Date of Award
Education Specialist (EdS)
Educational Psychology and Guidance
Paul D. Overton
Statement Of The Problem
There were two sets of problems which were of focal interest: (1) Did the achievement levels of the students selected come up a significant degree? (The administration wished a month's gain for a month's instruction.) (2) Did the children's personality and behavior characteristics change for the better?
The design used was a one-group pretest-posttest design. Achievement, behavior, and personality traits were measured on the original sixteen children and in remaining ten who were still in the classes after two years.
As stated previously, the primary purposes of this descriptive research study were: (1) Did the children, on the average, make a month's gain for a month's instruction in the three achievement areas: reading, spelling, and arithmetic? (2) Did the children's personality and behavior characteristics change for the better?
Although the children during the 1977-78 school year lacked a month's gain (8 months expected gain for 8 months instruction in reading), both the Learning Adjustment I and II classes made more than the expected month's gain for a month's instruction in reading by the end of the 1978-79 academic year. In spelling, both the 1977-78 and the 1978-79 Learning Adjustment I classes were far below expectation; however, the Learning Adjustment II class were extremely successful in arithmetic and scored much above the desired month's gain for a month's instruction.
The original ten students who spent two years in the program appeared to have benefited in having much better personality and behavior characteristics at the end of the study. In fact, this writer was much more impressed by these gains than by the achievement gains. In October, 1977, the ten original students had six severe behavior problems out of sixteen factors according to their Devereux Elementary School Behavior Rating Scale test results. However, on the October 1978 protocols, these ten students as a group had no severe behavior problems. In September 1977, the ten original students had two serious personality maladjustment areas out of a possible four areas measured on the Personal Adjustment Inventory. When these ten pupils were administered the test individually again in February 1979, they had no serious personality problems as a group.
In summary, the Learning Adjustment Program appeared to have benefited the students in better reading, arithmetic, personality, and behavior scores but did not have much improvement for spelling scores.
The available research on other classes exactly like the Learning Adjustment classes was nonexistent. However, the research concerning compensatory education in general was very extensive but lacked any conclusive results. The benefits of compensatory education, in theory, seem excellent. But in practice, we do not know the extent or nature of the benefits. Research in the field has been ambiguious and inconclusive.
This examiner has often observed the students and teacher in action and can think of few areas that need improvement. Everyone seemed to be working very hard. Teaching appeared efficient and effective. A few minor suggestions for a change in the program are listed below:
- More effective use of the teacher's aide for each class.
- More careful selection of the teacher's aide.
- New and better techniques in teaching spelling.
- A multi-sensory tactile approach with the use of a tape recorder and one-to-one teacher or aide instruction for the students not making much gain in reading.
- More cultural enrichment in classroom discussions and class trips.
- More group counseling--preferably three times a week intended mostly for raising group morale and improving each child's self-concept.
- More intensive and effective relationships with the parents--especially in enlisting their aid in carrying out homework assignments.
- Improve the quantity and quality of the homework for each student (no busy work).
- More brainstorming staff meeting concerning the classes for the purpose of transmitting information, new books to be read, new teaching techniques to be tried, and in maintaining high class and staff morale.
Williams, Melodye Maye, "A Descriptive Research Study of the Pilot Learning Adjustment Classes I and II Including a Summary of Related Research on Compensatory Education" (1980). Masters Theses. 3086.
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