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Classroom managemnt students Classroom managemnt students Document Transcript

  • ANALYZING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES, STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT SCORES, AND TEACHERS’ ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS IN DIVERSE ELEMENTARY SETTINGS by Dusty Hill Moore JACKSON “SKOT” BEAZLEY, Ed.D., Faculty Mentor and Chair LISA REASON, Ph.D., Committee Member CHERYL BULLOCK, Ph.D., Committee Member Harry McLenighan, Ed.D., Dean, School of Education A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy Capella University May 2008
  • 3307900 3307900 2008 Copyright 2008 by Moore, Dusty All rights reserved
  • © Dusty Hill Moore, 2008 View slide
  • Abstract Twenty-first century classrooms are different from twentieth-century classrooms (Spring, 2005). Diverse student populations, students with disabilities mainstreamed in regular classrooms, and violent students challenge many of today’s teachers who have received little or no training teaching these students. Specifically, many of today’s teachers possess minimal classroom management strategies and teaching methodologies that best promote student achievement (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). While political attention on student achievement continues to rise, many teachers strive to adhere to legislation by closing achievement gaps with out-dated teaching methodologies and inadequate management skills (Armstrong, 2006). Teachers do the best they can with the skills they have, but are their skills academically effective? Do they use classroom management strategies that increase student achievement scores? Furthermore, do teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities match their actual classroom practices? Specifically, do teachers teach students the way they think or believe they teach students? This study addresses these questions to identify relationships between the variables and to identify their effects on achievement scores. In this study, teachers who consistently met academic benchmarks were considered to be effective, and it was clear that some classroom management strategies, attitudes, and beliefs affected student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. By comparing responses to the Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control (ABCC) Inventory and data collected on observation checklists, this study determined that relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and actual teaching practices were nominal. Additionally, it showed that teachers with the best classroom management practices had higher student View slide
  • achievement scores than teachers with weaker classroom management strategies. This study implemented quantitative and ethnographic research methods, which included emic and etic perspectives, to collect data. This data helped reveal the impact of effective classroom management strategies on student achievement scores, provided teachers with conclusive evidence about their teaching attitudes and beliefs, and revealed personal teaching behaviors that supported the need for professional development training with teachers in diverse elementary settings that may potentially improve teacher efficacy and cultivate student achievement.
  • iii Dedication This dissertation is dedicated to my loving grandmother, Ruby Lee Fauscett, and the rest of my family, including Sir Jose, and friends whose continued patience, support, and unconditional love made completing this project possible.
  • iv Acknowledgements This dissertation is a direct result of the contributions of my family, friends, and Capella faculty members who sustained me through this process. At this time I would like to pay homage and say thanks to the many people who traveled along this amazing journey with me, showed kindness, generosity, and unconditional support. First and foremost, I must thank God for the mental ability and patience to endure this process. Without many answered prayers, this dream would not be a reality. To my Dissertation Chair and mentor, Dr. Skot Beazley, for his relentless patience and willingness to share his time, energy, and knowledge through this journey. His guidance and timely feedback was priceless. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to be his mentee. To my other committee members, Dr’s. Casey and Lisa Reason and Dr. Cheryl Bullock, I applaud your efforts and appreciate your timeless efforts in helping me attain a life changing milestone that I thought at one time would not be possible. To my mother, Judy Simmon, for always comforting me and drying the tears that accompanied this project. To my step-father Gary Simmon for making Phoenix business and pleasure. To my father Ron Hill and step-mother Sherry Hill, for supporting me along the way and supplying me with the right resources. To Tracy, for enduring the madness and supporting me till the end. To Dave Goldsman, my statistician. Your incalculable knowledge and support will never be forgotten. To Tasha, Keri, Karen, Kelly, Gee, and Stacey for being my backbone through this process. Your friendship and continued support will live with me forever.
  • v Table of Contents Acknowledgements iv List of Tables viii List of Figures ix CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1 Introduction 1 Background of the Study 3 Statement of the Problem 8 Significance of the Study 10 Purpose of the Study 10 Rationale 11 Research Questions 13 Hypotheses 13 Study Variables 14 Definition of Terms 15 Assumptions 16 Limitations 17 Nature of the Study 18 Organization of the Remainder of the Study 20 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 21 Introduction 21 History of Classroom Management 21 Bureaucratic Discipline 23
  • vi Twentieth-Century Classroom Management 25 Twentieth-Century Home/School Dyads 26 What is Classroom Management? 29 Traditional Discipline Strategies 31 Assertive Discipline 34 Teacher Attitudes and Beliefs About Teaching 39 Educating Diverse Populations 43 Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement 47 Theoretical Framework 55 Summary 59 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY 62 Introduction 62 Statement of the Problem 62 Purpose of the Study 64 Design of the study 64 Population 67 Instrumentation 67 Data Collection 74 Data Analysis 76 Ethical Considerations 77 CHAPTER 4: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA 78 Introduction 78 Restatement of the Problem 79
  • vii Research Questions 81 Cohort Demographic Data 81 Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control Inventory Overview 83 Statistical Overview of Research Question 1 84 Management Behaviors Chosen By Top Teachers 88 Statistical Overview of Research Question 2 89 Summary 92 CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 94 Summary of Methods and Procedures 95 Summary, Interpretations, and Procedures 98 Overall Implications and Conclusions 103 Strengths and Limitations 105 Implications of Practice 107 Future Directions 108 Conclusion 110 REFERENCES 113 APPENDIX A: Class Summary Report Examples 118 APPENDIX B: ABCC Inventory 119 APPENDIX C: Classroom Management Observation Checklist 121 APPENDIX D: Fitted Line Plots for Observation Checklist Data 123
  • viii List of Tables Table 1. Demographic Data for Participating Schools 82 Table 2. Cohort 3 Demographics 83 Table 3. Cohort 5 Demographics 83 Table 4. Analysis of Variance for Observation Checklists 85 Table 5. Consistency Scores between Observation Checklists and ABCC 91 Inventories
  • ix List of Figures Appendix D: Fitted Line Plots for Observation Checklists 123 Figure D1: Teacher uses proximity control 123 Figure D2: Teacher praises students 123 Figure D3: Teacher has positive attitude 124 Figure D4: Supplies readily available 124 Figure D5: Teacher has everyone’s attention before beginning lessons 125 Figure D6: Teacher calls on a wide variety of learners for answers 125 Figure D7: Students who finish work early know what to do next 126 Figure D8: Student noise level is maintained 126 Figure D9: Positive teacher/student interactions 127 Figure D10: Class climate is comfortable 127 Figure D11: Student follows rules in common areas such as halls, restrooms, cafeterias, etc. 128 Figure D12: Student disruptions handled quickly and timely 128 Figure D13: Teacher uses higher order thinking level questions 129
  • 1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Introduction to the Problem Popular belief among many administrators, teachers, and parents is that a quality education depends on curriculum content, school programs that support and enrich curricula implementation, and the quality of teaching occurring in classrooms (McCormack, Gore, & Thomas, 2006). However, many teachers are entering classrooms without in-depth content knowledge, poor classroom management strategies, negative attitudes, and minimal skills to thwart disruptive behavior that impedes learning and minimizes student achievement (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; Boynton & Boynton, 2005; Mahon, 2006). Some researchers have found that novice teachers, and many veteran teachers, admit they lack effective classroom management skills and student motivation tactics that endorse learning (Darling-Hammond, 2003; Malm & Lofgren, 2006). Do these findings suggest that today’s teachers need these skills in order to increase student achievement? Kohn (1999) and Cameron and Sheppard (2006) believe that effective classroom management is crucial to teaching, learning, and student achievement. Their research indicates that teachers who are unable to grasp students’ attention and involve them in vast instructional activities are teaching ineffectively. Additionally, Boynton and Boynton (2005) believe that ineffective classroom management skills can waste instructional time, reduce time-on-task, and interrupt learning environments. To teach effectively and impact learning, Darling-Hammond (2003) believes that teachers must be well prepared and properly trained in classroom dynamics, such as classroom management and pedagogy, to strongly influence student achievement.
  • 2 In the past, the term classroom management could be defined as a way to ensure students complied with teacher demands (Spring, 2005). Kohn (1999) believes it was teacher directed and driven by negative beliefs about students. However, in modern terms, classroom management is summarized by some researchers as a comprehensive term used to describe the encapsulation of the actions and strategies that teachers implement to involve students in learning, how efficiently they use instructional time, provide optimal learning experiences, maintain safe and orderly environments, manage student behavior, and form cohesive learning relationships (Emmer, Evertson, & Worsham, 2003; Malm & Lofgren, 2006; Miller & Pedro, 2006; Kohn, 1999). Armstrong (2006) believes that teachers have an enormous influence on classroom dynamics, but he also believes that well managed classrooms with student-centered goals contribute to developing holistic educational environments that promote student achievement. He also believes that not all teachers are equipped with appropriate strategies to manage diverse classrooms or build holistic cultures conducive to improving student achievement. Glasser (1998) supports Armstrong’s (2006) statements by conveying that more and more teachers believe they are not to blame for poor school discipline, habitual classroom disruptions, and decreasing achievement scores. He also states that teachers increasingly blame students for their behavior and that students choose to be disruptive, but Kohn (1999) believes many teachers fail to recognize the possibility that their classroom management strategies may need to be evaluated instead of students’ misbehavior. To support Glasser, Kohn stresses that many times the teachers’ corrective requests may need to be analyzed rather than continuing to explore why students do not comply with
  • 3 requests. Analyzing discipline requests may compel teachers to keep an open mind about classroom management and personal practices. Background of the Study Improving America’s public schools is a dilemma perplexing citizens, politicians, administrators, parents, and teachers (Armstrong, 2006). Furthermore, monitoring improvement using high-stakes testing has intensified demands on teachers to increase test scores and improve student achievement (Armstrong, 2006). However, some teachers are better at facilitating student growth and managing classrooms than their colleagues. How are some teachers able to increase student achievement scores and practice classroom management better than other teachers? This question has penetrated educational research for decades in the quest to examine factors such as teacher behaviors, personality, attitudes and beliefs, self-efficacy, student efficacy, motivation, content knowledge, and pedagogies to better understand dynamics in teacher/student dyads (Malm & Lofgren, 2006). Additionally, Glickman (2002) adds that teacher behaviors are reflected in attitudes and beliefs about teaching and classroom management, which he believes can effect student achievement. Some researchers believe that teachers adopt instructional methodologies and classroom management strategies that mirror how they were taught and disciplined (Goddard, Hoy & Woolfolk-Hoy, 2000; McCormack, Gore & Thomas, 2006). However, instructional methodologies and discipline strategies designed for younger generations may not be effective with today’s students or students from culturally diverse populations. In fact, Everhart and Vaugh (2005) believe that a “one-size-fits-all
  • 4 pedagogical model” and the use of ineffective, traditional classroom management strategies are contributing to chronic, habitual behavior disruptions and lower student achievement scores (p. 222). Also, Everhart and Vaugh (2005) purport that many of today’s teachers lack experience teaching in diverse settings and have little to no knowledge about proper methodologies that increase student achievement in culturally diverse schools. Interestingly, in 1994, Everhart’s field research found that urban teachers focus more on management, while suburban teachers “emphasized instructional outcomes,” but the ethnicity and cultural backgrounds of the students were not disclosed (Everhart & Vaugh, 2005, p. 224). In other research, a 1998 survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that 71% of teachers surveyed indicated they were well prepared to handle classroom discipline problems, while only 21% of the teachers reported being well prepared to address the needs of culturally diverse students (NCES, 1998). However, Parsad, Lewis, and Farris (2000) conducted a survey that highlighted teacher preparedness in classroom dynamics that revealed different percentages for teachers in both areas. Their survey revealed that only 45% of teachers felt well prepared in classroom management strategies, while 41% felt well prepared to teach students from culturally diverse backgrounds. The data from the 2000 survey clearly shows that teachers felt less prepared to handle classroom discipline demands than in the 1998 survey, but believed they were more prepared to teach culturally diverse students. Unfortunately, it was not clear if the same survey instruments were used in both studies or if the same group of teachers were resurveyed. Overall, lacking classroom management skills and teaching methodologies that promote academic achievement for
  • 5 culturally diverse students can possibly cause students to miss achievement benchmarks, which may create even larger achievement gaps between the “schoolhouse world” and the “real world” than what already exists in test scores among minority students (Armstrong, 2006, p. 90). The teacher’s role in public education sectors has changed considerably since the beginning of educational institutions (Spring, 2005). In the past, teachers could be defined as knowledge transmitters and behavior controllers (Spring, 2005). Teachers used memorization methods to enhance learning, while using humiliation, nagging, embarrassment, coercion, and scare tactics to intimidate students into compliance (Spring, 2005). Fortunately, in many of today’s classrooms, classroom management no longer encompasses traditional behavior management strategies, such as paddling, verbal threats, or the punitive actions listed above. Instead, Cameron and Sheppard (2006) and Miller and Pedro (2006) believe that the most effective teachers are those who manage their classrooms by focusing on the whole child and use more assertive tactics. These include improving social skills among, between, and with students, teaching life tasks, character education, moral education, spending individual time with every student, and showing respect for students’ feelings about personal experiences or traumatic life events. Teachers who implement these practices in their classrooms validate students’ feelings and thoughts, which foster emotionally safe and optimal learning environments (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). Very few teachers are able to manifest techniques associated with teaching whole child concepts in emotionally safe classroom environments, and a low percentage of classrooms have teachers who are sympathetic, supportive, or equipped with effective
  • 6 classroom management practices that minimize behavior disruptions (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). Furthermore, they are unaware of various teaching methodologies that increase learning and academic achievement for all students. Although the term academic achievement is familiar terminology in many American public education realms, Armstrong (2006) believes that academic achievement became “the cornerstone of U.S. education” during the nineteenth-century when The Committee of Ten determined that college bound students had different academic needs from those who planned not to attend college (p. 18). Despite the differences among the two sets of students, The Committee of Ten recommended that curriculum adhere to a college preparatory format in an attempt to provide everyone with a common education and similar skills for future social dynamics. Spring (2005) adds that because more wealthy children attended college than poorer children, The Committee of Ten argued against varying courses of study to eliminate the possibility of “creating a class system of education” (p. 246). During the nineteenth-century, college-bound and non college-bound students were offered equitable educational courses, but it was not until the twentieth-century that standardized testing became an icon in public schools. Since the inception of Thorndike’s first standardized achievement test in 1909, a mass use of standardized measures have engrossed public schools to quantify student achievement on academic standards (Armstrong, 2006). During the wide-spread development of standardized tests and the government’s involvement in the national assessment system, the term accountability evolved in educational realms. Spring (2005) believes the accountability movement was an attempt to regain community control of schools and end educational discriminatory practices towards minorities. Additionally, he states that although communities often
  • 7 lacked sufficient knowledge to make decisions about professional education practices, the schools listened and were responsive to public concerns. As the accountability movement began to spread through the 1970s, local communities and many states required schools to publish their annual achievement test scores. Under close scrutiny, behavioral objectives were accentuated. Emphasizing the use of behavioral objectives soon became linked to classroom instruction, classroom management, and student achievement (Spring, 2005). Inevitably, since the accountability movement increased teacher responsibility, Goddard, Hoy, and Woolfolk- Hoy (2000) believed that some teachers would try to control student learning instead of supporting autonomous learning. Controlling students’ learning and behavior may be interpreted by some as a form of discipline. Without minimizing student achievement concerns, Cotton (2001) believes discipline has become “the most serious problem facing the nation’s educational system” (p. 1). In fact, Cameron and Sheppard (2006) support Cotton and claim that non- instructional activities account for up to one-half of classroom time, with discipline interruptions responsible for an extensive portion of those activities. Ultimately, they believe that teachers’ inabilities to control classrooms contribute to lost instructional time and lower student achievement. One of the goals of this study was to identify and examine relationships between classroom management strategies and high student achievement scores.
  • 8 Statement of the Problem It is not known how and to what extent classroom management strategies and teacher attitudes affect student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. Kohn (1999) purports that classroom management may be linked to student achievement because managing styles are reflected in teacher behaviors and performances, are related to teacher stress, and procure learning. As mentioned earlier, a survey conducted in 2000 by Parsad, Lewis and Farris revealed that only 45% of teachers they surveyed felt well prepared in classroom management strategies, but a 1999 survey conducted by the NCES revealed that 71% of surveyed teachers felt well prepared in classroom management strategies. The 26% reduction in teacher efficacy can be interpreted to mean that many teachers may need professional development in classroom management strategies to minimize student disruptions, effectively handle discipline problems, and foster student achievement. Many of today’s teachers have not received appropriate training in classroom management tactics or discipline strategies (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). Cameron and Sheppard purport that many teachers may not be aware of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of classroom management strategies they implement in their classrooms. In fact, the researchers believe that some classroom management strategies may encourage unwanted behaviors, especially from students who have no interest in learning or do not want to be at school. Many times, these students can be disruptive and interrupt critical instructional time. When these interruptions occur, many teachers use positive reinforcements or rewards to temporarily cease unwanted behaviors (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; Kohn, 1999). To reinforce behavior, Kohn (1999) believes teachers
  • 9 should use “social rewards” such as smiles or nods to emit personal value or self- confidence and stop rewarding appropriate behavior with tangible, extrinsic rewards (p. 31). Also, he stresses that using punitive, demeaning responses never help students become better people, and he strongly concurs with Skinner’s argument (as presented in Kohn, 1999) that when most teachers punish students for misbehaving, they usually focus on negative behaviors and rarely reflect on positive behaviors that can replace negative behaviors. Canter and Canter (2001) concur with Skinner’s argument (as presented in Kohn, 1999). Therefore, to help eliminate negative behavior focus, they incorporated communicating about positive behaviors and future choices as tenets of assertive discipline. Canter and Canter (2001) believe that assertive discipline is an effective practice for teachers because it helps identify motivations behind inappropriate behaviors that occur at that moment without focusing on past behaviors. However, Kohn (1999) opposes assertive discipline and argues that it attributes all classroom problems to the students, bases punishment on their “choices,” and places no demand on teachers to change or review their discipline methods or actions (p. 165). Additionally, he states that guidance towards appropriate behaviors, reasoning about misbehavior, and discipline discussions rarely occur or they are often omitted. For these reasons, Kohn (1999) believes that many discipline and punishment tactics provoke resentment and defiance, which can ultimately lead to rebellious behavior, lost instructional time, and lower student achievement.
  • 10 Significance of the Study This research study was conducted to better understand relationships between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores, as well as, relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and actual teaching practices in diverse elementary settings. The use of effective classroom management strategies is believed to increase student achievement by focusing on safe, social learning environments (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). Acquiring new knowledge about relationships between effective classroom managers, teachers’ attitudes and beliefs, and student achievement not only contributes to the education field, but also allows central-office and school-level administrators to examine individual teaching practices, gather information for future professional development, build positive school cultures, and promote safe learning environments that augment teacher improvement and student achievement. Overall, this study proved that there is a slight positive relationship between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores. Additionally, it proved that there were not strong relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual teaching practices. In the end, results from this study provided administrators with data that could enhance school improvement efforts, allowed teachers to analyze and evaluate their attitudes, beliefs, and practices, improve pedagogies, and better manage diverse twenty-first century classrooms. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to (a) examine the relationship between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores and (b) examine the relationship
  • 11 between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual classroom practices or behaviors. The overall goals of this study were to (a) determine if classroom teachers with high student achievement scores used certain classroom management strategies researchers have found to increase student achievement and (b) to determine if teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities match their actual teaching practices in diverse elementary settings. This study investigated classroom management strategies of teachers with high summative nationally-normed standardized achievement test scores and teachers with low summative nationally-normed standardized achievement test scores to determine if teachers with higher summative scores were more effective classroom managers and had better attitudes than teachers with lower summative scores. The findings of this study allowed school-level administrators to formulate data driven decisions about professional development that can potentially improve classroom management skills and teacher instruction that increases student achievement, while simultaneously meeting national mandates and expanding school improvement plans. Rationale The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 requires schools to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) by consecutively meeting academic benchmark goals until all students “reach 100% proficiency” in reading and math (Armstrong, 2006, p. 8). The pressure to achieve 100% proficiency in reading and math requires many administrators and teachers to analyze and evaluate school policies and procedures, test data, teacher quality, effectiveness, and classroom practices (Armstrong, 2006).
  • 12 Armstrong believes high-stakes testing data has become the proficiency measure for identifying student achievement, effective teachers, and quality schools. He further states that this data increases teacher accountability for academic learning and can help identify strong and weak teachers. In fact, recent research has identified relationships between effective classroom management and academic achievement (Beach & Reinhartz, 2000; Wolfgang, 2001; Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; Miller & Pedro, 2006). Cameron and Sheppard (2006) revealed in their recent research that many teachers are not aware of the effects of their classroom management strategies on students or academic achievement, nor are they equipped with various discipline strategies to use with difficult or diverse students. Not all students respond to similar disciplinary tactics; therefore, Boynton and Boynton (2005) believe some students may need more traditional discipline strategies while other students may need more assertive discipline strategies. This study was conducted because of increased local and national concern about academic achievement gaps and a growing trepidation of teacher quality. This study implemented a third grade cohort and a fifth grade cohort from two Georgia suburban elementary schools that represented the district’s growing diverse populations that include high percentages of disadvantaged students, English Language Learners (ELL), Black, Asian, and Hispanic students. These demographics may challenge some teachers who are not prepared to effectively teach or manage such diverse student populations. However, this study revealed that a few teachers effectively managed diverse student populations and incorporated appropriate classroom management strategies that researchers believe raise achievement scores among diverse learners.
  • 13 When this study was completed, administrators and teachers had improved understandings of how classroom management strategies, teacher attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions impacted student achievement scores in their diverse elementary settings. Also, administrators better understood how potential professional development could help teachers expand management skills with diverse students and possibly ensure student achievement. In the end, professional development opportunities that can expand teachers’ professional repertoires associated with classroom management and teaching methodologies were recommended to increase teacher quality and student achievement among diverse populations. Research Questions The following research questions have been formulated for this study: 1. What is the relationship, if any, between classroom management strategies and higher student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings? 2. What is the relationship, if any, between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their abilities and actual classroom practices in diverse elementary settings? Hypotheses The following hypotheses have been formulated for this study: H1: There is a relationship between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores. H2: Effective classroom managers teach cognitive and social skills that reflect students from all cultures on varying skill levels.
  • 14 H3: Effective classroom managers implement similar classroom management strategies that promote student achievement. H4: Teachers are confident about their teaching practices with diverse students. H5: Teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities in diverse elementary settings match their actual teaching practices. Study Variables The first independent variable for this research study was classroom management strategies. Teachers use numerous classroom management strategies to control their classrooms. It was hypothesized that the type of classroom management strategies used by effective teachers are similar and contributes to student achievement, while classroom management strategies used by ineffective teachers are similar and do not contribute to student achievement. Therefore, it was believed that classroom management strategies would impact student achievement scores. The second independent variable for this research study was third and fifth grade teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their personal teaching abilities. It was hypothesized that the most effective classroom teachers believe their teaching skills and abilities are efficient, enjoy teaching and learning, and use methodologies and classroom management strategies that promote social and cognitive learning while ineffective teachers use punitive classroom management strategies and implement minimal teaching methodologies. Therefore, it was believed that teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities would match actual classroom practices and impact student achievement scores.
  • 15 The dependent variable for this research study was teachers’ 2007-2008 Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) summative grade equivalent (GE) score. This score was needed to rank teachers’ classes from highest achieving class to lowest achieving class and to evaluate the class’s overall student achievement growth. This data provided quantifiable numbers that later helped statistically identify correlations between effective classroom management strategies and high student achievement scores. Definition of Terms The following terms are specifically defined for this study: Academic Achievement. Students’ concepts, knowledge, and skills in reading, math, science, and social studies content areas (Wilde, 2004). Accountability. The NCLB provision for state public schools to describe how they intend to close achievement gaps among disadvantaged students and minorities to ensure they achieve “academic proficiency” (U.S. Department of Education, 2003, p. 1). Behavior. Observable individual actions which serve as a mean for functioning in particular environments (Kohn, 1999). Benchmark. A standard used to evaluate student growth (Wilde, 2004). Classroom Management. Teaching strategies used to cultivate teaching, learning, and discipline in classrooms (Emmer & Stough, 2001). Cognitive Domain. Information processing of the brain’s intellectual systems to form concepts that aid in rationalizing ideas and understandings about how the world works (Pratt, 2000).
  • 16 Data. Facts, figures, statistics, records, and information that are known from which conclusions can be generated (Marzano, 2007). Discipline. Consequences intended to correct misbehavior (Kohn, 1999). Effective Teachers. Teachers who are believed to possess skills and knowledge needed to improve student academic achievement (Emmer & Stough, 2001). Ineffective Teachers. Teachers who are not believed to possess skills and knowledge needed to improve student academic achievement (Emmer & Stough, 2001). Punishment. Imposing unpleasant consequences on students as a response to disobedient behavior (Spring, 2005). Social Domain. Students of different backgrounds and cultures interacting in learning environments to form relationships and associations among people (Pratt, 2000). Assumptions The following assumptions are reflected in this study: 1. Classroom teachers use classroom management strategies. 2. Classroom teachers use teaching methodologies. 3. Classroom management strategies minimize behavior disruptions. 4. Classroom teachers are knowledgeable in subject content areas. 5. Classroom teachers are familiar with cognitive and social domains. 6. Classroom teachers treat all students morally and respectfully. 7. Teachers use different classroom management strategies for difficult students. 8. Teachers have set classroom discipline plans and students are aware of the consequences for misbehavior.
  • 17 9. Teachers have positive attitudes about teaching and students. Limitations The following limitations are inherent in this research study: 1. This study was limited to 10 third grade and nine fifth grade teachers in two Georgia suburban public elementary schools. 2. Teachers may spend a significant portion of time implementing discipline strategies. This study does not focus on the total amount of time teachers spend on classroom discipline strategies. 3. This study was limited to classroom management practices implemented in one hour during one regular school day. 4. As an undergraduate, many teachers may have taken classroom management courses. This study does not reflect college course material pertaining to classroom management. 5. This study focused on classroom management skills and did not reveal how school-wide discipline programs effect classroom management or student achievement. 6. Teachers may have graduate degrees or professional development credit in classroom management, but this study does not focus on advanced teaching degrees or professional development courses taken to improve classroom management strategies or teaching methodologies.
  • 18 7. Teachers may use numerous classroom management strategies with students. However, this study only addressed the classroom management strategies used by the participants during observations. 8. Due to extensive daily duties, teachers may not promptly return surveys. 9. With internal pressures and increased paperwork on today’s teachers, participation may be minimal. Nature of the Study This research study incorporated a mixed-methodology approach to collect data and determine relationships between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores, as well as, relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual teaching practices in diverse elementary settings. Teachers’ 2007-2008 Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) summative grade equivalent scores were used to numerically rank 10 third grade and nine fifth grade teachers’ classes from highest achieving class to lowest achieving class within their grade levels. After teachers were ranked, they completed an Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control (ABCC) Inventory that included twenty-six items to score with a 4- point Likert Scale developed by Martin, Yin, and Baldwin (1998). The inventory measured aspects of teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions about their classroom management practices. Teachers marked responses between 1 and 4 depending on how close each statement described their classroom practices, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. The number 1 indicated the statement describes me not at all, the number 2 indicated the statement describes me somewhat, the number 3 indicated the statement describes me
  • 19 usually, and the number 4 indicated the statement describes me very well (Martin, Yin, & Baldwin, 1998). More specifically, the instrument measured three separate dimensions of classroom management. Fourteen of the instrument’s items reflected Instructional Management, eight items reflected People Management, and only four items reflected Behavior Management (Martin, Yin, & Baldwin, 1998). According to Martin, Yin, and Baldwin the 14 inventory items pertaining to Instructional Management include “monitoring seatwork, structuring daily routines, and allocating materials” (p. 7). The eight inventory items relevant to People Management “pertains to what teachers believe about students as persons and what teachers do to develop the teacher-student relationship” (p. 7). Finally, the four items pertaining to Behavioral Management include “setting rules, establishing a reward structure, and providing opportunities for student input” (p. 7). Once teachers returned their inventories, they were observed teaching in their classrooms to collect real-time data about classroom management strategies implemented during instruction to maintain control over learning environments. This data was analyzed and evaluated for positive correlations or relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual teaching practices. Essentially, the ABCC Inventory responses were analyzed for comparisons to classroom observations for possible correlations, or relationships, and consistencies between the researcher’s observations and teachers’ responses on their ABCC Inventories. Overall, by taking a humanistic and social approach towards the effectiveness of classroom management on student achievement, this study revealed the impact of some classroom management strategies on student achievement scores and identified minimal relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and
  • 20 their actual teaching practices in diverse elementary settings. Receiving a quality education in today’s schools may be the overall objective for many parents, teachers, and administrators. But, poor teacher quality, nominal teaching methodologies, negative attitudes, and a lack of classroom management skills may be hindering students from reaching their highest potentials. In the end, the nature of this study was to identify relationships between the variables. This study’s results identified relationships between the variables that potentially affect student achievement scores and teacher efficacy in diverse elementary settings. Organization of the Remainder of the Study The remainder of this study is divided as follows: Chapter 2 presents a literature review of historical and modern classroom teaching effectiveness, how classroom management strategies have evolved over the years, and describes what quality teaching means and looks like. The chapter concludes with discussions about classroom management theories grounded in traditional and assertive discipline practices, research surrounding teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about educational practices, educating diverse populations, teacher effectiveness and student achievement, and teaching perspectives. Chapter 3 presents the research methodologies used during data collection and instrumentation. Chapter 4 presents the study’s results and statistical data. Chapter 5 summarizes research findings, discusses relevant conclusions, highlights implications, and recommends future educational studies.
  • 21 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction The literature review examines critical research on classroom management, teacher attitudes and beliefs, student achievement, and educating diverse populations. The review discusses the following sections: history of classroom management as it has evolved, classroom management as defined by current literature, traditional and assertive discipline practices that help facilitate learning and minimize disruptions, research surrounding teacher attitudes and beliefs, educating diverse populations, teacher effectiveness as it relates to student achievement, and teaching perspectives. History of Classroom Management In the early nineteenth-century, Americans were enthralled with the idea that public institutions could create good people and in turn create good societies (Spring, 2005). This way of thinking made it possible for educators and leaders to envision a common schooling system that would reform society. Ultimately, it was believed that public institutions created moral, political citizens, and conducted social reformations. As these institutions grew, charity schools developed. Charity schools’ impetus was to correct problems arising out of parental failure and to develop moral character. Furthermore, they were to protect students from exposure to criminal contacts and immoral education practices (Spring, 2005). Charity schools were cheaper to maintain and they used the Lancasterian Monitorial System, which allowed advanced students to teach less advanced students (Spring, 2005). This concept allowed everyone to participate
  • 22 in the education process. Additionally, school masters, or teachers, could educate vast numbers of students at once in large communal areas, while order was maintained by monitors. Classes competed against other classes, students were seated in communal areas by level, and students who were ranked higher than other students were given specific seating positions in their classes (Spring, 2005). Theoretically, Lancaster’s system was sound for students, but quality teachers needed to manage this system were scarce. At the time, many teachers working in the system were young, female, and not trained to handle the number of students they were educating (Spring, 2005). Furthermore, men were considered to be unable to teach, because they lacked “emotional qualities” and relied too heavily on reason (Spring, 2005, p. 154). In the end, despite the fact that the majority of teachers were female and few quality teachers existed, the vast number of students participating in the system may have been what caused it to fail. Discipline, obedience, and order used in the Lancasterian system were supposed to sustain moral learning. Since the system prohibited corporal punishment, rewards systems, lighter punishments, and student promotions were being utilized (Spring, 2005). Students were rewarded or punished based on their class participation and they could achieve award badges for their virtues. The Order of Merit Badge was the most prominent to achieve because virtues of submission, ability, and order were considered necessities for functioning in business realms (Spring, 2005). Plus, continuous display of virtue and abilities could lead to students being appointed monitors. Monitors were not school teachers or masters. They were advanced students with rank who would tutor smaller groups of learners with approximately equal abilities. Monitors precisely assessed posture and carriage to ensure students were attentive during lessons (Hogan, 1989).
  • 23 Although the Lancasterian system prohibited corporal punishment, students who “talked frequently” or remained “idle were punished by having a wooden log placed around their necks” (Spring, 2005, p. 59). Habitual violators and extreme behavior problem students were placed in sacks or baskets suspended from the school house roof for all pupils to witness. This form of humiliation allowed school masters (principals) to displace violence and ridicule upon teachers and other students. Humiliation and inhumane punishments remained in schools throughout the nineteenth-century and may exist in some schools today. However, the Lancasterian system began to fade midway through the nineteenth-century with the emergence of bureaucratic management and discipline techniques. Bureaucratic Discipline David Tyack (as cited in Spring, 2005) states that as American schools were developing and organizing, employing women seemed to correlate with “the pace of bureaucratization” because relationship values in nineteenth-century females were closely related to bureaucratic organization attributes (p. 150). Like the Lancasterian System, typical school organization during the late nineteenth-century emphasized school order. Tyack quotes William T. Harris’s 1871 statement that “the first requisite of the school is order” (p. 150). Harris continued to stress that all students must be taught how to conform behaviors to a “general standard” so that students could be socialized for business and industry organizations (p. 151). For example, the workforce was expected to attend work regularly and exhibit punctuality; therefore students attending school were also expected to attend school regularly and exhibit punctuality. Organizational values were extremely
  • 24 important among nineteenth-century teachers and leaders. These values were so esteemed that tardiness to class was considered a serious offense (Spring, 2005). Through bureaucratic organizational beliefs, classroom management and motivational methods were developed and designed to be elements of pedagogical practices (Spring, 2005). One major organizational school development during the nineteenth-century was the separation of students in to age-appropriate classes. This included smaller, self-contained classrooms that required teachers to grade student performances and simultaneously teach various subjects on various levels to every student (Spring, 2005). This practice mirrors modern-day differentiated instruction practices that cultivate student achievement through learning strengths. In essence, it was the development of Bloom’s Taxonomy in the twentieth-century that gave teachers opportunities to implement higher ability lessons for students on different levels. Nineteenth-century educators did not have this luxury. Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, classroom teachers concurrently combined traditional teaching pedagogies and bureaucratic discipline strategies. Symbols of extrinsic motivation to conform (e.g., whips, paddles, switches) were hung on walls for easy viewing or placed on desks as punishment reminders (Spring, 2005). The ironies of viewing these punishment reminders were that (a) they were seen by good and bad students and (b) they were used by teachers who sought to build trust and teach at distinctively different ability levels. The fearful extrinsic motivators did not need to be seen by all students. The very presence of the symbols may have intimidated good students and indirectly hindered academic achievement.
  • 25 As nineteenth-century disciplinary styles evolved, their use broadened and was standardized well in to the twentieth-century in forms of report cards, promotion, retention, and grading (Spring, 2005). Spring believes that each of these elements affected classroom management and strained relationships in student/teacher dyads. Inevitably, it would not be until the twentieth-century that using rewards and increased concern about child development would become factors of improving student achievement and strengthening communication in student/teacher dyads. Twentieth-Century Classroom Management In the nineteenth-century, many teachers linked behavior problems to parental concerns and larger social concerns (Hogan, 1989). Also, Hogan purports that almost all educational discussions pertaining to student discipline were aimed at broader social issues. These issues were still visited early in the twentieth-century, but there began to be a shift towards using classroom management strategies that minimized problem behaviors linked to poor self-confidence and individual needs instead of larger social issues. Many of these strategies were used till the mid 1900s, but research conducted since the 1950s mostly focuses on minimizing problem behavior through the use of punitive punishments, rewards, or other extrinsic means (Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 2001; Kohn, 1999 & Cameron & Pierce, 2002). Kohn (1999) believes that rewarding students for appropriate behavior with extrinsic motivators, such as gold stars, extra free time, and smiley faces, only subjects students to bribery that does not sustain moral learning. He believes that teachers should find alternatives to extrinsic motivators because rewards drive behavior, not the morality of doing what is right. Rummel and Feinberg (1988, as cited in Akin-
  • 26 Little, Eckert, Lovett, & Little, 2004) concur with Kohn that extrinsic rewards damage intrinsic motivation. However, to contrast Kohn and Rummel and Feinberg, Eisenberg, Pierce, and Cameron (1999, as cited in Akin-Little et al, 2004) believe rewards that satisfy personal needs and wants can increase students’ intrinsic motivation. As a result of over 100 research studies, Cameron and Pierce (2002) discovered that rewards can be used to maintain and enhance intrinsic motivation and should not be excluded from classroom management practices. Interestingly, researchers such as Deci, Koestner, and Ryan (2001) have conducted sound research that solidifies Cameron and Pierce’s (1994, as cited in Cameron & Pierce, 2002) findings and purport that social rewards do not effect or decrease a student’s intrinsic motivation. However, Cameron and Pierce’s research conducted in 1971 (as presented in Cameron & Pierce, 2002) failed to employ tasks that were unattractive to elementary and college students. Their study used tasks that were attractive to each respective age group, which may not place validity on the results. Their study may have more validity if they had used unattractive tasks to each respective age group to better understand extrinsic reward effects on intrinsic motivation. Twentieth-Century Home/School Dyads In 2004, Common Good released a Public Agenda stating that the majority of teachers surveyed believed that discipline interruptions compromise student learning (Common, 2004). Additionally, 80% of these teachers said their schools have students who need to be removed and sent to alternative schools. Seventy-Eight percent reported that students are quick to remind them of their rights and that their parents can sue, 55%
  • 27 believed that districts who back down from assertive parents leads to prolonged discipline problems, 76% of the teachers believed that special education students are disciplined too lightly, 94% indicated that stronger parent accountability for their children’s actions would help deter behavior problems, 82% believed lawsuits should be limited to serious infractions, and 91% believed that in-depth concentration on classroom management skills in teacher education programs would help teachers assemble effective classroom management strategies. In addition to teachers, parents were also administered the same survey, and 70% indicated that they believe giving more authority to principals to handle discipline problems could be an effective solution to discipline problems, 74% supported alternative schooling for more chronic disciplinary problem students, 78% believed that lawsuits should be limited to serious infractions, and 88% supported rewards for strictly enforcing “little” rules to avoid the possibility of larger problems emerging (Common, 2004, p. 1). This Public Agenda supports the idea that teachers and parents are open to palpable solutions that allow administrators to have greater authority when disciplining students, more power to minimize litigations in attempts to solve discipline problems, and the ability to create learning communities that foster student achievement. Since the nineteenth-century, home/school dyads have drastically changed. Community growth, higher transient percentages, reduced family cohesion, an increased number of working single mothers, increased divorce rates, television violence, and aggression associated with video games all contribute to the seriousness and frequency of discipline problems that are plaguing today’s schools (Kohn, 1999; Boynton & Boynton, 2005; Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). These changes challenge schools to control these
  • 28 influences with extensively less support from families, communities, and churches than in past decades. Although these changes developed late in the twentieth-century, there are several recurring discipline problems that continue to plague teachers, such as teasing, talking without permission, getting out of seats without permission, failing to complete assignments, refusing to do work, bullying, and disrespecting teachers (Boynton & Boynton, 2005). Boynton and Boynton believe that disrespect has become inherent in American student culture. Students grasp it and bring it to school with them. To add to disrespect’s raging overture, there are newer societal discipline problems emerging that are frustrating teachers and administrators. These newer problems include, but are not limited to, physical and verbal aggression towards teachers, drugs, possession of guns or knives, gang violence, vandalism, and truancy (Elam, Rose, & Lowell, 1996; Boynton & Boynton, 2005). These newer complex problems and behaviors require teachers to adopt comprehensive discipline models and more stringent classroom management strategies. Boynton and Boynton (2005) state that knowledge of the most effective discipline measures will not always prevent students from disrupting lessons or bullying teachers and students, but that teachers should be aware of strategies that are productive and counter-productive with defiant students. Kohn (1999) adds that teachers who wait for students to become mature enough to handle discipline responsibilities often aid in the creation of vicious cycles of repetitive disruptive behaviors. He strongly argues that teachers and students should be participating and practicing in decision-making processes together that enables students to clearly understand classroom rules, better manage current behaviors, and develop respect for classroom responsibilities.
  • 29 What is Classroom Management? Over the years, classroom management has acquired many definitions. Today, these definitions can be synthesized to mean a comprehensive term used to describe the encapsulation of actions and strategies that teachers implement to involve students in learning, how efficiently they use instructional time, provide optimal learning experiences, maintain safe and orderly environments, control student behavior, and form cohesive learning relationships (Emmer, Evertson & Worsham, 2003; Malm & Lofgren, 2006; Miller & Pedro, 2006; Kohn, 1999). Effectively managing students may be a teaching necessity. In fact, Wang, Haertel, and Walberg (1993/1994, as cited in Boynton & Boynton, 2005) reviewed “11,000 pieces of research that spanned 50 years” and found that the number one influence on student learning was classroom management (p. 3). Moreover, Emmer and Stough (2001) believe that classroom management represents a paramount aspect of teachers’ pedagogical knowledge. Research conducted by Jackson (1968, as cited in Emmer & Stough, 2001) revealed that increased attention on complex classroom settings and pedagogical knowledge combined with teaching goals, procedures, and strategies contributed to classroom management effectiveness. In his research, Jackson purports that management is a tenet of various classroom dynamics including (a) multidimensional events and people, (b) numerous tasks occurring simultaneously, (c) immediate, fast-paced events that limit reflections, (d) unpredictable outcomes and events, (e) awareness of behaviors witnessed by all students, and (f) past and future actions. Adding to Jackson’s research findings, Jones (1996, as cited in Emmer & Stough, 2001) believes five basic views of comprehensive classroom management exist. He
  • 30 believes that in order to maintain learning environments and to control behaviors teachers must (a) understand current research in classroom management, (b) create positive relationships among and between students, (c) be familiar with instructional methods that facilitate learning for students on various levels, (d) have knowledge about organizational management to maintain on-task behavior, and (e) be familiar with counseling methods that assist students with chronic behavior problems. Both Jones’s (1996) and Jackson’s (1968, as cited in Emmer & Stough, 2001) classroom management components are sensible and may be connected to student learning and increased student achievement. Kounin (1970, as cited in Emmer & Stough, 2001) concurs with Jackson and Jones and believes that teacher content knowledge, well-planned lessons, teacher behaviors, and classroom settings preclude effective management. However, not all teachers have the knowledge and skills they need to effectively manage classrooms. Bosch (1999) states: Contrary to popular belief, classroom management is not a gift bestowed upon some teachers. While it is true that some teachers adapt to classroom management techniques, making it look to their colleagues like they possess some innate talent, classroom management is a skill, a skill that can be taught like any other, and most importantly, a skill that like any other must be practiced to achieve proficiency (p. 3). Sergiovanni (2001) believes that Jones, Jackson, and Kounin correctly identify teachers’ roles in controlling student behavior, but he further narrows and identifies teachers’ roles as Manager, Executive, Mediator, and Leader. The Manager teacher executes highly structured learning environments that aim to manage student behaviors. The Executive role requires teachers to be aware of current research practices and make
  • 31 crucial decisions about instruction, assignments, and subject matter. The Mediator role requires teachers to perform interactive teaching that allows students to link prior knowledge to new constructs, and the Leader role requires teachers to enthusiastically model the importance of the subject matter and focus on key concepts that explain why and how content is being studied. Teachers who adopt these four roles are well structured, are aware of current research practices that promote learning, help students make sense of learning, and personally care about and appreciate learning (Sergiovanni, 2001). Sergiovanni also believes these four roles help define teacher effectiveness and good management in conjunction with appropriate discipline strategies. Traditional Discipline Strategies The word discipline has several definitions and can be interpreted differently. In many of today’s classrooms, discipline may be defined by the way classrooms are managed. Cotton (2001) believes that classroom management is inherent in effective instruction and discipline, which she believes has become synonymous with punishment. However, being instructionally effective might be difficult for many teachers because Cotton’s research revealed that one-half of instructional time is dedicated to activities not associated with instruction. Additionally, her research revealed that discipline consumes a majority of that time and that students affected by divorce, poverty, family depression, hunger, and mental illnesses are often instigators of disruptive behavior. Throughout history, teachers have used various techniques to minimize disruptive behavior. During the early nineteenth and twentieth centuries, classroom discipline could be measured by noise level (Pioneer, n.d.). Lower noise levels or the absence of noise
  • 32 usually implied that learning and effective discipline strategies were being implemented because students were working and not misbehaving. Furthermore, morning routines were highly structured (Spring, 2005). As school days began, students entered classrooms, were marched to their seats, received and completed assignments, followed strict rules and orders, maintained certain postures, gave attention on command, and followed stringent desk packing drills (Spring, 2005). Silence was enforced, order was maintained, and students were granted permission to speak when acknowledged for raising their hands. Additionally, correct English was expected to be spoken and titles of respect such as Mr. and Mrs. were used to address authority figures. If these expectations were defied, punishments were inevitable. During the 1800s and early 1900s traditional punishments emerged and were assigned in diverse forms (Pioneer, n.d.). Severe traditional punishments included corporal punishment, detention, spanking, suspension, and expulsion (Pioneer, n.d.). Less severe punishments included raps on the hands or knuckles with rulers, standing in corners, standing with arms stretched out holding books palm-side up until exhaustion, and isolation in cloakrooms (Pioneer, n.d.). In today’s schools, these discipline strategies would probably be considered cruel or inhumane and could justify litigation. As the twentieth-century progressed, more attention was centered on child development (Pioneer, n.d.). The increased attention on child development generated sympathetic views for children and their surroundings. As a result, authoritarian strategies and corporal punishments were softened and interest around self-discipline increased (Pioneer, n.d.). As a result of increased attention on child development, the mid to late 1900s materialized traditional discipline practices that included writing names on
  • 33 chalkboards, time-out, writing sentences, copying discipline policies, not participating in extra-curricular classes, calling or conferencing with parents, and timed placement in other classrooms (Pioneer, n.d.). Many of these strategies have been practiced for decades and are still used today in numerous American classrooms (Kohn, 1999). However, Kohn (1999) believes that not all traditional punishments included writing, hitting, standing, or displacement. In fact, he believes the incorporation of rewards late in the twentieth- century began paradigm shifts that steered twenty-first century classroom management trends in new directions. Kohn (1999) believes that teachers using rewards as forms of bribery to minimize disruptions fail to recognize their similarities to coercive traditional discipline techniques. Furthermore, he posits that good behavior festers intrinsically; thus, students receiving rewards for appropriate actions or behaviors will only exhibit good behaviors when rewards are offered. In essence, good behaviors disappear when rewards disappear. Ultimately, Kohn (1999) believes that in many of today’s classrooms students are controlled by extrinsic rewards rather than driven by appropriate intrinsic behaviors. Overall, discipline strategies used to embarrass students or inflict pain to control disruptive behaviors have been shown in research to increase disruptive behaviors and student aggression (Kohn, 1999). Using rewards may not elicit intrinsic or moral student behaviors, but they may be good alternatives to humiliating traditional discipline practices used in earlier centuries. In the end, Kohn (1999) refutes using rewards because he believes that students may purposefully act inappropriately to receive rewards. He concludes that students are manipulating teachers to conquer a need, which could be power, attention, or reverse manipulation.
  • 34 Assertive Discipline Assertive discipline can be defined as a take-charge approach to classroom discipline (Canter & Canter, 2001). The term assertive discipline was coined by Lee and Marlene Canter as a result of their participation in assertion training techniques. The premise of assertion training is communication, so they believed using assertive discipline techniques in classrooms would allow teachers and students to openly and clearly communicate their needs and wants without violating the rights of other students (Canter & Canter, 2001). Although assertion training was mostly used in business sectors, it has been used outside of business sectors by mothers, counselors, and psychologists to help eliminate inappropriate behaviors in small children (Canter & Canter, 2001). The success of assertion training techniques outside of business sectors led Canter and Canter to believe its concepts could be applied in educational realms to achieve similar results. In educational realms, Canter and Canter (2001) believe assertive discipline’s premise is to focus mainly on communicating about current behaviors and the motivations or influences behind the behaviors. This directly contrasts traditional discipline strategies because they only addressed and punished the acts without further investigating the reasons behind the acts. Both Canter and Canter (2001) and Glasser (1998) agree that focusing on current behaviors and the motivations behind the behaviors are crucial to understanding and changing negative behavior into positive behavior while holding students accountable for their actions. Furthermore, the researchers support Kohn’s (1999) beliefs that (a) students can control their behaviors and (b) they consciously choose to misbehave or follow rules in attempts to attain personal wants and
  • 35 needs. On the other hand, Wolfgang (2001) believes that assertive discipline is only another method of enforcing “teacher-established rules,” asserting power, and creating punishments or rewards to enforce authority (p. 100). Interestingly, he supports Canter and Canter’s (2001) communication concept and Glasser’s behavior theories. Plus, he believes that high expectations and clear directions are assertive discipline’s strengths. However, he stresses that teachers promoting democratic classroom methods will find themselves frustrated with assertive discipline’s techniques because they eliminate student participation in decision making processes and mainly focus on the teacher’s wants. As noted earlier, assertive discipline involves communication and it is believed to be an important element in defining behaviors portrayed for purposes of achieving wants and expressing feelings. To support this element, Glasser’s (1998) theory, grounded in reality therapy, purports that behaviors stem from survival and psychological needs. His theory complements assertive discipline because its procedures include therapists, counselors, parents, teachers, and administrators working in tandem to solve or eliminate disruptive behaviors. Furthermore, Glasser (1998) believes that providing choices and not excusing past inappropriate behaviors allows appropriate behaviors to surface. Glasser’s belief mirrors Canter and Canter’s (2001) beliefs about assertive discipline strategies because both theories promote effective learning environments that provide students with choices that propel appropriate behaviors through self-reflected social communication with teachers. Siding with Glasser (1998), Dreikurs (as cited in Wolfgang, 2001) purports that humans are motivated by feelings, the need to belong, and acceptance from others. All behavior, he adds, is purposeful and aims to achieve social recognition. In other
  • 36 words, the “inner goal results in the outward behavior” (p. 115). Dreikurs believes there is always an established cause for behavior and that it is the teacher’s responsibility to actively teach students how to get along with others in order to promote socialization and learning. Ultimately, assertive discipline requires teachers to teach and focus on appropriate behaviors. Canter and Canter (2001) believe when teachers focus on and communicate positive behaviors they elicit positive reactions from students. They believe that students will eventually learn that positive teacher comments meet their needs or wants and are more likely to continue exhibiting good behaviors as a direct result of the positive comments. Focusing on appropriate student behavior is a good idea, but what about habitual violators or violent students? Many of today’s classroom teachers may not be properly trained to control habitually disruptive or violent students. Canter and Canter (2001) believe that by using assertive discipline strategies teachers can learn to manage repeat offenders by promising, not threatening, punishment and consistently implementing consequences for unwanted behaviors. Also, they believe offering choices and being persistent in discipline strategies will help minimize inappropriate behaviors. However, Canter and Canter (2001) caution teachers to be mindful of using assertive discipline strategies with students because they may not be effective with all students. More important than knowing the students, they believe, is knowing that consequences should be meaningful, age-appropriate, and suitable to offenses. Contrasting Canter and Canter (2001), Emmer and Stough (2001) refute assertive discipline practices because they feel students’ choices are limited in “classroom government” decisions (p. 104). Additionally, Kohn (1999) believes assertive discipline
  • 37 is an ineffective coercive discipline model that stifles teacher wit and student communication. Plus, he believes assertive discipline views students as the root of behavior problems and does not require authority figures to evaluate their methods. He argues that assertive discipline does not require teachers to change their behaviors since its premise is to blame students for classroom problems. Also, Kohn (1999) strongly opposes assertive discipline methods because he feels they encourage teachers “to remove anyone who misbehaves” to regain control and for “its overriding goal to get students to do whatever they are told without question” (p. 57). To support Kohn, Malm and Lofgren (2006) believe that teachers who practice assertive discipline strategies will fail to meet the needs of the whole child and continue to inadvertently use traditional discipline strategies that may delay student achievement. One final component of assertive discipline is teacher communication with parents (Canter & Canter, 2001). Canter and Canter believe that many teachers fail to ask for parental support and often make five critical errors when speaking with parents regarding students’ behavior. First, many teachers apologize for bothering guardians when they call to discuss problems, (b) they minimize the severity of the behavior, (c) they belittle themselves, (d) they do not clearly indicate what they need parents to do, and (e) they reduce the behavior’s consequences. Canter and Canter (2001) believe teachers make these mistakes because they fear parents will be offended by their comments and that administrators will not support their discipline strategies. Overall, the researchers believe that assertive discipline will only be effective if teachers are honest with parents and ask for assistance in resolving inappropriate behaviors.
  • 38 All classrooms have rules. Class rules are formulated with the hopes of maintaining order. Even when the best management strategies are implemented they may not be effective with all students; therefore, consistent and persistent teaching practices are crucial elements in classroom discipline (Boynton & Boynton, 2005). Boynton and Boynton believe teacher relationships with and among students can determine and define classroom environments. Furthermore, they believe that most teachers employ some type of management strategies that help maintain control. However, too many teachers still use traditional discipline strategies and rewards to manipulate actions (Kohn, 1999). Some teachers may use discipline strategies that communicates feelings and analyzes motivations driving misbehavior, but these strategies may not work with students in diverse settings. Many of today’s classrooms are composed of culturally diverse students with various needs and teachers need to be familiar with multiple discipline strategies that maintain order and meets students’ needs in these settings (Boynton & Boynton, 2005). No matter what management strategies teachers are using in their classrooms, they may only be effective if they are implemented consistently (Boynton & Boynton, 2005). Ultimately, traditional and assertive discipline strategies aim to prevent discipline problems and offers methods for dealing with problem students. Their various elements may be conducive to minimizing disruptive behavior, but may not eliminate all classroom discipline problems. Knowing which strategies to implement with students and which ones are counterproductive with students can save valuable classroom time. Generally, effective teachers know their students and which strategies work best with them. They also know that students will learn what is taught and not announced (Boynton &
  • 39 Boynton, 2005). Like curriculum, appropriate behavior must be taught to students from all ethnic groups, cultures, and diverse populations. Similarly, possessing good attitudes about curriculum and having skills to teach diverse students may be pertinent to achieving goals and increasing student achievement scores. Teacher Attitudes and Beliefs About Teaching According to Ross and Bruce (2007) individual teacher efficacy can predict a myriad of “enabling teacher beliefs, functional teacher behaviors, and valued student outcomes” (p. 50). Ross and Bruce define teacher efficacy as a teacher’s expectation and belief that she can foster student learning. More specifically, they state, teachers believe they have the capability to organize and implement methodologies needed to sustain student growth and increase student achievement scores. Ross and Bruce (2007) concur with Bandura (1997, as presented in Ross & Bruce) that teachers with high levels of self- efficacy have higher student expectations, set higher goals for their students, aggressively pursue those goals, have positive attitudes, higher student achievement scores, and endure obstacles that teachers with lower self-efficacy refute. Additionally, Ross and Bruce (2007) and Leroy, Bressoux, Sarrazin, and Trouilland (2007) purport that teachers with high self-efficacy beliefs promote classroom management tactics that inspire student autonomy. Leroy et al. (2007) add that when teachers institute and support autonomous learning environments that students exhibit higher levels of “self-determination and are intrinsically motivated” (p. 529). Moreover, they believe that higher test scores are eminent among these teachers’ students because they remain focused, are self-directed, and highly motivated.
  • 40 To further promote their findings on teachers with high levels of self-efficacy, Ross and Bruce (2007) revealed in their recent elementary school research that teachers with high self-efficacy beliefs focused closely on the needs of students with lower abilities, whereas teachers with low self-efficacy beliefs focused their attention on students with higher abilities. Expectedly, teachers with higher efficacy beliefs had positive attitudes with low-achieving students, built relationships with them, and had higher academic expectations for them than teachers who had lower self-efficacy beliefs. Efficacy and Teacher Behavior Ross and Bruce (2007) purport that teacher efficacy can effect teacher behavior and impact student perceptions about their academic abilities. They believe that if student efficacy is enhanced, then they will become increasingly more enthusiastic and intrinsically motivated about learning and would be more likely to approach teachers for additional help. But surprisingly, Midgley, Feldlaufer, and Eccles (1989, as presented in Ross & Bruce, 2007) found in their research that teaching behaviors have delayed impacts on achievement. They found that teacher behaviors were directly “correlated with achievement in the spring, but not in the fall” (Ross & Bruce, 2007, p. 51). The research conducted for this study included data collected from fall achievement tests instead of spring achievement tests. Overall, teacher efficacy and behavior can influence student achievement (Ross & Bruce, 2007). Ross and Bruce believe teachers with high self-efficacy beliefs view declining student achievement scores as a challenge and inspiration to exude greater effort to increase those scores instead of accepting failure as a paradigm beyond their control. Unfortunately, teacher efficacy, beliefs, and behaviors can materialize in early
  • 41 teaching experiences and remain stagnant through out careers to become either autonomous or controlling (Ross & Bruce, 2007). Autonomy vs. Controlling Teaching Behaviors Reeve and Jang (2006) have shown that teaching behaviors can be presented in two types of climates: autonomous or controlled. In educational settings, “autonomy support revolves around finding ways to nurture, support, and increase students’ inner endorsement of their classroom activity” (p. 210). Teachers promoting autonomous learning environments seek to identify resources that meet students’ needs and sustain intrinsic motivation. These environments allow teachers to pay more attention to what students are saying, designate more time for students to problem solve, provide effective and timely feedback about tasks, and can better identify with students’ educational or personal difficulties. Contrasting autonomous climates are controlled classroom climates in which undue teacher pressures are mistakenly assigned to students to elicit specific actions (Deci & Ryan, 1987, as presented in Leroy et al., 2007). Teachers who exhibit controlling climate behaviors pay little or no attention to students’ motivational needs and try to manage student behaviors with incentives, rewards, punitive statements, or one-sided communication tactics (Reeve & Jang, 2006; Kohn, 1999). In this climate, teachers do most of the talking and students have minimal time to complete tasks. Unsurprisingly, teachers exhibiting controlling behaviors are more critical of student abilities and are more likely to verbally express student disapproval (Reeve & Jang, 2006). Leroy, Bressoux, Sarrazin, and Trouilland (2007) found in their research of 336 fifth grade teachers from 269 schools that teachers’ personal attitudes and beliefs about
  • 42 themselves played a significant role in teaching behaviors. They also found that factors contributing to teacher behaviors extended to social contexts beyond classrooms. For example, educational settings that enhanced teacher efficacy and reduced teacher stress helped promote autonomous class climates. In contrast, educational settings that weakened teacher efficacy and increasingly pressured teachers to achieve results caused teachers to promote controlling class environments (Leroy et al., 2007). The researchers believe that high pressure educational settings are not conducive to sustaining teachers’ intrinsic motivation, positive attitudes, or promoting student achievement. Teacher Beliefs and Behaviors in Culturally Diverse Settings Hollins and Guzman (2005, as presented in Mahon, 2006) reviewed research conducted for the American Educational Research Association and found that many teachers had negative attitudes or beliefs about various cultures, had little experience teaching diverse students, and were not interested in teaching in urban sectors. Duff and Uchida (1997) have established links between teachers’ thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in diverse classrooms. In their research, they examined teaching behaviors and attitudes in language teachers and found incongruence. This means that teachers proclaimed to have certain understandings or beliefs about diverse cultures, but these beliefs were in constant negotiation or blatantly ignored. One of their research participants believed he was a feminist with feminist attitudes and behaviors, but his actions towards female students in his class differed significantly from his belief. Information exists about teacher attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors towards cultural diversity, but there is nominal information available that explains “how this understanding is constructed” (Mahon, 2006). Hollins and Guzman (2005, as presented in
  • 43 Mahon, 2006) have expressed a need for “longitudinal outcome-focused research” that seeks to understand how teachers transfer their cultural diversity educations to actual classroom behaviors and practices. Teaching is a profession that is becoming increasingly more complex. Many of today’s teachers cling to personal beliefs about diverse cultures while they possess attitudes and beliefs that all students have the same needs or desires. Students are more than hearts and minds; therefore, teachers must understand and recognize the need for various pedagogies among diverse populations in their quests to sustain student achievement. Educating Diverse Populations American public schools display the “dramatic demographic shift” better than any other entity (Brown, 2007, p. 57). Changes in cultural, racial, and linguistic demographics have diversified American schools more today than ever before. However, Brown (2007) argues that it is not only these demographic changes affecting student achievement, but that it also includes the way teachers have responded to these changes that is challenging today’s classroom dynamics and effecting academic achievement. Historically, American education has not been culturally welcoming to diverse populations, but NCLB provisions challenge teachers to find creative ways to effectively teach students from diverse backgrounds and promote safe learning environments for all students (Wilde, 2004). Gay (2002) believes that academic achievement in diverse settings would increase if teachers made an effort to implement classroom instruction that is relative to students’ home cultures. However, this is where the problem may begin. Many teachers in today’s
  • 44 classrooms are not trained to teach or discipline culturally diverse students. In fact, many of today’s teacher “pre-service programs” fail to include culturally diverse teaching strategies, effective classroom management training for diverse students, and real learning environments that equate to the “reality of full time teaching” that promotes student achievement for all students (McCormack, Gore, & Thomas, 2006, p. 97). How, then, can administrators produce culturally conscious teachers with skills that increase student achievement scores in culturally diverse settings? School administrators are responsible for complex instructional improvement, following national mandates, and hiring highly qualified teachers, but they are also responsible for teacher preparation that improves student achievement, acknowledges diversity, and helps prepare students “to find connections among themselves and the subject matter” (Brown, 2007, p. 60). This can be done by implementing professional development (PD) that provides a curriculum instructional framework with guidance through activities that develop culturally diverse knowledge, applies diverse curricula, builds appreciation for diverse cultures, and explains cultural codes used to process thinking and learning (Brown, 2007). Additional support for PD derives from Ross and Bruce’s (2007) research that established positive PD effects on teacher attitudes. Their study revealed that PD participants in treatment groups had higher self-efficacy and frequently incorporated curriculum materials in their classrooms that were distributed during PD courses. High self-efficacy remained constant as long as PD courses were revisited, administrators provided follow-up meetings, and instilled collaboration models. Finally, the researchers found that when PD programs provided “participant interaction” and increased
  • 45 opportunities for “vicarious experiences” (i.e., observing successful teachers) teachers were more apt to create settings that warranted positive attitudes and to implement new teaching techniques that augmented student achievement. In general, PD refers to continuous learning opportunities made available to teachers through schools or districts (Brown, 2007). Traditionally, PD has been made available to teachers through school workshops as in-services (Professional, 2007). The in-service model usually includes hiring outside consultants or curriculum experts to provide one-time training courses on a plethora of subject topics or one specific content area. According to Professional (2007), one-shot workshops are not the most effective way to implement teacher training in to professional development. Plus, these workshops offer very little coherence and continuity to teacher growth and development. In fact, a survey conducted in 2000 by the National Center for Education Statistics revealed that teachers spent one day or less in PD training for content areas (Professional, 2007). Additionally, the survey revealed that teachers felt uninspired, belittled, and embarrassed by many PD topics their administrators offered for teacher or school improvement. Twenty-first century PD is moving away from one-shot workshops and towards more active and coherent school environments (Professional, 2007; Cotton, 2003). PD proponents believe that active environments provide specific connections to school improvement’s bigger picture. Cotton (2003) and Connors (2000) purport that the most successful schools offer their staffs quality professional development training that exposes teachers to relevant and practical site-based needs such as data-based instruction, collaborative learning, reflection, research and inquiry, subject matter exploration, engagement in practical instructional and assessment tasks, constructive feedback, and
  • 46 follow-up activities. Also, Brown (2007) states that many schools promote effective teaching through diversity PD training. In American public schools, it is important for administrators and teachers to believe that students from “culturally and linguistically diverse” (CLD) backgrounds can learn (Brown, 2007, p. 57). Brown also believes teachers should develop instructional strategies that prevent failure and engages all students in the learning process. Additionally, Brown (2007) purports that teachers who graduated from traditional teacher education programs would benefit the most from professional diversity training since most university programs fail to incorporate diversity courses. On the whole, diversity training could improve school culture. Succinctly, to increase personal growth and further promote cultural awareness, Brown (2007) believes teachers should be involved in developing potential PD that meets their needs, incorporates school improvement objectives that maximize all students’ potential, increases student achievement scores, and closes achievement gaps. One final facet of PD effects on teacher attitudes was noted by Usher and Pajares (2005, as noted in Ross & Bruce, 2007). They found more evidence through interviewing children that efficacy attitudes and beliefs vary among certain subgroups and that “invitations” are important sources of information (p. 59). “Invitations” are messages that teachers send to themselves and others that indicate how comfortable they feel about their teaching abilities and personal values. The researchers found that these “invitations” and “disinvitations” (i.e., negative messages about their teaching abilities) may be useful when exploring how PD influences classroom teaching behaviors (p. 59). Finally, they believe more research needs to be conducted to identify links between PD, teacher attitudes and beliefs, and self-efficacy.
  • 47 Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement Recent research conducted on teacher effectiveness revealed that relationships exist between teaching behaviors, attitudes, and academic achievement (Ross & Bruce, 2007; Darling-Hammond, 2003; Cotton, 2001; Emmer & Stough, 2001; Boynton & Boynton, 2005). To support these findings, research conducted by McCormack, Gore, and Thomas (2006) and Emmer and Stough (2001) revealed that classroom management and quality teaching were underlying foundations of student achievement. But, what constitutes quality teaching? Previous research suggests that instructional methods and classroom management strategies are important qualities of teacher effectiveness and are two of the main factors that make a difference in quality classroom teaching (McCormack, Gore, & Thomas, 2006). Additionally, Emmer and Stough (2001) purport that quality teachers possess three major qualities: positive expectations for students, superior classroom management skills, and well-prepared lessons. As a result of their research, Emmer and Stough believe that effective teachers tandemly manage their classrooms in ways that foster learning and promotes teacher mobility so they may accomplish instructional goals with all students through “group management” (p. 104). To further support instructional goals, Marzano, Marzano, and Pickering (2003) and DiPerna (2006) believe that classroom teachers tremendously effect student achievement through social skills and study skills closely connected to academics. However, teaching dynamics that produce top results are not simple. Marzano et al. (2003) believe that quality teachers perform numerous functions in their classrooms that improve student achievement scores. These functions include (a) wisely choosing the most effective pedagogies for all students, (b) designing lessons that foster student
  • 48 learning and social interaction, and (c) effectively using classroom management strategies. They further state that a “strong case” for quality instruction and good curriculum designs underlie the foundation of successful classroom management (p. 3). To further analyze classroom management strategies and curriculum designs, DiPerna (2006) adds that students’ social skills can be significant predictors of academic competence and possibly foretell performance on nationally-normed standardized tests. Good and Grouws (1977, as cited in Emmer and Stough, 2001) concluded in their research that teachers who incorporated better classroom management techniques spent less time transitioning between subjects, were cognizant of potential disruptions, and had higher achievement scores. Additionally, Emmer and Stough (2001), Boynton and Boynton (2005), and Marzano (2007) add that effective teachers establish classroom rules at the beginning of the school year, implement them consistently, take time to explain reasons for the rules, and ensure students understand them. Moreover, these researchers concur that quality teachers are fair in their judgments when enforcing rules, provide immediate feedback, and pace classroom activities to enrich learning. Finally, Pollock (2007) adds three dynamics she believes are prevalent among quality teachers: congruency between management styles and instructional goals, use of various activities to reach benchmark goals, and using differentiated instruction to match students’ learning strengths. She believes effective teachers intersect these dynamics and incorporate methodologies that complement ability levels. Ideas for Improving Student Achievement In 1902, the New York Sun editors wrote that when they attended school, students completed minimal work (Rothstein, 1998). Spelling, writing, and mathematics were
  • 49 required subjects, not electives. Today, educational changes have current New York Sun editors claiming that students must be kept entertained and can learn what they please (Rothstein, 1998). Was it meant for educational institutions to be entertaining and allow personal course selections? Maybe, but in the early 1900s The Committee of Ten questioned the purpose of education in the United States. By 1950, after much contemplation, the general consensus about education’s purpose was “to create cultural literacy and patriotism” and to “catapult the U.S. economy into its place as a world leader in trade” (Pollock, 2007, p. 10). With the vast amount of courses being offered in many American high schools to today’s students and the inception of the internet, it could be argued that entertaining students and allowing personal course selections meets these two objectives. After World War II, the baby boom significantly contributed to the growth in school-age students, which created new concerns about existing curriculum and learning targets. New curriculum, strategies, and ideas soon emerged to improve learning, student achievement, and teacher accountability. One of the first ideas to emerge was Bloom’s Taxonomy, which was formulated by 34 committee members from various colleges and universities into six progressive learning levels: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation (Pollock, 2007). As the levels progressed from Knowledge to Evaluation, students had to think more critically. The committee designed a progressive level classification system that allowed teachers to logically teach concepts on each level that built on previous levels, as well as, from underlying knowledge required for higher thinking levels. Their intention was not to classify teaching methods or to regulate materials, but to classify intended student
  • 50 behaviors, such as the way they think, act, or feel about instructional participation (Pollock, 2007). Unintentionally, the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy may have led curriculum writers to question its quality and to ask for teacher input in curriculum development. After the 1950s, the second postulated idea was curriculum development (Pollock, 2007). Its goal was for teachers to learn how to write curriculum, but Pollock states that many teachers were unsure of how to write or create quality curriculum for all students. As a result, the majority of teachers relied on textbooks and teacher’s editions as curriculum guides (Pollock, 2007). During this time, many teachers believed that using textbooks as guides would help students achieve curriculum targets and advance through Bloom’s Taxonomy levels, but this was not the case (Pollock, 2007). Once lessons were taught, tests were given to assess knowledge, and grades indicated how well they retained or knew basic information. There was rarely, if ever, a product or performance measure for critical thinking, application, or higher level learning (Pollock, 2007). Furthermore, curriculum development processes failed to include opportunities for teachers to design lessons that promoted critical or creative thinking (Pollock, 2007). Teaching higher order thinking skills, it seemed, would require extra effort and additional lessons. During the 1990s, curriculum development became overshadowed by the third new idea: content-specific or performance standards which state what students should know and be able to do (Armstrong, 2006). In efforts to strengthen cognitive domains and parallel Bloom’s Taxonomy to improve learning, hundreds of standards were written to improve student achievement in math, reading, language arts, science, social studies, fine arts, and technology (Pollock, 2007). However, Armstrong (2006) believes that increased attention on standards and academic skills decreased attention on human development
  • 51 and ultimately sabotaged student social maturity, as well as, individual growth by continuing to only measure growth and achievement through standardized testing. Are New Teachers Old School? Are today’s teachers modernized? What does effective teaching entail? Pollock (2007) believes that many teachers learned how to teach by observing their former elementary and secondary teachers throughout their school experiences. If this is true and they learned or adopted teaching methodologies from previous teachers and professors, then it could be argued that many of today’s teachers are implementing teaching habits that were prevalent during the 1950s. Pollock (2007) believes that effective teaching involves modernized thinking and creativity about teaching and learning. This belief is important for teachers who believe teaching’s foundation is “to become master teachers” instead of creating “master learners” (p. 9). Furthermore, she states that improving instruction does not necessarily mean student learning will improve. Historically, improving instruction by becoming a master teacher has been a dominant teaching approach in US educational trends that include achieving National Teacher Certification or completing advanced degrees, but the majority of these trends fail to focus on learning improvement (Pollock, 2007). To improve learning with instruction and to overshadow grade-focused classrooms, Pollock believes there are four approaches that effective teachers use to improve student achievement. They (a) implement a well designed curriculum, (b) plan for meaningful content delivery, (c) vary assessments, and (d) provide feedback that reflects objectives and not behaviors. Too often, many teachers provide feedback that aims to modify behavior and not learning objectives. Frequently, feedback is untimely and not applicable at the time it is received. Therefore, in order to
  • 52 raise student achievement scores, Pollock (2007) believes teachers should provide appropriate and timely feedback that relates to objectives, vary assessments, employ student generated rubrics, collaboratively plan with colleagues, edit lesson plans to coincide with student strengths, communicate with parents, and promote school environments that support learning. Adding to Pollock’s (2007) beliefs, Marzano (2007), DiPerna (2006), and Kennedy (2006) purport that effective teaching involves student engagement. Marzano refers to student engagement as on-task behavior related to instructional activities taking place in classrooms at any given time. However, to improve engagement, Marzano believes that students must have high energy levels. To increase student energy levels, he contends that effective teachers incorporate physical activities into lessons and pace instruction. Additionally, he claims effective teachers avoid or ignore minor interruptions and they quickly transition between subjects or activities. Moreover, he concurs with Rosenshine (1970, as cited in Marzano, 2007)) that teacher enthusiasm improves student achievement because animated behaviors arouse students and keeps them attentive. Paying attention in class necessitates that students have certain energy levels (Marzano, 2007). In fact, Jensen (1998) states that the part of the brain that involves movement is the same part that administers learning. Marzano (2007) also believes that effective teachers provide unusual statistics, mysterious information, and fun facts that motivate students to learn and heightens their desire to inquire about omitted information. Finally, DiPerna (2006) adds that effective teachers role-play scenarios that teach social skills and respect in ways that engage students in authentic learning.
  • 53 Other researchers (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; DiPerna, 2006; Miller & Pedro, 2006; Malm & Lofgren, 2006; Armstrong, 2006; Emmer & Stough, 2001) purport that effective teachers increase student achievement scores by teaching the whole child and not just standards. These researchers believe that learning is no longer an adventure and that fun has been abandoned in order to meet strict mandates and benchmarks. Armstrong (2006) directly contributes this abandonment to NCLB, which indirectly determines what happens in today’s classrooms. Armstrong feels the most destructive element about NCLB is its omission of teaching human development in conjunction with standards and accountability. As a result, he strongly asserts the new standard era unsuccessfully tries to parallel learning and action. For example, he states that a particular physical education standard places more emphasis on learning soccer vocabulary than the ability to execute soccer plays. He argues that this objective does not measure learning. Additionally, he argues that quantitative statistics from standardized measures rarely show true indications of growth. For example, a student who could not read, write his name or address, or identify nouns at the beginning of the school year was able to complete these tasks at the end of the school year. Although he learned new tasks, he received failing academic grades and scored in the 35th percentile on a standardized test. This result paints an unrealistic picture of student growth because the student was a “normative failure,” but he was an “ipsative success” (Armstrong, 2006, p. 43). In other words, the standardized test failed to measure any learning that occurred outside of the standards. NCLB and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures would probably view this student as a failure, yet learning had occurred.
  • 54 Malm and Lofgren (2006) state that the main purposes of school are to convey knowledge, support parents, and help students become responsible members of society. Furthermore, they believe that effective teachers have good social skills and teach these social skills, as well as life skills, to their students. They add that quality teachers are good classroom managers, are organized, have well planned lessons, and know their students’ strengths and weaknesses. Miller and Pedro (2006) add that quality teachers also know the school community, show respect for diversity, are good listeners, engage students in communications about feelings, offer choices, have insight into students’ personal lives, and have tremendous respect for the trials and tribulations of their students. Ironically, many of these facets are similar to assertive discipline strategies that support open lines of communication in teacher/student dyads. Many students today do not know right from wrong and need guidance in order to manage behaviors and feelings associated with parents, peers, self, teachers, and authority figures (Payne, 1998). Moreover, Payne states that students from high poverty areas have little respect for authority figures and even less trust. She adds that these students do not come to school with one personality. They are part of a family mixture, and they bring familial attitudes and beliefs to school with them every day. Furthermore, she believes that extrinsic influences outside of family units, such as the media and peers, strongly influence today’s students. Despite these influences, Payne (1998) deems that quality teachers consistently show respect, have high expectations, and are fair with all students. Additionally, they have a love for children, enjoy teaching, feel empowered in the classroom, network and collaborate with other teachers and professionals in the building, assemble community connections, and continue learning themselves. Together, Payne (1998) and Miller and
  • 55 Pedro (2006) believe these facets portray effective teaching, characterize quality teachers, play important roles in student achievement, and permeate teacher and student interactions. Theoretical Framework This study adopted a humanistic approach that combined behaviorist and cognitive approaches to teaching and learning. These included Pratt’s (2000) teaching perspective theories, Social Learning Theory, and classroom management strategies that incorporate assertive and traditional discipline tactics. In the Humanistic approach, the focus was on the here and now, intrinsically motivating students to learn, student responsibility for personal actions, and students’ power to change their attitudes and behaviors (Personality, 2004). Humanistic theorists believe that everything we do affects those around us. Therefore, it could be argued that effective teachers allow students to learn through socializing and forming relationships with other students and adults around them, while ineffective teachers simply fill students’ minds with curricular knowledge and basic skills without placing the students at the center of learning or socialization. Teaching Perspectives Pratt and Associates’ (2000) research revealed that American and international teachers do not adopt just one single teaching method or theory that defines what effective teaching is or entails. They did, however, document five teaching perspectives that potentially generate effective teaching practices and augment learning. In their research, Pratt and Collins’ data collected from over 2000 teachers world-wide revealed that 90% of those teachers had only “one or two perspectives as their dominant view of
  • 56 teaching and only marginally identify with one or two others” (Pratt, 2000, p. 1). For the scope of this paper, only three of the five perspectives they documented as having the most impact on teaching, learning, and achievement are reflected: Development Perspective, Apprenticeship Perspective, and Nurturing Perspective. The Development Perspective is based on a constructivist tenet of learning that students use preexisting knowledge to categorize and construe new information (Pratt, 2000). Basically, this means that students generate their own understandings rather than accept the teachers’ understanding of new knowledge or ideas. Effective teachers may understand that students construct their own understandings, but ineffective teachers may not understand that individual knowledge constructs conceptualize from personal experiences. The Apprenticeship Perspective derives from internship experiences completed by many teachers during their collegial studies (Pratt, 2000). Pratt believes mentors or instructors are responsible for revealing inner dynamics inherent in effective teaching and management practices. Practicing effective teaching and management strategies helps interns transition to performing rather than learning about performing. During internships, Pratt (2000) believes many novice teachers embrace their teaching mentors’ practices, which may or may not support social learning. The Apprenticeship Perspective can be linked to the Social Learning Theory because it posits that pre-service teachers progress from periphery, as novices, to the center of social roles in relationships and communities as experienced veteran teachers. As students mature, experienced teachers change teaching and learning dynamics to match students’ growth from dependent to independent learners (Pratt, 2000). Inexperienced teachers may inadvertently ignore
  • 57 student maturation or fail to identify the need to alter teaching methods or management strategies with disruptive students or with students in diverse settings. The Nurturing Perspective is grounded in the notion that hard and persistent life- long learning efforts come from the heart and not the head (Pratt, 2000). Pratt believes that students are often more productive and motivated learners when they are in environments that support failures and are fear-free. Also, he believes that students feel nurtured when their achievements are products of their own abilities and not the teacher’s abilities. Ultimately, the Nurturing Perspective derives from effective teachers cultivating student learning efforts while ineffective teachers fail to nurture learning by continuously using punitive comments or strategies that hinder learning and foster pressured environments that do not sustain learning (Pratt, 2000). Both Kohn (1999) and Pratt (2000) believe these pressured learning environments may be related to ineffective teaching methods, poor teacher attitudes, and inadequate use of classroom management strategies that impede progress and affect student achievement. Social Learning Theory (SLT) supports the idea that internal and external environments are needed to motivate student learning (Sorvick, 2007). Cameron and Sheppard (2006) add that observing reactions and modeling behaviors, attitudes, and emotions of others in our external surroundings can be learned and translated as appropriate coping and learning mechanisms. Furthermore, they believe that when students learn by observing others, they code the newly observed information as appropriate behavior and store the information for later use as socially appropriate responses. In addition to socially learned behaviors, SLT is based on the premise that
  • 58 students will achieve if they are encouraged and believe they are able achievers (Sorvick, 2007). Overall, quality teachers are supportive, positive role models that encourage student efforts and endorse student work. Ineffective teachers, however, are unsupportive and provide minimal guidance to students in learning acquisitions. When teachers use social learning approaches to classroom management, students will form relationships, build academic knowledge, and excel in social arenas (Sorvick, 2007). These approaches were important to this study because of their focus on classroom dynamics as a whole, complete student development, and student/teacher dyad communications. Got Discipline? Cotton (2001) purports that many Americans feel that school discipline is one of the most serious problems in today’s public schools, and that discipline is becoming synonymous with punishment. Since the beginning of public education, punishment has rendered many forms. Many traditional discipline strategies resembled types of corporal punishment that aimed to produce compliance to teacher’s demands. These forms of punishment are not believed to have promoted learning environments or student achievement. In fact, Canter and Canter (2001) believe that assertive discipline strategies are more conducive to promoting effective learning environments, eliciting effective classroom management strategies, and increasing student achievement scores. Assertive discipline can be a classroom management approach that allows teachers to take charge of learning environments so that students and teachers can safely and unfearfully communicate their wants, needs, and feelings to each other with out violating the rights of other students in the same learning environment (Canter & Canter, 2001). Its premise
  • 59 is focusing on current behaviors and the influences or motivations behind the behaviors. Effective teachers may take time to speak with students about their actions and use classroom management strategies for misbehavior that are age-appropriate. However, ineffective teachers may fail to listen to students’ reasons for misbehaving or neglect to identify motivations behind certain behaviors. Additionally, ineffective teachers may use punitive remarks in front of classmates that are demeaning and attack character (Kohn, 1999). Kohn believes these actions are not supportive, do not encourage student achievement or learning, and may unintentionally elicit inappropriate behavior. Summary Since the beginning of public education, classroom management, discipline, teaching ability, teacher character, and student achievement have been important school facets. To continue, classroom management has been defined by many researchers in various forms, discipline has often included harsh and inhumane practices, today’s classrooms are becoming more diverse, and student achievement has been at the fore- front of political agendas for decades. Over the years, research has shown that effective classroom management practices are linked to student achievement (Emmer & Stough, 2001; Marzano, 2007; Armstrong, 2006; Miller & Pedro, 2006). Recent research (Ross & Bruce, 2007) suggests that teachers’ attitudes and beliefs are also linked to student achievement. Maintaining or increasing student achievement scores is not an easy task. To raise achievement scores, Miller and Pedro (2006) believe teachers should use a plethora of management strategies to minimize classroom disruptions in conjunction with pedagogies that increase learning while incorporating positive attitudes. However, many
  • 60 teachers are not equipped with management strategies or pedagogies that thwart disruptions with defiant students. Many teachers continue to use ineffective discipline methods that may no longer rectify problems in diverse twenty-first century classrooms. Due to increased attention on standards and accountability, many teachers are failing to teach the whole child (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; Armstrong, 2006). Recent research (Malm & Lofgren, 2006; DiPerna, 2006) reveals that focusing on social skills and study skills, not just curriculum standards, is imperative to improving student achievement. DiPerna (2006) adds that social skills and academic confidence can be significant predictors of student achievement. As for behavior, Kohn (1999) believes that many teachers are socially misusing rewards and other incentives to regulate behavior and maintain classroom control. He argues that behaviors are controlled by rewards and are only present as long as rewards are offered. Additionally, he stresses that rewards coerce appropriate behaviors, but do not rectify inappropriate behaviors. In an effort to better handle today’s diversified student populations, current trends in discipline, classroom management, and student achievement are beginning to incorporate humanistic approaches that include communication about needs and wants, learning and understanding about culturally diverse student backgrounds, and strengthening parental involvement (Marzano, 2007). Effective teachers may have numerous strategies in their management repertoires to impede disruptions and enhance learning. There are no magical strategies that work with every student, but many researchers ultimately believe that effective teachers have a love for children, enjoy learning, have caring learning environments, show respect to students, are good listeners, have in-depth content knowledge, well-developed
  • 61 pedagogies, busy classrooms, know their students’ strengths and weaknesses, have positive attitudes, and communicate well with all stakeholders (Payne, 1998; Pollock, 2007; Marzano, 2007; Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; DiPerna, 2006; Emmer & Stough, 2001). These characteristics describe quality teachers and the common practices believed to be linked to student achievement. No matter how many commonalities are shared among effective teachers, in today’s fast-paced classroom environments teachers are “still at the mercy of unreliable circumstances that affect the quality of their teaching” (Kennedy, 2006, p. 19). Office interruptions, paperwork demands, classroom visitors, unexpected questioning, and highly interested students wanting further explanations sometimes lead to unforeseen disruptions that teachers can enhance. Kennedy (2006) believes that effective teachers take unanticipated questions and creates learning experiences that heightens curiosity and possibly increases academic motivation. In the end, Eisner (2005) believes that the overall mission for schools is to serve students through methodologies that are holistic in nature. He views students as whole organisms that are interconnected, not just a composition of independent parts. By connecting these parts, effective teachers get results by getting to what matters. Finally, to reach optimal learning potential and improve student achievement beyond expected ranges, perhaps Jean Piaget defined the ultimate purpose of education when he said, “The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done” (Eisner, 2005, p. 16). Effective teachers do not travel beaten paths. They take the roads less traveled.
  • 62 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY Introduction Researchers have discovered that many novice teachers, and some veteran teachers, admit they lack effective classroom management skills and student motivation tactics that endorse learning (Darling-Hammond, 2003; Malm & Lofgren, 2006). Additionally, Boynton and Boynton (2005) believe that ineffective classroom management skills can waste instructional time, reduce time-on-task, and interrupt learning environments. To teach effectively, Darling-Hammond (2003) believes that teachers must be well prepared and properly trained in classroom dynamics, such as classroom management and pedagogy, to strongly impact student achievement scores. Using quantitative and qualitative data, results from this study revealed that certain classroom management strategies affect student achievement scores. This study also revealed that teachers in diverse elementary settings possess attitudes and beliefs that significantly vary from their actual teaching practices. Finally, this study’s emic and etic perspectives provided teachers with real-time data that may help them analyze, evaluate, and adjust their attitudes, beliefs, classroom practices, and pedagogies. Statement of the Problem It is not known how and to what extent classroom management strategies and teacher attitudes affect student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. Additionally, the potential impact of teaching methodologies is unclear. Teaching methodologies, attitudes, beliefs, and classroom management strategies vary from teacher
  • 63 to teacher and grade level to grade level. Due to these variations, classroom management strategies and teaching methodologies that best promotes student achievement in diverse elementary settings is not known. To better understand impacts on student achievement in diverse settings, standardized test data, from the 2007-2008 ITBS, was analyzed to provide a portrait of the teacher and her students’ academic achievement. This data was further evaluated by analyzing each participant’s summative ITBS report. Analyzing and evaluating these reports helped identify teachers with the highest student achievement scores and above grade-level percentiles. Ironically, this study found that one teacher with high summative scores was implementing poor classroom management strategies. Understanding the connection between classroom management, teacher attitudes, and student achievement scores was important to this study because it solidified a need for quality teaching and classroom management practices to increase student achievement. An investigation was needed to determine whether relationships existed between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores and if relationships existed between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and actual classroom practices in diverse elementary settings. Determining these relationships was essential to improving student achievement and learning for all students. But, in order to improve student achievement and close academic achievement gaps among minority students, classroom management strategies and teaching practices that increase student achievement needed to be identified.
  • 64 Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to determine whether or not classroom management strategies affected student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings and (b) to determine if teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities matched their actual classroom teaching practices. Theoretically, this study provides data that links effective classroom management strategies to student achievement scores, as well as, reveals dissonance between personal teaching beliefs and actual teaching practices. The findings of this study may allow administrators to formulate data driven decisions about professional development that potentially improves classroom management skills and instruction that increases student achievement or augments learning. The research questions formulated for this study were: 1. What is the relationship, if any, between classroom management strategies and higher student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings? 2. What is the relationship, if any, between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their abilities and actual classroom practices in diverse elementary settings? Design of the Study This study was conducted as a mixed method research design using quantitative and ethnographic data, a type of qualitative research. This was the most appropriate design to use for this study because it included standardized test data, teacher observations, and beliefs inventories that were statistically analyzed. Mixed methods were important to this study because they presented stronger evidence that confirmed results and allowed the researcher to use the strengths of one method to cancel out
  • 65 weaknesses inherent in the other method. To support this design, Creswell (2003) believes mixed method research is a methodology in which investigators base knowledge claims on realistic grounds. Mixed method research includes inquiry strategies that involve gathering data consecutively and simultaneously. Additionally, Johnson and Christenson (2004) believe that implementing mixed method research allows researchers to gather multiple data in a way that combines results to have complementing advantages and no overlapping disadvantages. This way, the study is credible, less questionable, and minimizes mistakes. Researchers who choose to conduct mixed method research may choose from two models (a) Mixed Method Research and (b) Mixed Model Research (Johnson & Christenson, 2004). Johnson and Christenson state that Mixed Method Research describes research investigations that incorporate quantitative methods in one phase of the study and qualitative methods in another phase of the study. In general, quantitative and qualitative studies are conducted concurrently to address the subject. Data may be collected through observations, surveys, interviews, case studies, and experiments. After data is collected, researchers analyze and record the findings from both quantitative and qualitative paradigms. Since both paradigms are used to collect data, findings are more likely to be correct and resemble the study’s hypotheses (Johnson & Christenson, 2004). Mixed Model Research, on the other hand, is conducted when researchers use qualitative and quantitative methods within certain stages or across stages during the study. Johnson and Christenson (2004) believe Mixed Model Research has three phases: Objectives, Data, and Interpretations. In the Objectives phase, quantitative objectives are predicted, described, and explained while qualitative objectives are discovered and then
  • 66 described. In the data phase, quantitative data is primarily numerical while qualitative data is represented in images or narratives. In the Interpretations phase, data is analyzed and interpretations are examined. Quantitative analyses are statistical, while qualitative analyses examine patterns through images or narratives. These multiple data collection formats provide different perspectives of the research topic and enables researchers to better understand effects on variables and research subjects. Included in this study’s mixed method research design were quantitative test data and ethnographic perspectives. Ethnographic study perspectives rely heavily on patterns, “up close, personal experience, and possible participation, not just observation, by researchers” in a setting, culture, organization, or community (Genzuk, 2003, p. 2; Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2003). Ethnographic perspectives can be (a) emic or (b) etic. Emic perspectives interpret the way members of certain groups perceive their world and are considered to be ethnography’s main premise. The etic perspective describes how outsiders perceive or interpret behavior in certain cultures or settings. This study assumed both etic and emic perspectives because teachers were asked to complete beliefs inventories about their teaching attitudes, beliefs, practices, and classroom management skills (emic), while observations were conducted to interpret classroom teaching behaviors (etic). Etic perspectives were especially important to this study because teachers were observed implementing non-experimental classroom management strategies in their classrooms for the purpose of coding teaching behaviors and practices in real time. Overall, by using individual observations and beliefs inventories, both perspectives helped determine if there were positive correlations or relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and actual teaching practices.
  • 67 Finally, quantitative test data helped identify relationships between classroom management strategies and high student achievement scores. Population The population for this study included five third grade teachers and five fifth grade teachers from two Georgia suburban elementary public schools representing 270 students. All third and fifth grade teachers’ 2007-2008 Summative ITBS Report Sheets (SIRS) were analyzed for grade equivalent scores. Based on their overall grade equivalent scores, teachers were ranked from highest achieving class to lowest achieving class. The participating schools for this study were selected because of their unique representation of the district’s cultural diversity that includes high percentages of disadvantaged students, English Language Learners (ELL), Black, Asian, and Hispanic students. Plus, the district reports third and fifth grade test scores in local newspapers with percentiles or grade equivalents to show exact growth. Since the ITBS is a nationally-normed referenced test it was believed the results were true indications of student achievement in these settings. Instrumentation ITBS Summative Reports Armstrong (2006) purports that increased awareness of high-stakes testing across America has heightened consciousness of nationally-normed reference tests such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and how American students compare to foreign students in reading, math, and science content areas on standardized tests. He believes the main
  • 68 purpose for using standardized achievement tests with elementary students is to provide teachers with specific information about each student and the entire class for purposes of improving instructional planning. When administered correctly, standardized tests can be useful complements “to teacher observations about what students are able to do, and they can provide a starting point for monitoring year-to-year student development” (Iowa, 2007, p. 1). When ITBS scores are returned to schools and teachers, summative teacher report sheets, or Class Summary sheets, are usually included that provide an over view of the class’s performance as a whole. The summary sheets provide grade equivalent (GE) scores that represent class growth as one holistic unit and give teachers an idea of how their classes are progressing. The GE is a “decimal number that describes performance in grade level and months” (Iowa, 2007, p. 1). For example, a third grader with a 4.5 GE means that the third grader scored where a typical student finishing the fifth month of the fourth grade would have scored on the same test at the same time. For the most part, GE’s are helpful for calculating individual student growth from one school year to the next, monitoring student achievement, and assessing a class’s achievement growth. Observations as Pertinent Data Current classroom management strategies being used by participants to control classroom behavior and facilitate instruction may offer real-time data that defines and describes teacher effectiveness. Knowing which strategies are used by effective and ineffective teachers can possibly help identify links to student achievement scores and provide ideas for potential professional development to administrators who employ teachers that need improvement in classroom management. In classroom settings,
  • 69 management strategies may be the most readily available constructs that identify effective and ineffective teachers and can easily be detected through observations (Beach & Reinhartz, 2000). Beach and Reinhartz (2000) believe the primary goal of observations is to collect pertinent data about classroom procedures, teachers, or specific teaching episodes. Since classrooms and teachers vary, Beach and Reinhartz suggest that researchers follow five general guidelines when observing teachers and their classroom environments. First, “focus on student behavior” (p. 160). Focusing on student behavior is imperative because it reveals much about how teachers interact with students and maintain order. Second, to better understand classroom dynamics, they suggest limiting the number of observed instructional variables. A few instructional variables they suggests using during observations are on-task or off-task behavior, subject transitions, pacing, class climate, student attitudes towards activities, and teacher-student interactions. Third, refrain from disturbing natural classroom settings. Manatt (1981, as cited in Beach and Reinhartz, 2000) believes that visitors can impact classroom routines and the quality of instruction. He believes observers must be as unobtrusive as possible and blend with the setting so that natural instruction and behaviors can occur. Fourth, observers must take clear and accurate notes about the observations, not solely rely on memory for recall. Using symbols and invented shorthand phrases helps facilitate note taking and minimizes writing during observations (Beach & Reinhartz, 2000). Finally, analyze data collected during observations. While analyzing data, look for patterns, correlations, and inconsistencies in teacher or student behaviors. The data can help answer questions such as “What are the reoccurring teacher patterns and behaviors? What classroom
  • 70 management strategies are used in high achieving classrooms? How do teachers with high GE’s involve all students?” Beach and Reinhartz (2000) believe classroom observations should follow strict guidelines and that they are complex tasks easily influenced by the researcher’s past experiences and attitudes. They add that it is even more difficult not to add personal interpretations of classroom incidences. Adding to Beach and Reinhartzs’ (2000) observation guideline beliefs, Doyle (1986) also offers several reminders for researchers who are conducting observations. First, remember that classrooms are multi-dimensional with various tasks occurring simultaneously. Next, be mindful that classroom activities can move at rapid paces while students are actively engaged in learning. Finally, classrooms are spontaneous, unpredictable, and have developed behavior norms based on students’ history together. Although conscious efforts can be made to remember these characteristics, researchers are reminded to refrain from personal biases that can influence or skew observational data (Beach & Reinhartz, 2000). Evertson and Emmer (1990, as cited in Wolfgang, 2001) found in their most recent observation study of 27 self-contained third-grade classrooms that considerable differences existed between effective teachers and ineffective teachers in classroom management strategies. This was evident in student achievement scores, on-task behavior, and the way student disruptions were handled during instruction. Observations conducted for this study measured behavior areas that Evertson and Emmer contributed to effective teaching practices. These included, but were not limited to, student use of classroom and personal space, readily available supplies, positive teacher and student interactions, noise levels, teacher praise, proximity control, using higher level questioning
  • 71 techniques, handling student disruptions in timely manners, having assignments ready for students who finish work early, common area rules such as playground procedures and bathroom break behavior, lunchroom expectations, teacher preparedness for whole-class activities or small and large group transitions, office interruptions, fire drills, and other emergency preparedness procedures. Although observations have strengths and weaknesses, they were an asset to this study and its results. They were an asset to this study because they allowed the researcher to collect and compare observation data to participants’ responses on their Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control (ABCC) inventories that were administered before observations began. After observation data was collected, their inventory responses were disaggregated to help determine if there were positive correlations or relationships between their attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their observed classroom teaching practices. Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control (ABCC) Inventory Martin, Yin, and Baldwin (1998) believe that classroom management and discipline are not synonymous. They refer to discipline as “structures and rules describing the expected behavior of students and the efforts to ensure that students comply with those rules” (p. 6). They define classroom management as a broader term that encompasses teacher efforts to oversee classroom activities that include “learning, social interaction, and student behavior” (p. 6). Although they believe that observations are excellent formats for collecting data regarding classroom management strategies, they believe that other formats can be used to provide evidence that relationships exist between teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and teaching behaviors. In this study, it was
  • 72 reasonable to believe that connections possibly existed between management styles and student achievement scores, but was it reasonable to believe that relationships existed between teaching attitudes or beliefs and actual teaching practices? The ABCC Inventory was used to help determine these relationships. The ABCC Inventory used for this study consisted of 26 items that measured teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their classroom management styles. The instrument measured three dimensions of management: Instructional Management, People Management, and Behavior Management. Instructional Management items were measured with 14 statements that reflect how seatwork is monitored, how daily routines are structured, and how materials are allocated. People Management items were measured with eight statements that pertain to teacher beliefs about students as people and how teachers develop teacher-student relationships. Behavior Management items were measured with four statements that focused on pre-planned strategies that prevent behaviors rather than how teachers react to behaviors. This includes setting rules, implementing reward systems, and allowing student input. On this instrument, teachers used a 4-point Likert scale to determine how each statement best described their classroom management attitudes, beliefs, and practices. The number 1 indicated the statement describes me not at all, the number 2 indicated the statement describes me somewhat, the number 3 indicated the statement describes me usually, and the number 4 indicated the statement describes me very well (Martin, Yin, & Baldwin, 1998). This instrument was important to this study for two reasons: (a) it was used to help determine if teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about teaching matched their
  • 73 actual classroom practices and (b) it helped measure teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about classroom management. ABCC Inventory Validity Martin, Yin and Baldwin’s (1998) original ABCC Inventory instrument included 48 items. To investigate and determine the instrument’s validity, the researchers conducted a field test and completed five analytical strategies. First, an “exploratory factor analysis was conducted to assess the structural validity of the proposed classroom management style” (Martin, Yin, & Baldwin, p. 9). Initially, items with Eigen values greater than 1.00 needed to be determined. Once the items were determined, they were further analyzed using “unweighted least-square extraction with orthogonal rotation” to further define factor dimensions (p. 9). The items with eigen values greater than 1.00 and a factor loading of .35 or higher were retained for more analysis. Second, internal consistency of the items was computed using Cronbach’s coefficient alpha with scores based on gender and teaching level. An item was considered to be acceptable if its coefficient alpha was .60 or higher. Third, item analyses were conducted to determine the contributions of each item “to the internal consistency of the inventor” (p. 9). All the items needed to demonstrate a “minimum positive inter-item correlation” (p. 9). Fourth, adjustment item correlations were calculated by “correlating the score of each item with the total score of each sub-scale not including the item itself” (p. 9). If the item’s correlation coefficient was .20 or higher, it was accepted and considered to be of statistical importance to the instrument’s validity. Finally, “concurrent validity coefficients were obtained by calculating product-moment correlations between the three dimensional scores” and the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (PFQ) subscale scores
  • 74 (p. 9). The Statistics Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to conduct proposed analyses. To further validate the ABCC Inventory, sub-scales of the 16 PFQ Form A were selected to describe personality traits connected to teacher behaviors in classroom settings. The 16 PFQ included 170 items that measured 16 personality dimensions that were quantified by a standard ten (STEN) score. Not all dimensions were needed for the ABCC Inventory; therefore, only six personality factors were used for validation. These six subscales were considerably related to the three ABCC Inventory subscales. The relation between the two sets of subscales supports the instrument’s concurrent validity. Data Collection Research approval was sought from one suburban Georgia public school district to conduct this study at two specific elementary schools. Once district approval was received, 2007-2008 Summative ITBS Report Sheets for 10 third grade teachers and nine fifth grade teachers from the two elementary schools were obtained from participating principals and analyzed. Using these report sheets, grade equivalent scores were used to rank teachers from highest achieving class to lowest achieving class, and then teachers were assigned individual alphabetical letters to ensure anonymity. After teachers were ranked and assigned alphabetical letters, the researcher placed packets in teachers’ school mailboxes that contained pertinent research documents and formal letters that invited teachers to participate in this study. Initially, the packets contained a cover letter explaining the importance of the study, an ABCC Inventory, directions for completing the ABCC Inventory, the district’s voluntary Teacher Participation Consent Form to be signed, a self-addressed stamped envelope for mailing documents back to the researcher,
  • 75 and the capital letter that identified each participant only to the researcher adhered to all documents and envelopes. Teachers who agreed to participate in this study signed consent forms, completed the ABCC Inventory, which took approximately 15 minutes, and then mailed both documents to the researcher. After the researcher received the consent forms and the inventories, the participants were observed by the researcher one time for an hour during a school day. Observation dates and times were not disclosed to participants; however, observations did not interfere with learning and did not span more than two weeks. During observation times, classroom management strategies that included student-teacher interactions, communication, on-task and off-task behavior, behavior management strategies, subject transitions, class environment, subject knowledge, delivery of subject content, and student autonomy were observed. Data collected from the observations were recorded using the Observation Checklist. Ultimately, the way teachers interacted with students and managed their classrooms was recorded on their checklists. Strategies and interactions varied; therefore, it was imperative for the researcher to note any and all interactions between students and teachers, including tone of voice, body language, and hand gestures. Two weeks after initial distribution of the research packets, the researcher delivered reminder notices to teachers who had not completed and returned their consent forms or inventories to kindly complete the documents and return them to the researcher in the provided envelope as soon as possible. Thank you notes were mailed to teachers who had completed and returned both documents. To compensate for lost or misplaced packets or forms, a phone number and email address was included in reminder notices for
  • 76 teachers to use as contact information in case they needed to request additional packets or documents. All data collection was completed within six weeks of initial distribution of the research packets. Data Analysis Data from the ITBS Summative sheets, ABCC Inventories, and Observation Checklists were analyzed for positive correlations and relationships between classroom management strategies, student achievement scores, teacher attitudes and beliefs about teaching, and actual teaching practices in diverse elementary settings. Using the SPSS program and MiniTab, data were interpreted through scattergrams to express positive correlation coefficient relationships between the first independent variable and the dependent variable using an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Next, relationships between the two independent variables were identified using a Two-Way t test. Minimal linear, positive relationships between the variables were discovered; however, if non- linear negative correlations had been presented, a correlation ratio (eta) would have been computed to provide a more accurate index of the variables. Furthermore, if non-linear correlations had been present, a multiple regression analysis would have been used to determine correlations between the two independent variables and the dependent variable. Overall, multiple correlation coefficients were needed to measure relational magnitudes between the two independent variables in addition to the first independent variable and the dependent variable. GE results were quantitative and helped identify positive correlations between classroom management strategies, as observed on
  • 77 Observation Checklists, and student achievement scores. To determine the frequency use of certain behaviors during observations, checklist results were qualitative using a rating scale of 0 - 2 (0 = none, 1 = some, 2 = extensive). Finally, the ABCC Inventory’s results were also qualitative and helped identify positive correlations between participants’ teaching attitudes and beliefs and their actual classroom practices. Ethical Considerations Solicited participants were given the option to voluntarily participate in this study that included observations and completing an ABCC Inventory. Only the participants who agreed to participate in both segments were used in this research study. In addition, safe guards to participant privacy were assured by anonymously assigning each teacher an alphabetical letter that is known only to the researcher. Teacher’s consent to participate was achieved by them signing district generated consent forms. Participants were able to withdraw from the research study without penalty or any repercussions for choosing to no longer participate. If at any time participants felt threatened, they could have withdrawn from the study without further explanation or coercion from other participants, administrators, district personnel, or the researcher.
  • 78 CHAPTER 4: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA Introduction Popular belief among many administrators, teachers, and parents is that a quality education depends on curriculum content, school programs that support and enrich curricula implementation, and the quality of teaching occurring in classrooms (McCormack, Gore, & Thomas, 2006). However, many teachers are entering classrooms without in-depth content knowledge, poor classroom management strategies, negative attitudes, and minimal skills to thwart disruptive behavior that impedes learning and minimizes student achievement (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; Boynton & Boynton, 2005; Mahon, 2006). Therefore, improving teacher quality in America’s public schools has become a growing dilemma perplexing citizens, politicians, administrators, parents, and teachers (Armstrong, 2006). To complicate this dilemma, monitoring student achievement using high-stakes testing has intensified demands on teachers to increase test scores and improve learning (Armstrong, 2006). These demands are better facilitated by some teachers to augment student growth and manage classrooms than by many of their colleagues. However, all teachers need to know how to improve student achievement. To improve student achievement, Ross and Bruce (2007) believe there needs to be a better understanding of relationships between classroom management strategies, teacher attitudes, and student achievement scores. In this chapter, data is presented that confirms relationships exist between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. More specifically, this chapter presents results
  • 79 acquired during data collections sequentially by research question. The first section of this chapter provides demographic data for third grade and fifth grade cohorts. Next, an overview of the Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control (ABCC) Inventory is presented along with correlations between its responses and observation data. This chapter concludes with explanations of the hypotheses and statistical data associated with each research question. Using statistical data, the goals of this study were to identify relationships between classroom management strategies, achievement scores, teacher attitudes, beliefs, and actual teaching practices in diverse elementary settings. Restatement of the Problem It is not known how and to what extent classroom management strategies and teacher attitudes affect student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. Kohn (1999) purports that classroom management may be linked to student achievement because managing styles are reflected in teacher behaviors and performances, are related to teacher stress, and procure learning. As mentioned earlier, a survey conducted in 2000 by Parsad, Lewis and Farris revealed that only 45% of teachers they surveyed felt well prepared in classroom management strategies, but a 1999 survey conducted by the NCES revealed that 71% of teachers they surveyed felt well prepared in classroom management strategies. The 26% reduction in teacher efficacy can be interpreted to mean that many teachers may need professional development in classroom management strategies to minimize student disruptions, effectively handle discipline problems, and foster student achievement.
  • 80 Many of today’s teachers have not received appropriate training in classroom management tactics or discipline strategies (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006). Cameron and Sheppard purport that many teachers may not be aware of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the classroom management strategies they implement in their classrooms. In fact, the researchers believe that some classroom management strategies may encourage unwanted behaviors. This is especially true for students who have no interest in learning curriculum and for those who do not want to be at school. Many times, these students may be disruptive and interrupt critical instructional time. When disciplining students who are unmotivated and uninterested, many teachers use positive reinforcements or rewards to temporarily cease unwanted behaviors (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; Kohn, 1999). When reinforcing behavior, Kohn (1999) believes teachers should stop rewarding appropriate behavior with tangible, extrinsic rewards and move towards “social rewards” such as smiles or nods to emit personal value and self- confidence (p. 31). He continues to stress that punitive, demeaning responses never help students become better people. Furthermore, he strongly concurs with Skinner’s argument (as presented in Kohn, 1999) that when teachers punish students for misbehaving, they are only focusing on negative behaviors and not reflecting on positive behaviors that can replace negative behaviors. Reflecting on positive behaviors and communicating about what students should be doing is a tenet of assertive discipline (Canter & Canter, 2001). Canter and Canter believe that assertive discipline is an effective practice for teachers because it helps identify motivations behind inappropriate behaviors that occur at that moment without focusing on past behaviors. However, Kohn (1999) opposes assertive discipline and
  • 81 argues that it attributes all classroom problems to students, bases punishment on their “choices,” and places no demand on teachers to change or review their discipline methods (p. 165). Additionally, he states that guidance towards appropriate behaviors and reasoning about misbehavior is often omitted from discipline discussions, if they occur. For these reasons, Kohn (1999) believes that discipline and punishment provoke resentment and defiance, which can ultimately lead to rebellious behavior, lost instructional time, and lower student achievement scores. Research Questions This study was designed to answer two research questions regarding classroom management strategies, student achievement scores, and teacher attitudes: 1. What is the relationship, if any, between classroom management strategies and higher student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings? 2. What is the relationship, if any, between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their abilities and actual classroom practices in diverse elementary settings? Cohort Demographic Data This study began by distributing packets to 10 third grade teachers and nine fifth grade teachers in two Georgia suburban public elementary schools identified as School X and School Y. Of the 19 teachers, five third grade teachers and five fifth grade teachers agreed to participate in this study. To simplify cohort identification, both Cohorts include teachers from each school. Essentially, Cohort 3 represents third grade teachers from both
  • 82 schools and Cohort 5 represents fifth grade teachers from both schools with 100% female participants. Thirty percent of the teaching participants were Black and 70% were White. Cohort 3 was comprised of four third grade teachers from School X and one third grade teacher from School Y. Cohort 5 was comprised of three fifth grade teachers from School X and two fifth grade teachers from School Y. Combined, there was a total of seven School X participants representing 185 students and a total of three School Y participants representing 85 students for a total of 270 students. Table 1 presents demographic data for participating schools. Table 1. Demographic Data for Participating Schools _____________________________________________________________________________________ School Identification Number of Students Represented School X 185 School Y 85 Total Number of students 270 Total Number of Students Represented by Cohort 3 136 Total Number of Students Represented by Cohort 5 134 Cohort Demographics Student ethnicity for Cohort 3 consisted of 78% (n = 106) Black, 7% (n = 9) Hispanic, with 40% identified as English Language Learners (ELL), 4% (n = 6) Asian, and 11% (n = 15) White. Table 2 presents demographic data for Cohort 3 participants.
  • 83 Table 2. Cohort 3 Demographics ________________________________________________________________________ Total # of Teacher # of School # of School Student Teachers Ethnicity X Teachers Y Teachers Ethnicity 5 60% White 4 1 78% Black 40% Black 7% Hispanic 4% Asian 11% White Student ethnicity for Cohort 5 consisted of 75% (n = 101) Black, 10% (n = 13) Hispanic, with 50% identified as ELL, 3% (n = 4) Asian, and 12% (n = 16) White. Table 3 presents demographic data for Cohort 5 participants. Table 3. Cohort 5 Demographics Total # of Teacher # of School # of School Student Teachers Ethnicity X Teachers Y Teachers Ethnicity______________ 5 80% White 3 2 75% Black 20% Black 10% Hispanic 3% Asian 12% White Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control Inventory Overview The ABCC Inventory (Appendix B) used in this study consisted of 26 items that measured teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their classroom management styles and teaching practices. This instrument measured three dimensions of management: Instructional Management, People Management, and Behavior Management. Instructional Management items were measured with 14 statements that reflect how seatwork is monitored, how daily routines are structured, and how materials are allocated. People Management items were measured with eight statements that pertain to teacher
  • 84 beliefs about students as people and how teachers develop teacher-student relationships. Behavior Management items were measured with four statements that focus on pre- planned strategies that prevent negative behaviors rather than how teachers react to the behaviors. These include setting rules, implementing reward systems, and allowing student input. On this instrument, teachers used a 4-point Likert Scale to determine how each statement best describes their classroom management beliefs and practices. The number 1 indicated the item describes me not at all, the number 2 indicated the statement describes me somewhat, the number 3 indicated the statement describes me usually, and the number 4 indicated the statement describes me very well (Martin, Yin, & Baldwin, 1998). The ABCC Inventory was important to this study for two reasons: (a) it helped determine if teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities matched their actual classroom practices and (b) it helped measure teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about classroom management. Statistical Overview of Research Question 1 In this study, for classes to be considered on grade level and for teachers to be recognized for increasing student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings, their composite GE scores on the 2007 Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) needed to be equivalent to 3.2 or higher for Cohort 3 teachers and 5.2 or higher for Cohort 5 teachers. Each teacher’s Class Summary document (Appendix A) was analyzed for an overall composite GE score. To answer this research question, their GE scores were placed in numerical order from highest achieving classroom teacher to lowest achieving classroom
  • 85 teacher. Then, classroom observations were conducted using the Observation Checklist (Appendix C) to find correlations between high achievement scores and classroom management strategies that Evertson and Emmer (1990) and Beach and Reinhartz (2000) consider being the most effective when trying to increase student achievement scores. The first research question asked, “What is the relationship, if any, between classroom management strategies and higher student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings?” To address this question, the study tested these hypotheses: (a) There is a relationship between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores, (b) Effective classroom managers teach cognitive skills that reflect students from all cultures and varying skill levels, and (c) Effective classroom managers implement similar classroom management strategies that promote student achievement. Table 4 presents data results obtained from teacher observation checklists and each behavior’s significant probability effect on student achievement scores. Effects were calculated using a One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Table 4. Analysis of Variance for Observation Checklists _______________________________________________________________ Source SS df MS f Sig. Proximity Control 0.23049 1 0.230492 0.24 0.642 Teacher Praise 2.12203 1 2.12203 3.28 0.120 Teacher Pos. Att. 4.20168 1 4.20168 14.02 0.010 Supplies Ready 1.72101 1 1.72101 2.41 0.171 Student Attention 0.84034 1 0.840336 0.98 0.361 Various Learners 1.42017 1 1.42017 1.86 0.222 Finish Early 1.42017 1 1.42017 1.86 0.222 Noise Level Calm 0.84034 1 0.840336 0.98 0.361 Pos. Int. Btw T/S 1.72101 1 1.72101 2.41 0.171 Class Climate 0.96807 1 0.968067 1.15 0.324 Common Areas 0.96807 1 0.968067 1.15 0.324 Student disruptions 0.84034 1 0.840336 0.98 0.361 Higher Order Thinking 0.51050 1 0.510504 0.56 0.483 Skills
  • 86 In Table 4, the significance between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores was tested at the .10 significance level for the observed behavior areas. Since the probability level of .10 was used for statistical tests, the proximity control significance (p < 0.642) indicates there is little to no positive relationship between proximity control and higher student achievement scores. Using higher order thinking skills (p < 0.483) during instruction also showed little to no positive relationship to higher student achievement scores. However, teacher praise showed a more positive relationship (p < 0.120) towards increasing student achievement scores since the p-value is closer to 0.10, and there was almost a statistically perfect correlation (p < 0.010) between teacher positive attitudes and student achievement. Having supplies readily available and positive interactions between teachers and students shared the same slight significance (p < 0.171) towards student achievement scores. Having all students’ attention before beginning lessons, calm or low noise levels before beginning instruction, and student disruptions being handled in a timely manner showed little to no significance (p < 0.361) on student achievement scores. Teachers who called on various learners and had students who knew what to do when they finished their work also had little to no significance (p < 0.222) on student achievement scores. As a result of these correlations and results close to the 0.10 p-value, it was shown that 16 observed behaviors had little to no correlational value on student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. (See Appendix D for plot graphs of each behavior area.) Although these scores do not prove to be statistically significant to increasing student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings, they are close enough to the p-value (p < 0.10) to indicate that there was a
  • 87 positive trend and possible slight effect on achievement scores, but more data is needed to verify correlational significance. In this study, there were only two observed classroom management behavior areas with almost statistically perfect correlations to higher student achievement scores: (a) Teacher Praise and (b) Teacher Positive Attitudes. Also, there were several classroom management behaviors from the Observation Checklist that had little to no positive correlations with high student achievement scores. These behaviors included students on task, students understanding directions, class rules posted, use of rewards systems, classroom procedures being followed, good use of personal space, smooth subject transitions, stating the lesson’s objective before teaching the lesson, using classroom leaders, use of hand signals, implementing morning routines, age-appropriate learning tasks, pacing subject delivery, teacher voice tone, teacher showing respect for students, use of hand gestures while teaching, student positive attitudes, and organized classrooms. Even though these behavior areas had no positive correlational value with high student achievement scores, it should be noted that these behaviors showed no negative correlations with higher student achievement scores in diverse elementary classrooms. Simply, there were no statistical significances measured between these behaviors and higher student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. As a result, the null hypothesis is that 29 of the 31 observed classroom management behaviors had little to no relationship with higher student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. Addressing the second hypothesis, only 20% of the teachers used cognitive skills that reflect students from all cultures and varying skill levels. Finally, addressing the third hypothesis, effective classroom managers implemented similar classroom management
  • 88 strategies that were statistically proven in this study to be correlated with higher student achievement scores. Management Behaviors Chosen By Top Teachers Teachers’ Class Summary documents were analyzed to see if those with high GE scores were using classroom management strategies shown in this study to have positive correlations with high student achievement scores. As mentioned earlier, having high achievement scores means that teachers with summative grade equivalents (GE) of 3.2 or higher in Cohort 3 and 5.2 or higher in Cohort 5 have students performing at or above grade level and were on target to have higher achievement test scores. In Cohort 3, the highest GE was 3.3, above the minimum 3.2, and the second highest was 3.1, below the minimum 3.2. The teacher with the 3.3 GE extensively used 75% of the behaviors in this study that showed slight positive correlations with high student achievement scores. The teacher with the 3.1 GE extensively used only 58% of the behaviors in this study that showed slight positive correlations with high student achievement scores even though her GE score was below grade level and would not be considered a high student achievement GE. To further support these findings, the Cohort 3 teacher with the lowest GE of 2.5 extensively used only 33% of the behaviors in this study that showed slight positive correlations with high student achievement scores and neither of the strategies that statistically showed almost perfect positive correlations with higher achievement scores. In Cohort 5, the highest GE was 5.4 and the second highest GE was 5.3, both above the minimum of 5.2. The teacher with the 5.4 GE extensively used 100% of the
  • 89 classroom management behaviors in this study that showed almost perfect positive correlations with high student achievement scores and 81% of the behaviors in this study that showed slight positive correlations with high student achievement scores. The teacher with the 5.3 GE extensively used 69% of the behaviors in this study that showed almost perfect correlations with high student achievement scores and only 50% of the behaviors in this study that showed slight positive correlations with high student achievement scores. Based on these findings, it can be concluded that if teachers implement behaviors that showed almost perfect positive correlations with student achievement in this study, then student achievement scores will increase. To further support the findings, the Cohort 5 teacher with the lowest GE of 4.3 extensively used none of the observable behaviors in this study that showed positive correlations with high student achievement scores. As a result of these findings, it was concluded that there is a relationship between classroom management strategies and higher student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. Statistical Overview of Research Question 2 The second research question addressed by this study was, “What is the relationship, if any, between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their abilities and actual classroom practices in diverse elementary settings?” This question tested two hypotheses: (a) Teachers are confident about their teaching practices with diverse students and (b) Teachers’ personal beliefs about their teaching abilities match their actual teaching practices. At the beginning of the study, teachers completed an ABCC Inventory (Appendix B). Once inventories were received by the researcher, the teachers were
  • 90 observed teaching. After observation data was compiled, inventory responses and Observation Checklist data were analyzed and compared. Initially, it was hypothesized that teachers’ responses on their ABCC Inventories would match the data recorded during classroom observations. Observation Checklists (Appendix C) were used to calculate the implementation frequency of each observable behavior. Overall, twenty-five of 32 behaviors listed on the Observation Checklist correlated to 26 behaviors listed in one of three management sections on the ABCC Inventory: People Management, Behavior Management, or Instructional Management. People Management contains eight items, Behavior Management contains four items, and Instructional Management contains 14 items that help teachers rate their attitudes and beliefs about their teaching practices. Given these ABCC subscales, 78% of the behaviors on the Observation Checklist correlated to one of the three ABCC Inventory sections. However, only four items correlated to People Management, seven correlated to Behavior Management, and 21 correlated to Instructional Management items. There were some variations between the numbers of items in each instrument’s management section; however, as mentioned earlier, not all of the items on the Observation Checklist were comparable to one of the management sections on the ABCC Inventory. Specifically, seven of the 32 (22%) observable behaviors on the Observation Checklist did not correlate to one of the management sections on the ABCC Inventory. After analyzing teachers’ responses on their ABCC Inventories, 70% indicated that Instructional Management practices were their strengths, 20% indicated that Behavior Management practices were their strengths, and 10% indicated that People Management practices were their strengths. Interestingly, according to the observational
  • 91 data, Instructional Management practices were strengths in 90% of the teachers, Behavior Management practices were strengths in 10% of the teachers, and no teachers showed strengths in People Management, but all the teachers exhibited practices in each management section during observations. The Observation Checklist used in this study included a rating scale. The rating scale was used to identify the frequency in which teachers implemented behaviors on the checklist. The rating scale included a “0” for behaviors not observed (none), a “1” for behaviors observed some, and a “2” for behaviors observed extensively. To answer question two, a two-sample t test was conducted with a constant interval to determine correlations between observed behaviors and the teachers’ responses on ABCC Inventories. Table 5 shows correlational values between Observation Checklists and ABCC Inventories. Table 5. Consistency Scores Between Observation Checklists and ABCC Inventories Behavior N M SD t-value p-value df On task 10 3.375 0.604 0.56 0.585 16 Gives Directions 10 3.375 0.604 0.56 0.585 16 Rules Posted 10 3.50 0.791 1.49 0.165 11 Gives Rewards 10 1.875 0.884 0.16 0.877 16 Procedures 10 3.625 0.375 -3.00 0.015 9 Sm. Transitions 10 3.125 0.972 -1.01 0.328 15 Learner Tasks 10 3.750 0.0316 0.81 0.437 9 Sets Tines 10 3.750 0.0316 0.81 0.370 9 Proximity 10 2.625 0.922 1.50 0.152 17 Knowledge 10 3.50 0.527 0.00 1.000 13 Pos Attitude 10 2.875 0.604 -2.13 0.048 17 Interaction 10 2.875 0.844 -1.80 0.090 17 ______________________________________________________________________________________ To obtain data in Table 5, the significance between teachers’ beliefs about their teaching abilities and actual classroom practices was tested at the .05 (p > .05)
  • 92 significance level for identifying correlations between those beliefs and their actual teaching practices. After analyzing data recorded during teacher observations and comparing that data to teachers’ responses on their ABCC Inventories, data showed that teachers’ responses were only consistent with the 12 (37.5%) behaviors listed in Table 5. This means that teachers were inconsistent with 20 of their responses (62.5%) on their ABCC Inventories when compared to observation data. Therefore, it was concluded that there was not a strong relationship nor were there positive correlations between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their abilities and actual classroom practices in diverse elementary settings. Due to these findings, we cannot accept the two hypotheses that (a) teachers are confident about their teaching practices with diverse students and (b) teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities in diverse elementary settings match their actual teaching practices. Summary In order to determine relationships between classroom management strategies and higher student achievement scores, as well as relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their abilities and actual classroom practices in diverse elementary settings, student achievement scores were analyzed, teaching practices were observed, and teachers completed ABCC Inventories. Data collections from this study showed that (a) only two observable behaviors on the Observation Checklist showed almost perfect correlations with higher student achievement scores and (b) there were no strong relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual classroom practices. The results of this study may allow site and district level
  • 93 administrators to implement professional development that focuses on classroom management policies, teaching procedures that potentially increase student achievement scores, increases learning, and improves personal teacher development practices. The findings of this study supported a need to train a majority of the participants on how to incorporate and use classroom management strategies that increase student achievement scores. Additionally, this research study indicated a need for the participants to reevaluate their attitudes and beliefs about teaching and their personal teaching practices. In the next chapter, results are interpreted, classroom management training on how to implement strategies that increase achievement scores is recommended for teachers, potential professional development ideas for improving instructional practices in diverse settings are suggested, and this research study’s strengths and limitations are discussed.
  • 94 CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS Popular belief among many administrators, teachers, and parents is that a quality education depends on curriculum content, school programs that support and enrich curricula implementation, and the quality of teaching occurring in today’s classrooms (McCormack, Gore, & Thomas, 2006). However, many teachers are entering classrooms without in-depth content knowledge, poor classroom management strategies, negative attitudes, and minimal skills to thwart disruptive behavior that impedes learning and minimizes student achievement (Cameron & Sheppard, 2006; Boynton & Boynton, 2005; Mahon, 2006). To support this statement, researchers have found that many novice teachers, and some veteran teachers, admit they lack effective classroom management skills and student motivation tactics that endorse learning (Darling-Hammond, 2003; Malm & Lofgren, 2006). The purpose of this study was to (a) examine the relationship between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores and (b) examine the relationship between teacher attitudes and beliefs about teaching and actual classroom practices or behaviors. The overall goals of this study were to determine if classroom teachers with high student achievement scores used certain classroom management strategies found by researchers to increase student achievement scores and to determine if teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities matched their actual teaching practices in diverse elementary settings. This chapter concludes the results of this research study and presents professional development practices that may augment continuous improvement of student achievement and teaching practices in diverse elementary settings.
  • 95 Summary of Methods and Procedures In order to increase student achievement scores, the use of certain teaching methodologies, management practices, attitudes, and beliefs may be needed. Classroom management strategies that teachers use to improve student achievement vary from teacher to teacher and grade level to grade level. In this study, various classroom management strategies and teaching methodologies that best promoted student achievement in third and fifth grade diverse elementary classrooms were found to be minimal. Theoretically, this study provides data that links only two classroom management strategies to high student achievement scores. This study also revealed that there were nominal relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual teaching practices with diverse students. Finally, this study’s findings allow administrators to formulate data driven decisions about professional development that potentially improves classroom management strategies and teacher instruction to increase student achievement scores and augment learning. The research questions formulated for this study were: 1. What is the relationship, if any, between classroom management strategies and higher student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings? 2. What is the relationship, if any, between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their abilities and actual classroom practices in diverse elementary settings? The data for this research study was derived from five third grade and five fifth grade teachers from two Georgia suburban public elementary schools representing 270 students. More specifically, ITBS Class Summary documents, classroom Observation Checklists, and teachers’ responses on ABCC Inventories were analyzed for data. Since
  • 96 the ITBS is a nationally-normed test, it was believed to be an effective and accurate measure of student achievement. Armstrong (2006) purports that increased awareness of high-stakes testing across America has heightened consciousness of nationally-normed reference tests, such as the ITBS, and how American students compare to students around the world in reading, math, and science content areas on standardized tests. One purpose for using standardized achievement tests with elementary students is to gather results that help provide specific information about students’ progress and the class’s holistic academic growth that allows teachers to improve instructional planning when needed (Armstrong, 2006). Current classroom management strategies being used by the participants to control classroom behavior and facilitate instruction offered real-time data that helped define and describe teacher effectiveness. Synthesizing and understanding which management strategies were being used by high achieving teachers helped identify possible links to student achievement scores and potential professional development ideas for teachers who need improvement in classroom management. Within the classroom, management strategies may be the most readily available constructs that identify high achieving teachers and can easily be detected through observations (Evertson & Emmer, 1990, as cited in Wolfgang, 2001). Observations were important to this study because Evertson and Emmer (1990, as cited in Wolfgang, 2001) found in their most recent observation study of 27 self- contained third-grade classrooms that considerable differences existed between effective teachers and ineffective teachers in classroom management strategies. This was evident in student achievement scores, on-task behavior, and the way student disruptions were
  • 97 handled during instruction. Observations conducted for this research study measured behavior areas that Evertson and Emmer (1990, as cited in Wolfgang, 2001) contributed to effective teaching practices in their study. These included, but were not limited to, student use of classroom and personal space, readily available supplies, common area school procedures such as playground procedures and restroom break behavior, lunchroom expectations, preparedness for whole-class activities and small or large group transitions, office interruptions, fire drills, and other emergency preparedness procedures. Although observations have strengths and weaknesses, they were an asset to this study and its results. They were an asset because they allowed the researcher to gather real-time data on observation checklists that was compared to teachers’ responses on their Attitudes and Beliefs on Classroom Control (ABCC) Inventories administered before observations began. Their inventory responses helped determine if there were positive correlations between their attitudes and beliefs about their classroom management styles and actual classroom teaching practices. Martin, Yin, and Baldwin (1998), developers of the ABCC Inventory, believe that classroom management and discipline are not synonymous. They refer to discipline as “structures and rules describing the expected behavior of students and the efforts to ensure that students comply with those rules” (p. 6). They define classroom management as a broader term that encompasses teacher efforts to oversee classroom activities that include “learning, social interaction, and student behavior” (p. 6). Although they believe that observations are excellent formats for collecting data regarding classroom management strategies, they believe that other formats can be used to provide evidence that relationships exist between teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. It was
  • 98 reasonable to believe that connections existed between management styles and achievement scores, but was it reasonable to believe that connections existed between teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, and actual practices? The ABCC Inventory was used to help determine these specific connections. Since this research study incorporated quantitative and qualitative data, a mixed method research design was utilized. This was the most appropriate design to use for this study because it included standardized test data, teacher observations, and beliefs inventories that were statistically analyzed. This type of research is important to education practitioners, because stronger evidence can be presented to solidify information and results. Mixed method research provides more conclusive evidence and allows researchers to use the strengths of one method to cancel out weaknesses inherent in another method (Johnson & Christenson, 2004). Creswell (2003) states that mixed method research is a methodology in which investigators base knowledge claims on realistic grounds. Mixed method research includes inquiry strategies that involve gathering data consecutively and simultaneously. Additionally, Johnson and Christenson (2004) believe that implementing mixed method research allows researchers to gather multiple data in a way that combines results to have complementing advantages and no overlapping disadvantages. This way, the study is credible, less questionable, and minimizes mistakes. Summary, Interpretations, and Recommendations This study represents an overview of relationships between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores as well as relationships between
  • 99 teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and actual teaching practices of teachers in two diverse Georgia suburban public elementary schools. During the fall quarter of the 2007-2008 school year, students at both schools were administered the ITBS. When the results arrived at each school, teachers’ class summary documents were retrieved and analyzed to identify overall highest and lowest grade equivalent scores. Separate scores for reading, math, science, and social studies were not analyzed for this research study, only the cumulative grade equivalent scores that encompass all subjects for all students to help arrive at grade equivalent scores for each teacher’s class were used. When administered correctly, standardized tests can be useful complements “to teacher observations about what students are able to do, and they can provide a starting point for monitoring year-to-year student development” (Iowa, 2007, p. 1). Classroom Observations On the Observation Checklist, there were a total of 32 behaviors that could be observed. The top six behaviors observed in this study were (a) teachers maintaining classroom noise level, (b) teachers having everyone’s attention before beginning a lesson, (c) positive teacher / student interactions, (d) student disruptions handled immediately, (e) students followed rules in common areas, and (f) class climates were comfortable and inviting. These observable behaviors are consistent with prior research conducted by Evertson and Emmer (1990, as cited in Wolfgang, 2001) who purport that elementary teachers were most effective when (a) discipline problems were handled immediately, (b) procedures for common school areas were broken down and understood, (c) noise level indicators were in place for students working in groups of two or more, (d) student attention and involvement was expected when others were speaking, (e) classroom
  • 100 climates were comfortable with established housekeeping procedures, and (f) respect between teacher and students was mutual. Improving Student Achievement and Teaching Practices According to the data presented in this research study, only four of ten teachers scored at or above the needed GE to be considered effectively fostering student achievement. This study revealed that the teacher with a 3.3 GE extensively used 75% of the behaviors that showed slight positive correlations with high student achievement scores. But, the teacher with the 5.4 GE extensively used 100% of the classroom management behaviors that showed almost perfect positive correlations with high student achievement scores and 81% of the behaviors that showed slight positive correlations with high student achievement scores. The teacher with a 5.3 GE extensively used 69% of the behaviors that showed almost perfect correlations with high student achievement scores and 50% of the behaviors that showed slight positive correlations with high student achievement scores. Thus, the teachers with the highest GE were implementing strategies that were proven in this study to have positive correlations with high student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. To support these findings, Good and Grouws (1977, as cited in Emmer and Stough, 2001) concluded in their research that teachers’ classes with high achievement scores incorporated better classroom management techniques, spent less time transitioning, praised students, and were cognizant of potential disruptions. Overall, several researchers believe that teacher effectiveness is a compilation of the relationship between teacher behaviors, attitudes, and academic achievement (Ross & Bruce, 2007; Darling-Hammond, 2003; Cotton, 2001; Emmer & Stough, 2001; Boynton
  • 101 & Boynton, 2005). Additionally, research conducted by McCormack, Gore, and Thomas (2006) and Emmer and Stough (2001) revealed that classroom management and quality teaching were underlying foundations of student achievement. Plus, they add that instructional methods used simultaneously with classroom management strategies are important qualities of teacher effectiveness and are two of the main factors that constitute quality teaching (McCormack, Gore, & Thomas, 2006). Administrators and school leaders may need to examine, evaluate, and familiarize themselves with the top six behaviors supported by research and used by high achieving teachers in this research study to ensure that teachers are implementing effective management strategies as indicators of personal progress, student progress, and as resources to cultivate higher student achievement scores. To achieve this task, individualized classroom management plans can be generated through school-wide professional development or through one-on-one meetings between teachers and school leaders. Indicators of progress can be monitored through peer observations, administrative observations, self-reflections, and future standardized test scores. Teachers with consistently low achievement scores may need comprehensive Professional Development Plans (PDP) to enhance teaching abilities or classroom management skills. Individual Teacher Beliefs In order to determine teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about teaching, the ABCC Inventory was administered to this study’s participants. After analyzing data collected from the ABCC Inventories, it showed that a majority of the teachers think highly of their teaching abilities and think they have positive teaching attitudes and beliefs. But, when comparing the teachers’ observation checklists to responses on their ABCC Inventories, a
  • 102 two-sample t test proved responses were only consistent with 12 (37.5%) of 32 behaviors. Thus, teachers’ actions and behaviors were inconsistent with 20 answers (62.5%) on their ABCC Inventories when compared to and synthesized with data collected during observations on individual observation checklists. This proves there were not strong relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual teaching practices. Due to these findings, and to counteract possible negative effects of teacher beliefs and actual classroom practices, school leaders and administrators may need to focus on teacher professional development that potentially examines teacher efficacy. Administrative evaluations are good progress indicators of how teachers teach, as well as, effective tools for building personal relationships with teachers. According to Ross and Bruce (2007) individual teacher efficacy can predict a myriad of “enabling teacher beliefs, functional teacher behaviors, and valued student outcomes” (p. 50). Ross and Bruce believe that teacher efficacy can be defined as a teacher’s expectation and belief that she can foster student learning. More specifically, teachers believe they have the skills and capability to organize and implement methodologies needed to sustain student growth and increase student achievement. Data from this research study suggests different findings. This study’s data showed that teachers matched only 37.5% of their beliefs about their abilities when compared to their actual practices. Therefore, it was concluded that a majority of the participants believed they incorporate certain practices, but they actually implement different practices than what was indicated on their ABCC Inventories.
  • 103 These findings may suggests that it is crucial for administrators and school leaders to identify teachers’ strengths and weaknesses, just as teachers identify students’ strengths and weaknesses, to improve achievement. Analyzing and evaluating where most teachers are weak can potentially drive administrative decisions about professional development (PD). Proponents of PD believe that active environments provide specific connections to school improvement’s bigger picture. Cotton (2003) and Connors (2000) purport that the most successful schools offer their staffs quality professional development training that exposes teachers to relevant and practical site-based needs such as collaborative learning, reflection, research and inquiry, subject matter exploration, engagement in practical instructional and assessment tasks, constructive feedback, and follow-up activities. Training in these areas could be valuable professional development resources that focus on the teachers’ and students’ needs. Overall Implications and Conclusions Clearly, the findings of this research study suggest that relationships exist between some classroom management strategies and higher student achievement scores in diverse elementary settings. Also, this study’s findings suggest that strong relationships do not exist between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and their actual classroom practices in diverse elementary settings. Despite these findings, both schools employed teachers that were capable of improving student achievement scores and teachers who were effective classroom managers. Additionally, both schools employed teachers who did not teach the way they described their teaching abilities, nor did they implement classroom management skills they indicated were
  • 104 incorporated into their classrooms. Specifically, the teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities did not match their actual teaching practices. In the end, these findings possibly encouraged participating administrators to identify and implement critical corrective steps in efforts to improve teacher efficacy, teaching ability, learning, and student achievement. Recommended Next Steps The first recommended step is for administrators to present these findings to their entire staffs. As a team, administrators and staff members can collaborate to identify two or three objectives essentially needed to improve classroom management skills and teacher efficacy. Administrators now have pertinent data they can use to set realistic and achievable goals relevant to school contexts while analyzing what the school is capable of achieving. The second recommended step is for administrators and staff members to select several classroom management strategies that potentially help increase achievement scores and implement them on a gradual basis over specific time periods with follow up staff meetings about their effectiveness. Administrative and peer feedback would be critical to ongoing success of these management strategies (Cotton, 2003). The third recommended step is to implement professional development. Professional development is suggested for these teachers to help improve classroom management skills, build teacher efficacy, increase student achievement scores in their diverse settings, and discipline habitual violators or defiant students. To ensure success, follow up sessions and teacher support groups would be needed (Cotton, 2003; Connors, 2000).
  • 105 The fourth and final recommended step is for teachers to video tape themselves teaching several lessons to analyze and critique their abilities and then compare it to their ABCC Inventory responses. The whole staff could complete an individual ABCC Inventory and turn it in to administrators. Through individual teacher-administrator conferences, the inventories could be analyzed for comparisons to current teaching methodologies, personal attitudes, beliefs, yearly evaluations, and instructional habits over time. Strengths and Limitations Strengths Observations have been shown to be a viable resource for documenting and recording teaching practices (Beach & Reinhartz, 2000). Observations for this study were designed to identify relationships between actual teaching practices and teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities. The Observation Checklist was needed to help synthesize multiple data presented in this study. But, because the classroom is spontaneous, unpredictable, and has behavior norms inherent in its history, it was important to refrain from assumptions and personal biases that could have influenced observational data (Beach & Reinhartz, 2000). Despite possible biases, observations proved to be a significant strength of this research study. The second strength of this research study was the use of ITBS GE scores. The ITBS is a nationally-normed standardized achievement test and was accepted as a true indication of student growth in the participating school district. The purpose of using standardized achievement tests with elementary students is to measure student growth,
  • 106 class growth, and to improve instruction (Armstrong, 2006). The Class Summary documents provided in the standardized test result packets given to teachers were imperative to ranking teachers and identifying classes with high achievement scores. The third strength of this research study was the use of the ABCC Inventory. This instrument was completed by participating teachers before observations were conducted. Teachers were unaware of the researcher’s intention to identify congruent relationships between their ABCC responses and their classroom observation checklists. This instrument was important to this study for two reasons: (a) it helped determine if teacher’s attitudes and beliefs about teaching matched their actual classroom practices and (b) it helped measure teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about classroom management. Finally, the fourth strength of the research study was its implementation in two diverse suburban public elementary schools with high populations of disadvantaged students, ELL students, Black, Asian, and Hispanic students. The diversity in each school was needed to validate the study and its results. Limitations This research study had several limitations: (a) it was limited to five third grade and five fifth grade teachers in two Georgia suburban public elementary schools, (b) not all classroom management strategies used by participants could be determined or observed, (c) seven observable behaviors on the Observation Checklist did not correlate to an ABCC Inventory sub-scale (d) observations were limited to one-hour on one week day, (e) it does not identify whether or not teachers participated in classroom management college prep courses, (f) it was limited to classroom management strategies separated from school-wide discipline program components, (g) advanced teaching
  • 107 degrees were not included, (h) years of teaching experience were not included, (i) observation biases could be present, (j) class sizes were not included, and (k) fall ITBS GE scores were used. Results from this study may have been different if the ITBS had been administered in the spring. Since these test scores were obtained from the fall Class Summary sheets, it is unclear how much influence on achievement scores reflects the current teacher and how much influence on achievement scores could be credited to last year’s teacher. Midgley, Feldlaufer, and Eccles (1989, as presented in Ross & Bruce, 2007) found in their research that teacher behaviors have delayed impacts on achievement. They found that teacher behaviors were directly “correlated with achievement in the spring, but not in the fall” (Ross & Bruce, 2007, p. 51). As mentioned earlier, the research conducted for this study used data collected from fall achievement test scores instead of spring achievement scores, making this possibly one of the most relevant limitations to the study. The limitations listed above could have been important to this study because different variables can ultimately change data results. Furthermore, they would have been important to consider as prior research has included these variables and other student demographics not available in this study. Implications of Practice Districts needing to improve teaching, raise teacher quality, and increase student achievement scores may be interested in using mixed method research designs that incorporate quantitative and ethnographic data, a type of qualitative research that includes emic and etic perspectives. Emic and etic perspectives allow scrutiny from inside and
  • 108 outside sources. Districts can use these perspectives to better understand short-term and long-term needs of teachers and students. This study stressed the importance of using existing data to formulate improvement plans that can include disaggregating standardized test data to identify instructional and academic challenges, set performance targets, conduct teacher observations, complete beliefs inventories for statistical analysis, measure student progress, and evaluate teacher performances. This research study used time-specific test data and naturally occurring teaching practices to obtain data that supports essential data-driven decisions needed to continuously improve teaching practices and increase student achievement scores. From this research study, a need to improve classroom management strategies and teaching practices was imminent at both schools. Continuing to analyze, evaluate data, and track teacher performances using these methods may afford schools opportunities to not only enrich school cultures, but also provide excellent opportunities for administrators to strengthen teaching practices, build professional relationships, and increase student achievement. Future Directions This research study was conducted in two diverse Georgia suburban public elementary schools using third grade and fifth grade data. To enhance its authenticity, this study could be replicated in diverse urban or rural settings or in diverse public middle and high schools to identify relationships between classroom management strategies and student achievement scores, as well as, relationships between teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities and actual teaching practices. Certainly, other grade levels in elementary sectors could be included to provide a comprehensive overview of
  • 109 the entire staff’s abilities. Furthermore, variables such as socio-economic status, teacher experience, class size, advanced degrees, teachers’ age, classroom management college prep classes, student ability levels, and spring ITBS scores could be used as future research study variables to identify relational effects and possible impact on student achievement scores or teaching ability. Secondly, future research is needed to determine the effects of specific teaching practices over time, such as a longitudinal study, with selected teachers to see if student achievement scores increase or decrease when consistently using the same classroom management strategies or teaching practices. For example, do teachers with higher student achievement scores consistently use the same classroom management strategies year after year? Are their achievement scores always at or above grade level indicators? Thirdly, future research is needed to determine the effects of professional development on teacher efficacy, classroom management skills, and student achievement scores. This data would be important to administrators because they may be able to analyze PD effects on school culture, teaching, and student achievement. Finally, future research is needed to identify relationships between poor classroom managers, or teachers with a PDP on file, and student achievement scores to determine if teachers need to be effective classroom managers to produce high student achievement scores. It may be possible to be an ineffective classroom manager and have high achievement test scores. However, it may also be possible to be an effective classroom manager with low achievement test scores.
  • 110 Conclusion Improving America’s public schools is a dilemma perplexing citizens, politicians, administrators, parents, and teachers (Armstrong, 2006). Furthermore, monitoring improvement using high-stakes testing has intensified demands on teachers to increase test scores and improve student achievement (Armstrong, 2006). Additionally, Glickman (2002) adds that teacher behaviors are reflected in their attitudes and beliefs about student behaviors and how they manage classrooms, which in turn can effect student achievement. This study has identified two classroom management strategies that are correlated to high student achievement scores and has shown that a majority of the participants’ attitudes and beliefs about their teaching abilities ultimately do not match their actual teaching practices. In many of today’s American schools, School-Improvement Plans are in place with the intention to improve schools by expanding teaching methodologies, learning, and student achievement through data-driven decision making. By using existing data, students’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as, achievement gaps among diverse students can be identified. Identifying and closing achievement gaps are important objectives, because according to Brown (2007), American public schools display the “dramatic demographic shift” better than any other entity (p. 57). Changes in cultural, racial, and linguistic demographics have diversified American schools more today than ever before. Therefore, it may be necessary for administrators to examine test data to identify cultural achievement gaps and class weaknesses, and possibly teacher weaknesses, to improve teaching and learning.
  • 111 Improving teaching and learning may no longer be holistic in nature. Twenty-first century professional development is moving away from one-shot workshops and towards more active, coherent, and comprehensive school environments (Professional, 2007; Cotton, 2003). Proponents believe that active environments provide specific connections to school improvement’s bigger picture. This means that today’s administrators must be cognizant of school needs and ask stakeholders questions about how to encourage and maintain continuous school improvement (Cotton, 2003). Ultimately, school, teacher, and student improvement may need frequent planning and data evaluation to determine performance benchmarks and to identify future steps that can lead to improvement objectives. Overall, classroom management issues and student achievement problems cannot be solved without involving those who know the students best (Professional, 2007). With schools collaborating and focusing on teacher improvement and student achievement, teachers may be more apt to participate in school and self-improvement efforts. With legislation like NCLB driving many administrative decisions, students should not be subjected to classroom environments in which teachers ineffectively use teaching and learning strategies. If schools are to provide quality, equitable educations to maximize potential in all students, then effective classroom management strategies and teaching practices that support and enhance learning and achievement may be essential. On the other hand, in order to implement these improved strategies, changes may need to occur. Change involves many risks and can possibly evoke negativity. It is a double-edged sword that can arouse emotions and discomfort in many educators. Change is not easy, but is necessary in today’s schools; therefore, if today’s school administrators are fearful
  • 112 of risk and change, then they may never create and nurture improvement worth achieving.
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  • 115 Glasser, W. (1998). The quality school: Managing students without coercion. (rev. ed.) New York: HarperCollins. Glickman, C. (2002). Leadership for learning: How to help teachers succeed. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Goddard, R. D., Hoy, W. K., & Woolfolk-Hoy, A. (2000). Collective teacher efficacy: Its meaning, measure, and effect on student achievement. American Education Research Journal, 37, 479-507. Hogan, D. (1989). The market revolution and disciplinary power: Joseph Lancaster and the psychology of the early classroom system. History of Education Quarterly, 29(3), 381-417. Iowa Testing Programs. (2007). Purposes of the ITBS batteries, levels 5-8. Retrieved November 19, 2007 from http://www.education.uiowa.edu/itp/itbs/itbs_about_5- 8_prp.htm Jensen, E. (1998). Teaching with the brain in mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Johnson, B. & Christenson, L. (2004). Educational research: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. Kennedy, M. (2006). From teacher quality to quality teaching. Educational Leadership, 63(6), 14-19. Kohn, A. (1999). Punishment by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, a’s, praise, and other bribes. New York: Houghton Mifflin. Leroy, N., Bressoux, P., Sarrazin, P., & Trouilloud, D. (2007). Impact of teachers’ implicit theories and perceived pressures on the establishment of an autonomy supportive climate. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 22(4), 529- 545. Mahon, J. (2006). Under the invisibility cloak? Teacher understanding of cultural difference. Intercultural Education, 17(4), 391-405. Malm, B. & Lofgren, H. (2006). Teacher competence and student’s conflict handling strategies. Research In Education, 76, 62-73. Martin, N.K., Yin, Z., & Baldwin, B. (1998). Construct validation of the attitudes and beliefs on classroom control inventory. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 33(2), 6-15.
  • 116 Marzano, R. J., Marzano, J. S., & Pickering, D. J. (2003). Classroom management that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art of science and teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. McCormack, A., Gore, J., & Thomas, K. (2006). Early career teacher professional learning. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 34(1), 95-113. Miller, R. & Pedro, J. (2006). Creating respectful classroom environments. Early Childhood Education Journal, 33(5), 293-299. National Center for Education Statistics. (1998). Teacher quality: A report on the preparations and qualifications of public school teachers, Table 21. Retrieved July 20, 2007 from http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/frss/inc/displaytables_ inc.asp Parsad, B., Lewis, L., & Farris, E. (2000). Teacher preparation and professional development: 2000. Education Statistics Quarterly, 3(3). Retrieved July 20, 2007 from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/quarterly/vol_3/3_3/q3-3.asp Payne, R. K. (1998). A framework for understanding poverty, Revised Edition. Baytown, TX: RFT Publishing Company. Personality Synopsis. (2004). People are basically good. Retrieved July 22, 2007 from http://allpsych.com/personalitysynopsis/humanistic.html Pioneer Sholes Schools. (n.d.). Discipline of the school. Retrieved July 30, 2007 from http://www.pioneersholesschool.org/pages/discipline.html Pollock, J. (2007). Improving student learning one teacher at a time. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Pratt, D. (2000). Good teaching: One size fits all? Retrieved July 22, 2007 from http://teachingperspectives.com/PDF/goodteaching.pdf Professional Development. (2007). The research center. Retrieved September 14, 2007 from http://www.edweek.org/rc/issues/professional-development/?print=1 Reeve, J. & Jang, H. (2006). What teachers say and do to support students’ autonomy during a learning activity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 209-218.
  • 117 Ross, J. & Bruce, C. (2007). Professional development effects on teacher efficacy: Results of randomized field trial. The Journal of Educational Research, 101(1), 50-60. Rothstein, R. (1998). The way we were: The myth and realities of America’s student achievement. New York: The Century Foundation Press. Sergiovanni, T. (2001). The principalship: A reflective practice perspective. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Sorvick, M. (2007). Classroom management plan. Retrieved July 22, 2007 from http://www.d.umn.edu/~sorv0007/teach/classroom_management_plan.html Spring, J. (2005). The American school: 1642-2004, (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. U.S. Department of Education. (2003). Stronger accountability. Retrieved July 23, 2007 from http://www.ed.gov/nclb/accountability/index.html?src=ov Wilde, J. (2004). Definitions for the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Retrieved July 24, 2007 from http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/resabout/Assessment_definitions. pdf Wolfgang, C. H. (2001). Solving discipline and classroom management problems: Methods and models for today’s teachers, (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  • 118 APPENDIX A: Class Summary Report Examples
  • 119 APPENDIX B: ABCC Inventory ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS ON CLASSROOM CONTROL INVENTORY 1 2 3 4 Describes me not at all Describes me somewhat Describes me usually Describes me very well Place a check mark in the column that most closely describes you. | 1 | 2 3 4 1 . I believe the teacher should direct the students' transition from one learning activity to another. 2. I believe it is important to continuously monitor students learning behavior during seatwork. 3. I believe students should create their own daily routines as this fosters development of responsibility. 4. I believe students will be successful in school if allowed the freedom to pursue their own interests. 5. I believe the teacher should decide what topics the students study and the tasks used to study them. 6. During the first week of class, I will announce the classroom rules and inform students of the penalties for disregarding the rules. 7 . The teacher knows best how to allocate classroom materials and supplies to optimize learning. 8. When a student bothers other students, I will immediately tell the student to be quiet and stop it. 9. I believe class rules stifle the students' ability to develop a personal moral code. 10. While teaching a lesson on library skills, a student begins to talk about the research she is doing for her book report. I would remind the student that the class has to finish the lesson before the end of the class period. 11. I believe teachers should require student compliance and respect for law and order. 12. When moving from one learning activity to another, I will allow students to progress at their own rate. 13. If students agree that a classroom rule is unfair, then I would replace it with one that students think is fair. 14. I believe students need the structure of a daily routine that is organized and implemented by the teacher. 15. I allow students to select their own seats. 16. When students behave appropriately, I will provide a reward of some kind, such as points toward a party or free time. 17. I believe students should judge the quality of their own work rather than rely on what the teacher tells them. 1 8. I believe students will be successful in school if they listen to the adults who know what's best for them. 19. I believe students should choose the learning topics and tasks. 20. During the first week of class, I will allow the students to come up with a set of classroom rules. 21.1 believe the primary purpose of homework is to provide drill and practice of skills learned in the classroom. 22. I believe that students need direction in how to work together. 23. Students in my classroom are free to use any materials they wish during the learning process. 24. I specify a set time for each learning activity and try to stay within my plans.
  • 120 25. I believe friendliness, courtesy, and respect for fellow students is something that students have to learn first-had through free interaction. 26. I believe class rules are important because they shape the student's behavior and development. Note: Martin, Yin, & Baldwin, 1998.
  • 121 Appendix C: Classroom Management Observation Checklist Teacher Letter______________ School __________________________ Classroom Management Observation Checklist (Rating Scale is 0=None, 1=Some, 2=Extensive for observed behaviors) Behavior Area None Some Extensive Students are on Task Students understand directions of assignment Class rules posted Rewards system evident or posted Classroom procedures are being followed Good use of student personal space Supplies readily available Smooth subject transitions Teacher has everyone’s attention before beginning lesson. Teacher told students the lesson’s objective Teacher calls on a wide variety of learners for answers Incorporates classroom leaders Teacher uses higher order thinking level questions Signals are used to get students’ attention Students know and follow morning routine when entering classroom Students who finish
  • 122 work early know what to do next Student noise level is maintained Learning tasks are age appropriate Teacher paces subject delivery Teacher uses proximity control Teacher voice tone is positive Teacher praises students Teacher is respectful to all students Teacher has positive attitude Teacher uses hand gestures during teaching Teacher has subject knowledge and shows confidence while teaching Students have positive attitudes Positive teacher/student interactions Class Climate is comfortable Classroom is inviting and organized Students followed rules in common areas such as halls, restrooms, cafeteria, etc… Student disruptions handled quickly and timely Evertson & Emmer, 1990 (as cited in Wolfgang, 2001); Beach & Reinhartz, 2000
  • 123 APPENDIX D: Fitted Line Plots for Observation Checklist Data 2.01.51.00.50.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 proximity stscores S 0.980604 R-Sq 3.8% R-Sq(adj) 0.0% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 0.3208 + 0.2566 proximity Figure D1: Teacher uses proximity control 2.01.51.00.50.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 praise stscores S 0.803945 R-Sq 35.4% R-Sq(adj) 24.6% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 0.9665 + 0.8591 praise Figure D2: Teacher praises students
  • 124 2.01.81.61.41.21.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 teach pos att stscores S 0.547467 R-Sq 70.0% R-Sq(adj) 65.0% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 2.433 + 1.497 teach pos att Figure D3: Teacher has positive attitude 2.01.81.61.41.21.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 supplies stscores S 0.844491 R-Sq 28.7% R-Sq(adj) 16.8% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 1.317 + 0.9581 supplies Figure D4: Supplies readily available
  • 125 2.01.81.61.41.21.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 attention stscores S 0.927332 R-Sq 14.0% R-Sq(adj) 0.0% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 1.310 + 0.7485 attention Figure D5: Teacher has everyone’s attention before beginning lesson 2.01.81.61.41.21.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 learner cal stscores S 0.873673 R-Sq 23.7% R-Sq(adj) 10.9% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 1.216 + 0.9730 learner cal Figure D6: Teacher calls on a wide variety of learners for answers
  • 126 2.01.81.61.41.21.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 fin early stscores S 0.873673 R-Sq 23.7% R-Sq(adj) 10.9% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 1.216 + 0.9730 fin early Figure D7: Students who finish work early know what to do next 2.01.81.61.41.21.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 noise stscores S 0.927332 R-Sq 14.0% R-Sq(adj) 0.0% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 1.310 + 0.7485 noise Figure D8: Student noise level is maintained
  • 127 2.01.81.61.41.21.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 pos intera stscores S 0.844491 R-Sq 28.7% R-Sq(adj) 16.8% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 1.317 + 0.9581 pos intera Figure D9: Positive teacher/student interactions 2.01.81.61.41.21.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 climate stscores S 0.915781 R-Sq 16.1% R-Sq(adj) 2.2% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 1.168 + 0.7185 climate Figure D10: Class climate is comfortable
  • 128 2.01.81.61.41.21.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 cmn area stscores S 0.915781 R-Sq 16.1% R-Sq(adj) 2.2% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 1.168 + 0.7185 cmn area Figure D11: Students follow rules in common areas such as halls, restrooms, cafeterias, etc. 2.01.81.61.41.21.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 st disrupt stscores S 0.927332 R-Sq 14.0% R-Sq(adj) 0.0% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 1.310 + 0.7485 st disrupt Figure D12: Student disruptions handled quickly and timely
  • 129 2.01.51.00.50.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 HOTS stscores S 0.956512 R-Sq 8.5% R-Sq(adj) 0.0% Fitted Line Plot st scores = - 0.5052 + 0.5052 HOTS Figure D13: Teacher uses higher order thinking level questions