In order to provide an accurate study, the researcher took samples from different sized schools with different student demographics. Implementation Research was conducted by recording data for each school for a side-by-side comparison of different factors (see Appendix). All factors were found through greatschools. com, which summarizes each schools characteristics for easy research. All school samples were then analyzed for the reading achievement average.
Based on the average, the researcher then examined the achievement factors; determining whether there was a trend between any of the achievement factors and the MCT results of the chosen school samples. Factors compared during analysis were; socioeconomic status (SES), student-per-teacher ratios (FTE), and the percentage of nonwhite students. The MCT scores for 2005 were used as an indicator of overall reading proficiency of the chosen school. In order to determine whether a variable was a consistent influence on the MCT scores, three consecutive years of MCT scores from 2003-2005 were analyzed.
The overall study aimed to discover a consistent pattern between a variable, such as SES or FTE, and the level of reading proficiency. Data Analysis Two of the three samples were consistent with the researchers hypothesis that SES is a strong influence on reading proficiency. Sample 1 however was uncharacteristic of the other two. In Sample 1, both schools demonstrated above the state average in MCT reading scores, however, the school with the highest SES percentage actually did better. This is uncharacteristic since Sample 2 and Sample 3 demonstrated a trend in high SES and low MCT scores for three consecutive years.
As discussed in chapter two, the literature review, the influence of class size on student achievement has been an on going debate among researchers. For this reason, the researcher included student-per-teacher ratios as a sample variable. The researcher had expected to see some evidence of FTE influence reflected in the MCT scores; however, that was not the case. According to the data collected, the FTE of all three samples ranged between fifteen and seventeen, with the state average being fifteen.
The results demonstrated no reoccurring trend between FTE and MCT scores. Sample 1 schools demonstrated varying above average MCT scores and the same FTE of seventeen. In Sample 2, School 1A demonstrated a below average MCT score with a FTE of fifteen; however, 2B had higher test scores and a higher FTE. In Sample 3, all but one of the schools had a FTE of Seventeen, 3B demonstrated a FTE of fifteen and a below average MCT score. School 4B had below average MCT scores but a FTE of seventeen, like the remaining two schools with higher MCT scores.
Between all three samples, there was no reoccurring trend between MCT scores and FTE. The researcher had expected student ethnicity to play a large role in student achievement levels, however based on this studies samples, there was little proof that such a trend existed. As demonstrated in Appendix A through C, schools demonstrating low achievement scores varied in the percentage of nonwhite students. The same variations were found in schools with high achievement scores. Overall, the only achievement factor that demonstrated a trend was the socioeconomic status factor.
SES as a factor of achievement was present in Samples 2 and 3, but seemed irrelevant in Sample 1. Based on the results and the uncharacteristic trends found in Sample 1, the researcher feels that the quality of the curriculum and teaching strategies had an influence of the high achievement levels found in Sample 1. The researcher feels strongly that SES is an influential factor on the reading achievement of elementary students in Mississippi. It must be noted however, the influence of SES can be minimized with the proper curriculum and learning strategies.
MCT scores give educators insight into the overall achievement levels of students, and should be used as an indicator of what type of teaching strategy should be used. There are numerous ways to improve student achievement. Educators and school administrators must be aware of the learning abilities and potentials of students and gear curriculum and teaching strategies towards the needs of the students.
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