An investigation on impacts of scheduling configurations on Mississippi biology subject area testing

Frances Lenora Marchette

Abstract

The purpose of this mixed modal study was to compare the results of Biology Subject Area mean scores of students on a 4 x 4 block schedule, A/B block schedule, and traditional year-long schedule for 1A to 5A size schools. This study also reviewed the data to determine if minority or gender issues might influence the test results. Interviews with administrators and teachers were conducted about the type of schedule configuration they use and the influence that the schedule has on student academic performance on the Biology Subject Area Test. Additionally, this research further explored whether schedule configurations allow sufficient time for students to construct knowledge. This study is important to schools, teachers, and administrators because it can assist them in considering the impacts that different types of class schedules have on student performance and if ethnic or gender issues are influencing testing results. This study used the causal-comparative method for the quantitative portion of the study and constant comparative method for the qualitative portion to explore the relationship of school schedules on student academic achievement on the Mississippi Biology Subject Area Test. The aggregate means of selected student scores indicate that the Mississippi Biology Subject Area Test as a measure of student performance reveals no significant difference on student achievement for the three school schedule configurations. The data were adjusted for initial differences of gender, minority, and school size on the three schedule configurations. The results suggest that schools may employ various schedule configurations and expect student performance on the Mississippi Biology Subject Area Test to be unaffected. However, many areas of concern were identified in the interviews that might impact on school learning environments. These concerns relate to effective classroom management, the active involvement of students in learning, the adequacy of teacher education programs and the stress of testing on everyone involved in high-stakes testing.