Research Proposal    1


Running head: YEAR ROUND EDUCATION




The Familial Impact of Year Round Education on Kindergarte...
Research Proposal    2


                                       CHAPTER I

                                       Introduc...
Research Proposal       3
that will be required, such as potential increases on schools’ infrastructural costs and

increa...
Research Proposal     4


       In this study, I will present an empirical analysis of the impact that YRE has on

Bardst...
Research Proposal      5


     Year-Round-Education (YRE) – A modification of the traditional nine month, 180

day school...
Research Proposal        6


                                           CHAPTER II

                                      ...
Research Proposal      7


Does this “learning-less summer” calendar reflect the needs of modern America? Many

think not....
Research Proposal     8


school programming throughout the year to affect student achievement.

Summer Learning Loss

   ...
Research Proposal      9


Studies reveal that the greatest areas of loss for all students, regardless of socio-economic

...
Research Proposal    10


necessary and crucial bonding opportunities.

     Some research also indicates that YRE does no...
Research Proposal    11


CHAPTER III

                                         Methodology

      This descriptive study ...
Research Proposal         12


YRE with respect to (1) anticipated quality of learning and (2) anticipated difficulties

w...
Research Proposal         13
the perceived quality of learning in Kindergarten. A comparison of the pre-school year

surve...
Research Proposal      14


                                        References

Alexander, K.L., & Entwisle, D.R. (1996). ...
Research Proposal     15


Rakoff, T. D. (1999, April). Schooltime. Paper presented at the meeting of the Annual

       M...
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  1. 1. Research Proposal 1 Running head: YEAR ROUND EDUCATION The Familial Impact of Year Round Education on Kindergarten Students and Parents of a Kentucky Primary School Michael Parent Cohort XI Seton Hall University ELMP 8891
  2. 2. Research Proposal 2 CHAPTER I Introduction In 1984 the National Commission on Excellence in Education (NCEE) released A Nation At Risk. This scathing report on the condition of American schools startled Americans and triggered the modern movements in education policy. A Nation At Risk deemed the current state of education as in need of serious reform. Subsequently, the NCEE made a litany of proposals and recommendations for changes to the American educational system. One proposed change was to increase the time students spend in school; the NCEE recommended that the actual school year be extended from 180 days to near 220. However, many schools instead opted to amend their traditional 180 calendars, rather than face the exponential costs of extending the school year. Modifications to the traditional school calendar typically take the form of either year-round school or extended school year programs. In most cases, year-round education (YRE) does not actually increase the amount of structured learning opportunities available to students. Rather, students attend schools for the same number of days as they did with the traditional calendar; however, vacations are distributed equally throughout the calendar year every six or nine weeks. Between 1985 and 1992, the number of YRE schools grew from 336 to 2,017 (Worthen & Zsiray, 1994). However, this expansion of YRE has not occurred without much debate. Proponents of YRE will say that the modified school calendar enhances learning, sustains student learning, and assists low-achieving students (Glines, 1997). Dissidents of the twelve month school calendar claim that school systems cannot afford the demands
  3. 3. Research Proposal 3 that will be required, such as potential increases on schools’ infrastructural costs and increases on fuel and transportation costs (Johnson and Spradlin, 2007). Furthermore, opponents say that a twelve-month school calendar would cause disruption to the family environment and have a negative impact on economies that rely on summer season tourism and travel. Despite the criticisms and warnings, many school districts across the nation have experimented with YRE. Research on the effectiveness of this intervention is emerging and suggestive of generally positive effects. (Cooper, 2002). Some school districts, particularly those that are large and urban, have found success with YRE and others, smaller and more rural, have encountered great difficulty (Johnson and Spradlin, 2007). Statement of the Problem Bardstown City School District, located in western Kentucky, adopted a YRE calendar in 1995. Since then, the school district reports a steady rise in student’s achievement scores (as measured by the Kentucky Core Content Test) and improvement in other areas, such as attendance and discipline. However, no data exists on the impact of YRE in regards to parent perceptions, particularly in the primary grades, in the area of YRE’s impact on quality of family life. What type of impact does Bardstown Primary year-round schedule have on families? Also, what are the perceptions of the quality of learning taking place at Bardstown Primary as a result of YRE? Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to determine parental perceptions of YRE in relation to quality of family leisure time and their child’s learning. Significance of the Study
  4. 4. Research Proposal 4 In this study, I will present an empirical analysis of the impact that YRE has on Bardstown Primary School’s Kindergarten parents in relation to family leisure time and their child’s learning. This data can assist districts or schools who are considering implementing YRE in the primary grades and will bring to light the impact and likely consequences of implementing a YRE model. Research Questions 1. What are Bardstown Primary School’s Kindergarten parents’ preconceived perceptions of YRE as related to quality of learning? 2. What are Bardstown Primary School’s Kindergarten parents’ preconceived perceptions of YRE as related to quality of family life? 3. What are Bardstown Primary School’s Kindergarten parents’ perceptions of YRE as related to quality of learning after one year’s experience? 4. What are Bardstown Primary School’s Kindergarten parents’ perceptions of YRE as related to quality of family life after one year of experience? Limitations 1. The number of surveys returned by parents may limit the data obtained for use. 2. The results obtained from this study may not be generalized to other school populations. Delimitations 1. This study will be limited to 50 of Bardstown Primary School’s Kindergarten parents. The subjects will be randomly selected from the Bardstown Primary School’s enrollment listing. Definitions
  5. 5. Research Proposal 5 Year-Round-Education (YRE) – A modification of the traditional nine month, 180 day school calendar. The year-round calendar is organized into instructional periods and vacation weeks that are more evenly balanced across 12 months. Outline of Study 1. Randomly select parents from Bardstown Primary School’s Kindergarten student enrollment roster. Fifty randomly selected Kindergarten parents will be asked to participate in this study. 2. The group will be asked to complete pre and post questionnaires. 3. The selected Kindergarten parents will complete a survey based on their attitudes about YRE, prior to the beginning of the school year, and a second survey that measures their attitudes about YRE after 40 weeks of experiences with the YRE calendar. Conceptual Framework Family Life YRE Quality of Learning
  6. 6. Research Proposal 6 CHAPTER II Literature Review The birth of YRE The 180-day school calendar is a recent development in the life of American education. Most writings and research on the subject of school calendars indicate that the now familiar, indeed “normal”, 180-day schedule has only been widely practiced in American educational systems since World War I. Prior to this time, many of America’s largest school districts (i.e. New York, Chicago, Boston) constructed school calendars that neared 210 instructional days (Rakoff, 1999). However, after World War I, the lifestyle of the American family changed drastically. In the 1920’s, American legislatures stressed the importance of compulsory education. States across the nation began to adopt legislation that required children from ages 7 to 14 to attend local public schools on a regular basis – something that had not been part of American educational design prior to World War I. These compulsory education laws were often enacted with child labor laws. Thus, school became the work for children, rather than the factory. But why a calendar that excludes learning during the summer months? Rakoff (1999) indicates that this norm is quite likely a result of economics. What is the public willing to pay for an extended school year? What are the costs of operating large school facilities during the summer months? What would it cost taxpayers to pay for the continuous use of local school facilities? The answers to these questions will likely give us the reason for the widely accepted, indeed almost universal (in America), “normal” calendar.
  7. 7. Research Proposal 7 Does this “learning-less summer” calendar reflect the needs of modern America? Many think not. Those who aim to improve or change the “normal” calendar argue that our current practices are of extreme detriment to our students and that alternatives must be sought and adopted. One alternative to the normal calendar is the concept of year-round-education (YRE). Modifications to the traditional school calendar typically take the form of either year-round school or extended school year programs. In most cases, year-round schooling does not actually increase the amount of structured learning opportunities available to students. Rather, students attend schools for the same number of days as they did with the traditional calendar; however, vacations are distributed equally throughout the calendar year every six or nine weeks. Research on the effectiveness of this intervention is emerging and suggestive of generally positive effects (Cooper, 2002). YRE’s cost effective appeal launched various programs in the early part of the 20th century. The population boom after World War II caused programming initiatives to shift to accommodating the increase of students to public education (Glines, 1997). However YRE remains an viable option to address the modern day needs of the American family and accountability system measures imposed by NCLB. Researchers in the 1994 report, Prisoners of Time, from the National Education Commission on Time and Learning suggested that public education leaders must re- examine time issues and the real “limitations…imposed” by the clock. Their recommendations included more innovative program initiatives to “accommodate the learning needs of American students.” Further conclusions cited the wasteful approach to educating students where buildings remain closed and families are not supported by
  8. 8. Research Proposal 8 school programming throughout the year to affect student achievement. Summer Learning Loss There are few issues facing education policymakers today that are as well documented by social scientists as summer learning loss. Since 1906, researchers have studied the effects of summer vacation on student learning. Cooper (1996) and others identified 39 studies involving a wide range of experimental designs and methods that demonstrate what social scientists describe as “summer effect,” “summer learning loss,” or “summer setback.” The common finding across all of these studies is that students generally score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. Recent studies estimate that summer loss for all students equals about one month on a grade-level equivalent scale (Cooper, 1996). All students experience significant learning loss in mathematical computation as a result of summer vacation. For far too many young people, summer vacation results in a three-month holiday from constructive learning activities and valuable opportunities to practice the skills they need to be successful in school and in life. Research demonstrates that all students experience significant learning losses in procedural and factual knowledge during the summer months. Studies also show that the magnitude of summer learning loss varies significantly by grade level, subject matter, and family income. Most importantly, research identifies the cumulative effect of summer learning differences as a primary cause of widening in-school achievement gaps between students by family income. On average, all students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation over the summer months (Cooper, 1996).
  9. 9. Research Proposal 9 Studies reveal that the greatest areas of loss for all students, regardless of socio-economic status, lie in factual or procedural knowledge during the summer months. Cooper (2000) estimates that such summer school programs, which focus on lessening or removing learning deficiencies, do have a significant positive impact on the knowledge and skills of participants. While remedial programs generally do produce single-summer results in the form of improved test scores and promotion rates, they are not designed to serve as long-range preventative approaches to summer learning loss. YRE programs have been adopted as the viable and most logical remedy to overcome summer learning loss. The YRE Problem While YRE has become a popular alternative to the normal school calendar in order to combat summer learning loss, there are questions about the impact of YRE on families and children. Rakoff (1999) notes that some districts who ponder changing to a YRE system face opposition by parents and community groups because of the unknown effects that YRE has on family time and child development. Traditionally, families spend the summer months vacationing and reconnecting. Parents often use their allotted vacation times during the summer months so that they can spend great quantities of time with their children. Many families also use the summer months to send their children to camps, volunteer projects, or social-educational programs. Research indicates that these are viable learning opportunities for children, although not academic. Athletic programs, camps, and summer programs offer children and families the chance to learn what cannot be taught in schools; community building, volunteerism, and religious exploration. Thus, YRE hinders the American family from
  10. 10. Research Proposal 10 necessary and crucial bonding opportunities. Some research also indicates that YRE does not dramatically improve the quality or quantity of learning. McMillen (2001) notes that while YRE does seem to offer a remedy to summer learning loss, no conclusive research exists to deem YRE as a panacea to overall improvement of learning or knowledge retention.
  11. 11. Research Proposal 11 CHAPTER III Methodology This descriptive study will utilize a quantitative methodology: pre and post school- year surveys designed to compare parents’ preconceptions of YRE with their actual experiences with the YRE calendar. Sampling Bardstown Primary School has approximately 385 students in grades K-2. The school has been on an alternative YRE calendar for the past eleven years with short breaks, or intercessions. During the 2007-2008 school year, Bardstown Primary will hold 177 instructional days over 12 months. Because the Kindergarten students (totaling 124) and parents are new to the school and the district, their experience with YRE has been non-existent. A random sample of fifty Kindergarten parents will be asked to participate in this study. Instrumentation The YRE perceptions process will consist pre and post school-year questionnaires comparing parents’ preconceptions of YRE and their actual experiences with YRE. The surveys will attempt to gauge the participant’s attitudes and perception about the quality of learning and the impact on family leisure time as a result of the school’s YRE calendar. Pre-existing valid and reliable instruments used in previous studies will be obtained and utilized for this study. Data Collection The fifty Kindergarten parents will complete two surveys on August 1 (the beginning of the school calendar year) regarding their preconceived attitudes toward
  12. 12. Research Proposal 12 YRE with respect to (1) anticipated quality of learning and (2) anticipated difficulties with quality of family life. After the surveys are collected, this researcher will summarize the results and prepare a report for the participating parents. At the conclusion of the school year (July 1), this researcher will again survey the selected parents to measure their attitudes toward YRE with respect to (1) actual quality of learning and (2) actual difficulties with quality of family life after they have had experienced the full calendar cycle. After the parent surveys are collected, this researcher will summarize the results and prepare a report for the school district. Data Collection Evaluation Questions Data Sources Data Collection Techniques What are Bardstown Primary Randomly selected parents of Quality of learning questionnaire. School’s Kindergarten parents’ Kindergarten students preconceived perceptions of YRE as related to quality of learning? What are Bardstown Primary Randomly selected parents of Family-life questionnaire School’s Kindergarten parents’ Kindergarten students preconceived perceptions of YRE as related to quality of family life? What are Bardstown Primary Randomly selected parents of Quality of learning questionnaire. School’s Kindergarten parents’ Kindergarten students perceptions of YRE as related to quality of learning after one year’s experience? What are Bardstown Primary Randomly selected parents of Family-life questionnaire School’s Kindergarten parents’ Kindergarten students perceptions of YRE as related to quality of family life after one year of experience? Data Analysis The null hypothesis (Ho): Bardstown Primary’s YRE calendar will not have a significantly negative or positive effect on family life and will not significantly impact
  13. 13. Research Proposal 13 the perceived quality of learning in Kindergarten. A comparison of the pre-school year surveys and the post-school year surveys will be made conducting a frequency distribution to determine the number of times parents responded agree or disagree on their questionnaires. A paired t-test might be conducted to summarize the data. Since the population sample size will be small, a Wilcoxon T-Test may be used to determine the difference between the pre-school year survey and post-school year survey scores: T = the smaller of R+ or R-. Hypothesis (H1): The YRE calendar will have a significantly negative or positive impact on family leisure time and will have a significant positive or negative impact on the quality of learning as evaluated by parents. The researcher will consult with a statistical authority to determine the appropriateness of these tests and the possibility of including additional and or alternative testing methods.
  14. 14. Research Proposal 14 References Alexander, K.L., & Entwisle, D.R. (1996). Schools and children at risk. In A. Booth, & J.F. Dunn (Eds.). Family-school links: How do they affect educational outcomes? (pp. 67-89). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Axelrad-Lentz, S., Michigan Extended School Year Programs 1992 - 1995 - An Evaluation of a State Grant Initiative, (Feb, 1996). Michigan State Dept. of Education, Lansing. Ballinger, C. (1995, November). Prisoners no more. Educational Leadership, 28-31. Cooper, H., Charlton, K., Valentine, J.C., Muhlenbruck, L. (1999). Making the most of summer school: A meta-analytic and narrative review. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 65, (1, Serial No. 260). Evans, W. & Behctel, D., Extended School Day/Year Programs: A Research Synthesis. Spotlight on Student Success, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Washington, D.C. (1997). Glines, D. (1997, February). YRE: understanding the basics. Information Analysis. Retrieved July 15, 2007, from ERIC database (EA028294). Heyns, B. (1978). Summer learning and the effects of schooling. New York: Academic Press. Johnson, S. P., & Spradlin, T. E. (2007). Alternatives to the traditional school-year calendar. Education Policy Brief, 5(3), 1-11. McMillen, B. (2001). A statewide evaluation of academic achievement in year-round schools. The Journal of Educational Research, 95(2), 67-74. Opheim, C., Mohajer, K. H., & Read, R. W. (2001). Evaluating year-round schools in texas. Education, 116(1), 115-120.
  15. 15. Research Proposal 15 Rakoff, T. D. (1999, April). Schooltime. Paper presented at the meeting of the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. St. Gerard, V. (2007). Year-round schools look better all the time. In V. St. Gerard (Ed.), Communicator (p.56-58). Alexandria, VA: National Association of Elementary School Principals. Weaver, T. (1992). Year-round-education. Eric Digest, 68, . Retrieved , from ERIC database (ED342107). Worthen, B. R., & Zsiray, S. W. (1994, March). What twenty years of educational studies reveal about year-round-education. (0800000738). Raleigh: North Carolina State Board of Education.

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