Date of Award

Spring 5-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. William Emrick

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Third Advisor

Dr. Farhad Jadali

Abstract

The purpose of this collaborative research study was to examine the relationship between standard tests, experiential learning strategies, student-centered teaching attitudes, and student achievement in Communication Arts. Each researcher took primary responsibility for the quantitative data (survey responses based on a Likert Scale and Missouri Assessment Program [MAP] and the qualitative data [open-ended questions, responses, and classroom observations of teachers]). This study was based on a collaborative effort in identifying the existence of teaching factors which could increase student achievement on the MAP test. The MAP test is one of several educational reforms mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). For the purpose of this study, the MAP was administered to students in grades three through six in the targeted elementary schools. Students are expected to demonstrate an academic level of proficient or advanced in the area of Communication Arts as evidenced by the MAP Scale Score. The MAP Scale Scores are expressed by three digits, describing achievement on a continuum that spans from the range of 648, the lowest range, to 790, the highest range. In this study, the top ten teachers in the study district, who had the greatest percentage of students with MAP Scale Scores in the area of proficient or advanced, were identified for the three study years, 2007-2009. The top ten teachers’ MAP Scale Scores were compared to the MAP Scale Scores of forty-five randomly selected third-sixth grade students. The results indicated that the MAP Scale Scores of the students in the top teachers’ classrooms were higher than the MAP Scale Scores of the randomly selected students during the three study years. The examination of classroom observations iii revealed that teachers utilized standard tests, experiential learning strategies, student centered teaching attitudes, and student achievement to increase academic performance on the MAP. The teachers’ survey responses indicated the existence of the teaching behaviors identified in the study. The teachers’ responses revealed that they understand how to ensure student understanding, know that their students are going to be successful, believe that all of their students can learn, and can achieve proficient or advanced MAP Scale Scores.

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