The effect of the Alabama Mathematics, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) on middle school students' scores in mathematics and science

Toni Boyd Ramey

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the application of the Alabama Mathematics, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) program in middle schools reduced the gaps found between students' CRT scores; specifically, did the gaps found in the CRT scores within the respective subgroups race, gender, SES, and special/regular education narrow? The subject areas considered by this study were mathematics and science. Student-level data were collected and examined for longitudinal changes over a three year period in which the AMSTI program was implemented at two participating public middle schools. The dependent variables used were mathematics and science CRT scores of 6th through 8th grade students. Three repeated measures MANCOVAs and one MANOVA were conducted in order to examine possible longitudinal changes in the mathematics and science scores of the student population as well as for changes in the gaps between the demographic groups of students within the subgroups. Significant decreases were found in the differences between the respective subgroups in the variables of SES and special education. The reductions were attributed to both mathematics and science. A significant reduction in the gap found between races was found, but could not be attributed to either mathematics or science. Gender was the only subgroup in which no significant change was found. Additionally, a questionnaire was administered to teachers in four public middle schools in which AMSTI had been implemented. ANOVAs were used to examine the responses to determine how teacher training in AMSTI materials and techniques affected reported teacher attitude and frequency of usage of inquiry-based lessons. When the responses of teachers with less than one year of AMSTI training were compared to those teachers with more than one year of training, no significant change in teachers' reported attitudes toward inquiry lessons or the frequency of usage of inquiry lessons was found.