A comparison of mathematics achievement, attendance, and behavior of at-risk, minority, and female students in block-scheduled, and traditional settings

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

John H. Croghan, Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which students scheduled in block classes had enhanced attendance, behavior, and mathematics achievement scores. A total of 180, 9th grade pre-algebra students from 12 classes in six high schools from a large, urban public school system, were randomly selected to participate in the study.Using a causal comparative design, this study determined if relationships existed in attendance, behavior, mathematics grade point average (GPA), and Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) mathematics scores of students in block-scheduled classes when compared with students in traditional classes. Additionally, the study examined the extent to which students' gender, ethnicity, or "at-risk" status related to their success in these environments. This study also used a qualitative design to determine if teachers in block classes used instructional time differently than those in traditional classes. Three qualitative data gathering instruments were used: (a) The Use of Time Observation Form, (b) the Use of Time Interview Questionnaire, and (c) the Use of Time Methods and Materials Self-Assessment.Quantitative data were analyzed using t-tests for independent samples and analysis of covariance techniques (ANCOVA). Qualitative data were subjected to analytic induction by codifying and triangulating the data and determining if any patterns developed.The quantitative findings indicated that, at the.05 level of significance, students in block-scheduled schools had significantly higher grade point averages and significantly fewer behavioral referrals than students in traditionally scheduled schools. At-risk students in block-scheduled schools had significantly higher SAT scores than their traditional school counterparts. Also, minority students, specially Black students, in block-scheduled schools had significantly fewer behavioral referrals than minority and Black students in the traditional environment.Analysis of the qualitative data indicated that pre-algebra teachers in block schools use their instructional time similarly to teachers in traditional schools. Teachers in both settings rely primarily on teacher-centered techniques and materials. Particularly, teachers prefer to lecture or demonstrate and then have students use textbooks or worksheets to perform seatwork. However, those teachers in block schools who primarily use student-centered materials and techniques spend the majority of their time on these activities and not teacher-centered activities.


Education, Mathematics; Education, Administration; Education, Secondary; Education, Curriculum and Instruction

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