Date of Award

Fall 12-2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Susan Isenberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Wanda Brown

Third Advisor

Dr. Sandra Logan


Great demands are placed on educators to meet student academic standards as set forth by No Child Left Behind legislation. To meet these expectations, school districts must consider instructional strategies that maximize learning time. The study school, located in Midwest Missouri, implemented Start on Time, a tardy reduction program at the beginning of the 2006/2007 school year. The intent of the Start on Time program was to reduce tardies, thereby reducing interruptions to instruction while providing support strategies so students arrive prepared. The purpose of this study was to determine if increased instructional time would increase academic achievement and academic growth of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. The instrument for this study consisted of two assessments: the EXPLORE and the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP). This study compared the mean scale scores for eighth-grade students in the content areas of math and communication arts who attended the study school during the school years of 2003/2004 through 2007/2008. The results from this study found no significant difference between the achievement level of students who qualified for free and reduced lunch and those who were considered paid lunch in the content area of math. Results differed when comparing communication arts scores. Students who qualified for free and reduced lunch returned higher assessment scores than students who did not qualify for free and reduced lunch. The findings may be due to the fact that math shares a common language known and practiced by all students; however, communication arts does not. Economically advantaged students are more likely to have developed their use of the formal language that allows them to be successful on written tests compared to economically disadvantaged students who are more likely not to have developed their understanding of the formal language and, therefore, are at a higher risk of low achievement scores. In addition, the results indicated a difference on the rate of growth between the two groups of students. Students who qualified for free and reduced lunch showed a greater rate of academic growth following the implementation of the tardy reduction program.


Copyright 2009