Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The 4x4 block schedule: Its impact on student achievement and school climate
by Comer, Eric C., Ed.D., Northern Arizona University, 2012, 154; 3509851
Abstract (Summary)

In 1995, a southwestern school district, located in suburban Northeast Phoenix, initiated an educational program emphasizing student achievement including professional development for teachers, understanding and respecting diversity, providing resources, seeking ties to higher education, and establishing relationships within the community. One programmatic element in pursuing these goals was the implementation of a 4x4 block schedule.

This study examines the effectiveness of this change by comparing two schools in the southwestern school district, one with a 4x4 block schedule, the other with a traditional, sixty-minute class period. The comparisons focus on student achievement and school climate reflected in the records of all graduating seniors from both schools in 2008. The majority of the data for the study were taken from the school district's student information system maintained using SASIā„¢.

An ex post facto or correlation design was used to explain two sets of dependent variables, one reflecting student achievement, and the other school climate. The first encompasses student achievement and included GPA, the number of A, B, C, D, and F grades, performance on the three components of the SAT, credit hours attempted and credit hours completed. The second includes the number of office referrals, warnings, timeouts, detentions, in school, and off-campus suspensions, tardies, truancies, and participation in extracurricular activities.

Each dependent variable is initially analyzed using a simple one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The analysis continues with an exploration of whether or not block versus traditional scheduling impacts a subset of the above measures within certain classes of students: namely breakdowns by gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, special education and ELL participation. Again, a simple one-way analysis of variance is used. Finally, the same measures are analyzed using a linear regression to control for other potential differences between the schools. Additionally, interaction terms were included in a separate regression to determine whether scheduling patterns interacted with certain variables producing differential effects for certain classes of students.

The findings of this study indicate that a 4x4 block schedule has no or negative impact on student achievement on measures reflecting academic performance such as GPA. However, this pattern is reversed for the number of credit hours completed. Breakdowns for different subgroups confirm these findings, as does the multivariate analysis. With regard to school climate, the 4x4 block schedule positively impacts student conduct, attendance, and participation in extracurricular activities. Again, breakdowns for different subgroups confirm this finding, as does a multivariate analysis. In sum, findings suggest that 4x4 block scheduling holds little prospect of improving students' academic performance. Indeed, it may prove to be a hindrance. On the other hand, findings suggest that a 4x4 block schedule has much to recommend it in terms of shaping school climate in a positive way.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dereshiwsky, Mary I.
Commitee: Blair, Karyn, Delecki, Walter J., Lee, James P.
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration, Secondary education
Keywords: Block schedule, Course scheduling, School climate, Student achievement
Publication Number: 3509851
ISBN: 9781267367747
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