The description and evaluation of the development and implementation of a flexible unit organizational plan in an elementary school
Goodridge, Lester E.
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PURPOSE: The purposes of this study were: (1) to describe the development of a flexible unit organizational plan designed to provide (a) increased classroom services to children and (b) conditions that made possible an increment in instructional services by teachers; (2) to determine and describe the effect of the plan on the level of teacher-performed instructional services; (3) to determine the effect of the plan on the level of pupil achievement; (4) to determine the effect of the plan on the level of attitude and behavior ratings of pupils; and (5) to explore the possible relationship between teacher-rendered instructional services and behaviors and attitudes of pupils. PLAN: The plan is basically described in the following: (1) pupil and staff were organized into three cooperating teams consisting of (a) a primary group of grades 1, 2, and 3, (b) an intermediate group of grades 4, 5, and 6, and (c) an advanced program group of gifted children from grades 3, 4, and 5; (2) parallel schedules within teams were developed for the staff-instructed core area (language arts - social studies), mathematics, and science; and the specialist-instructed areas of music, physical education, and art; and (3) flexibility and integration were integral themes of the organizational plan. Flexibility refers to the variable use of content, teaching method, teacher resources, and facilities; integration to efforts to have all experiences of individuals and groups related to a unifying goal. PROCEDURE: The study was conducted at the Hancock School in Lexington, Massachusetts. The control group consisted of 193 children and nine teachers enrolled at the outset of the 1962-63 school year; the experimental group was comprised of 199 children and nine teachers enrolled at the conclusion of the 1963-64 school year. The statistical data was stratified into three intelligence level groups (high-quarter, middle-half, and low-quarter) and into sex groupings (boys and girls). To accomplish stratification of the pupil sample and to obtain comparative data on (1) achievement and (2) behaviors and attitudes of children, the following instruments were used: (1) the Otis Quick Scoring Mental Ability Test, a group test of intelligence; (2) the SRA Achievement Series; a battery of standardized tests measuring academic achievement; and (3) the Winnetka Scale for Rating School Behavior and Attitude; a teacher completed pupil rating scale. The instrument used to obtain comparative data on teacher rendered instructional services was the Scribner Subject Service Analysis Scale, a teacher rating scale completed by an interviewer. Descriptive data in the form of observational reports, teacher logs, and activity reports were collected at predetermined intervals during the conduct of the study. Excerpts from this data were analysed and compared. Findings: The following results were evident: 1. A limited pattern of differences favoring the experimental groups was found to exist in total sampling grade level comparisons of academic achievement. 2. A limited pattern of differences favoring the experimental group was found to exist in total sampling grade level comparisons of behavior and attitude ratings. 3. Instructional service ratings for teachers were significantly higher at the conclusion of the study in 16 of 18 subject area comparisons and in all composite comparisons. The lowest teacher rating in 1964 was higher than the highest teacher rating in 1962. Documentation from observations, activity reports, and teacher logs verified the gains. 4. All statistical comparisons based on sampling stratifications (highquarter, middle-half, low-quarter, boys, and girls) were inconclusive as such. 5. The data derived from grade level comparisons of the behaviors and attitudes of the same pupil groups were inconclusive as such. Sign tests favored experimental groups in comparisons of composite ratings. All sign tests of mean behavior and attitude rating differences in boy-girl stratifications favored girls. All sign tests of mean behavior and attitude rating differences among intelligence stratifications favored the high-quarter groups. 6. No pattern of relationship could be found between instruction services rendered by teachers and (a) the composite behavior and attitude ratings of pupils or (b) the sub-area ratings of pupils. CONCLUSIONS: The following are the primary conclusions made as a result of this study: 1. The implementation of a flexible unit organizational plan results in increased teacher-rendered instructional services to pupils. These increases can be documented by descriptive data. 2. The effect of a flexible unit organizational plan on pupil-attained gains in academic achievement appears to be limited. 3. The effect of a flexible unit organizational plan on attitudes and behaviors of pupils appears to be limited. 4. No pattern of relationship appears to exist between the level of instructional services rendered by teachers and the behaviors and attitudes of children.
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