The relationship between small learning communities
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The purpose of this research was to investigate the relationship of small learning communities (SLCs) and student performance for ninth grade students at Robert E. Lee High School in North East Independent School District (NEISD). For this study, student performance includes achievement on reading and math Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), attendance rates, and number of dropouts. Research included data for years 2002-2003 through 2005-2006 retrieved from the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS). An extensive review of the literature revealed support for implementation of the SLCs model for high school reform. Recent research indicates that student performance will improve if SLCs are fully implemented and supported using a framework, such as Oxley’s five domains for SLCs. The first two questions of this study addressed reading and math TAKS data by ethnic, economically disadvantaged, and special education subpopulations. The third question in this study addressed attendance rates and dropouts. This study found a significant difference in reading TAKS scores for the ethnic subpopulations with the implementation of SLCs. Economically disadvantaged students’ and special education students’ scores also showed significant gains in reading scale scores over the four years of the study. Data from this study revealed that math TAKS scale scores showed a significant increase in the economically disadvantaged and special education subpopulations after implementation of the SLCs. In addition, significance was found in reducing the achievement gap between special education and regular education students on math TAKS. Attendance rates showed no statistical significance after the implementation of the SLCs. An analysis of dropout rates was not possible due to low dropout numbers. The empirical data would not support meaningful analysis. Further investigation is needed to gain a better understanding of the relationship of SLCs on student performance, especially for African American and Hispanic students in math. Additional factors such as degree of implementation and influence of the administrative leadership needs to be explored.
Turnbo, Bobbie Jo (2007). The relationship between small learning communities. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from