The Effect of a State Department of Education Teacher Mentor Initiative on Science Achievement
Type of Degreedissertation
Curriculum and Teaching
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This study analyzed a state department of education’s ability to have actual influence over the improvement of science achievement and proficiency by having direct relationships with science teachers in Georgia’s lowest performing schools. The study employed a mixed ANOVA analysis of the mean scale scores and proficiency rates of the science portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) for the years 2004 through 2007 to determine if the intervention by the Science Mentor Program (SMP) had significant effect on the science achievement and proficiency within the cohort of schools, as compared to a set of schools receiving no intervention, on various subgroups within the schools, and on various levels of intervention within the SMP. All data used in this study are available to the public through the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE). SMP schools were selected based on their level of intervention for three consecutive years. Non-SMP schools were selected based on demographic similarities in economically disadvantaged, white, African-American, and students with disabilities to ensure a match of pairings for analyses. The results of this study showed significant improvement of scale scores and proficiency rates between 2004 and 2007. The study showed significant increases in all schools regardless of treatment. The study also showed significant differences in performance within the subgroups. Males, white, non-Economically Disadvantaged, and regular education students were all found to have significantly better performance in both achievement and proficiency rate. Economically Disadvantaged students were found to have a significant difference with regard to treatment groups. There was a significant difference between the mean scale score and proficiency rates of Economically Disadvantaged students in schools receiving high-intervention and schools receiving no-intervention. Further analysis showed that the only significant difference was in 2004, the year prior to implementation. Results indicate while the high-intervention schools did perform lower over all four years, they were not significantly different during the time of treatment indicating high-intervention schools performed at levels equivalent to schools receiving no-intervention. This study provided evidence of the success of a specific intervention by a state education agency to improve science education for the practicing teacher and its role in improving student science achievement. It will be used by policymakers to determine future activities and potential funding of other such programs. This also has a potential for national use as it is the only program of this nature operated by a department of education in the country.