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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Mixed Methods Study to Measure the Impact of Mastery-Based, Personalized Learning on At-Risk Student Achievement
by Barrett, Dustin Dale, Ph.D., Northwest Nazarene University, 2017, 188; 10287327
Abstract (Summary)

At-risk children have demonstrated that the traditional industrial model of education often does not work well for them, yet the majority continue to be educated in this fashion. With the evolving ability to incorporate technology into education, the potential exists to develop innovative, personalized methods to meet at-risk students’ educational needs.

This study took place in three public high schools in the western United States for students designated as “at-risk.” These schools, located in the same public school district, worked together to develop and implement mastery-based, personalized instructional models with blended or hybrid instructional delivery school-wide. The use of teachers as mentors provided the framework to develop student-teacher relationships, while blended delivery provided academic choice over pace, place, time, and path.

The impact of the introduction of a blended, mastery-based learning model during the first semester of full implementation included a reduction in behavior incidents among students in all three high schools. Four out of five cohort grade level groups across the three high schools experienced a statistically significant reduction in behavior occurrences. While behavioral occurrences reduced, school exclusion rates through suspension were not significantly impacted through initial implementation of the new educational model.

Student academic achievement data was also collected and demonstrated the difficulty researchers can have comparing a time-based traditional instructional model to a mastery-based model where time is variable. Initial implementation demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in credits earned over the first semester. Grade point averages were not shown to be impacted significantly through initial mastery-based model implementation.

Student perception was measured through a survey tool developed to gather student input on model transformation and demonstrated that the change to a personalized learning model included the majority of the elements identified as key to developing student engagement.

The results of this study support and expand the work of other researchers who have demonstrated that implementation of a mastery-based instructional model delivered through blended instruction benefits at-risk students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Curtis, Heidi
Commitee: Harm, Eian, Kellerer, Eric
School: Northwest Nazarene University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Idaho
Source: DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational technology
Keywords: At-risk students, Blended learning, Complex adaptive systems, Innovative educational models, Mastery-based learning, Personalized learning
Publication Number: 10287327
ISBN: 978-0-355-03661-9
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