|Effects of an arbitrary accelerated group placement on the tested academic achievement of educationally disadvantaged students|
Charles Edward Flowers
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Ability grouping in education, Children with social disabilit, Education, Prediction of scholastic succe
The Purpose of the Study. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not there would be an observable difference in the achievement of disadvantaged students after they had been taught by teachers who were led to believe they had higher tested achievement or ability. Questions which the study does not undertake to answer but which lie behind it are: (a) are the test scores used as criteria for establishing ability groups depressed for these children? and (b) is the expectation for learning higher for higher ability groups? If so, then classes arbitrarily grouped higher will show a higher level of tested achievement than control classes not so grouped.
The Organizing Hypothesis. Because students previously grouped homogeneously in lower sections were to be taught as if they had higher tested ability and achievement it was expected that their achievement would be higher than that of comparable groups of students taught according to established procedures. It was assumed that one set of operant intervening variables would be the teacherĂs expectation for student performance, the extent of teacher preparation, and a preference for teaching high ability groups.
The Hypothesis Tested. The hypothesis tested in this study was that if one of two groups of students of similar tested ability and achievement is assigned arbitrarily to a moderately higher level section and taught on that level for a year, the group so placed will surpass the other group in tested achievement by the end of the academic year.
Design of the Inquiry. To test the hypothesis two experimental groups of seventh grade students were shifted to higher section designations than their test scores warranted without their, or their teachersĂ, knowledge. Two control groups, matched on IQ and achievement scores on standard tests, were not so shifted. Post-year tests used were Stanford Achievement Tests, Advanced Form LM; and the Otis Quick Scoring Mental Ability Test, Form Beta EM. At the end of the year teachers were asked to respond to a questionnaire.
Findings. Despite findings of a significantly higher achievement (.05 level) in the larger school and a higher achievement trend in the smaller school for the experimental groups, it was concluded that the hypothesis was not supported. The deception seemed to have some probable consequences, but interpretation suggested that the variable manipulated was of itself insufficient to overcome the effects of other variables such as differences in the communities, in composition of school populations, in school assignments, in teacher styles, and in other considerations in field experiments which could not be controlled by the investigator. That the upward trend in achievement for the experimental groups was related to teacher expectation seemed possible in light of the findings from the questionnaire which showed that teachers favored the ˘high÷ ability groups; they seemed more aware of the need for remedial instruction for ˘higher÷ ability students; and it seemed that they attempted to motivate ˘higher÷ ability students more.