No significant difference in the percent of students passing the Mathematics or Reading test between students receiving instruction a block schedule and students receiving instruction on a non-block schedule was found.

A questionnaire was also administered to the principals of block schedule schools. The questionnaire was composed of twelve questions dealing with perceptions of block scheduling. In order to identify the attitudes of these principals toward block scheduling, principals answered questions dealing with their perceptions of the effectiveness of block scheduling in their high schools. Questions addressed their perceptions of block scheduling in the following areas: class period length of time, length of the course, principals’ personal preference regarding block scheduling, the effect of block scheduling on student attendance and discipline, the effect of block scheduling on teacher attendance, discipline, and morale, the effect of block scheduling on exit exam scores, course grades, and the drop-out rate. Non-block principals did not complete the questionnaire.

The majority of respondents reported that block scheduling had a positive impact on students. Respondents reported that teacher discipline, teacher attendance, and teacher morale either remained the same or were impacted in a positive manner in block schedule schools. The majority of principals favored the time constraints of the block schedule. Implementing an adjusted school schedule to improve scores on high stakes tests in itself may not cause an increase in test scores. There are many variables that can have an effect on student achievement. It is the opinion of the researcher that making changes to the schedule without careful consideration of all benefits and consequences would not be in the best interest of the students.

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