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Puentes, hasid student mobility and academic achievement at a selected elementary school campus


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Dr. Wil

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  • 1. NATIONAL FORUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION JOURNAL VOLUME 18 NUMBER 3, 2008 1 A Case Study with National Implications: Student Mobility and Academic Achievement at a Selected Elementary School Campus Hasid Puentes, MEd Teacher-of-the-Year 2006-2007 Kaiser Elementary School Klein Independent School District David E. Herrington, PhD Associate Professor of Educational Leadership Director of the Principal’s Academy The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education Prairie View A&M University A Member of the Texas A&M University System Prairie View, Texas William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Professor and Faculty Mentor PhD Program in Educational Leadership The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education Prairie View A&M University Member of the Texas A&M University System Prairie View, Texas Visiting Lecturer (2005) Oxford Round Table University of Oxford, Oxford, England Distinguished Alumnus (2004) Central Washington University College of Education and Professional Studies Ellensburg, Washington _______________________________________________________ ABSTRACT The purpose of this article is to analyze the extent to which a selected urban elementary school experienced “student mobility” during a recent academic year. The authors examine this phenomenon due to its possible impact on student achievement as measured by state and federal accountability requirements. While many national studies have focused on social, psychological, or physical influences on issues academic achievement among minority and economically disadvantaged youth, the issue of student mobility during the early academic years has not been given the attention that it merits. ________________________________________________________________________
  • 2. NATIONAL FORUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION JOURNAL 2_____________________________________________________________________________________ Introduction Student mobility is defined as the movement from one school to another for reasons other than grade promotion. Students who are highly mobile move six or more times in the course of their basic education (Rumberger, 2003). These may include the children of military personnel, corporate executives on assignment, migrant workers, families experiencing domestic violence, shortage of housing, or unemployment. The reasons for frequent moves in a child’s life are numerous. Though each situation is unique, the negative impact on educational achievement is the same. One common assumption made by educators, parents, and the general public in the United States, is the belief that all students learning can be measured according to attained grade level. The transition between one school should not be problematic. In actuality it is (Fowler-Finn, 2001; Ingersoll, Scamman, & Eckerling, 1988; Rumberger & Lawson, 1998; Rumberger, 2003). Although all school districts must follow a state approved curriculum for each grade level, the reality is that school districts, individual campuses, and individual instructors vary more than is known regarding the content and sequencing of the curriculum as well as instructional effectiveness with populations they serve. Not all teachers teach the exact information in the same sequence and not all students learn at the same pace nor in the same manner. Students experiencing mobility are left without direction or guidance to cope with the knowledge and skill gaps every day. Some students adapt readily but most experience high levels of stress and failure in novel classroom situations (Herrington & Herrington, 2006; U.S. Government Accounting Office, 1994). Teachers who teach highly mobile students in their classes often are unaware of these students’ learning characteristics and history. They are disinclined to address these students’ learning characteristics with greater individualization of instruction. The norm is for the teacher to assume that their students have had similar learning experiences and that they are ready to learn the same content and skills at the moment they are taught. When faced with the reality that they must either that they must deviate from prepared lessons to address learning gaps or experience higher failure rates, teachers reactions are largely based on their own passion for students, culture of the school, and level of expectation established by their campus leadership (Herrington & Herrington, 2006; Nakagawa, Stafford, Fisher, & Matthews, 2002). When working with children who have missed out on key concepts, some teachers do their best work while others may become frustrated, side-tracked, or apathetic. Because most of these highly mobile students have not learned as easily or as much as their less mobile peers have learned, they grow frightened and discouraged. When teachers must review previous lessons to bring the new students up to date instead of introducing new concepts; this slows the learning process of the other students. Expressions of resentment from these students can lead to further fear and discouragement by the more academically fragile learners. These students represent a population of student that calls for an approach to teaching and learning that is more individualized and one that builds a classroom culture of tolerance and support (Herrington & Herrington, 2006; Rothstein, 2004; Rumberger, 2003).
  • 3. HASID PUENTES, DAVID E. HERRNGTON, AND WILLIAM ALLAN KRITSONIS _____________________________________________________________________________________3 Purpose of the Research for this Article The purpose of the research for this article is to determine the impact that student mobility has on academic achievement on a specific campus with the understanding that such campus will reflect the overall experience of student mobility and its effects on education. Examination of Mobility Rates within an Urban Title I School The purpose of this research is to determine the impact that student mobility has on academic achievement on a specific suburban campus. The information used in this is from a Title One school within a suburban school district in Texas. The study focuses on the impact of mobility on the first administration of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) scores for the schools years 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. The selected campus had a mobility rate of 17% (2003-2004). This means that out of 815 students, 114 students experienced higher degrees of mobility. The following year, the rate increased to 18% (2004-2005). Of 811 students, 122 students experienced mobility during their early academic careers. The student mobility rate offered in this report is based on the number of times a student enrolls or leaves the school from pre- kindergarten until the fifth grade. Mobility Rate for 2004-2005 The data displayed below on the 122 students (N = 122) during 2004-2005 who had one or more incidence of mobility during their early education years provides a breakdown based on frequency of moves. The highest frequency (N = 48) is 2 moves between early childhood to 5th grade or 39% of all mobility cases. The second highest frequency (N = 32), 3 moves within the same time frame amounted to 26%. When combining those who moved 2 or 3 times, the numbers constitute 65% (39% +26 The frequency of students (N = 16) that moved more than 3 times, the most severe of mobility cases, amounted to 13 % . Only 22% of students (N = 27) had just one move.
  • 4. NATIONAL FORUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION JOURNAL 4_____________________________________________________________________________________ Graph I Student Mobility Rates for Frequency of Student Moves During the Academic Careers of Students Attending a Selected Suburban Elementary School Demic Year (N = 122) Texas Education Agency ________________________________________________________________________ > 3 moves 13% 3 moves 26% 2 moves 39% 1 move 22% The data in Chart I can be further analyzed when viewed from a grade level perspective. Table I below shows during what years of the students’ lives the most recent mobility occurred. These breakdowns specify the grade level in which the 122 students entered the Selected Urban Elementary School. Table I 2004-2005 Mobility Indexed by Grade Level of Entry at the Selected Suburban Elementary Campus ________________________________________________________________________ Grade Level Frequency Percent • Pre-Kindergarten N = 34 28% • Kindergarten N = 21 17% • 1st Grade N = 6 5% • 2nd Grade N = 5 4% • 3rd Grade N = 19 16% • 4th Grade N = 20 16% • 5th Grade N = 17 14%
  • 5. HASID PUENTES, DAVID E. HERRNGTON, AND WILLIAM ALLAN KRITSONIS _____________________________________________________________________________________5 These data are further represented in Graph II below: Graph II Mobility Index for 2004-2005 by Grade Level (N = 122) 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 3-D Column 1 34 21 6 5 19 20 17 P-K K 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th The rates listed here show P-K and K as high entry levels for these 122 students. However, it is important to note that these two grades are indicative of the initiation of education required during one of these two levels. After 1st grade, though, the numbers are indicative of mobility since they must have attended another school prior to entering this selected campus. Given this information, it is understandable that the level of movement in 1st and 2nd grade is much less than the movement seen in 3rd , 4th , and 5th grade, which together adds to 46% of the total mobile group. This indicates that the student population of the selected campus has at least 55 per cent of its students who possess characteristics and issues related to mobility.
  • 6. NATIONAL FORUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION JOURNAL 6_____________________________________________________________________________________ TAKS Scores vs. Mobility Is there a relationship between student mobility and state mandated test scores in math and reading? While this question cannot be answered from the aggregated data presented, the achievement data from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) at least suggest that while the mobility rates are high in these grade levels, there also is a decrease in the test scores over the same period in math and science. Consider the following details: Table II Comparative Pass Rates on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for Students enrolled at a Selected Urban Elementary School Campus (2003-2004 and 2004- 2005) (Texas Education Agency 2003-2004; Texas Education Agency 2004-2005). Grade Level/Subject 2003-2004 2004-2005 TAKS Pass Rate TAKS Pass Rate ________________________________________________________________________ 3rd Grade Reading 83% 94% 4th Grade Reading 72% 75% 5th Grade Reading 55% 61% 3rd Grade Math 81% 86% 4th Grade Math 81% 75% 5th Grade Math 62% 60%______________ In reviewing these scores, one can see the significant decrease in academic achievement particularly in Reading between 3rd grade TAKS scores and 5th grade TAKS scores. On average, it appears that there is a difference of 25 to 30 points which is a very high drop in academic performance, particularly during these academic years when test scores begin to take a very important role in the student’s learning career. Graph III below depicts these data graphically. These results in Table II and Graph III are very informative. They show the marked decrease in TAKS scores from 3rd to 5th grade. The mobility rates shown by grade levels show a dramatic increase in mobility during the same period of time. Whether these phenomena are related or whether they are coincidental would merit further consideration and study
  • 7. HASID PUENTES, DAVID E. HERRNGTON, AND WILLIAM ALLAN KRITSONIS _____________________________________________________________________________________7 Graph III TAKS Scores by Grade Level (Texas Education Agency 2003-2004; Texas Education Agency 2004-2005) ________________________________________________________________________ 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Reading 03-04 83 72 55 Reading 04-05 94 75 61 Math 03-04 81 81 62 Math 04-05 86 75 60 3rd 4th 5th ________________________________________________________________________ Based on the preliminary findings contained within this article, student mobility may be as important as social, physical, and educational issues when trying to explain student under-achievement. Very little research effort has been devoted to understanding this phenomenon better Additional research in this area can guide administrative professionals, educators, and students on how to best to approach this challenge to the benefit of all parties involved. References Fowler-Finn, T. (2001). Student stability vs. mobility. School Administrator, 58(7), 36-40.
  • 8. NATIONAL FORUM OF TEACHER EDUCATION JOURNAL 8_____________________________________________________________________________________ Herrington, D.E., & Herrington, K. (2006). Addressing the unremitting educational neglect of homeless and foster children. The Journal of Border Educational Research, 5(1). Ingersoll, G. M., Scamman, J. P., & Eckerling, W. D. (1988). Impact of student mobility on student achievement in an urban setting. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Research Association. Nakagawa, K., Stafford, M. E., Fisher, T.A., & Matthews, L. (2002). The ‘city migrant’ dilemma: Building community at high mobility urban schools. Urban Education, 37(1), 96-125. Rothstein, R. (2004). Class and schools: Using social, economic, and educational reform to close the Black-White achievement gap. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute. Rumberger, R. W., & Larson, K.A. (1998). Student mobility and the increased risk of high school dropout. American Journal of Education, 107(1), 1-35. Rumberger, R.W., Larson, K.A., Ream, R.K., & Palardy, G.J. (1999). The educational consequences of mobility for California students and schools. Berkeley, CA: Policy Analysis for California Education. Rumberger, R. W. (2003, winter). Student mobility: How some children get left behind. The Journal of Negro Education, 72(1), 6-21. Texas Education Agency (2003-2004). Academic excellence indicator system (AEIS) Report. Klein Independent School District. Texas Education Agency (2004-2005). Academic excellence indicator system (AEIS) Report. Klein Independent School District. U.S. Government Accounting Office (1994). Elementary school children: Many change schools frequently, harming their education (GAO/HEHS Publication No. 94-45). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. ________________________________________________________________________ Formatted by Dr. Mary Alice Kritsonis, National Research and Manuscript Preparation Editor, National FORUM Journals, Houston, Texas.