Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Shelly Fransen

Second Advisor

Diana Bourisaw

Third Advisor

Kathy Smith


The purpose of this mixed methods study was to investigate what effect music had on student achievement and student behavior during independent practice time for 9th-grade Algebra 1 students. Benchmark assessments from the participating district, a focus group of six students, and four in-person teacher interviews provided the data for this study. The beginning-of-year Galileo Algebra 1 benchmark assessment was used as a baseline for the study. Algebra 1 teachers were asked to participate in one of three ways, to play teacher-selected music, to allow students to listen to their own music, or allow no music to be played during independent practice. The middle-of-year Galileo assessment was used to determine student growth for the study. An ANOVA was performed, and no significant difference was found between the three groups. A student focus group was used to gather student perceptions of the experience and focused on the impact the implementation of background music being played during independent practice had on their learning. A key theme discovered from the student focus group was that students wanted a voice and a choice in their learning experience. Additionally, the study examined how teachers viewed the behavior of their Algebra 1 students after the implementation of background music. A key theme identified amongst teachers and students both was that a process for selecting and listening to the background music needed to be in place and provided to students to minimize classroom distraction.

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