Mobility and the performance of military and civilian students on the North Carolina End-of-Grade Tests for reading and math

Annette Edwards Brown

Abstract

This study examined the differences between the achievement of transient and nontransient civilian and military students on the criterion variables of reading and math achievement for the North Carolina End-Of-Grade Tests. The study also examined the relationships between those differences and the independent variables of gender, grade level, ethnic origin, economic status, and number of moves. The ultimate goal of the study was to provide data, rather than assumptions, on the performance of military populations as compared to civilian populations for administrators and faculties when setting goals and planning strategies for achievement gains. The sample of this study was selected from the eastern part of a school district of coastal North Carolina that is populated by Marine Corps, Navy, and civilian families. Students were chosen from one middle school and two of its feeder elementary schools focusing on fourth through eighth grades. A stratified random sampling of cumulative records was selected to target the four major cells of students including nontransient (no moves) civilian, transient (one or more moves) civilian, nontransient military, and transient military. A significant difference was found to exist in reading scores with civilian students outperforming military students, but transience was not found to be an issue. Transience did significantly impact math scores, as transient students outperformed nontranisent students, but no significant difference was found between military and civilian scores. The tests for relationships of civilian and military groups for reading and math with the independent variables, disregarding transience, produced significant results for all four hypotheses studying civilians and reading, civilians and math, military and reading, and military and math. The least amount of explained variability existed with military students and reading, and the strongest explanation of variability was produced with the scores of military students in math. Civilian variability fell in the middle with a stronger explanation for math than reading. The independent variables impacting the significance were not the same for all groups except for grade level. The student's level was found to be a positive predictor of performance for math and reading for both civilian and military students verifying the intentions of the test with students' performance on the EOG improving with each grade level. In addition, grade level was the only variable to significantly affect math performance for civilians. In the results of this study, Black civilian and military students are predicted to score significantly lower on the Reading EOG. In regards to math scores, only Black military students are predicted to perform negatively, as no significant relationship was shown for Black civilians and their math scores. Economic status was found to be a significant predictor for the military only, not for the civilians. Military students who pay full price for their lunches may be predicted to score higher on both tests. Gender proved to be a significant predictor of performance for male military students only. This group is predicted to score lower in reading than other groups.