Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Instr and Curr Leadership
Early Childhood Education
Satomi I Taylor
This study was a retrospective study evaluating whether the implementation of Smart Start Legislation had an impact on Stanford Achievement tests and Arkansas state benchmark tests in science, math, and literacy scores for fifth-grade students in Arkansas. Smart Start focuses on strong accountability stressing well defined, high educational standards in math and reading. The purpose of this study was to examine if there was a significant difference in test scores of students affected by public policy mandates requiring a teaching focus on math and literacy. The specific research questions were, Is there a significant difference in math scores pre and post implementation of the Smart Start Legislation for Arkansas fifth-grade students? and, Is there a significant difference in literacy scores pre and post implementation of the Smart Start Legislation for Arkansas fifth-grade students? The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for windows 17.0 was used to analyze the data to address the research questions. Preliminary analyses examined frequencies, distributions histograms, and box-plots to evaluate potential outliers. Two independent t-tests were run to determine any statistically significant differences in the changes of math and literacy scorees on the Arkansas augmented benchmark comparing test scores across those students taking the benchmark prior to the implementation of Smart Start Legislation and those students taking the Arkansas augmented benchmark following the implementation of Smart Start Legislation. Effect sizes were also conducted to determine the magnitude of possible differences. Results indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between 1998 reading scores and 2009 reading scores. The percent of students who scored below the basic proficiency were significantly higher in 1998 than in 2009. In addition, there was a large effect size. Math scores also indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between the percent of students who scored below basic proficiency for math scores in 1998 and in 2009, and included a large effect size for math. The evidence of the differences in the changes in math and literacy scores supports the implementation of the Arkansas Smart Start Initiative, an early childhood program mandating a math and literacy focus.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Harrington, Rhonda Hardin, "Science on the Back Burner? Exlploring Significant Differences in Test Scores" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 102.