Block scheduling implementation in secondary school music programs in Louisiana

David Karl Carpenter


The general purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of music educators in Louisiana regarding the block schedule and its effect on music education. In addition, the study of the perceived effect block scheduling has on enrollment and ensemble balance in the music programs should provide music educators with data to make cogent and credible arguments about music programs under any block scheduling design. Further, this data should provide education decision makers with more and better information to make administrative decisions in regard to scheduling that can encourage the continuation of successful music programs in schools subscribing to the block schedule design. Questionnaires designed by Richard Miles and Larry Blocher entitled A Survey of Block Scheduling Implementation on Secondary School Music Programs were mailed to 77 high schools using the block schedule in Louisiana. An equal number of mail-outs (for a total of 154) were sent to schools subscribing to the traditional schedule to provide comparative characteristics. Using a variety of Likert-type scales, the respondents rated various characteristics of music program enrollment, scheduling problems, and individual student musical proficiency in Parts I and II. In addition, each respondent was asked to respond to Parts III and IV containing enrollment data and demographic information of the respondents and their schools. Using means, standard deviations, and various Anova tests, the analysis of data reported higher enrollment means for performing arts classes in schools with the Traditional schedule. This is attributed to the smaller amount of schedule conflicts. The enrollment means of choirs and bands in schools subscribing to the Full Block were also reported higher than the same type of programs in the Modified Block schools. Subjects also reported problems with student drop-outs as a result of schedule conflicts; however, the proficiency level of the student musicians increased under the Full Block schedule. Recommendations for further research include replication of this study in other states representing various geographical regions of the country. It would be of interest and certainly timely to develop a research instrument to ascertain the administrator's role in the success of the high school music program. Also, expansion of this type of program evaluation with a more qualitative approach to determine characteristics of music programs that are successful on the various schedule types might prove beneficial.