#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009           1
PART ONE – Leadership

     Cookson’s article, “What Would Socrates Say?” i...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009             2



In their September 2009 Educational Leadership article, “Change Agents...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009             3
scientific literacy. As a result, these are more likely to be reflected i...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009          4
infrastructures so that learning can be continuous and always accessible? Th...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009               5
PART ONE – Curriculum

     Rotherham’s and Willingham’s article “21st ...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009             6
not? Danielson asserts that school success depends upon teachers who are ...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009              7
awareness, information technology skills, critical thinking, creativity,...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009             8
PART TWO - Research


Statement of the Problem
     Educational Leadershi...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009             9
comprehensive qualitative assessment of superintendents’ leadership behav...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009             10
qualitative techniques of before and after surveys, open-ended interview...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009            11



     The data provided will allow the researchers to answer the questi...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009            12
PART TWO: Statistics

Question #1

This two-way ANOVA estimates the impac...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009          13
   •   Females have a mean score of 198.625 with a standard error of 1.213....
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009           14


Question #2

This is a hierarchical regression that has three models. Th...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009           15
   •   The third regression model, is significant at .000 level, with and ...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009           16


Question #3

This two-way ANOVA estimates the impact of the main effects...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009            17
level and participation in the arts intervention program. The means of th...
#1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009            18


Students who participate in the arts intervention program perform, on a...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Comprehensive Exam

854 views

Published on

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

Comprehensive Exam

  1. 1. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 1 PART ONE – Leadership Cookson’s article, “What Would Socrates Say?” is a call to action for educators of the 21st Century. His primary issue lies with what he sees as a potential failure of educators to engage and teach today’s children. He notes that teaching and learning for the 21st Century mind demands four elements: critical reflection, empirical reasoning, collective intelligence, and metacognition. Furthermore, he notes that each of these elements of the 21st Century mind are not independent, but are closely connected. He writes that the 21st Century will rely not solely on skills, but rather on an approach to information, thought, and process Cookson notes that the mind will need to be, “more flexible, more focused on reality, and radically more innovative.” But how is this done? What changes must take place in education in order to ensure that 21st Century learning is occurring? To begin, Cookson pleads that the style and spirit of Socratic teaching be adopted; that we embrace modern technology to teach anywhere, to allow learning to be free, to make learning open to all people, and to make learning challenging – not merely an exercise of memorization and recanting. He goes on to outline the three 21st Century mind elements and discusses the need for their attention. What is intriguing – and relevant to education leaders as we enter the second decade of the 21st Century – is Cookson’s concept of the LearningSphere (what he calls, “a free and open-source Web- based portal and platform [that] would enable learners to access organized inquiry, demanding course of study, and communication capacities” that would allow people to share information, learning, and knowledge). But there is much work to be done before the LearningSphere can be brought to life.
  2. 2. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 2 In their September 2009 Educational Leadership article, “Change Agents”, Lemke and Coughlin note, “most children and youth don’t know how to use technology as informed consumers, intelligent learners, creative producers, and effective communicators” (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2006). And while Cookson notes four key elements of the 21st Century mind, Lemke and Coughlin call upon educators to first embrace the four change agents for 21st Century schooling. Specifically, they call on learning to be changed through democratization of knowledge, participatory learning, authentic learning, and multimodal learning. These four requirements are in direct parallel with Cookson’s four elements. Yet why has so little progress been made in the schooling arena? The Partnership for 21st Century Skills — a coalition of educators and business, community, and government leaders — promotes six core skills that all students need to acquire in order to succeed and grow in the 21st Century. They are global awareness, information and communication skills, thinking and problem-solving skills, interpersonal and self-direction skills, financial/economic and business literacy, and entrepreneurial and civic literacy (Reimers, September 2009). While Partnership promotes and advocates for all of these skills, the most demanding and troublesome for schools is the global awareness skill. This problem seems to be the same outlined by Cookson. In his September 2009 article, “Leading for Global Competency”, Reimers says that schools are behind the 21st Century potential and demands because of a lack of resources and reliance on an obsolete mind-set. “Schools also have greater consensus on how to operationalize traditional competencies, such as literacy, numeracy, and
  3. 3. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 3 scientific literacy. As a result, these are more likely to be reflected in standards and curriculum frameworks, assessment systems measuring the effectiveness of schools, and professional development initiatives” (Reimers, 2009). Indeed this is such a problem that Reimer conducted a survey of principals to see where schools stood on the global awareness and global teaching/learning stage. Reimer reports, “Fewer than one-half of respondents reported that their schools offer opportunities to develop global competencies, with similar percentages reporting opportunities to infuse global competencies throughout the curriculum or participate in project-based learning.” The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has long been a key political force in urging states to adopt or redesign standards for 21t Century Learning. Locally, New Jersey recently adopted new Core Curriculum Content Standards that address 21st Century Skills. Each strand of the new standards is embedded with global awareness, economic, technological, civic, and collaborative skills requirements. Still, schools may have a charge and mission to accomplish, but what is lacking is a clear understanding of what the future of schooling will look like. Will they be open, free, de-centralized, and Socratic… or will they continue to be directed by capitols, testing, fear of penalty, and obsolete systems thinking? As Cookson says, “To start, we must overhaul and redesign the current school system.” But that requires time. It requires financing. It requires an understanding of the need not just by educators – but by those who fund and finance schools. Do they support the schools we need and want? Will the public tolerate and understand the need to demolish the schooling model that has been such a large piece of the American landscape? Will a sound and committed investment be made to technological
  4. 4. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 4 infrastructures so that learning can be continuous and always accessible? These are answers required of 21st Century Americans.
  5. 5. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 5 PART ONE – Curriculum Rotherham’s and Willingham’s article “21st Century Skills: The Challenges Ahead” is an utter rebuking of those who demand immediate 21st century skills schooling. While many educators and leaders employ the phrase “21st century skills”, the authors note that new schooling will not happen with old methods. Willingham and Rotherham begin their argument stating, “…the skills students need in the 21st century are not new.” Indeed, problem solving, collaboration, technical ability, and critical thinking are the cornerstone and implied, if not implicit, goal of any education system. Willingham notes that in order for any of the so-called 21st Century Skills to become a reality and become a way of educating for the long-term, policy makers must first begin to address better curriculum, better teaching, and better assessments. Without these elements, those who cheerlead the 21st century skills movement will be doomed to adding yet another failure to long list of edu-fads that have swept across America during the last twenty years. The authors insist that we already have the pieces in place for 21st century skills – we just have to improve them. They begin with the call for better content and knowledge centered curriculum be devised and employed. This has also been a widely demanded by such authors as Howard Gardner, E.D. Hirsch and Gerald Bracey. Without deep, rich content, students cannot begin to think critically or analytically. Willingham and Rotherham then call upon leaders to rethink how teachers are teaching. Recent pedagogical trends like differentiated instruction (Carol Ann Tomlinson), project-based learning, and collaborative learning have not been employed. Thus how can we expect 21st century learning to take place if 21st century teaching is
  6. 6. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 6 not? Danielson asserts that school success depends upon teachers who are able to understand central concepts, know how children learn and differ from one another, and use a variety of instructional strategies. Furthermore, Danielson writes that teachers should create a helpful environment, foster collaboration and communication with a wide range of educational stakeholders inside and outside of school, plan instruction, and use informal and formal assessments. Dewey (1938) theorized that learners draw knowledge from experiences that are meaningful to them. Further, Dewey postulated that learning takes place in a social context, such as a classroom, in which communities of learners construct knowledge together. Dewey suggested that participation in concrete activities stimulates and encourages the application of concepts that the learner is trying to grasp. According to Willingham and Rotherham, once this type of teaching begins, 21st century learning can occur. Finally, the authors outline a plan for better assessments. If students were assessed in a consistent and meaningful way, the “new” skills would be an irrelevant topic. Yet there is little room for assessment development in our economy. Our large education system is also founded with a decentralization mind-set; states control their own education systems. To employ a national assessment system would be extremely difficult. While Willingham and Rotherham debate the merits of the term “21st Century Skills”, organizations like the Partnership for 21st Century Skills have developed a framework for learning that is focused on a deep understanding of math, science, history, literature, and the arts. On top of these contents, the Partnership added skills that 21st century students need (these are: global awareness, financial literacy, health
  7. 7. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 7 awareness, information technology skills, critical thinking, creativity, and a strong work ethic). Yet how will an education system adopt this framework when better curriculum, better teaching, and better assessments are needed (according to Willingham and Rotherham)? And does it need to adopt the “new” skills thinking when all we need do is follow the teachings of those prior – now dead – initiatives? Willingham and Rotherham’s beliefs are in line with Cookson (2009). Cookson warns that we may be too close to falling into the abyss of the 21st century technology if we fail to reach back and employ the foundations of learning in our schools. But while Cookson sees great value in 21st century skills, Willingham and Rotherham see value in skills period.
  8. 8. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 8 PART TWO - Research Statement of the Problem Educational Leadership devoted its entire October 1009 issue to the topic of “Developing School Leaders”. Authors and researchers such as Stephen Covey, Michael Fullen, and Gabriel Rshaid contributed their thoughts and findings in an effort to highlight the need for education leaders to “find their way” in a demanding arena. They urge leaders to understand their strengths and limitations, and adopt multiple types of leadership behaviors for multiple audiences. Superintendents are under great pressure to not only produce the best in students, but also produce the best within individuals, the community, and the entire organization. Many superintendents find the task daunting or all together unbearable. Some do not. But while outside forces affect the superintendency, inner forces are also potentially problematic; boards of education, factions within schools, and community groups each require a different approach and type of leadership. But what types of leadership are required and when and with whom do they work best? With so many superintendents either leaving the field or shifting jobs on a regular basis, it is vital that we begin to understand the nature of the leadership demands, qualities, exhibited behaviors, and types of leadership expected of superintendents, both male and female. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to determine the types of leadership behaviors demonstrated by male and female superintendents with multiple audiences. Given the number of school districts in New Jersey, particularly in Bergen County, a
  9. 9. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 9 comprehensive qualitative assessment of superintendents’ leadership behaviors will be conducted in each of Bergen County’s school districts. Further, this study will assess the differences and/or similarities between male and female superintendents’ leadership behaviors. Research Questions 1. What leadership behaviors does the superintendent portray to the board of education? 2. What leadership behaviors does the superintendent portray to students? 3. What leadership behaviors does the superintendent portray to teachers? 4. What leadership behaviors does the superintendent portray to the district administrators? 5. What leadership behaviors does the superintendent portray to parents? Research Plan and Methods The focus of this study is on the exhibited behaviors of the superintendents and what the superintendents believe is his or her style of leadership. A thorough review and analysis of the current research available on leadership behaviors of male and female superintendents will be conducted. Journals such as Educational Leadership and Education Sector as well as the relevant studies available from national education professional organizations will also be reviewed. A qualitative study will be conducted and grounded in the Social Constructivist Theory. This type of design would be effective because it deals with the perception of the style of leadership through the eyes of the public, the students, and the employees of the districts. Comparing these perceptions in a qualitative manner to the reported leadership style is essential. The methods of data collection for this study would utilize qualitative techniques. The units of analysis will include individuals and documents, such as a leadership style questionnaire. In keeping with naturalistic inquiry, this study would be centered on the
  10. 10. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 10 qualitative techniques of before and after surveys, open-ended interviews and observations, and document review so as to examine implications of different perceptions or “multiple realities” in context of this program. In addition to individual interview questions, five surveys would be formulated: one for each audience (parents, students, teachers, administrators, and board of education members). Likert scale surveys related to perceptions of the superintendent’s behaviors and the impact they have on the audiences’ perception of the superintendent’s leadership will be given. Parents, students, teachers, administrators, and board of education members will be invited to participate in focus group discussions on the leadership behaviors of the superintendent. Focus group discussions will be facilitated by this researcher and will include ten (15) questions that reflect the above-mentioned issue. Focus groups will be limited to ten (10) participants. Focus group sessions will last one hour each. Validity in my findings would be addressed by what Patton describes as the three standards in the Credibility Triangle: Rigor; Credibility of Researcher; and Design Strategy. One of the first standards for analyzing the validity or credibility of this study is to analyze whether or not the researchers used rigorous methods to gather their data. This researcher will use methods triangulation, using multiple data collection techniques. Data collection techniques will include individual interviews with various individuals, focus groups, and a collection of various documents. Three researchers will conduct this study. Patton notes that increases the credibility of any findings because more than one person is conducting a find. The researchers will also use empathetic neutrality in their research.
  11. 11. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 11 The data provided will allow the researchers to answer the questions related to types of leadership behaviors demonstrated by male and female superintendents. This study would be conducted over the course of one month. Because the research will involve interviewing human subjects, the Institutional Review Board must review the study proposal.
  12. 12. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 12 PART TWO: Statistics Question #1 This two-way ANOVA estimates the impact of the main effects of student participation in the arts integration program and student gender has on the dependent variable language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. In reviewing the Tests of Between-Subject Effects, I wanted to determine Are the main effects significant? • The main effect of student participation in the arts integration program is significant with a significance level of .002, degrees of freedom of 1, 698, and an F-value of 9.546. • The main effect of gender is not significant with a significance level of .370, degrees of freedom of 1, 698, and an F-value of .804. • The interaction effect of student participation in the arts intergration program and gender is not significant with a significance level of .245, degrees of freedom of 1, 698, and an F-value of 1.354. Thus, the main effect of gender is not a significant predictor of language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. The main effect of student participation in the arts integration program combined with the main effect of gender is not a significant predictor of influence on language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. This represents the interaction effect. In reviewing the Estimated Marginal Means, I wanted to determine Is there a difference in language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7 for the main effects that were significant? The main effect that was significant was student participation in the arts integration program. The means of student participation in the arts integration program are as follows: • Students Not In The Arts Integration Program – mean score of 195.136 and a standard error of 1.309 • Students In The Arts Integration Program – mean score of 200.545 and a standard error of 1.162 There is a 5.409 difference between the mean scores with student participating in the arts integration program scoring higher. This means that students who participate in the arts integration program perform at a greater level of proficiency in language arts on the NJASK for grades 6&7 than do students who do not participate in the arts integration program. Table two of the Estimated Marginal Means indicates that for the main effect of Gender: • Males have a mean score of 197.056 with a standard error of 1.262.
  13. 13. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 13 • Females have a mean score of 198.625 with a standard error of 1.213. There is a .049 difference between the mean scores with females scoring higher. This is not significant and means that female students perform at a greater level of proficiency in language arts on the NJASK for grades 6&7 than do male students. Table three of the Estimated Marginal Means indicates the interaction between students who participate in the arts integration program and student gender. The means of the students who participate in the arts integration program and student gender are as follows: • Females Who Do Not Participate In The Arts Intervention Program – mean score of 196.939 and a standard error of 1.787 • Females Who Do Participate In The Arts Intervention Program – mean score of 200.311 and a standard error of 1.640 There is a 3.372 difference between the female mean scores with females who participate in the arts intervention program scoring higher in language arts on the NJASK for grades 6&7. This means that females in the arts intervention program perform better in language arts on the NJASK for grades 6&7 than females who do not participate in the arts intervention program • Males Who Do Not Participate In The Arts Intervention Program – mean score of 193.333 and a standard error of 1.913 • Males Who Do Participate In The Arts Intervention Program – mean score of 200.778 and a standard error of 1.648 There is a 7.445 difference between the male mean scores with male who participate in the arts intervention program scoring higher in language arts on the NJASK for grades 6&7. This means that males in the arts intervention program perform better in language arts on the NJASK for grades 6&7 than males who do not participate in the arts intervention program. A review of the Profile Plots indicates that there is a disordinal interaction between females and males who are part of the arts intervention program. On the profile plot, the lines for males and females intersect when males and female students participate in the arts intervention program. Males perform significantly better in language arts on the NJASK for grades 6&7 when they enter the arts intervention program. ANSWER: Based on the data from Output 1, it is clear that students who participate in the arts intervention program demonstrate a greater degree of proficiency on the NJASK for grades 6&7. While females who are not part of the arts intervention program have a mean score greater than males who are not part of the program, females do show gains in proficiency after taking part in the program. However, male students appear to have the most to gain from participating in the arts intervention program; male students who participate in the arts intervention program stand to gain an average of 7 points on the 200 point proficiency scale.
  14. 14. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 14 Question #2 This is a hierarchical regression that has three models. The first model shows the impact of student gender on language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. The second model shows the impact of student gender, participation in the arts intervention program, and free/reduced lunch eligibility on language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. The third model shows the impact of total absences, student gender, and free/reduced lunch eligibility on language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. In this regression, student gender, total absences, participation in the arts intervention program and free/reduced lunch eligibility are the predictors (independent variables) and language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7 is the dependent variable. This hierarchical regression seeks to answer the following: • How does each model explain the impact of its independent variable(s) on overall academic performance? • How much change in language arts scores (dependent variable) can I predict based on the model’s independent variable(s)? R-square (0.001) in Model 1 means that .1% of the variance in language arts scores is explained or accounted for by gender. Model 1 is not significant at .506 level, with an F change of .443, and degrees of freedom 1, 697. R-square (0.018) in Model 2 means that 1.7% of the variance in language arts scores is explained by gender, participation in the arts intervention program, and free/reduced lunch eligibility. The R-square change is .017, which means that 1.7% of the variance is added to Model 1 by including the variable of free/reduced lunch eligibility. The model is significant at .003 level, with an F change of 6.038, and degrees of freedom 2, 695 R-square (.031) in Model 3 means that 3.1% of the variance in language arts scores is explained by gender, participation in the arts intervention program, free/reduced lunch eligibility, and total absences. The R-square change is .013, which means that 1.3% of the variance in language arts scores is added to Model 2 by including the variable total absences. It is significant at the .002 level, with an F change of 9.480, and degrees of freedom 1, 694 When reviewing the ANOVA table: • The first regression model, is not significant at .506 level, with an F value of . 443, degrees of freedom 1, 698. This means that student gender is not a significant predictor of improvement in language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. • The second regression model, is significant at the .006 level, with an F value of 4.175, degrees of freedom 3, 698. This means that student gender, participation in the arts intervention program and free/reduced lunch eligibility combined is a significant predictor of improvement in language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7.
  15. 15. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 15 • The third regression model, is significant at .000 level, with and F value of 5.539, degrees of freedom 4, 698. This means that student gender, participation in the arts intervention program, free/reduced lunch eligibility, and total absences combined is a significant predictor of improvement in language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. A careful examination of the standardized coefficient (or beta) reveals the following: Model 1 Summary • Gender has a beta of .025 and is not a significant predictor at .506 level, with a t value of .666. This model indicates that gender is not a significant predictor of improvement in language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. Model 2 Summary • Gender has a beta of .030 and is not a significant predictor at the .428 level, with a t value of .793. • Free/Reduced Lunch Eligibility has a beta of .063 and is not significant at the . 096 level, with a t value of 1.668. • Participation in the arts intervention program has a beta of .114 and is significant at the .003 level, with a t value of 3.032. This model indicates that participation in the arts intervention program is a significant predictor of improvement in language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. Model 3 Summary • Gender has a beta of .032 and is not a significant predictor at the .394 level, with a t value of .853. • Free/Reduced Lunch Eligibility has a beta of .029 and is not significant at the . 545 level, with a t value of .606. • Participation in the arts intervention program has a beta of .107 and is significant at the .004 level, with a t value of 2.857. • Total Absences has a beta of .147 and is significant at the .002 level, with a t value of 3.079. In Model 3, free/reduced lunch eligibility lost significance as a predictor (it had a beta of .063 in Model 2, but a beta of .029 in Model 3). After examining the three models, both participation in the arts intervention program and total absences are the most powerful predictors of improvement in language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. ANSWER: I would select Model 2 as evidence that student participation in the arts intervention program has the greatest affect on improving language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. When examining model 2, it is clear that neither gender (beta=.030) nor free/reduced lunch eligibility (beta=.063) have a great impact on language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. Yet participation in the arts program (beta=.114) explains the most variance in language arts scores.
  16. 16. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 16 Question #3 This two-way ANOVA estimates the impact of the main effects of grade level and participation in the arts intervention program has on the dependent variable "language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7". In reviewing the Tests of Between-Subject Effects, I wanted to determine Are the main effects significant? • The main effect of grade level is significant with a significance level of .000, degrees of freedom of 1, 698, and an F-value of 21.067. • The main effect of participation in the arts intervention program is significant with a significance level of .020, degrees of freedom of 1, 698, and an F-value of 5.460. • The interaction effect of grade level and participation in the arts intervention program is not significant with a significance level of .323, degrees of freedom of 1, 698, and an F-value of .977. Thus, both main effects – independently - are significant predictors of language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. However, the main effects combined are not a significant predictor of language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7. In reviewing the Estimated Marginal Means, I wanted to determine Is there a difference in language arts scores on the NJASK for grades 6&7 for the main effects that were significant? The first main effect that was significant was participation in the arts intervention program. The means are as follows: • Students Who Participated – mean score of 200.044 and a standard error of 1.161 • Students Who Did Not Participate – mean score of 195.968 and a standard error of 1.302 There is a .141 difference between the mean scores with students who do participate in the program scoring higher. This means that students in the arts intervention program score higher on language arts on the NJASK for grades 6&7 than do students who do not participate in the program. Table two of the Estimated Marginal Means indicates that for the main effect of grade level: • Sixth graders have a mean score of 194.002 with a standard error of 1.227. • Seventh graders have a mean score of 202.010 with a standard error of 1.240. There is a .013 difference between the mean scores with seventh graders scoring higher. This means that seventh graders tend to score better in language arts than do sixth graders. Table three of the Estimated Marginal Means indicates the interaction between grade
  17. 17. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 17 level and participation in the arts intervention program. The means of the grade level and participation status are as follows: • 6th graders who did not participate – mean score of 191.102 and a standard error of 1.702 • 7th graders who did not participate – mean score of 200.833 and a standard error of 1.971 • 6th graders who did participate – mean score of 196.902 and a standard error of 1.768 • 7th graders who did participate – mean score of 203.186 and standard error of 1.506 There is a 9.731 difference between the mean scores of the 6th graders, with those who participate in the arts intervention program scoring higher in language arts. This means that 6th graders in the program perform to a greater degree than 6th graders who do not participate. There is a 2.353 difference between the mean scores of the 7th graders, with those who participate in the arts intervention program scoring higher in language arts. This means that 7th graders in the program perform to a greater degree than 7 th graders who do not participate. A review of the Profile Plots indicates that there is an ordinal relationship/interaction between 6th graders and 7th graders; on the profile plot, the lines for 6th graders and 7th graders do not intersect. In the 6th grade, students’ means scores are well below the means of 7th graders. ANSWER: One can clearly see that the 6th graders who participate in the arts intervention program show much more significant improvement in language arts scores than do 7th graders who participate in the program. 6th graders in the program stand to gain 9.731 points in language arts scores by participating in the arts intervention program. 7th graders, on the other hand, gain a modest 2.353 points in language arts by participating in the arts intervention program. Question #4 This study examined what variables might have the greatest impact two groups of students’ NJASK 6&7 language arts scores. Namely, the study looked at the variables of gender, grade level, free/reduced lunch eligibility, total student absences, and participation in an arts intervention program. After reviewing all of the above data, it is clear that the variables of gender, free/reduced lunch eligibility, or grade level had any significant bearing on student language arts scores. But two variables can be considered crucial to students’ NJASK 6&7 language arts scores – participation in the arts intervention program and student attendance.
  18. 18. #1032-5061 COMP – November 6, 2009 18 Students who participate in the arts intervention program perform, on average, better on the language arts portion of the NJASK 6&7 than do students who are enrolled in the program. When that variable is combined with student attendance, the effects are even greater. One can only conclude that students who attend school regularly and consistently and who participate in the arts intervention program will be far more likely to perform well on the NJASK 6& in language arts. What is more revealing is that 6 th grade students who participated in the arts program showed greater gains in language arts scores than did 6th graders who did not participate. While 7th graders in the program also showed improvement, the greatest gains came from participating 6th graders. As a matter of policy, I recommend that this school continue to offer students an opportunity to participate in the arts intervention program. However, it is crucial that two things occur: (1) 5th grade students who demonstrate difficulty prior to entering the 6 th grade should be enrolled in the arts intervention program – the data shows that these students are likely to do better than students who are not in the program, (2) students with issues of attendance should be brought into the program – this data shows that attendance at school is an even far greater predictor of proficiency on the NJASK 6&7 than the participation in the arts intervention program. If troubled, struggling students are brought into the arts program, these students may have a far better chance of success on the state exam.

×