Keywords

middle school, grade configuration, grade span, grade 6, academic achievement

Abstract

This study examined the impact of grade span configuration on the academic achievement of sixth grade students in Florida public schools. Grade configuration (PK-6, PK-8, and 6-8) was the independent variable. Academic achievement, the dependent variable, was measured using 2009 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Reading and Mathematics mean scale scores and the percentage of students making annual learning gains from 2008 to 2009. School socioeconomic status (SES) was used as a covariate to equalize the effect of poverty on achievement. Random samples of schools were drawn from the population of all Florida public schools with sixth grades in 2009, and from Florida's 2009 Academically High Performing School Districts. Findings showed that there was a statistically significant difference in achievement based on grade level configuration in reading and mathematics for all schools and for schools in Academically High Performing Districts. In all cases, the PK-6 configuration was statistically significantly higher than 6-8, with varied significance between PK-6 and PK-8, and PK-8 and 6-8. The strongest practical significance for all schools was found for learning gains in mathematics, with 26% of the variance in mean learning gain percentages accounted for by grade configuration when controlling for SES. Recommendations were made that future studies address differentiating grade configurations by instructional models and other factors that could impact achievement. The degree and the fidelity to which the middle school concept is implemented in 6-8 schools should be accounted for before making conclusions about the impact of configuration on academic achievement of students in that configuration.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2010

Advisor

Murray, Barbara

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College

College of Education

Department

Educational Research, Technology and Leadership

Degree Program

Educational Leadership

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0003030

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0003030

Language

English

Release Date

May 2010

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

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