Rationale for the study
The effects of teacher-attitudes on student behavior and performance in grades kindergarten through fifth have been explored through a study by Rosentho and Jacobson in 1968 when they published ‘Pygmalion in the classroom’. During this period, public interest and a heated professional controversy arose in the perception that the expectations of a teacher regarding the ability of the child/student has a great impact on the child’s learning in the class room and his/her test performance. Several articles and perspectives have appeared in the press where the data published by Rosentho and Jacobson was interpreted to give the notion that a child’s classroom performance can be greatly improved by “making the teacher to think better of the child’s ability” (Pransky and Bailey, 2009). This was also followed by serious doubts being casted on the reliability and validity of the data published by Rosenthal and Jacobson. These doubts have been widely expressed in many professional studies and research work (Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
The aim for conducting this study is to determine how teacher attitudes affect student behavior and performance in grades Kindergarten through fifth. The results of this study will be beneficial as crucial information will be elicited which will benefit policy makers, curriculum developers, parents and teachers and help them to devise strategies which instill confidence in students to enhance better performance and appropriate behavior. This is amidst a culturally diverse learning environment where teacher-attitudes are likely to ensue (Howard & Del Rosario, 2000).
The general hypothesis for this study is that a positive relationship exists between teacher attitudes and the behavior and performance of students in grades kindergarten through fifth. Positive teacher attitudes favor higher grades and imitation of appropriate behavior, while negative teacher attitudes cause lower grades and imitation of inappropriate behavior.
The objectives (for this study) include the following:
- To asses the teacher attitudes present in the school environment.
- To measure the academic achievement and attitude and behavior of students in grade Kindergarten through fifth.
- To investigate the relationship, if any, between teacher attitudes and academic achievement and student behavior.
The following limitations which will affect interpretation of results, conclusions, and recommendations are present in this study:
- The sample is limited to public schools from a rural setting in the United States.
- The sample only includes children/students and teachers with the school’s permission to participate in this study and hence the sample is not a probability sample of the population.
- No control group is utilized.
The following factors are fundamental to this study and are assumed to be true:
- Classroom grades are a valid measure of the academic performance of the students.
- Student performance and behavior are solely compared to teacher attitudes while ignoring the effects of other variables (e.g. extraneous effects like intrinsic motivation) on student performance.
- The context of the classroom environment is treated as static, hence was not to be explained.
Exploration of Terms Used
The concept of attitude entails an individual’s way of thinking, acting or behaving (Pransky and Bailey, 2009). According to a study carried out in Nigeria by Bandura, attitude has marked implications on the learner, the teacher and the immediate social groups. The attitude of the teacher towards the student will also affect how he or she will interact with the whole system of an academic institution. Other studies by Baker and Crist (1981) and several others have also suggested that students develop certain attitudes and behaviors towards learning because of the learning experiences and the teaching environment (Pransky and Bailey, 2009; Baker and Crist, 1981).
Baker and Crist (1981) further assert that a certain attitude and behavior in students may be instilled or learned in a simple way by following what the teacher does either through his/her opinion. This is because students regard teachers as their example and role model. Thus students tend to mimic and/or imitate what the teacher does or how he or she behaves, which ultimately has marked effects on the learning situation. Therefore in this respect, the learners’ attitudes are drawn from the teachers’ dispositions which are used to form their own attitudes that have a likely effect on the students’ learning outcomes (Baker and Crist, 1981; Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
Culturally Responsive Teaching
According to Howard & Del Rosario (2000), culturally responsive teaching involves a kind of teaching where teachers are more acquainted with the world of the students or children and attempt to offer better opportunities for the success of learning. This is in terms of developing positive attitudes towards the learning processes (Pransky and Bailey, 2009). Howard & Del Rosario have suggested that positive teacher-attitudes are fostered in a culturally responsive learning environment and this facilitates and supports the success of majority of students (Howard & Del Rosario, 2000).
Though other factors such as intrinsic motivation of students has been attributed to the success of students (Irvine, 2003), a culturally responsive environment also favors success as it instills a positive attitude in teachers towards teaching and the process of learning (Howard & Del Rosario, 2000). This is through creation of an environment where learning is made intriguing and students feel welcomed, supported and provided with immense opportunities of learning in total disregard of cultural or linguistic inclinations (Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
Culturally responsive teaching focuses on academic achievement, cultural competence and socio-political consciousness which forms a conducive environment for schooling and learning and helps teachers develop attitudes which are motivating to their students thus favoring their academic success and performance (Howard & Del Rosario, 2000; Irvine, 2003).
This section of the paper is a review of research literature about how teacher-attitudes affect student behavior and performance in grades Kindergarten through fifth. The purpose of this review of literature is to elicit crucial information which will be useful to policy makers, curriculum developers, parents and teachers on the importance of adopting approaches which instill confidence in students to enhance better performance and appropriate behavior.
In all school settings be it elementary, secondary or higher education, the motivation of students towards learning is usually perceived as one of the most influential determinants of student behavior and high quality and successful learning outcomes (Pransky and Bailey, 2009). The motivation of students (hence their performance and behavior) in such settings may be influenced positively or negatively by teacher attitudes towards teaching and learning (Baker and Crist, 1981).
Effect of Teacher Attitudes on Student Behavior and Performance
Ever since Baker and Crist’s ‘the Pygmalion’ was published, there has been increasing focus on arguments which mention the effects of attitudes/bias of the teacher on the child or student (Baker and Crist, 1981). It has been suggested in other areas that teachers may sometimes suppress the learning and performance of some students because of the basic reason that they subjectively feel that such students cannot grasp such material in a manner which is as quick as the way other students would. This attitude can be perceived in terms of aspects of bias which occurs when objective measures fail to show the differences which exist in terms of the potential of learning between students expected to perform poorly as compared to other students in the same class (Swartz, 2003, Irvine, 2003).
According to Howard & Del Rosario (2000) and articles published in the European Journal of Social Sciences by Pransky and Bailey (2009), increased cultural diversity is on the rise in most American schools with constant homogeneity in the teaching force which is predominately white, female and middle class (Swartz, 2003). Many authors have given the example of teachers having a limited cultural-knowledge base which leads to negative attitude towards certain cultural groups (Howard & Del Rosario, 2000). For example according to a research by Irvine (2003), pre-service teachers have low expectations and negative beliefs/attitudes towards the academic success of non white students, despite the fact that they have undertaken multi cultural education course work (p.xvi). Irvine referred this phenomenon as ‘cultural discontinuity’ which has the potential to cause stereotyping and prejudice between teachers and students thus causing the teachers to “ignore their students” ethnic identities and their unique cultural beliefs, perceptions, values and worldviews” (Irvine, 2003, p. xvii). This devalues the contribution of the students towards the classroom environment causing them to be demoralized hence low academic performance (Irvine, 2003, p. xvii).
According to Howard & Del Rosario (2000) and Pransky and Bailey (2009), ‘cultural discontinuity’ can affect the attitudes and expectations of teachers, which has a direct effect on the academic performance of the children or students from kindergarten through fifth grade. This is because such pre-service teachers tend to have the affirmation that “what is different is inferior” hence the likelihood of causing poor academic performance especially in the perceived group of students (Pransky and Bailey, 2009; Howard & Del Rosario, 2000).
According to Howard & Del Rosario (2000) and Forlenza, Bailey, & Shaw (1999), the most influential determinant of the academic performance of children is teacher quality and attitude, which is developed through effective teacher education programs that prepare prospective teachers who are highly qualified and focused on a cultural responsive pedagogy which is systematic and cohesive and runs through the entire curriculum. Howard and Del Rosario (2000) further assert that teacher educators who involve dialogue and give opportunities for obtaining competencies, skills, knowledge and attitudes have recorded success as they train teachers who have achieved equity and excellence for many students in the education system and schools which have become culturally diverse.
Research has proven that teacher’s attitudes which are shaped in an objective manner have an upper hand in enhancing a successful and conducive learning environment and better performance of children or students. This is because such teachers have better knowledge of their children’s or students’ world hence they work together with students and open chances for learning success and better academic performance (Howard & del Rosario, 2000; Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
According to a study conducted in Nigeria, one acquires certain behaviors through watching other people like models, teachers, parents, mentors or friends. The leaner observes by watching and tries to imitate certain kinds of behavior. In an invariable perspective, teachers are therefore like role models of their students. Thus the behaviors/attitudes of teachers are likely to be copied by their students (Howard & Del Rosario, 2000; Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
According to Baker and Crist (1981), the likes and dislikes of teachers and what they appreciate including the feelings of students’ learning and studies has a tremendous effect on the behavior and academic performance of students. This is despite the lack of realization among teachers that the manner in which they behave and teach and their interaction with students is more important than what they teach. Thus in summary, Baker and Crist (1981) assert that teachers’ attitudes have a direct impact on the attitudes of their students and such attitudes are manifested through behavior. Therefore according to Baker and Crist, teachers’ attitudes towards students affect the students’ academic performance.
According to Gay (2000), a culturally responsive teaching environment has proved to be successful. This is because in a culturally responsive teaching environment, teachers adopt objective approaches devoid of preformed negative attitudes towards certain student groups. This has recorded success since it supports the achievements of all students by avoiding negative attitudes and socio-political prejudices during the learning process (Gay, 2000).
In addition, a culturally responsive teaching environment creates a learning environment where all students feel welcomed, supported and provided with the best learning opportunities regardless of their cultural or linguistic background or socio-political affiliation (Howard and Del Rosario, 2000; Pransky and Bailey, 2009). This approach enhances the success of students and can be made more effective by adopting approaches within a teaching framework that is culturally responsive (Gay, 2000; Swartz, 2003; Irvine, 2003; Pransky and Bailey, 2009). According to Gay (2000), the approach mentioned above has recorded success as it entails: academic achievement where learning is of high quality and is made exciting, challenging, and equitable; cultural competence where different cultural and linguistic groups are known and put into consideration to facilitate the learning process; and sociopolitical consciousness where students are assisted and recognized to understand that education and schooling do not occur in a vacuum (Gay, 2000). In addition, this approach also enhances the success of students as it validates them in whole (Gay, 2000; Forlenza, Bailey and Shaw, 1999; Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
According to studies by the United States department of Education in 1994, positive attitudes of both teachers, parents and the community towards a child or student’s education goes a great mile to promote the growth of children emotionally, physically and academically. This is because of the sense of motivation which is extrinsically imparted in them, thus recording better performance in class work and significantly contributing, in various ways, to improved student outcomes regarding school success and learning (Gay, 2000).
The effect of teachers’ attitudes towards student performance and behavior has been explored through the way teachers teach various subjects. According to Forlenza, Bailey and Shaw (1999) and the United States Department of Education, negative attitudes towards teaching (e.g. teachers with a negative attitude or those who teach science subjects in ways which merely require pupils to listen, read and regurgitate) affect the attitudes of students and their achievement in certain subjects. Similar studies have also been conducted which have reported that attitudes of teachers towards science and mathematics subjects significantly predict how their students will perform in science subjects as well as their attitudes towards learning (Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
According to Forlenza, Bailey and Shaw (1999), the attitudes of teachers towards biology teaching greatly contribute towards variations which exist in the cognitive achievements of students. This is similar to other subjects such as integrated sciences. This topic has further been expounded by other researchers e.g. Irvine (2003) and Baker and Crist (1981), who have suggested that positive attitudes and best academic achievement of students towards science can be enhanced by teacher related attitudes such as enthusiasm, resourcefulness, helpful behavior, extensive knowledge of the subject matter and the ability of such teachers to make the teaching of this subject to be interesting (Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
Over several decades, teachers’ attitudes, their immense responsibilities and efforts in reform have increasingly strained the deteriorating connection between teachers and their learners. In the current society, the relationship between teacher attitudes and student behavior has been explored. Even through current research depicts that teaching and learning are processes which are interconnected, many scholars and researchers have continued to depict their focus in a manner contrary to this. According to Craig (2010), an effective teaching and learning environment created by the appropriate teacher behavior is essential in the emotional development and well being of students and their performance in grades kindergarten through fifth (Craig, 2010; Crosnoe, Johnson, and Elder, 2004). For instance, in a study which focused on the relationship between teachers and children in the early childhood school environment, the interactions between teachers and students were observed through interviews. In these studies, collection and analysis of data was done. This focused on classroom conditions, teacher beliefs and teacher attitudes which appear to impact on the development of positive relationships between teachers and students. It was pointed out that the certain attitudes which are intrinsic to teaches have a tremendous impact on the learning environment and the grades of pupils in grades kindergarten through fifth (Craig, 2010; Crosnoe, Johnson, and Elder, 2004; Darling-Hammond, 2006; Darling-Hammond and Bransford, 2005).
According to Crosnoe, Johnson, and Elder (2004), numerous setbacks stand in the way of both teachers and students thereby affecting their relationship. These include lack of the necessary support from the Federal government. This has further been explored by Craig (2010) where the unfamiliarity of teachers on the lives of their students has been thought to cause a scenario where students are stereotyped and result to internal biases on the part of the teachers. According to Crosnoe, Johnson, & Elder (2004), the unfamiliarity of a teacher causes stereotyping and internal biases. In this regard, teachers fill the knowledge of their students with stereotypes which are underpinned in what they encounter in various areas e.g. in the media. This topic has further been explored by Craig (2010) who pointed out that stereotypical approaches of teachers towards students in kindergarten through fifth can be from what they pick up from stories indirectly told to them by other children. According to Craig (2010), teachers must remove all the barriers which would allow them to teach their students better. This should be done in a manner to fulfill the monumental goals which are mandated by policies which they should control.
The literature regarding teacher student relationships and the extent of literature depicted have seen the emergence of common ideas. First, teachers who have been shown to develop caring and trusting relationships with their students have been thought to expect better performance. This has been shown to develop students with a sense of belonging and community. In addition, Darling-Hammond, (2006) pointed out that the exhibition of pro-social school behaviors is only evident in those students who have a genuine belief that their teachers have genuine care for them. According to Darling-Hammond and Bransford (2005), such pro-social school behaviors include emotional stability, co-operation and cognitive engagements. This topic has further been explored by Johnson and Elder (2004), who pointed out that the degree to which a teacher acts pro-socially towards school children is an important indicator of the social competence of children as well as the defining feature.
According to Darling-Hammond and Bransford (2005), kindergarten teachers who get involved in environments which are caring, constructive and affirmative lead to students with good and long-term academic outcomes and positive emotions. In addition, research has also pointed out that the attitudes of teachers and kindergarten pupils (in a multiple of contexts) have shown mutually trusting relationships which result to better grades. This gives the implication that those factors which interplay inside the classroom have a greater effect on the kind of relationship that will develop between the teachers and their students. Nonetheless, though factors outside the classroom have been thought to have an effect, such effect is to a lesser magnitude compared to those factors inside the classroom (Craig, 2010; Crosnoe, Johnson, and Elder, 2004).
Though the body of literature regarding the attitudes of teachers and how it affects students in grades kindergarten through fifth is vast, a few components which are critical appear to be missing or in some instances lack specificity. One such component is the knowledge about the general conditions and behaviors which foster a positive relationship between teachers and their students (Craig, 2010). It has been pointed out that those components such as the attitudes, dispositions and actions of teachers relative to the specific students and the overall classroom environment affect the behavior of students in grades kindergarten through fifth. Other factors which have been thought to affect performance include the voice of students within their environment in early childhood. Several studies have examined the perspectives of students and the kinds of the relationships which they build with their teachers. In these studies, it has been pointed out that those kinds of relationships which entail respect, engagement, self efficacy and motivation result to better outcomes and performance on the part of pupils. In addition, it has been pointed out that relationships which take place during early development stages have a tremendous effect on the performance and behavior of pupils in grades kindergarten through fifth. These relationships have been thought to have a tremendous effect in the academic and social spheres. Furthermore, the manner in which these relationships are nurtured and perpetuated affects teacher attitudes towards students and ultimately the performance of the students (Craig, 2010).
According to Johnson, and Elder (2004), positive teacher-student relationships cannot be ignored as they result in a conducive academic, social and emotional environment for the better performance of pupils. In addition, students in grades kindergarten through fifth who have a good relationship with their teachers depict more social and emotional maturity, even if they may not perform well academically.
Craig (2010) pointed out that when teachers in kindergarten have the appropriate attitudes towards pupils, it makes the pupils become more interconnected to the school environment and the chances that such pupils will drop out is slim. This is in line with research studies which have consistently pointed out that a disconnection between students and the school environment results in a feeling of alienation on the part of the students. This can be detrimental to the academic, social and emotional spheres of the students and therefore causes poor grades and truancy.
When such students feel completely alienated, they engage in deviant behavior in school and family setups and in the larger scope of the society. This occurs in total contravention of the societal norms and expectations. In this regard, positive relationships and strong bonds between teachers and their students in the early stages of school (grades kindergarten through fifth) should be well developed and maintained (Craig, 2010; Crosnoe, Johnson, and Elder, 2004; Darling-Hammond, 2006; Darling-Hammond and Bransford, 2005).
In addition, teachers must instill in themselves the appropriate attitudes which foster the development of positive relationships with students and must learn how to foster the kinds of relationships which have the potential to impact positively on the academic lives and experiences of the students (Craig, 2010).
According to Craig (2010), a physically well designed, positive and nurturing learning environment has a positive correlation with greater academic achievement, prosocial behaviors, engagement in school, academic motivation and a stronger self esteem and image especially in childhood years. The interpersonal behaviors of teachers are relevant tools in the classroom environment which affects the academic outcomes of students. In the learning environment where the teachers are supportive, and where they promote an inclusive environment, the students are better placed academically, socially and emotionally. Similarly, the interpersonal behaviors have been thought to affect the classroom environment. The above mentioned elements can foster and diminish a positive learning environment (Craig, 2010; Crosnoe, Johnson, and Elder, 2004; Darling-Hammond, 2006).
The relationship between the teacher, and the student has been regarded as the most critical and the most dynamic in social spheres of the school environment. For instance, when the relationship between the teacher, and the student is mutually positive and trusting, the students have a better environment to share their thinking, experiences and learning with their teacher and among each other which results to better grades and performance. Similarly, when the teachers feel they are better connected to students as a result of having taken time to learn about their students’ backgrounds and position on certain issues, the students feel as being part of the learning process hence leading to positive learning outcomes. On the other hand, students feel uncomfortable, develop mistrust towards their teachers and ultimately feel disconnected from school. Therefore, the kind of relationship which is fostered between teachers and students in the classroom environment has negative and positive implications which are embedded even in the early years of kindergarten (Craig, 2010; Darling-Hammond and Bransford, 2005).
The fact that the development of children is closely connected to the early years of pre-school and the kind of relationships which develop in early childhood is a well documented fact. According to Johnson, and Elder (2004) the first four years of life are a critical stage for developing early relationships. Similalry, they assert that a good foundation in the early years of life especially with the parents and care givers account for behavioral patterns, feelings of self worth and motivation which affects the school performance of such children. Furthermore, existing literature has depicted socio-developmental theories in childhood which have been thought to affect the relationship between teachers and their students (Craig, 2010).
According to Darling-Hammond (2006), social connectedness is an important element which aids the manner in which students exhibit and understand the social academic environment. How the students are socially connected to the academic environment affects how they relate to their teachers, and ultimately affects their academic performance.
Crosnoe, Johnson, and Elder (2004), explored several social theories which have gained recognition in vast literature about how kindergarten students feel about the school environment. Although numerous findings have depicted how beneficial school connectedness is for all students, other studies have pointed out that those students in elementary school or in early childhood development classes undergo more suffering than those at higher levels. This happens especially when they lack the perceived support from their teachers. Further studies have also pointed out similar findings where students at all levels of learning achieve better grades and connection at school. Moreover, students have been thought to have a strong and reciprocal relationship with their teachers. In situations where students and teachers work together in ways which are responsive to their psychological needs, they both feel part of the learning environment as a result of the interconnections which exist among them. In addition, better social interconnections between students and their teachers enhance students to reap the benefits which accrue out of such connections. Therefore, it is probable that such students exhibit behaviors which are more pro-social to their academic environment. The connectedness of children to their teachers and the school environment instills strong academic and motivational values which have been thought to affect the academic performance of school going children. For instance, the Wingspread Declaration on School Connectedness in 2003 created as a summary scale of the advantages of school connectedness, school connectedness was thought to account for an increased sense of belonging, less health risks or health risk behaviors, academic achievement and healthy development (Craig, 2010; Crosnoe, Johnson, and Elder, 2004; Darling-Hammond, 2006; Darling-Hammond and Bransford, 2005).
The academic performance of children in grades kindergarten through fifth cannot only be attributed to teacher attitudes but to interplay of various other factors such as pro-social behavior, modeling and asocial behavior. Prosocial behaviors may include behaviors such as cooperation, respect, empathy, responsibility and caring. Therefore, it is the duty of teachers to model these behaviors in the early academic lives of children so that such children develop relationships which are trusting, especially in the classroom environment. This also enables the children take on the pro-social behaviors mentioned above (Darling-Hammond, 2006; Darling-Hammond and Bransford, 2005).
The attitude of teachers and how they model prosocial behaviors in kindergarten children
Research has pointed out that the positive or pro-social behavior of teachers and their competencies in social and emotional spheres influence positive teacher student relationships and the academic, social and emotional competence of children in the early years of their academic lives. Therefore teachers should promote a positive learning environment for their students. To do this, they must engage themselves continuously in promoting and modeling behaviors that are prosocial. According to Craig (2010), certain actions which are intentional could be promoted by teachers thus fostering prosocial relationships with their students. These include an instruction that is rich in self awareness skills, self management skills, and entrenching skills which utilize social awareness in their teaching. Teachers should also be able and willing to promote and teach responsible decision making skills in a variety of contexts (Craig, 2010).
Therefore, in everyday actions, the impact of teachers on the academic well being of their students is markedly significant. As a result, the academic validity and intimacy of the interactions at the classroom level place an immense responsibility on the part of teachers to manage their interactions in the appropriate approaches that foster a positive learning environment (Craig, 2010). For example, when a teacher fosters a positive learning environment for students, they develop a sense of belonging to the school environment and the society. This develops a sense of trust between the teacher and the learners and nurtures a good academic environment (Crosnoe, Johnson, and Elder, 2004; Darling-Hammond, 2006; Darling-Hammond and Bransford, 2005).
The study is a descriptive study which investigates the effects of teacher attitudes on student behavior and academic performance from grade kindergarten through fifth. It will adopt an expo-facto type using a descriptive survey design type. Data will be analyzed using frequencies and percentages.
The purpose of the study (a correlational study) is to determine if a relationship exists between teachers’ attitudes and students’ academic performance and behavior. The hypotheses which are specific to this study include the following:
- A positive relationship exists between teacher attitudes and students’ academic performance from grade kindergarten through fifth.
- A positive relationship exists between teacher attitudes and students’ behavior in grade kindergarten through fifth.
Two research instruments will be used. These include a scale of students’ attitudes and behavior towards learning and questionnaires for teachers in the same academic environment. The questionnaire will be administered to teachers and older students while younger ones will be interviewed.
The scale of student’s attitudes and behavior towards learning will be adapted from Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitude Scales. This scale has two sections; the first section includes the name of the student, class, the name of the school, the local government area, sex and age. The second section has 22 items with eleven positively worded and eleven negatively worded items to which students will be expected to provide a response through expression of the level of agreement (or otherwise). This will be on a four-point scale of Strongly Agree (4), Agree (3), Disagree (2) and strongly disagree (1). The adapted instruments will be trial tested in three different schools of urban setting in a chosen region of the United States (Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
The Crobach alpha coefficient will be computed to ascertain its reliability and the value obtained will be recorded. The teacher’s questionnaire will be developed through adoption of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study Questionnaire. This questionnaire ;has the first question with ten questions each having the school’s name, age, gender, qualification, experience in years, number of students in the teacher’s classes, number of teaching periods, hours on activities outside formal school days (Pransky and Bailey, 2009). The hours have options of none; less than an hour; one to two hours; three to four hours and more than 4 hours. The second section has 14 items which deal with teachers’ attitudes towards teaching and has response options of Strongly Agree (4), Agree (3), Disagree (2) and Strongly Disagree (1). This questionnaire will be trial tested in a similar environment where the scale of student attitude and behavior will be pre-tested. The Cronbach alpha will then be used to determine the reliability coefficient and its value noted (Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
The study will be conducted during the period of spring 2013. However, before interviews are conducted, consent will be sought from the school boards of two school districts. If the school boards grant permission to conduct this study on its branches, letters will be sent to the various heads of the branches. These letters will be traced with phone calls. The number of Branch heads who give consent for their institutions to participate will be ascertained. However, only the schools which will have confirmed to having received letters and consented to participate will be included in the final sample (Forlenza, Bailey and Shaw, 1999; Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
The collection of grades will be facilitated by using mail and fax. At the end of the school year in 2013, the teacher will be mailed with forms (having student name and a chart) requesting the student’s grade. Grades will be collected for each nine week period in the 2013 school year and an average calculated to get the mean scores. Coding will be done to determine whether the students were above average, one average or below average (Irvine 2003; Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
To determine whether the chosen sample from two school districts adequately represents the population of the catchment area, a rough estimate of the socio-economic and demographic features of the participating schools will be carried out. For younger students (e.g. those in Kindergarten), parental consent will be sought. Hence parental consent forms will be delivered to the participating schools. Upon completion, these forms will be picked up by a designated member of the study team. The availability of funds (for this study) will determine the amount of cash that families will be awarded as compensation for participation. Interviews will only be limited to the students whose parents gave consent for their participation in the study. Incase some of the children to be interviewed don’t report (e.g. move out of this area, are transferred to a non-participant school or don’t meet sampling criteria), they will not be followed up and will not be interviewed (Forlenza, Bailey and Shaw, 1999; Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
Separate analysis of data will be performed for academic performance and behavior because of the following two basic reasons:
- Analyses which have been done in the past have indicated statistically significant differences (Irvine, 2003: Pransky and Bailey, 2009).
- A difference in nominal value exists in statistical analyses (Swartz 2003; Irvine, 2003).
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