NameGordon, Paula J. (author), Sadovnik, Alan (chair), Powell, Arthur (internal member), Barr, Jason (internal member), Pacquio, Dula (internal member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - Newark,
Academic achievement ,
Urban schools ,
DescriptionThis case study examined achievement differences in an urban school where student achievement was high in K-5 but declined in Grades 6-8. School- and classroom-level factors, such as the principal’s leadership, school culture, school vision, qualified teachers, use of student performance data, curriculum and instructional practices, and external factors such as parent and community partnerships were examined. Quantitative data were analyzed to identify differences in student achievement between transfer students from a feeder school and nontransfer students. Where differences existed, multiple and fixed effect regressions identified the most likely predictor(s) of the differences. Analysis identified a combination of contributing student-level factors: special education, Limited English Proficiency, transfer, race/ethnicity, and poverty, leading to the conclusion that the problem stemmed from a combination of factors. While transfer students contributed to depressed academic achievement in Mathematics, the decline had begun in Grade 4, before the merger of students. Thus, it was concluded that transfer students were not the sole cause of the overall decline in performance. Similar findings for Language Arts Literacy led to the same conclusion. Analysis of qualitative data indicated that the effectiveness of the school was dependent on several key factors: the cited student-level factors, consistent and stable leadership, accessible resources (defined as support and time), teacher expectations, lower curricular rigor, and parental involvement. The effectiveness of the school was dependent on perceived accessible resources, such as support and time, and effective stable leadership. Inconsistent guidance and planning were reflected in the instability of leadership at the middle school level, inadequate time to plan and collaborate, pressure of accountability and minimal parental involvement. This challenge created an environment in which meeting the high expectations and accountability standards seemed unattainable and insurmountable, producing a less effective school. The study provides important quantitative and qualitative evidence of school and student factors that can contribute to decline in achievement at an urban middle school, especially with regard to problems with the transfer component of No Child Left Behind. It was concluded that factors affecting student achievement are multidimensional and that solutions are very difficult but not insurmountable.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Paula J. Gordon
CollectionGraduate School - Newark Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.