Student outcomes and teacher perceptions in relationship to smaller learning communities in an urban high school

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ETD Collection for AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library

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Perkins, Sean Monte'
DigitalCommons@Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center
thesis / dissertation description
The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which students’ performance in such areas as: Grade Point Average, Grades earned in courses taken, Georgia High School Graduation test, and End of Courses test improved as a result of the strategies such as: Academies, block scheduling, teacher support for students, professional practices when controlling for alternative explanations by using a control high school in a similar socio-economic environment. Smaller Learning Communities were installed in a large high school to improve performances by breaking down the student population into four academies. The academies were intended to offer greater teacher support, high expectations for students’ performance and enriched learning opportunities for students through effective collaborative teacher planning as compared to the regular departmentalization in schools. Data was presented in the following order: (a) statistics are provided in relation to the school and demographic variables; (b) teacher perceptions are analyzed to determine their reflections on the processes for any explanations of the student outcomes; (c) correlation analyses are presented to systematize the relationships among the variables and reduce the explanations for outcomes to a manageable number of variables for making final recommendations. The Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS) was used to analyze the data in accordance with research questions. The main findings were that in the correlation analysis the results indicate that though several independent variables are significantly related to graduation from high school, the students performance on the Georgia High School Graduation Test during grade 11 indicating that students’ performance in the core classes and standardized test in grade 11 is the main predictor of performance on the Georgia High School Graduation test when the other variables are statistically controlled. Also the results from the teacher questionnaire indicated that teaching experience, teacher perceptions of student responsiveness to teacher innovative methods and teacher rating of student ability are significant predicator of teacher rating of student performance. All other variables have no significant effect.

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