Questions will be designed to illicit responses as to the advantages of block schedule and will be based upon the broad questions that follow: Research Question #1 Has the implementation of block scheduling caused an increase in test scores of students in their final year of high school? Research Question #2 Has the implementation of block scheduling reduced the number of student absences? Research Questions #3 Has the implementation of block scheduling reduced the number of discipline issues (detentions, suspensions and expulsions) of the students?
The surveys and questionnaires will be delivered to the two schools administered in the method that the principal allows. The administrator or his designee will collect the surveys and questionnaires after completion. Each participant of this study will be informed prior to his participation that he is doing so voluntarily. Each participant will have the opportunity to review and sign an informed consent form prior to participating in the study. Some participants may choose to not be involved in this study. To encourage honesty in the responses, the confidentiality of each participant will be guaranteed.
A portion of the informed consent statement attests to this confidentiality. No names, only codes will be used on the surveys themselves with the codes keys kept in a secure location. Data Analysis and Interpretation Plan All surveys will be compiles into percentages. These percentages will be analyzed for trends among schools with and without block schedules. Data will be charted and graphed where appropriate. Correlations will be drawn based on findings. A discussion and analysis of each subcomponent will be presented. Implications One of the biggest implications in undertaking this type of scheduling change is cost.
The block schedule requires additional teachers (usually four or five) for the same number of students. These teachers also need a place to teach, which either requires the building of additional space, the addition of modular classrooms, or the need for teachers to share classrooms (Dobbs, W. , 1997). Another major implication for teachers is the need for changing teaching methods. Extended blocks allow teachers to experiment with new and creative strategies that will appeal to a variety of learning styles. They are able to incorporate more technology and remediation or enrichment exercises as needed.
Unfortunately, despite these opportunities, many teachers are hesitant, even fearful, of the block scheduling concept. Researchers Hackmann and Schmitt (1997) warn that: These large blocks¦ may be viewed with a great deal of apprehension by veteran teachers. A typical reaction may be What am I going to do for that many minutes? Even though a new scheduling configuration may have unanimous faculty support as the thing to do, teachers still must confront the daily reality of preparing creative, enriching lessons that keep students engaged academically.
It seems a large part of the success for block scheduling lies in the hands of the school districts for providing adequate funding and in the administration and teachers for lending it their willingness and support (Dobbs, W. , 1998). The following is a suggested list of criteria that change agents might want to consider: Utilization of effective research and practice. Inclusion of appropriate assessment plan and tools. Collaboration within the school community of administration, staff, and peers as appropriate.
Compliance with federal, state, and local laws, regulatory agency rules, board policies and regulations, and negotiated employee agreements. Assurance of a reasonable level of awareness and support within the school district community, including the Board of Education and others with an interest in the decision. Analysis of fiscal impact. (The Change Process and Alternative Scheduling, 1996). Finally, the utilization of block scheduling may be a determining factor in the legislated school choice options of parents in Georgia. The A+ Education Reform Act was passed by the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Barnes in 2000.
Its purpose was to significantly alter the management of education in Georgia. School performance, student achievement, and the efficient utilization of resources were its chief concerns and stakeholders at all levels were involved in this process and accountable for its results. Parents may request student transfers for achievement or overcrowding reasons (HB1187, 2000). Scheduling decisions may certainly affect the rights of parents to exercise this choice. Summary In order to become completely informed as to the effects of block scheduling on academic performance, more studies will have to be conducted.
Walker, (2000), recommends the following areas of study be conducted: Longitudinal studies of climate issues over extended periods of time are needed. Studies of student behavior over extended periods of time in multiple schools are recommended Studies of individual subject areas should be expanded. More study is necessary concerning the effectiveness of two-day versus four or five-day block-schedules ¢ Studies should be conducted to determine the effects of block scheduling on teaching behavior. ¢ Finally, the area of greatest need is the study of individual students achievement over extended periods of time.
Rarely does a problem as large as education have one simple solution. Oftentimes, solutions emerge over time and in conjunction with many other variables. Such is the case with block scheduling. In its short tenure, few studies are conclusive with regard to its test scores. However, with the examination of different variables, some insight into the situation may be helpful. Education is constantly evolving; one thing is for certain everyone must be willing to change with it for the good of each generation of students.
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Kappa 76, pp. 104-110, 112-113. The Change Process and Alternative Scheduling. (1996). Educational Issues Series. Wisconsin Education Association Council. Retrieved 22 July 2006 from: http://www. weac. org/ resource/june96/schedule. htm Dobbs, M. (2004, December 7). In a Global Test of Math Skills, U. S. Students Behind the Curve. The Washington Post, p. A01 Dobbs, W. (1998). The Block Schedule. Intel Innovation in Education. Retrieved 20 July 2006 from: http://www. intel. com/education/projects/wildride/supporting/BlkSched. htm Domaleski, C. (2004, Fall). An Examination of Block Scheduling Practices and End of Coursec Achievement. Journal of Instructional Psychology.
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A Nation Still at risk: The Imperative for educational reform. Washington, D. C. : U. S. Department of Education. National Education Commission on Time and Learning. (1994). Prisoners of Time. Washington, D. C. : U. S. Government Printing Office. No Child Left Behind Act. (2001). 2001, Pub. L. No 107-110. Retrieved January 17, 2005, from http://www. ed. gov/nclb North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. (1997). Block Scheduled High School Achievement Part II: Comparison of End-of-Course Test Scores for Blocked and Nonblocked High Schools (1993 through 1996).