Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Yinyang Wang

Second Advisor

Dr. Jami Royal Berry

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Hendrick

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Middle school mathematics achievement in the US, particularly in low socioeconomic districts, lags behind much of the industrialized world. One strategy to remedy low mathematics achievement is the balanced calendar model for student attendance. The balanced calendar model is popular because it distributes the 180 days of school attendance over the year more evenly than the traditional calendar model. The balanced calendar model features two inter-session periods that allow struggling students additional instruction. The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the influence of a balanced calendar model on the mathematics achievement of middle school students. The literature review explored the historical origins of both the traditional and balanced calendars, as well as the current national trends for yearlong instruction. In addition, the issue of “summer fade” was explored, and how summer fade was more likely to negatively impact students from low income families. A matched pair research design was utilized. This quantitative approach allowed mathematics achievement scores from schools using different calendar models to be compared while limiting the impact of other variables. A pair match placed schools with competing calendars together based on similar student demographics such as ethnicity and income level. Passing rates on standardized assessments for mathematics achievement were compared using chi- square and Fisher exact tests. Twenty-five of the 44 statistical analysis tests showed no significant influence on mathematics achievement between the competing calendar models. Only nine matched pairs were significant with a coefficient indicating that the balanced calendar schools influence mathematics achievement in a positive manner. A negative coefficient on ten of the matched pairs indicated that the balanced calendar influence mathematics achievement in a negative manner. This study suggests that the issue of calendar models warrants a broader investigation.

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