Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evaluating the effectiveness of Montessori reading and math instruction for third grade African American students in urban elementary schools
by Brown, Katherine Elizabeth, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2016, 161; 10111911
Abstract (Summary)

Improving academic achievement for students of color has long been the subject of debate among advocates of education reform (Anyon, 2013; Breitborde & Swiniarski, 2006; Payne, 2008). Some scholars have advocated for the Montessori method as an alternative educational approach to address some chronic problems in public education (Lillard, 2005; Murray, 2011, 2015; Torrance, 2012). Montessori programs are expanding in public schools (National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, 2014c) at a time when the American public school population is more racially diverse than ever before (Maxwell, 2014). A review of the literature reflects a lack of consensus about the efficacy of Montessori elementary instruction for students of color in general, and lack of attention to outcomes for African American students specifically (Dawson, 1987; Dohrmann, Nishisda, Gartner, Lipsky, & Grimm, 2007; Lopata, Wallace, & Finn, 2005; Mallet & Schroeder, 2015). The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of reading and math instruction for third grade African American students in public Montessori, traditional, and other school choice settings, using end-of-grade standardized test scores from a large, urban district in North Carolina. Stratified sampling was used to select demographically similar traditional and magnet schools for comparison. Group mean reading and math test scores were compared using factorial MANCOVA and MANOVA procedures. African American students at grade three were found to perform at significantly higher levels in both reading and math in public Montessori schools than in traditional schools. No statistically significant difference was found in math achievement between African American third grade students in public Montessori and other magnet programs, although the Montessori group did achieve at significantly higher levels in reading. This suggests that the Montessori method can be an effective pedagogy for African American students, particularly in reading. Based on these results, recommendations are provided for policy, practice, and future research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lewis, Chance W.
Commitee: Cash, Anne, Stephan, Michelle, Wang, Chuang
School: The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Department: Curriculum & Instruction
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 77/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, African American Studies, Elementary education
Keywords: African American, Elementary, Math, Montessori, Reading, Urban
Publication Number: 10111911
ISBN: 978-1-339-75088-0
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