Is student achievement really immutable? : A study of cognitive development and student achievement in an Oregon school district

Endler, Lorna Christine (2004) Is student achievement really immutable? : A study of cognitive development and student achievement in an Oregon school district. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

In the educational climate of the USA, where many question the possibility of effecting genuine change in national achievement outcomes, the Scientific Thinking Enhancement Project (STEP) was delivered to three cohorts of students from 1999 to 2002 in Molalla, Oregon. At the start, the mean age of Cohorts A, B, and C was 11+, 12+, and 13+ years. The purpose of my study was to investigate whether the STEP had enhanced these students’ cognitive development and school achievement. The STEP incorporated strategies from a British intervention that had been shown to have a substantial effect on children’s cognitive development and school achievement. Different test instruments were employed from those used in the British intervention, and the results of all tests were Rasch scaled. Cognitive change was estimated using Bond’s Logical Operations Test, with pre-intervention performance profiles serving as cross-sectional controls. Statistical analyses revealed some enhancement of cognitive development compared with controls, with cognitive gains across the spectrum of starting level, irrespective of starting age and level of parent education. Statistically significant overall cognitive gains were found for Cohorts B (0.27 SDs) and C (0.55 SDs). Data from state-mandated tests in Mathematics revealed significant overall gains against controls for Cohorts A (0.51 SDs) and B (0.19 SDs). Cohort B students also made late-onset significant gains over peers who missed the STEP in 8th grade (BLOT 1.01 SDs and Mathematics 1.09 SDs). Cohort B females showed a significant overall gain in state Reading & Literature tests. There were no significant achievement gains against populations from non-project schools. A teacher survey showed general satisfaction with the STEP, but also revealed misconceptions about the intervention. Given that these teachers received little professional development, and did not deliver the entire intervention program, it is not surprising that the STEP did not yield results as strong as the original projects in the UK.

Item ID: 1102
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Scientific Thinking Enhancement Project, STEP, Molalla, Oregon, Bond’s logical operations test, Cognitive development, School achievement
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2006
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development @ 0%
13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy @ 0%
13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy @ 0%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation @ 0%
13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130208 Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy @ 0%
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