Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Beverly Findley


In coping with financial problems and changing demands on students' course selections, it has become increasingly more difficult to provide secondary school students with the best education possible. This seems to be especially true for the smaller school districts. Many small school districts have reduced their staffs to the "bare bones" due to budget cuts. Such reductions have often resulted in fewer course offerings and a reduced number of section offerings for required classes. When this problem was coupled with the Illinois Board of Higher Education's increased college entrance requirements that high school students must complete, the common result was students graduating with less diverse educational backgrounds.

This field experience addressed this problem as it pertained to Oakland High School in Oakland Community Unit School District #5 in Oakland, Illinois. Oakland High School was faced with an increasingly less flexible master schedule that provided students with fewer choices. Some classes had become too large and perhaps less effective because there was no additional available staff to teach an additional section. This required many students to complete the remainder of their schedules with courses in which they showed little interest. Also, many vocational and fine arts elective courses were showing drastic reductions in enrollments.

This field experience examined how 17 Illinois high school officials scheduled their school days to deal with these problems. The 17 high schools selected were those in Illinois Education Service Center #15 with an enrollment less than 330. These schools were selected because they were comparable in size to Oakland's enrollment of 130. These schools all responded to a questionnaire with data on time school begins and ends, number and length of class periods, change in number of periods since 1985, reason for any changes, required number and maximum number of classes per day per schedule, number of credits for graduation, and enrollment trends. The data were analyzed to determine trends and possible solutions to scheduling problems.

The major findings supported a decision by Oakland School District officials to increase the master schedule by one period per day as a potential solution to improve the number and sections of class offerings, increase schedule flexibility, improve elective enrollments, and graduate more well-rounded and satisfied students without increasing the teaching staff.