Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Dissertation Chair for Steven Norfleet, Dissertation Defense PPT.
A MIXED METHODS STUDY OF STUDENTEXPERENCES WITH SCHOOL PRACTICES DEEMEDIMPORTANT TO AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTACHIEVEMENTA Dissertation DefensebySteven NorfleetApril 9, 2010William Allan Kritsonis, Dissertation ChairMajor Subject: Educational Leadership
Dissertation Committee MembersWilliam Allan Kritsonis, Ph.D.(Dissertation Chair)Camille Gibson, Ph.D. Lisa Hobson, Ph.D.(Member) (Member)Ronald Howard, Ph.D. Wanda Johnson, Ph.D.(Member) (Member)
Dissertation Defense Format1. Background of the Problem2. Purpose of the Study3. Statement of the Problem4. Significance of the Study5. Conceptual Model6. Research Questions7. Literature Review8. Method9. Findings10. Discussion of Null Hypotheses11. Conclusions12. Recommendations
Background of the Problem Public schools in the United States continue tostruggle with the issue of closing the achievement gapbetween the African American student and their Whitecounterparts. For some 40 years, educators and researchers alikehave attempted to implement solutions to theachievement gap problem. Using primarily top-downapproaches, solutions have ranged from improvingteacher and administrator qualities, to improving thecurriculum, to placing more emphasis on studentoutcome data, to increasing the rigor in core subjectareas, to more tutoring, to less tutoring, and on andon.
Background of the Problem (cont.)Since the first NAEP report card was issued, AfricanAmerican achievement scores in reading, mathematics,and science among 9, 13, and 17 year olds haveaveraged some 30 points below their White peers.
Trend in Black-White Achievement Gapin Mathematics 1971-2008Source: Rampey, B.D., Dion, G.S., & Donahue, P.L. (2009). National Assessment of Educational Progress(NAEP)
Trend in Black-White Achievement Gapin Mathematics 1971-2008Source: Rampey, B.D., Dion, G.S., & Donahue, P.L. (2009). National Assessment of Educational Progress(NAEP)
Trend in Grade Twelve ScienceAchievement Gap by Race/Ethnicity1996-2005Source: Grigg, W., Lauko, M., and Brockway, D. (2006). The Nation’s Report Card: Science 2005 (NCES 2006-466). Washington, DC: Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. GovernmentPrinting Office.
Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills(Met Standard, Sum of All Grades Tested 2005-2008)Source: Texas Education Agency, 200962%67%70% 72%76%80% 82% 84%45%52%55%58%0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%2005 2006 2007 2008YearAllWhiteAfricanAmericanPercentPassing
Texas College Readiness ScoresTexas Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)Results020040060080010001200YearMeanScoreState 987 992 991 992White 1047 1059 1059 1056African American 843 855 860 8672004 2005 2006 2007Texas American College Test (ACT) Results0510152025YearMeanScoreState 20.1 20 20.1 20.2White 21.8 21.8 22 22African American 17.1 17 17.1 16.92004 2005 2006 2007Source: Texas Education Agency, 2009
Background of the Problem (cont.) Rovai, Gallien Jr. and Stiff-Williams (2007) presentthe added complexity that closing the achievementgap in elementary and secondary schools has nowcarried over to higher education.
Background of the Problem (cont.) Thompson (2002) remarked that because of theincrease in pressure on K-12 school administratorsto meet higher federal and state accountabilitystandards including all of the other responsibilitiesplaced on school administrators, California schoolleaders are asking, what can we do to improve theacademic performance of African Americanchildren?
Background of the Problem (cont.) Lingard, Ladwig and Luke (2004) point out that theblack box of schooling needs to be opened withmore in depth, qualitative analyses of processes thatactually occur in schools. Cooper (2000) - If reform-minded educators areserious about closing the achievement gap beforeseveral decades pass in the new millennium, wemust continue to identify alterable factors in theschooling process that help to promote academicsuccess among all students and particularly studentsof color.
Background of the Problem (cont.) Marzano (2003) - If a school can simplyidentify those variables on which it is notperforming well, it can pinpoint and receivethe information it needs to improve studentachievement.
Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of the mixed methods study was todescribe African American students’ perceptions ofeffective leadership practices at their high schools.
Statement of the ProblemThe 2001 No Child Left Behind Act is arguably the mostsweepingfederal education reform effort to force schools to close theachievement gap for minorities since the Civil Rights Act of 1964and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.Although the NCLB legislation has now been in effect for nineyears, recent National Assessment of Educational Progress(NAEP), ACT, SAT, and in Texas the Texas Assessment ofKnowledge and Skills (TAKS) scores, have not shown asignificant decrease in the academic achievement gap betweenAfrican American students and their White counterparts.
Significance of the Study Understanding that raising student achievement directly leads togrowth in the national economy and the provision of a smarter workforce, the 2001 NCLB ACT provided additional federal funds to statesto improve achievement. With a specific focus on sub-populations, theACT mandates higher teaching standards, more accountability, andincreased student performance. Barber (2008) points out in the 1960s the U.S. led the world in highschool qualifications and Korea was 27th. Now Korea leads the worldand the U.S. is 13th and falling. As recently as 1995 the U.S. wassecond in the world on college-level graduation rates; just a decadelater it has slipped to 14th. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study or TIMSS(2007) indicate that eighth grade United States students are ninth inthe world in mathematics and tenth in science out of 47 countriestested.
Significance of the Study (cont.)This study sought to improve the practices of theeducation team. Results of the study may:o generate new strategies and approaches to employby the education team that could lead to improvedacademic achievement in all students;o provide quantitative and qualitative data to school leaderson the influence of an effective high school on theachievement of African American students that areconsidered at risk as college students;
Significance of the Study (cont.)o provide college and university teacher education programswith information on schooling leadership practices thatresonate with African American learners;ando for policy makers, results may shed light on funding supportand program interventions that African American studentssay are needed with future generations of African Americanstudents from similar backgrounds as themselves.
Conceptual Modelo According to the Aspen Institute (2008), given the stakes ofclosing the achievement gap, it is imperative to improve theperformance of the education team to achieve greater success inschools.o Chubb and Moe (1990) statedAll things being equal, a student in an effectivelyorganized school achieves at least a half-year morethan a student in an ineffectively organized schoolover the last two years of high school. If this difference canbe extrapolated to the normal four-year high schoolexperience, an effectively organized school mayincrease the achievement of its students by morethan one full year.
Conceptual Model (cont.)Lezotte’s Correlates of Effective SchoolsSAFE AND ORDERLYENVIRONMENTCLIMATE OF HIGH EXPECTATIONFOR SUCCESSCLEAR AND FOCUSED MISSIONPOSITIVE HOME/SCHOOL RELATIONSFREQUENT MONITORING OFSTUDENT PROGRESSOPPORTUNITY TO LEARN, TIME ONTASKINSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP StudentImprovedStudentAchievement
Research QuestionsQuantitative1. How do African American students, enrolledin a developmental education mathematicscourse at a selected Black university describetheir experiences with each correlate ofeffective schools?2. How do the correlates of effective high schoolsrelate to student achievement in adevelopmental education mathematics course,for freshman and sophomore AfricanAmerican students enrolled at a selected Blackuniversity?
Research Questions (cont.)Qualitative1. How do African American students enrolled in adevelopmental education mathematics course at a selectedhistorically Black university report that their former highschool campus strove to improve academic achievement forall by: providing a safe and orderly environment for learning; encouraging high expectations for success for all students; demonstrating effective instructional leadership; implementing a clear and focused mission; maintaining an opportunity to learn and quality time ontasks for all students; frequently monitoring student progress; and developing and sustaining strong home-school relations?
Review of Literature Collyn Bray Swanson (2004) examined safe and orderlyenvironment in a study to determine if there was a difference inthe performance of military dependent African Americanstudents attending a public school and military dependentAfrican American students attending Department of Defenseschools. Results indicated students in the Department ofDefense schools scored higher on college entrance exams thandid the African American students in the public school system.
Review of Literature (cont.) Bamburg and Andrews (1990) conducted an investigationspecifically looking at the relationships of a clear and focusedmission and the role of the principal as the campusinstructional leader to the academic achievement of students.Results indicated that the school goal “To insure academicexcellence” showed a significant difference between highachieving and low achieving schools.
Review of Literature (cont.) Gentulucci and Muto (2007) conducted a study investigatingstudents’ perceptions of what principals as instructionalleaders do to influence their academic achievement.1. One finding was when principals visited classrooms andinteracted with students the effect on achievement was moreinfluential than the instructional leader whose visits were few,short, and passive.2. Students also indicated that principals that walked around theclassroom, checked on their work, and provided gentle advicehad more powerful influence on their learning than thosesitting in the back of the classroom and observing passively.
Review of Literature Boscardin (2005) conducted a study to determine howOpportunity To Learn (OTL) variables impact studentoutcomes and if the effects were consistent across the subjectsof English and algebra assessments. One finding of the studywas content coverage was extended when student time was notinterrupted. This result was found to be consistently associatedwith student performance.
Review of Literature Zuelke (1982) attempted to customize a model that schooldistricts could use to reallocate human and material resourcesto enhance reading and mathematics achievement. The studysummarized that evidence existed to suggest certain schoolrelated variables such as student time-on-task do make adifference in mathematics and reading achievement.
Review of Literature Zavadsky (2006) research focused on frequent monitoring ofschool progress in five urban school districts that wereawarded the Broad Prize for the most improved school districtsin the United States. One consistent finding was a commitmentto share and use data and assessments to inform instructionaldecisions that affect the student, classes, the school, and thedistrict.
Review of Literature Stewart’s (2007) study looked at 546 high schools thatincluded 1,238 African American students. Students wereasked on the survey to indicate the degree to which parentsengaged in a variety of school activities ranging from parentorganization meetings to volunteering. Results indicated theimportance of the role of educational leaders in building strongrelationships between parents and the school, for improvedachievement of the African American learner.
Review of Literature (cont.) Scheerens and Bosker (1997) identified eightcharacteristics of successful schoolsincluding a focus on achievement andmonitoring of student progress. Marzano (2003) identified fivecharacteristics of highly successful schools,and stresses challenging goals and effectivefeedback as major components to achievinghigh expectations.
METHODSA mixed-methods approach with explanatory design andsequential procedures was employed to address the researchproblem.o An assumption in using mixed methods was that thecombination of the quantitative and qualitative methods wouldprovide a better overall view of the research problem thaneither method by itself.o To meet the requirements of the explanatory design andsequential procedures, quantitative data were collected first.This was followed by collection of the qualitative data.
METHODS (cont.)Null Hypotheses H01 – There is no statistically significant relationship betweenthe rating of a safe and orderly environment and achievementin a developmental education mathematics course by AfricanAmerican students enrolled at a selected historically Blackuniversity. H02 – There is no statistically significant relationship betweenthe rating of high expectations for success and achievement ina developmental education mathematics course by AfricanAmerican students enrolled at a selected historically Blackuniversity. H03 – There is no statistically significant relationship betweenthe rating of instructional leadership and achievement in adevelopmental education mathematics course by AfricanAmerican students enrolled at a selected historically Blackuniversity.
METHODS (cont.) H04 – There is no statistically significant relationship between therating of a clear and focused mission and achievement in adevelopmental education mathematics course by African Americanstudents enrolled at a selected historically Black university. H05 – There is no statistically significant relationship between therating of opportunity to learn and time on task and achievement in adevelopmental education mathematics course by African Americanstudents enrolled at a selected historically Black university. H06 – There is no statistically significant relationship between therating of frequent monitoring of student progress and achievement ina developmental education mathematics course by African Americanstudents enrolled at a selected historically Black university. H07 – There is no statistically significant relationship between therating of home-school relations and achievement in a developmentaleducation mathematics course by African American students enrolledat a selected historically Black university.
Methods (cont.)Subjects of the StudyThe target population was 378 African Americanfreshman and sophomore college students enrolled inboth the fall 2008 and spring 2009 semesters of adevelopmental education mathematics course at aselected historically black university (HBU).Quantitative Sampleo Quantitative - Ninety-eight (N=98) students wereconveniently selected and gave their consent toparticipate as a member of the sample group.
Methods (cont.)Demographic Data of Student Participants Equivalent Percent of African American Student Participants Enrolled in DevelopmentalEducation Mathematics by Gender (N=98)______________________________________________________________________Gender N Percent______________________________________________________________________Male 35 35.7Female 63 64.3 Student Participants Enrolled in Developmental Education Mathematics at a SelectedHistorically Black College and University (HBCU) by Classification (N=98)______________________________________________________________________Classification N Percent______________________________________________________________________Freshman 78 79.6Sophomore 20 20.4
METHODS (Cont.)Quantitative Instrumentation Permission was granted by Effective Schools Products Ltd. touse the database of 2000 questions to create the 42 question-items of the Correlates of Effective Schools Survey. Seven correlates were divided into three sub-categories percorrelate, with six questions that combined to describe thecorrelate. Twenty-one questions were worded in the positiveand 21were worded in the negative. Demographic Section – participants self-identified theirclassification as college students, by ethnicity, gender, andhigh school attended.
METHODS (Cont.)Reliability and Validity of Quantitative Instrument(1) Construct validity was based on Lezotte’s sevenCorrelates of Effective Schools.(2) Content validity was checked by a panel of experts.1. Dissertation chair2. One assistant professor at the current university3. One assistant professor at a local university(3) Table 5.Cronbach Alpha of Student Participant Responses on Seven Scales of the Correlates ofEffective Schools Survey________________________________________________________________________Number of Items Cronbach Alpha Cronbach Alpha Based onStandardized Items________________________________________________________________________7 0.909 0.911*The results showed that this instrument was reliable.
METHODS (Cont.)Quantitative ProceduresQuantitative data were collected in two phases:(1) administering the Correlates of Effective SchoolsSurvey to students enrolled in a DevelopmentalEducation Mathematics course on a date agreed toby the mathematics instructors, and(2) collecting students’ fall 2008 official semestergrades in Developmental Education Mathematics.
METHODS (Cont.)Subjects of the StudyThe target population was 378 African American freshman andsophomore college students enrolled in both the fall 2008 andspring 2009 semesters of a developmental education mathematicscourse at a historically Black university.Qualitative Sampleo Qualitative - Ninety-eight African American college studentsagreed to participate in the interview phase of the study. Of thisnumber, 34 were purposely drawn as the sample group toparticipate in focus group interviews.
METHODS (Cont.)Qualitative InstrumentationThe researcher was the instrument offacilitation in collecting interview data fromstudy participants.
METHODS (Cont.)Qualitative ProceduresQualitative data were collected on two interview days:o Qualitative data were collected in semi-structuredinterviews with student participants.o There were 34 students that participated in the twointerview phases of the study.o Assignment to focus groups was determined bymathematics instructors giving the researcher thepermission to conduct student interviews in theclassroom and at the regular class time on agreedupon dates. Two students were interviewedindividually.
FindingsResearch Question #1 Statistical MeasurementHow do African Americanstudents, enrolled in adevelopmental educationmathematics course at a selectedhistorically Black universitydescribe their experiences witheach correlate of effectiveschools?Descriptive statisticsmeasures including centraltendencies, frequencydistribution, and percentageswere used to summarize theresults of the survey.Quantitative Analysis and Findings (SPSS 13.0)
Table 3.Descriptive Statistics of Correlates of Effective Schools Survey Resultsby Subscale (N=98)__________________________________________________________Correlate Range Min Max Sum M SD__________________________________________________________Safe and orderlyenvironment (1-6) 15 6 21 1208 12.33 3.089High expectationsfor success (7-12) 14 6 20 1159 11.83 3.050Instructional leader-ship (13-18) 19 5 24 1226 12.51 3.975Clear and focusedmission (19-24) 17 6 23 1179 12.0 3.288Opportunity to learn,time on task (25-30) 15 7 22 1262 12.88 2.923Frequent monitoring ofstudent progress (31-36) 16 6 22 1192 12.16 2.824Home-school relations(37-42) 16 7 23 1406 14.35 2.981
Findings (cont.)RESEARCHQUESTION #2HYPOTHESES INDEPENDENTVARIABLESDEPENDENTVARIABLESTATISTICALTESTHow does thecorrelates ofeffective highschools relate tostudent achievementin a developmentaleducationmathematics course,for freshman andsophomore AfricanAmerican studentsenrolled at aselected historicallyBlack university?H01-07 There is no statisticallysignificant relationship betweenthe rating ofo a safe and orderly environmento high expectations for successo instructional leadershipo clear and focused missiono opportunity to learn and time ontaskso frequently monitoring studentprogresso home-school relationsand achievement in adevelopmental educationmathematics course by AfricanAmerican students enrolled at aselected historically BlackuniversityCorrelatesofEffective SchoolsSemester Grade inDevelopmentalEducationMathematics(1) Correlationusing Pearson rand MultipleRegression AnalysisR²(2) Two-Tailed Testof SignificanceQuantitative Findings and Analysis (SPSS 13.0)
Findings (cont.)Table 4.Pearson Correlation and Two-Tailed Test of Significance as a Function of Mathematics Grade (N=98)________________________________________________________________________Correlate Function of Mathematics GradePearson Correlation (r) Significant (Two-Tailed)________________________________________________________________________ Safe and orderly environment(items 1-6) 0.080 0.431 High expectations for success(7-12) -0.042 0.684 Instructional leadership(13-18) 0.107 0.294 Clear and focused mission(19-24) 0.058 0.571 Opportunity to learn, time on task(25-30) -0.076 0.455 Frequent monitoring of studentprogress (31-36) 0.180 0.076 Home-school relations(37-42) 0.021 0.835*p < 0.05, two-tailed.
Discussion Null Hypotheses 01-07Null Hypotheses H01-07There is no statistically significant relationship between therating of a safe and orderly environment; high expectations for student success; instructional leadership; a clear and focused mission; opportunity to learn and time on task; frequent monitoring of student progress; home-school relations;and achievement in a developmental education mathematicscourseby African American students enrolled at a selected historicallyBlack university.*According to results noted in table 5, null hypotheses 01-07 werenot rejected.
Findings (cont.)Major Qualitative FindingsTheme 1: Environment Conducive to Learning (15 of34 or 44%) “In the hallways, control the small things that groupsargue about so that they do not turn into big things.” “My school had a lot of fights…. They pulled thefire alarm just to get out of school … and there wasa high pregnancy rate.” “Drugs and gangs” “Peer pressure” “Stop students from bringing weapons to school”
Findings (cont.)Major Qualitative FindingsTheme 2:Assurance of Effective InstructionalLeadership (20 of 34 or 59%) “It goes back to some teachers want to help studentsand some just want to pick up a paycheck.” “We had a lot of substitute teachers.”
Findings (cont.)Further Analysis of Themes 1 and 2 (90%)o University College fills gaps by providing tutoringo University College fills gaps by helping studentsbuild good relationships with other studentso University College provides a homey atmosphereo Counselors doors are always open to provideguidance and there are seminars on lots of thingso UC checks on students on a regular basis
Conclusions The present study focused on the voice left out in the researchon improving African American achievement, the student as amember of the problem solving team. What works best in schools for improving student achievement—and in this study, specifically for African Americanachievement—will be unique to the population the schoolserves. The quantitative findings indicated 68.3% of study respondentsthought that their high school was running effectively. The qualitative findings revealed that a safe learningenvironment, strong instructional leadership, and good teacherswere what student participants said really matters in improvingachievement of future students from similar backgrounds asthemselves.
Conclusions (cont.) For school leaders, it is important to continue tobelieve that schools can make a difference andovercome obstacles to learning and success on thepart of all students. Student participants disclosed in interviews that theywere thankful for the opportunity to pursue a collegedegree. They also thought it was good that therewere programs in place at their current university tohelp them overcome their deficiencies to achieving. In closing, it is important that in moving forward thelearner is consulted from time to time on how his orher educators are doing.
RecommendationsTo address the obstacles to achieving at the highest levels from theperspective of study participants, the following recommendations arepresented.Recommendations for Teachers, Counselors, Principals, and OtherEducational Leaders: Student participants indicated that good teachers and a goodlearning environment were very important. School leaders should maintain an aligned curriculum in whichhigh school and first year of college curricula in core subjects arefluid. There should be more direct conversations between high schoolteachers and college instructors. African American students in grades 9-14 should receive moreguidance and counseling in terms of building self-confidence,solidifying future plans, developing strong time-management skills,and developing strong goal setting skills.
Recommendations (cont.)Recommendations for Policy Makers Policy makers should provide information andcontinue funding programs on college campuses thathelp students with known deficiencies to catch up incore subjects. Policy makers should fund guidance counselingservices on a variety of issues for students in grades9-14.
Recommendations (cont.)Recommendations for Further Study A study could be conducted with first-year ofcollege mathematics and science instructors tolearn more about the challenges they face and therelationship of their pedagogical training toAfrican American student achievement. A study could be conducted with a similarpopulation at other predominantly Blackinstitutions of higher education to understand if atrend can be established. A similar study could be conducted with Hispanicand Asian student populations to determine theirneeds in the transition from high school to college.
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REFERENCES Gentulucci, J., & Muto, C. (2007). Principal’s influence on academicachievement: The student perspective. NASSP Bulletin, 91(3), 219-236. Lezotte, L. (2007). Surveys and survey sampling. Retrieved November 20,2007, from http://esrealitycheck.com/rc/gettingStarted.htm Marzano, R. (2003). What works in schools: Translating research into action.Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum DevelopmentPublishers. Rovai, A., Gallien Jr., L., & Stiff-Williams, H. (2007). Closing the AfricanAmerican achievement gap in higher education. New York, NY: TeachersCollege Press, Columbia University. Thompson, G. (2002). African American teens discuss their schoolingexperiences. Westport, CT: Gergin and Garvey Publishers. Thompson, G. (2008). Beneath the apathy: Black and Latino students in a low--performing high school identify the school factors that keep them fromengaging in learning. Educational Leadership, 65(6), 53-54.
Thank you for attending my presentation.STEVEN NORFLEET