Title

Block and Traditional School Schedules: Comparison of Student Achievement By MSAT Scores and High School Science Teachers' Views

Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

First Advisor

Gary Peters

Advisor Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

This study attempts to compare schools that are using a traditional scheduling format to a block scheduling format. Both critics and proponents acknowledge that the block schedule can provide more benefits than just student achievement. This study also attempts to address the perceptions of current Mississippi high school science teachers about the advantages and disadvantages to the block schedule as compared to the traditional schedule. This study utilized MSAT test scores from 69 (34 block and 35 traditional) public schools throughout the state of Mississippi. This data was used to test 10 hypotheses. Student achievement was measured using both the mean scores for the school and the percentage of students that passed each subject area test. To ascertain teacher perception, data was collected using a survey and completed with 100 (50 block and 50 traditional) teachers who are currently teaching high school science at a Mississippi public high school. Teacher perceptions were gathered for five basic areas: teacher preparation, laboratory based activities, content coverage, remediation, and discipline. This data was used to test two hypotheses. A simple t -test was conducted with the data for each hypothesis. It was found that schools utilizing a block schedule did have significantly higher mean scores than those on a traditional scheduling format on the Biology, U.S. History, and English II (multiple choice) tests, but there was no significant difference in the Algebra I and English II (essay) tests. With regard to the percentage of passing students, it was found that schools utilizing a block scheduling format did have a higher percentage of students passing than those on a traditional schedule in the areas of Algebra I, Biology, and English II (multiple choice), but there was no significant difference in the areas of U.S. History and English II (essay). While not significant, the block did yield consistent higher results. When teachers were surveyed, it was found that current Mississippi high school science teachers preferred the block schedule to a traditional schedule. The researcher offers the following recommendations, a block scheduling format can have several positive results, but administrators should not expect higher results just because they are on the block. Schools interested in the block need to offer many support systems for teachers.