THE IMPACT OF QUALITY CORE CURRICULUM AND GEORGIA
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
Except where reference is made to the work of others, the work described in this
dissertation is my own or was done in collaboration with my advisory committee.
This dissertation does not include proprietary or classified information.
_________________________
Jan Marie Thomas
Certificate of Approval:
________________________ ________________________
Gerald Halpin Edna Brabham, Chair
Professor Associate Professor
Educational Foundations, Curriculum and Teaching
Leadership, and Technology
________________________ ________________________
Steven Silvern Joe F. Pittman
Profesor Interim Dean
Curriculum and Teaching Graduate School
THE IMPACT OF QUALITY CORE CURRICULUM AND GEORGIA
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
Jan Marie Thomas
A Dissertation
Submitted to
the Graduate Faculty of
Auburn University
in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the
Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Auburn, Alabama
May 10, 2008
iii
THE IMPACT OF QUALITY CORE CURRICULUM AND GEORGIA
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
Jan Marie Thomas
Permission is granted to Auburn University to make copies of this dissertation at its
discretion, upon request of individuals or institutions and at their expense.
The author reserves all publication rights.
__________________________________________
Signature of the Author
__________________________________________
Date of Graduation
iv
VITA
Jan Marie Thomas, daughter of Blanchard Lee and the late Mary Lee (Sellers)
Thomas, was born on December 30, 1972, in Columbus, Georgia. She attended public
school in Columbus, Georgia and graduated from Shaw High School in 1990. She
attended the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia for four years, where she
graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education
in June, 1994. She received her Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Education
in June, 1995. She also attended Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia and
completed a degree of Specialist in Educational Leadership and Supervision in June,
1998. She taught kindergarten at Mathews Elementary School in Midland, Georgia for
four years. She also taught at Blanchard Elementary School in Columbus, Georgia for
four years. At Blanchard she taught first grade for one year and second grade for three
years. She was promoted at Blanchard Elementary School in September 2004, and
is presently serving as the Assistant Principal. In Fall of 2002, she entered Graduate
School at Auburn University as a doctoral student in the Early Childhood Education
Program.
v
DISSERTATION ABSTRACT
THE IMPACT OF QUALITY CORE CURRICULUM AND GEORGIA
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
Jan Marie Thomas
Doctor of Philosophy, May 10, 2008
(Ed.S., Columbus State University, 1998)
(M.Ed., University of Georgia, 1995)
(B.S.Ed., University of Georgia, 1994)
120 Typed Pages
Directed by Edna Greene Brabham
The state of Georgia is dedicated to leading the nation in improving student
achievement (Cox, 2006). The key to making this vision a reality lies in providing a
curriculum that will enhance the quality of education. According to Monson and Monson
(1997), the curriculum is crucial for improving student learning because it defines what
students are to learn, know, and understand in all content areas and at each grade level.
As required by the Quality Basic Education (QBE) Act of 1985, Georgia established
a Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) that specifies what students are expected to know in
each subject and grade (Mitzell, 1999). However, a Phi Delta Kappa audit of the state?s
curriculum concluded that the QCC did not meet national standards according to the
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act which was signed on January 8, 2002 by President
George Bush. Georgia replaced the QCC with performance standards (DuFour, 2004).
vi
The new Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) replaced the QCC as the state?s
curriculum guidelines. The standards provided clear expectations for instruction and
defined the level of student work that demonstrates achievement of the standards
(Medrano, 2003). The standards also guided the teacher on how to assess the extent to
which the student knows the material and can apply this information (Ravitch, 1996).
The purpose of this project was to examine the impact of the QCC and GPS on
student achievement. A correlational research study was conducted to compare the
relationship between final grades and Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT)
and Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) scores of students who attended Blanchard
Elementary School, in Columbus, Georgia, after they received instruction guided by the
QCC during the 2004-2005 school term and GPS during the 2005-2006 school term.
Pearson r correlation coefficients between grades and test scores were used to determine
the degree of their relationships. Fisher 's z-tests were also used to compute the statistical
significance of the difference between the correlation coefficients. Significant
differences were found between the grades and CRCT scores in reading, language arts,
and math for the QCC and GPS. These findings indicated that the correlation for grades
and CRCT scores were higher with the new curricula. In contrast, no significant
differences were found between grades and ITBS scores in reading, language arts, and
math for both curricula. There were relationships between the grades and ITBS scores.
vii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I give honor to God and his son Jesus Christ, my personal savior, to whom I
dedicate my life. The guidance of the Holy Spirit helped me to organize and write this
dissertation. This study could not have been completed without the cooperation of the
superintendent of Muscogee County School District, Dr. John A. Phillips, Jr., the
county?s research coordinator, Dr. Carol Bradshaw, and the principal of Blanchard
Elementary School, Mrs. Rochelle Jones. Without their approval and support, I would
not have been able to collect data. I would like to thank the faculty and staff of
Blanchard Elementary School. Their regular inquiries and interest regarding the progress
of this study served as incentive and motivation towards timely completion. I also want
to thank the students at Blanchard for providing data to analyze.
I want to thank Dr. Edna Greene Brabham for directing my study, supporting my
timeline, and providing me with the counsel necessary for completion. I would have
given up on statistics had it not been for Dr. Gerald Halpin. I thank him for assisting me
with my data and results. I also would like to thank Dr. Steven Silvern for broadening
my understanding of how children think and learn.
This dissertation is dedicated to my father. He challenged me to go as far as I
could go in Education. I appreciate all of those nights of studying and reading with my
dad as a little girl. Finally, I would like to thank my close friends and family for their
prayers. Their support helped me to accomplish the goal of receiving a doctoral degree.
viii
Style manual used is Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 2001
(Fifth Edition).
Computer software used is Microsoft Word for Windows and SPSS (Statistical Package for
Social Sciences) for Windows Release 12.0.
ix
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................. xi
I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................1
Background ...................................................................................................................1
Purpose of the Study .....................................................................................................4
Research Questions and Hypotheses ............................................................................5
Theoretical Framework .................................................................................................8
Limitations ...................................................................................................................9
Delimitations .................................................................................................................9
Definition of Terms ......................................................................................................9
Organization of the Study ...........................................................................................13
II. REVIEW OF LITERATURE.....................................................................................14
Introduction .................................................................................................................14
Quality Core Curriculum ...........................................................................................14
Georgia Performance Standards .................................................................................20
Curriculum and Assessment ......................................................................................29
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test ....................................................................33
Iowa Test of Basic Skills ...........................................................................................37
Grades ........................................................................................................................39
Summary .....................................................................................................................42
III. METHODS AND PROCEDURES ............................................................................44
Introduction .................................................................................................................44
Population ..................................................................................................................44
Instrumentation ...........................................................................................................46
Data Collection ..........................................................................................................46
Data Analysis ..............................................................................................................47
Summary .....................................................................................................................49
x
IV. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS AND RESULTS ..........................................................50
Introduction .................................................................................................................50
Descriptive Data Analysis and Results .......................................................................51
Research Questions and Hypotheses .........................................................................71
Summary .....................................................................................................................78
V. SUMMARY, FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS ..........79
Introduction .................................................................................................................79
Summary .....................................................................................................................79
Findings.......................................................................................................................80
Conclusions .................................................................................................................88
Recommendations .......................................................................................................91
REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................93
APPENDICES .................................................................................................................102
Appendix A: County Permission Letter ..................................................................103
Appendix B: Superintendent?s Approval Letter .....................................................104
Appendix C: Director of Research Approval Letter ...............................................105
Appendix D: School Permission Letter ..................................................................106
Appendix E: Principal Approval Letter #1 .............................................................107
Appendix F: Principal Approval Letter #2 .............................................................108
Appendix G: Fisher?s z Transformation Table ........................................................109
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Bivariate Correlation Coefficients of Grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests Scores
for Different Students ......................................................................................51
Table 2: Fisher?s z Transformations for Grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests Scores
for Different Students ......................................................................................55
Table 3: Bivariate Correlation Coefficients of Grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests Scores
for Same Students ............................................................................................59
Table 4: Fisher?s z Transformations for Grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests Scores
for Same Students ............................................................................................62
Table 5: Bivariate Correlation Coefficients of Grades and
Iowa Tests of Basic Skills Scores ....................................................................67
Table 6: Fisher?s z Transformations for Grades and
Iowa Tests of Basic Skills Scores ....................................................................69
xi
1
I: INTRODUCTION
Background
One by one, states have worked over the last decade to set standards for all
students. Presidential and congressional approval of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
legislation in 2002 reinforced the theme behind the standards based reform movement
which encompasses the premises that every child can learn. NCLB also includes high
standards for all students across the board while closing the gap for those students
historically left behind (Mayers, 2006). As President Bush said of the law, ?It believes in
setting high standards, it challenges the soft bigotry of low expectations, and its
cornerstone is strong accountability measures? (McCombs, 2005, p. 2). This agenda has
become Georgia?s main strategy for raising student achievement, strengthening school
effectiveness, and renewing the state?s education system (Cox, 2006).
The state of Georgia is committed to providing educational opportunities that allow
all students to achieve success. Its mission is to encourage children to discover the joy
of learning in a positive, culturally diverse, and challenging environment while becoming
inspired, creative learners. Its vision is for students to reach their fullest potential as
individuals and citizens. The key to making this vision a reality lies in providing a
curriculum that will specify what students are to know and how teachers can help them
accomplish these learning goals (Cox, 2006).
2
Teachers in Georgia were required to follow a statewide basic curriculum
developed by the Georgia Board of Education under the Quality Basic Education (QBE)
Act of 1986. This uniformly sequenced core curriculum, known as the Quality Core
Curriculum (QCC), was a set of standards, guidelines, and expectations for instruction.
As a result of the QBE Act, the QCC was under constant revision and included teacher
involvement in the standards building process. Georgia?s QCC included content
standards for courses in reading, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies,
foreign languages, fine arts, health, physical education, technology/career education,
agriculture, and English speakers of other languages (Mitzell, 1999).
In 2002, Phi Delta Kappa International conducted an audit of Georgia?s QCC and
found the curriculum lacked depth and rigor and failed to meet national standards
according to the NCLB Act which was signed into law on January 8, 2002 by President
George W. Bush. NCLB received an overwhelming endorsement from a vast range of
political, business, and education leaders at the national, state, and local levels. The
reforms called for in the NCLB Act were a catalyst for improving student achievement in
Georgia and across the nation (Gonzalez, Hamilton & Stecher, 2003).
The NCLB Act was a revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act (ESEA), which was signed into law in 1965 and established a federal presence in
America?s public schools. One of the original purposes of the ESEA, which has been
revised by Congress every six years, was to mitigate disparities in the quality of
education for low-income students, primarily by providing supplemental federal dollars
to states and school districts (Gonzalez, Hamilton & Stecher, 2003).
3
Accordingly, the NCLB legislation addressed a myriad of issues, from teacher
quality and school safety to technology in schools, but the essence of the law was
embodied in its provisions for improving the achievement of low-performing students,
those who were being left behind. The NCLB Act required states to implement
comprehensive plans for improving student achievement so that all students would
achieve proficiency on state reading and mathematics assessments within the next twelve
years regardless of economic background, English proficiency, disability, race, or
ethnicity (Gonzalez, Hamilton & Stecher, 2003).
The NCLB Act ushered in the age of mandated federal and state accountability
and required public schools to be responsible and answerable for student learning. The
law called for increased accountability and improved performance. At the heart of
accountability for improved achievement is the curriculum, which is the road map
guaranteeing that every student is given instruction rooted in national standards and based
on specified outcomes (Mayers, 2006). According to Swain and Pearson (2002), a
standards-based curriculum would level the playing field for all students. The NCLB Act
also significantly raised expectations for schools by requiring that all students meet or
exceed state standards in reading and mathematics within twelve years after the law was
enacted (Mayers, 2006).
Research conducted by Bob Eaker (2002) and Rick DuFour (2002) indicated that
schools should be accountable for having a clear, viable curriculum that explains what the
students will learn and how schools will respond when students do not learn. Georgia?s
4
approach to complying with the requirements and regulations of the NCLB Act was to
implement performance standards aimed at enhancing both instruction and assessment for
students and accountability of teachers.
Due in part to the findings of Eaker and DuFour (2002), the Georgia Department
of Education (GDOE) lead by the new State Superintendent of Schools, Kathy Cox,
began a curriculum revision process. Phi Delta Kappa International was invited to
conduct an independent review of the new performance standards to provide input on
their quality and suggestions for improvement. Ultimately, the Georgia Department of
Education expected the new standards-based curriculum, commonly referred to as the
Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), to drive instruction, assessment, and formation of
guidelines and result in improved student achievement (Cox, 2005).
In 2005, GPS replaced the QCC as the state?s curriculum guidelines. The GPS
provided clear expectations for instruction. They defined the level of student work that
demonstrates achievement of the standards. The GPS also isolated and identified the
skills students need to use knowledge, problem solve, reason, communicate, and make
connections with other information. In addition, the standards served as a guide for the
teacher on how to assess the extent to which the students know the material (Cox, 2006).
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the Quality Core
Curriculum and Georgia Professional Standards on student learning at Blanchard
Elementary School in Columbus, Georgia. Correlational research was conducted to
5
investigate relationships between participants' grades and scores on the Criterion-
Reference Competency Test and Iowa Test of Basic Skills Test in reading, language arts,
and math. Pearson r correlations between grades and test scores and Fisher z
transformations were used to determine which curriculum corresponds more closely to
tests given by the Georgia Department of Education and grades given by teachers. A
review of the related literature revealed that no study had previously examined these
variables in combination with one another at the elementary school level.
Research Questions and Hypotheses
The study explored the following research questions:
1. What is the relationship between grades and Criterion-Referenced Competency
Test scores of students who received instruction based upon the Quality Core
Curriculum? This research question was refined into the following hypotheses:
Null Hypothesis 1: There will be no relationship between grades and Criterion-
Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based upon the
Quality Core Curriculum.
Alternative Hypothesis 1: There will be a relationship between grades and Criterion-
Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based
upon the Quality Core Curriculum.
2. What is the relationship between grades and Criterion-Referenced Competency
Test scores of students who received instruction based upon the Georgia Performance
Standards? This research question was refined into the following hypotheses:
6
Null Hypothesis 2: There will be no relationship between grades and Criterion-
Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based upon the
Georgia Performance Standards.
Alternative Hypothesis 2: There will be a relationship between grades and Criterion-
Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based
upon the Georgia Performance Standards.
3. Are there differences between relationships for grades and Criterion-
Referenced Competency Test scores for students who received instruction with the
Quality Core Curriculum as compared to students who received instruction with the
Georgia Performance Standards? This research question was refined into the following
hypotheses:
Null Hypothesis 3: There will be no differences between relationships for grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores for students who received instruction with
the Quality Core Curriculum as compared to students who received instruction with the
Georgia Performance Standards.
Alternative Hypothesis 3: There will be differences between relationships for grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores for students who received instruction with
the Quality Core Curriculum as compared to students who received instruction with the
Georgia Performance Standards.
4. What is the relationship between grades and Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores of
students who received instruction based upon the Quality Core Curriculum? This
research question was refined into the following hypotheses:
7
Null Hypothesis 4: There will be no relationship between grades and Iowa Test of Basic
Skills scores of students who received instruction based upon the Quality Core
Curriculum.
Alternative Hypothesis 4: There will be a relationship between grades and Iowa Test of
Basic Skills scores of students who received instruction based upon the Quality Core
Curriculum.
5. What is the relationship between grades and Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores of
students who received instruction based upon the Georgia Performance Standards?
This research question was refined into the following hypotheses:
Null Hypothesis 5: There will be no relationship between grades and Iowa Test of Basic
Skills Test Scores of students who received instruction based upon the Georgia
Performance Standards.
Alternative Hypothesis 5: There will be a relationship between grades and Iowa Test of
Basic Skills Test scores of students who received instruction based upon the Georgia
Performance Standards.
6. Are there differences between relationships for grades and Iowa Test of Basic
Skills Test scores for students who received instruction with the Quality Core Curriculum
as compared to students who received instruction with the Georgia Performance
Standards? This research question was refined into the following hypotheses:
Null Hypothesis 6: There will be no differences between relationships for grades and
Iowa Test of Basic Skills Test scores for students who received instruction with
the Quality Core Curriculum as compared to students who received instruction with GPS.
8
Alternative Hypothesis 6: There will be differences between relationships for grades and
Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores for students who received instruction with the Quality
Core Curriculum as compared to students who received instruction with the Georgia
Performance Standards.
Theoretical Framework
Further discussion is presented in the review of the literature; however, the
following ideas framed the questions addressed in this study.
1. Educators have searched and continue to look for ways to influence and
raise achievement of students in the state of Georgia and in our nation.
2. Years of research have linked standards-based curricula to higher
student achievement.
3. Researchers have called for studies that specifically identify effective
curricula that have a direct impact on student achievement.
4. Implementation of the Georgia Performance Standards should have
a positive effect on students? grades and test scores.
5. The relationship between curriculum and student achievement has
implications for educators seeking to design and implement the most productive and
effective state curriculum.
9
Limitations
Limitations are the conditions beyond the control of the researcher that may place
restrictions on the conclusions of the study and their applications to other situations.
Limitations in this study included (a) the number of students in each grade level and (b)
students who were missing grades or test scores were omitted from the study.
Delimitations
Delimitations are the boundaries beyond which the study is concerned. This study
only involved the students at Blanchard Elementary School in Columbus, Georgia.
Definitions of Terms
Georgia? Quality Core Curriculum ? Teachers in Georgia were required to follow
a statewide basic curriculum developed by the Georgia Board of Education under the
Quality Basic Education (QBE) Act of 1986. This uniformly sequenced core curriculum,
known as the Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) was a set of standards, guidelines, and
expectations for instruction. Georgia?s Quality Core Curriculum included content
standards for courses in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign
languages, fine arts, health, physical education, technology/career education, agriculture,
and English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).
Georgia Performance Standards ? These more recently adopted standards were
the state?s curriculum went into effect in 2005 and were the guidelines for instruction at
the time this study was conducted. The Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) were
designed to help teachers, students, and parents know what topics must be covered and
mastered for particular grades and subject areas. GPS go into much greater depth about
10
learning tasks and expected outcomes than the content standards used in the previous
QCC objectives. The GPS incorporate content standards, which simply tell the teacher
what students are expected to know (i.e., what concepts must be taught and mastered),
and expand on assessment of each content standard by providing three additional items:
suggested tasks, sample student work, and examples of teacher commentary on that work.
GPS provide clear expectations for assessment, instruction, and student work. When the
study was executed, the GPS included standards for English/language arts, mathematics,
science, and social studies, and courses in foreign language and career, technical, and
agricultural education were being aligned with these performance standards. Courses in
health, physical education, and fine arts were to undergo alignment with the performance
standards at a later date.
Phi Delta Kappa International ? A professional association composed of
educators at all levels. Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) International is committed to leadership,
service, and research in education. Member chapters are active throughout the United
States, Canada, and abroad. As an association, PDK works to promote quality education,
with particular emphasis on publicly supported education, as essential to the development
and maintenance of a democratic way of life. In addition, the organization supports
educators in their work through publications, research, and professional development
opportunities. PDK's Curriculum Management Center offers programs and services
developed to comprehensively evaluate a curriculum system, focus resources, establish
goals, and improve teaching and learning. Services include curriculum management
audits, school reviews, and site-specific training.
11
Curriculum Management Audit ? A curriculum management audit is an
independent examination of the curriculum design and delivery system of a school or
school district by a team from the PDK Curriculum Management Center. The audit team
analyzes both the curriculum policy and the system in which the curriculum functions.
The resulting report provides specific recommendations to improve those functions. The
audit team uses documents, interviews, and site visits to determine the extent to which
there is congruence among the written, taught, and tested curricula. PDK's auditors come
from across the United States, Canada, and Europe and are employed as school district
administrators, state departments of education personnel, university professors, and
educational consultants.
Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education - Founded in 1990 by the
Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Economic Developers Association, the
partnership consists of business, education, community and government leaders who
share a vision of improved education. Working to be Georgia's foremost change agent in
education, the non-profit, non-partisan organization has taken the lead role in efforts to
shape policy and reform education. The mission of the Georgia Partnership for
Excellence in Education is to improve the academic achievement of Georgia?s students
through research, advocacy, and communication.
Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test ? This is a state-mandated
achievement test for students in grades one through eight that assesses performance in
subject areas of reading, English/language arts, and mathematics. Students in grades
three and five are also required to take the test in science and social studies. The
12
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test measures how well a student has learned the
knowledge and skills in the state?s curriculum. It assesses student mastery of all
standards for identified grade levels and content areas.
Iowa Test of Basic Skills ? This is a nationally norm-referenced test administered
annually to students in grades three, five, and eight. The purpose of the norm-referenced
test (NRT) is to obtain information about how the performance of Georgia's students
compares with that of students in a national sample, an external reference group. It
assesses a student?s level of achievement relative to other students. The results of an
NRT are used for evaluation, decision-making, and instructional improvement. The
ITBS assesses a student?s level of achievement within four broad domains including
reading, language arts, math and vocabulary.
Student Achievement ? This term refers to a child?s academic proficiency as
measured by a school?s performance on norm-referenced tests, criterion-referenced tests,
grades, or other specified measurement criterion.
Grades - Letter grades or number grades are used to report the progress of
students grades one through five. In Georgia, student achievement is reported to parents
as a number grade for reading, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.
Assignment of the grade by the teacher is certification of the degree of mastery of the
essential knowledge and skills. Letter grades correspond to a range of numerical scores.
For instance, a letter grade of A ranges from 100 to 90. A letter grade of B ranges from
89 to 80. A letter grade of C ranges from 79 to 70. A letter grade of F indicates that the
student received a grade below 70 and failed to master the essential knowledge and skills.
13
Organization of the Study
This study is organized into the following five chapters:
Chapter 1: This chapter provides an introduction to the research problem. It
includes the purpose of the study, theoretical framework, limitations, delimitations,
definition of terms, and an overview of organization of this research report.
Chapter 2: This chapter reviews the previous literature relating to the problem.
More extensive discussions of Quality Core Curriculum, Georgia Performance Standards,
curriculum and assessment, Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, the Iowa
Test of Basic Skills, and grades are included.
Chapter 3: This chapter describes the research design, methods, and procedures
used in the study. Data relating to the participants in the study, instrumentation, data
collection procedures, and data analysis are discussed.
Chapter 4: This chapter provides the results of the research using Pearson r
correlations and Fisher z transformations.
Chapter 5: This chapter discusses conclusions and implications based on the
results and provides recommendations for further study.
14
II: REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Introduction
This chapter presents a review of related literature and research for the Quality
Core Curriculum (QCC) and Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). This discussion
includes a historical perspective of the QCC as well as studies of its effectiveness.
The GPS are also discussed in terms of the how the curriculum was developed and
implemented in ways intended to positively affect student grades and test scores.
The chapter also contains a review of related literature about curriculum and assessment,
the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and grades.
Quality Core Curriculum
Historical Overview
The mission of the Georgia Department of Education is to enable all Georgia
students to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to become productive individuals
and citizens. A major step toward the mission was the passage and implementation of the
Quality Basic Education (QBE) Act. In 1985, members of the Georgia General
Assembly unanimously passed Senate Bill 82, the Quality Basic Education Act. QBE
required the Georgia Board of Education to develop a statewide basic curriculum, the
QCC. Section 20-2-140 of the QBE Act mandated the State Board of Education to
establish competencies that each student is expected to master prior to the completion of
15
public education. Based on those competencies, the board was to adopt a uniformly
sequenced core curriculum from grades kindergarten through twelve. The legislators
further went on to state that all local units of administration shall include this uniformly
sequenced curriculum as a basis for their own curriculum (Mitzell, 1999).
In line with the mandates of the QBE Act, the Board of Education created the QCC
task force to spearhead the development of this curriculum. The QCC task force along
with the Georgia Department of Education personnel, local school personnel, and other
citizens developed a draft for the QCC in 1986. The QCC draft was based on the Basic
Curriculum Content for Georgia?s Public Schools. This was a previously designed state
curriculum created by educational leaders in all disciplines that was approved and
distributed to all teachers serving Georgia schools in 1985. The QCC draft was circulated
twice to local school systems for comments and recommendations in late 1987. After
receiving feedback on the draft, the recommendations were reviewed by content
committees and appropriate changes were made. The QCC went into effect in August of
1988 (Mitzell,1999).
Topics for courses of study required to be taught to each student were reading,
language arts, math, science, social studies including federal and state governments
(including county and municipal governments), history of the United States and of
Georgia, health education including alcohol and drug abuse information related to
operating a motor vehicle, AIDS, sex education, character education, and physical
education. Beyond these specific topics of study, local school systems had a wide latitude
in developing the courses needed to provide the state basic curriculum and any
16
enrichment courses that they may wish to provide with local funds. Benchmarks were
minimal performance standards that were termed critical to successful performance in
subsequent grade level courses. Moreover, the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test
(CRCT) assessed student understanding of all standards for identified grade levels and
content areas (Mizell, 1999).
At each grade level, the QCC identified a set of concepts to be mastered as well as a
skills continuum (Hutchenson, 1989). On a quadrennial basis, a review of the adopted
competencies was to take place by a task force ?broadly representative of educational
interest and the concerned public? (Journal of the Senate, 1985, p. 2420). The State
Board of Education was assigned the duty of making the changes to the QCC it deemed
necessary in the best interest of the State and its citizens. An evaluation of the extent to
which the core curriculum was implemented was also part of the requirements in the
QBE Act (Mizell, 1999).
The QBE Act called upon the Department of Education to revise and update the
QCC periodically to keep pace with student competencies and rising expectations. In
1995, under this mandate of continuing improvement, Governor Zell Miller and State
Superintendent of Schools Linda Schrenko appointed a work group called the Georgia
School Improvement Panel to work on several school improvements (Mitzell, 1999).
The Georgia School Improvement Panel and its chairman, Dr. Craig Dowling,
were determined to make the revision a project of teachers conducted by teachers.
Believing that the only place to improve education is in the classroom, the Panel was
committed to stay as connected with the classroom as possible. They requested that at
17
least half the writers be in-the-classroom teachers. The process of including classroom
teachers resulted in a wide acceptance of the QCC revision. In preparation for the
implementation of the revised QCC, workshops on recommended teaching strategies,
curriculum alignment, and school level grade/department planning sessions were
conducted. The panel members began in 1995 by consulting Georgia teachers about the
QCC that was then in use across the state. About eight thousand teachers were surveyed,
and over ninety-three percent indicated that they wanted the Panel to revise but not
replace the QCC (Mizell, 1999).
Over one hundred and fifty educators, parents, and business leaders were selected
from over 800 nominees from across the state to serve on writing teams that were
carefully balanced by race, gender, position, and geography. For each objective, the
writers asked: "Is this objective clear and concise?"... "Is it relevant?"... "Is it
measurable?"... "What must students know and be able to do in this grade or course?"
During the summer and fall of 1996, team members met for two weekend writing
sessions. They consulted textbooks, national and state standards and curricula, as well as
professional literature. A draft of the QCC went out for review to all Georgia school
systems and various other organizations. It was available through Georgia public libraries
and on the World Wide Web. The results from over fifteen thousand returned evaluations
became the basis for a final revision. The revised QCC included content standards for all
subjects K-8 and 9-12 courses in English/language arts, mathematics, science, social
studies, foreign languages, fine arts, health, physical education, technology/career
education, agriculture, and English Speakers of Other Languages (Mizell, 1999).
18
Reviews of the curriculum were positive. According to the Georgia Department of
Education, the QCC was ranked among the highest in the nation. It was commended for
the broad-based process completed to revise the curriculum and the related
implementation training. The standards were praised for being clear and specific.
Correlations made between the ITBS and the QCC were positive. Major revisions in the
QCC included: standards for American Sign Language; standards for English Speakers of
Other Languages; and revisions of additional mathematics and sciences courses. In the
1998 academic year, after major revision was undertaken, the revised QCC was
implemented in all Georgia public schools (Mitzell, 1999).
Effectiveness Studies of Quality Core Curriculum
Since its formation, the QCC has been the subject of a variety of studies that
examined only particular sections of the overall curriculum for its effectiveness.
Goodwyn (1989), for example, analyzed the QCC guidelines for Foreign Languages to
assess the minimal verb system that is required to attain the intended QCC proficiency
objectives and to be congruent with language usage in Spanish context. He found
evidence to support limiting the verb systems taught to present, imperfect, infinitive, and
present participle. Mullis (1991) examined the degree of match among the objectives
for the QCC, the textbooks recommended for use in kindergarten, and tests recommended
for use in kindergarten. He found that items on the Georgia?s Criterion-Referenced Test,
the Georgia Kindergarten Assessment of Language skills and Number Understanding had
a ninety-four percent match with the QCC. Georgia?s norm-referenced test, the ITBS,
was found to have a forty-four percent match with the QCC (Mullis, 1991).
19
Researchers who studied educational reform among the 50 states also reported
on the QCC. State studies were numerous although their reporting is not in depth. From
those studies, comparisons were made about Georgia?s educational reforms and those in
other states. Some studies have assessed the nature and qualities of the QCC objectives.
Gandal (1996) reported that the QCC met the American Federation of Teachers? standard
criteria in all the core subjects (English, mathematics, science, and social studies).
Massell (1997) completed a study that focused on nine states? standards movements and
included Georgia in the study. The QCC was again discussed in the content standards
section of the study. According to Massell (1997), the QCC?s continued focus on basic
skills was not comprehensive enough to be effective as a statewide assessment,
and several other studies described the QCC as focusing only on basic skills (Firestone &
Bader, 1992; Marzano, 1997). A study by Firestone and Bader (1992) looked at the
impact of the QCC relative to other state reforms. These researchers found that the QCC
was perceived as being helpful in Georgia?s rural districts with high numbers of low
achieving students and school personnel who had limited experience developing
curriculum. However, in more affluent suburban school districts, the QCC was perceived
as constricting; forcing schools to develop intellectually, challenging courses to comply
with QCC guidelines (Firestone and Bader, 1992).
20
Georgia Performance Standards
Historical Overview
In April 2004, Phi Delta Kappa International conducted a curriculum management
audit of Georgia's QCC that was sponsored by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in
Education. The audit included a review of the scope of the proposed standards and their
congruity with national standards. The audit also provided formative feedback for the
improvement of these performance standards prior to their final approval. It was shown
that the curriculum lacked depth and failed to meet national standards (Cox, 2005).
Due in part to these findings, the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), lead
by the new State Superintendent of Schools, Kathy Cox, proposed and began a
curriculum revision process. Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) was invited to conduct the
independent review of the new performance standards while they were in the process of
being drafted. The PDK audit team provided input on the quality of the QCC objectives
and suggested improvements that resulted in the development of the Georgia
Performance Standards (GPS). Ultimately, the GDOE expected the new curriculum
to drive instruction, assessment, and formation of guidelines resulting in improved
student achievement. The GPS defined what students should know and be able to do as a
result of their public education in the state of Georgia. These standards were adopted in
June 2004 (Cox, 2005).
As required by the Quality Basic Education (QBE) Act of 1985, Georgia had to
maintain a curriculum that specifies what students are expected to know in each subject
and grade. Additionally, the state?s standardized test, the Criterion-Referenced
21
Competency Test (CRCT) for grades 1-8 had to be aligned with that curriculum. The
state?s curriculum was a guideline for instruction that helps teachers, students, and
parents know what topics must be covered and mastered for a particular course. The
curriculum established the minimum standards, and did not prohibit systems, schools, or
teachers from adding material to it. Some systems had curricula of their own, but they
included everything that the state requires (Mitzell, 1999).
The GPS have driven both instruction and assessment in Georgia?s schools, providing
guidelines for teachers, students, and test makers. The statewide assessments were
aligned with the GPS, taking the guesswork out of teaching and providing guidelines for
schools, students, and test makers. Those standards were based on best practices that
proved to be effective in high-performing states and nations, such as Michigan, Texas,
North Carolina, and Japan (Medrano, 2003).
GPS went into much greater depth than the content standards used in the QCC. Each
performance standard incorporated the content standard, which simply told the teacher
what a student was expected to know (i.e., what concepts he or she is expected to master),
but expanded upon it by providing three additional items: suggested tasks, sample student
work, and teacher commentary (Medrano, 2003).
GPS provided clear expectations for assessment, instruction, and student work. They
defined the level of work that demonstrates achievement of the standards, enabling a
teacher to know how good is good enough. The standards isolated and identified skills
needed to use content knowledge and skills to problem solve, reason, communicate, and
make connections with other information. GPS also told the teacher how to assess the
22
extent to which the student knows the material or can manipulate and apply the
information (Ravitch, 1996).
GPS had the potential to improve achievement because they clearly defined what
is to be taught and what kind of performance is expected so administrators, teachers, and
schools know what students must learn if they are to succeed. If the goals of teaching
and learning are spelled out, students understand that their teachers are trying to help
them meet externally defined standards, and parents know what is expected of their
children in school (Trafton, Reys & Wasman, 2001).
GPS were also comprehensive. A primary concern in all curriculum reform was
thoroughness with which knowledge, understandings, processes, and skills that constitute
competency in a field are included. GPS also linked content with processes that students
should learn and use such as: problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication,
connections, and representation. Along with concepts and intellectual processes, a
standards-based curriculum also paid attention to the development of useful skills. These
skills were developed in the context of understanding, rather than in isolation. In
standards-based curricula, the importance and interconnectedness of understanding and
skills are recognized. A balanced approach to knowledge and skills can help students
acquire the skills they need for solving problems and also establish a foundation for later
study of more sophisticated skills (Steed, 1990).
GPS were coherent. Coherence refers to the presentation of content so that the
core ideas of the subject are highlighted and cause students to see the subject matter as an
integrated whole. For example, if students were to think mathematically and use
23
mathematics as a tool for solving problems, coherence was crucial for establishing
connections among the mathematical concepts. A standards-based curriculum promoted
coherence through an initial focus on big ideas followed by an emphasis on connections
and links to related ideas and applications (Steed, 1990).
GPS developed important concepts at varying levels of depth as students mature.
These important concepts were frequently introduced early in a student's school career
and revisited continually throughout the grades, with the focus on developing deeper
layers of sophistication. For example, in grades K-2 students gathered, organized, and
represented data that interest them. In grades 3-5, students continued to organize and
represent data and also focused on ways to characterize a set of data as a whole and to
compare one set of data to another (Sawyer, 1943).
The increased sophistication in the way ideas are treated, together with the
coherent development of ideas, helped students move toward deeper understandings. In-
depth learning was more likely to occur when the curriculum concentrated on a few big
ideas and their interconnections and when teachers designed instruction to engage
students with these ideas. This approach was characteristic of many industrialized
countries that have out-performed the United States. The additional time gained by in-
depth attention to fewer ideas permitted students to delve more deeply into content and
concepts. The result was greater student learning and less review and repetition from one
year to the next (Bransford, 1999).
GPS engaged students physically and intellectually through problems and hands-
on tasks. The emphasis was on intellectual engagement. Problems and tasks that raised
24
students' curiosity were posed. When a task was intriguing and posed a challenge,
students were more likely to pursue a solution and explanation (Stigler & Hiebert, 1999).
Seymour Papert (1996) described young children's perception of intellectually
engaging tasks as activities that were fun. Children found such tasks to be fun because
of their complexity. The tasks also engaged them because the work was interesting and
within their reach. Tackling a tough problem was a commonly sought practice, and by
these experiences students developed strategies and a disposition to pursue the solutions
to problems. A standards-based curriculum that emphasized student engagement requires
a classroom environment that encouraged and nurtured exploration and risk-taking.
Students sometimes worked in pairs or in small groups; at other times, they worked
independently (Ball & Cohen, 1996).
Emphasizing both physical and mental engagement through interesting and
challenging tasks was quite different from the way many curricula are organized. There
was often the tendency to offer loosely related tasks that lack an internal structure and
coherence. In the curriculum based on GPS, the use of contexts, problems, projects, and
other tasks engaged students in connecting ideas that provided a platform for learning
(Bransford, 1999).
GPS addressed a long-standing issue in school, the linking of concepts with their
applications. While it has been common for traditional curricula to include a few
application problems in exercise sets or even an entire lesson on a particular application,
most instructional curricula had not substantively incorporated applications as part of
their core. Most students failed to see the practical relevance or usefulness of the content
25
they learned. Every teacher has repeatedly heard students ask the question, ?When are we
ever going to have to use this?? In newer approaches to curriculum development,
applications were being woven into instructional materials in powerful ways. No longer
relegated primarily to exercises at the end of chapters, entire units were now often set in
the context of applications. The connections between subjects and their applications
were reflected in other ways. Rather than a few unrelated exercises included in the text
as applying activities, applications often occurred as the subject of short units of work
and frequently incorporated a variety of concepts and skills. Thus, the student
experienced a curriculum in which all core subject areas emerged from multiple contexts.
The intent was to help students learn more, understand that all subjects are useful, and
realize that knowledge is not just an end in itself but a tool for solving problems. The use
of applications to contextualize subject matter was an important characteristic of an
effective standards-based curriculum. Identifying good applications that revealed the
underlying concept without overshadowing it was a challenge. However, when designed
well, such a curriculum could stimulate student interest and engagement in a task
(Bransford, 1999).
Standards at the national, state, and local levels were necessary for equality of
opportunity. GPS established the principle that all students should encounter the same
educational opportunities and the same performance expectations, regardless of their
economic status. An essential purpose of standards was to ensure that students in schools
had access to equally challenging programs and courses of study (Bransford, 1999).
26
Content standards made it possible to coordinate the various parts of the
educational system to promote maximal student learning. Teachers could use content
standards to prepare their lessons. Textbook writers could use standards to inform
teachers of what they needed to connect between text content and activities and what they
were expected to teach. Testing experts could use them as the basis for tests that children
would take to determine whether or how well they had met the standards. Seen this way,
explicit content standards clearly became an organizing force for education, in which all
the different pieces of the system were focused on the same goal of helping children learn
at high levels of achievement.
Effectiveness Studies for the Standards-based Curriculum
The recent movement towards more effective and engaging standards-based
curricula has generated numerous articles, chapters, and commentaries addressing the
trends, necessity, and potential effects of performance standards on student achievement
(Darling-Hammond, 2001; Dodd, 1996; Goodlad, 2002; Otis-Wilborn & Winn, 2000;
Roth, 1996; Wigle & White, 1998). However, data-driven empirical studies
recently developed on standards-based curricula are few in numbers (Otis-Wilorn Winn,
2000; Wigle & Whie, 1998). Wigle and White (1998) noted that a conceptual framework
should be the foundation for a curriculum. They also noted that standards-based curricula
must reflect the knowledge and skills essential for competent student performance. Roth
(1996) and Darling-Hammond (2001) stated that standards-based curricula may be used
to transform the scopes, sequences, and current content for instruction and the nature of
knowledge acquisition.
27
The benefits of an effective and engaging standards-based curriculum had been
noted by many educational philosophers and curriculum theorists for decades (Bruner,
1977; Dewey, 1924, 1933; Howey, 1996). A standards-based curriculum could be used
to show how the subjects within the curriculum are connected, and it can be integrated
from general standards and principles to specific practices and contents, from basic levels
to complex advanced levels, and from one prerequisite course to another related course
(Bruner, 1977). According to Howey (1996), the more coherent and comprehensive a
curriculum is, the more effective it is. According to Wortham (1996), curriculum
integration was often achieved through the design of integrated thematic units, through
study of a topic, or by developmental and subject areas.
Carter and Mason (1997) reviewed empirical research on standards-based
curricula between 1986 and 1996, and especially focused on the effects of an integrated
curriculum on cognitive domains. The study by Carter and Mason (1997) provided
important insights about curricula. They discovered four types of curriculum integration
in their review of the literature: intradisciplinary, interdisciplinary, infused, and
correlated. An intradisciplinary approach combined different strands of one subject or
discipline into the same lesson; an interdisciplinary approach combined different subjects
or disciplines into a single course or unit; an infused curriculum had specific technologies
or teaching strategies (i.e., study skills, computer applications) added to course content;
and a correlated curriculum refered to the linkage of concepts (i.e., a related concept in
different subjects) from separate subjects or courses. Carter and Mason (1997) concluded
that recent research comparing standards-based curricula and non-standards-based
28
curricula showed no differences in student learning, although some researchers assert that
a standards-based curriculum provided an increase in student learning.
Research has also shown that there is considerable variation among states in how
the elements of standards-based accountability are implemented. For instance, several
national organizations reviewed existing state standards and reported wide variation
in rigor and specificity of standards (Rothman, et al. 2002; Education Week, 2002; Finn
& Petrilli, 2000). Difficulty of state assessments also varied?both in content and
proficiency cut-scores (Kingbury et al, 2003; McCombs & Kirby, et al., 2004). These
differences were likely to affect how standards were implemented in schools and their
potential impact on student performance. For example, lack of specificity in published
standards may have exacerbated the tendencies of many teachers to pay more attention to
state tests than to standards (Stecher et al., 2000).
In order to determine the comparability of the QCC to the GPS, Riversides
Publishing Content staff completed a qualitative analysis in the following content areas
and grades: Reading grades 1-8; English/language arts grades 1-8; Science grades 6-7,
and Math grades 1-8. Between August and September 2005, Riverside Test
Development Specialists aligned over 10,000 secure and nonsecure QCC items to the
newly implemented GPS for 2006 in reading grades 1-8, English/language arts grades
1-8, Science grade 6-7 (QCC Earth science items), and Math grade 6. Secure items
included legacy items developed by Riverside and housed in the Riverside Content
Management System, as well as inherited items from previous vendors. Nonsecure items
were items primarily from the Online Assessment System, used by Georgia educators to
29
prepare their students for the CRCT. Of the approximate 5,590 QCC items in the Online
Assessment System that were reviewed, 82% of the items were able to be aligned to
comparable GPS. The remaining items were rejected because they had no comparable
GPS alignment (Cox, 2006).
Curriculum and Assessment
Historical Overview
Today's testing movement has its roots in the eugenics movement. Early founders
and advocates of IQ testing saw great utility in the ability of tests to sort out the so called
feebleminded children (and adults) for purposes of social control (Gould, 1996; Grissmer,
Flanagan, Kawata, & Williamson, 2000; Heubert & Hauser, 1999; Sacks, 1999; Stoskopf,
2000). When IQ tests made their way into schools, educational practitioners found them
to be useful tools for quantifying notions of merit and aptitude, sorting children, and
disbursing educational resources accordingly. Tests became more popular as did society's
reliance on tests to hold schools accountable.
Schools in America test more students, with greater frequency, and with a larger
number of tests now than during any other time in the history of the United States. Over
the last three decades schools have also increasingly relied on tests, to which severe
consequences have been attached, to reform our schools. These tests are known as high
stakes tests (Sacks, 1999; Kohn, 2000). Advocates of testing argue that attaching stakes
to tests is necessary to hold schools accountable, reward high performing schools, and
identify failing schools so they may be targeted for extra help. This is a key element of
President George W. Bush's education plan (No Child Left Behind ACT, 2001).
30
However, researchers and numerous others had false notions that accountability
measures such as high-stakes tests actually yield increases in academic achievement.
There was evidence that gains on state tests were not necessarily indicators
of higher achievement. An experimental study by Koretz, Linn, Dunbar and Shepard
(1991) revealed that performance on a high-stakes exam did not generalize to other tests
for which students had not been specifically prepared. Klein, Hamilton, McCaffrey, and
Stecher (2000), investigated the performance gains celebrated in Texas. They compared
the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) scores with the scores taken from the
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and found the dramatic increases
in TAAS were not evident on the NAEP as had been previously purported. Additionally,
while the TAAS illustrated that performance gaps between whites and students of color
were narrowing, NAEP scores showed that the gaps were widening. Amrein and Berliner
(2002) found a similar pattern as they examined increases on 18 states' high-stakes exams
and patterns on other tests that tested similar knowledge constructs (e.g., SAT, ACT,
NAEP, and AP exams). All researchers found that significant increases on high-stakes
exams did not transfer over or generalize to these other exams, challenging the notion
that high stakes tests caused increases in academic achievement. High-stakes
accountability systems can and do get results (i.e., increased test scores), but the results
were not particularly deep or lasting (Fullan, 2001, p. 220).
Given that high-stakes tests had not evidenced authentic learning gains, scholars
expressed deep concerns over the negative and harmful results of testing on schools,
teachers, students, and the curriculum (Haney 2000; Klein, Hamilton, McCaffrey, &
31
Stecher, 2000; McNeil, 2000; Valencia & Bernal, 2000). Sacks (1998) contended that
focusing exclusively on measurements and accountability may have had precisely the
opposite of [their] intended outcomes. This was a major finding in the work of McNeil
(2000). McNeil (2000) studied the effects of high stakes tests in classrooms in Texas?
the state where dramatic increases in test scores were dubbed the "Texas Miracle."
McNeil (2000) revealed that school reform efforts that centered on testing, greatly
distorted the educational experiences of students in urban schools. She found that as
schools focused more and more on test preparation and teaching to the test, test scores
increased, meanwhile the quality of teaching and learning was both compromised and
depreciated.
Test results may come to be viewed as ends in themselves, leading to a
curriculum that focuses too narrowly on teaching to the test. In many cases, this has
meant extending curriculum models that may be appropriate for older children downward
to ages where they are not appropriate. What used to be taught in second grade is now
taught in first grade, what used to be taught in first grade is now taught in kindergarten,
and what used to be taught in kindergarten now appears on tests used to determine
children's readiness for school (McFlane, 2001). This kind of overemphasis on preparing
students to take tests often resulted in unrealistic expectations about what children should
know at any given level. These standards hurt at-risk students most, but even advantaged
children often found the inappropriate demands difficult to meet (McFlane, 2001).
During the 1970s and 1980s, the National Assessment of Educational Progress
(NAEP) issued several reports revealing that a majority of students were not developing
32
intellectual capacities necessary for democratic citizenship, lifelong learning, and
productive employment in the economic system (Mullis, Owen, and Phillips 1990).
Most students seemed to develop basic skills, which involve low-level cognition.
However, few students demonstrated the ability to solve multiple-step problems,
synthesize data, read analytically, and think critically. Furthermore, performance on tasks
requiring high-level cognition has declined since the early 1970s (Mullis, Owen, and
Phillips, 1990).
In a summary of findings from twenty years of NAEP, Mullis, Owen, and Phillips
(1990) reported that only small proportions of students appeared to develop specialized
knowledge needed to address science-based problems, and the pattern of falling behind
began in elementary school. A similar pattern of deficiency in knowledge achievement
was revealed by the NAEP studies of mathematics, history, literature, geography, and
civics. Less than 50 percent of elementary students seemed to have developed both an
understanding of key ideas in these core subjects and the ability to apply these ideas to
completion of tasks that require high-level cognition (NAEP, 1990). If by the year 2000
American students were to leave school having demonstrated competency in challenging
subject matter--the core subjects of the school curriculum--then large improvements in
teaching and learning must be accomplished. The current levels of student achievement
fall far short of the standard implied by the national education goal (Hammond, 1990).
The various NAEP surveys of achievement in the 1980s included information on
relationships between systematic, substantial, and stimulating exposure to core subjects
and higher scores on tests of achievement in these academic disciplines. Students who
33
reported more opportunities to study key topics and ideas in core subjects made higher
scores on the NAEP tests of achievement. Another factor associated with higher
achievement was active learning. Students who said that their teachers required them
to interpret and apply knowledge to the completion of tasks tended to score much higher
on these assessments than did respondents who reported that their lessons were limited
mostly to passive reception of knowledge through lectures and books (NAEP, 1990).
The United States cannot maintain its constitutional democracy or its economic
well being unless all students greatly improve their levels of achievement in the core
subjects and development of intellectual capacities. The current levels of student
achievement were unacceptably low for our country's needs and aspirations and for the
personal goals of its citizens (Mullis, Owen, and Phillips, 1990). Therefore, much
effective effort must be undertaken immediately and persistently to substantially improve
the teaching and learning of core subjects in the school curriculum, because America is a
nation at risk.
Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests
The Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) was designed to measure
how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the Quality Core
Curriculum (Spring 2005) or the Georgia Performance Standards (Spring 2006). The
assessments provided information on academic achievement at the student, class, school,
system, and state levels. This information was used to diagnose individual student
strengths and weaknesses and to measure the quality of education throughout Georgia
(Cox, 2006).
34
Georgia law, as amended by the A+ Education Reform Act of 2000, required all
students in grades one through eight to take the CRCT in the content areas of reading,
English/language arts, and mathematics. Students in grades three through eight were also
assessed in science and social studies. The CRCT only assessed the content standards
outlined in the QCC (Spring 2005) or the GPS (Spring 2006) (Cox, 2006).
The CRCT was implemented in spring 2000. That year, summative, end-of-year
assessments in reading, English/language arts, and mathematics were administered in
grades four, six, and eight. Assessments in science and social studies (grades three
through eight) were administered for the first time in spring 2002. Additionally,
assessments in reading, English/language arts, and mathematics were administered in
grades one, two, three, five, and seven in spring 2002 (Cox, 2006).
Scores on all reports were expressed as scale scores, which can range from 150 to
500 for each grade and content area. A scale score was reported for each content area as
well as the domains within the content area. Scale scores were developed using various
statistical procedures. The process converted the number correct on the test (raw score) to
the CRCT scale score. Since the scale scores were equivalent across test forms within the
same content area and grade, students obtaining the same score have demonstrated the
same performance with respect to the Georgia QCC. Scores for the test administered
during Spring of 2005 that were at or above 350 indicate a level of performance that
Exceeds the Standard set for the test. Scores from 300 to 349 indicated a level of
performance that Meets the Standard set for the test. Scores below 300 indicated a level
of performance that Does Not Meet the Standard set for the test, i.e. the state?s minimum
35
level of proficiency, based on this test administration, and indicated a need for some
type of additional instructional support.
Scores for the test administered during Spring of 2006 that were at or above 850
indicated a level of performance that Exceeds the Standard set for the test. Scores from
800 to 849 indicated a level of performance that Meets the Standard set for the test.
Scores below 800 indicated a level of performance that Does Not Meet the Standard set
for the test, i.e. the state?s minimum level of proficiency, based on this test
administration, and indicated a need for some type of additional instructional support.
The CRCT measured how well a student has learned the knowledge and skills
covered by the curriculum for their grade level. Students were not compared to each
other but were measured on their achievement in meeting the standards. The student?s
individual scores revealed his/her strengths and weaknesses as related to the instruction
of the GPS or QCC and gauge the quality of education throughout Georgia. Georgia?s
statewide curriculum sets specific standards or expectations for all students in Georgia?s
public schools. Reading and English/language arts CRCT were based on the new GPS
curriculum and provide baseline results (Cox, 2006).
In the education of our children, it is important to obtain timely, reliable
information about their progress, so that educators can make well-informed educational
decisions for individual students and for educational agencies. It is important that
educators collect this information in an efficient manner so that they don't waste time that
might be used for instruction. It is also important that this information be well aligned
with the instructional goals of the schools, so that it is useful to teachers (Cox, 2006).
36
The CRCT provided a high-quality assessment of student achievement and
achievement growth. It was quite useful for identifying instructional needs of individual
students and for identifying how well the district is doing as a whole. This assessment
had two characteristics that make it very desirable for use in Georgia. First, the CRCT
was aligned with the curriculum in use. It communicated scores to teachers and students
using terms that were common and meaningful across the district. Second, the CRCT
for each area are graduated in difficulty. This meant that students taking this assessment
were challenged but not frustrated by the questions that are asked (Cox, 2006).
Georgia administered the CRCT to students in grades 1 through 8 in reading,
English/language arts and mathematics, while students in grades 3 through 8 also took the
CRCT in science and social studies. Georgia was phasing in promotion gates based on
the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests in certain grades. In 2003-2004, third-grade
students were required to pass the reading CRCT in order to be promoted to the fourth
grade, and in 2004-2005, fifth-grade students will be required to pass the reading
Criterion Referenced Competency Test to advance to sixth grade (Cox, 2006).
Georgia Performance Standards covered 90% of what is taught in Georgia
schools. Systems are required to cover, at a minimum, the material in the state
curriculum, but they are free to supplement it with additional topics they expect teachers
to cover. Students were tested on their mastery of this material through the state?s
standardized test, the CRCT. The state curriculum was the minimum of what teachers
should teach and what students should know. The Georgia Department of Education
37
encouraged teachers, however, to incorporate extra activities and projects that would
stimulate critical thinking and in-depth learning on the part of their students (Cox, 2006).
Iowa Test of Basic Skills
The State of Georgia mandated a nationally standardized administration of a
norm-referenced test to all students in grades 3, 5, and 8 either in the fall. A norm-
referenced test was administered for the fundamental purposes of: (1) identifying
students? areas of relative strength and weakness in subject areas; (2) monitoring year-to-
year growth in basic skills; (3) describing each student?s developmental level within a
test area; and (4) providing data-enabling national comparisons. The State contract for a
norm-referenced test was currently with Riverside Publishing, which produced the Iowa
Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS). The ITBS compared the progress of Muscogee county
students to that of students in a national sample who took a fall administration
(Cox, 2006).
The purpose for using this norm-referenced test (NRT) was to obtain information
about how the performance of Georgia's students compared with that of students in a
national sample. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) assessed a student?s level of
achievement relative to other students. The results of scores were used for evaluation,
decision-making, and instructional improvement. The ITBS assessed a student?s level of
achievement within four broad domains including readng, language arts, math, and
vocabulary. All items on the ITBS had a multiple choice response format, and all tests
were timed (Cox, 2005).
38
In the Muscogee County Public School System, where Blanchard Elementary
School is located, the ITBS was administered to all third, fifth, and eighth grade students
in October of each year. The students at Blanchard were given the Survey Battery which
contains three, 30-minute sections in reading, language arts, and mathematics. Scores
were retrieved from third and fifth graders who were administered the ITBS in October
2005 and 2006.
Subtest scores were provided for each of the three sections and for a core total.
The scores were calculated to show Grade Equivalent (GE) and Percentile Rank (PR).
GE is an estimate of a student?s developmental level. A much higher or lower GE than
the student?s actual grade level when the test was taken was indicative of exceptional
performance (extremely good or extremely poor). The GE was not designed for the
purpose of grade placement decisions because the content of the questions was not
reflective of the curriculum for higher grade levels. Percentile rank was another score
that compared the relative performance of a student to a group. For example, if a third-
grade student had a percentile rank of 87, it meant that the student scored better than 87
percent of the students in a comparison group of third graders. The comparison group
was the group of students who were tested nationally when norms were established.
(Cox, 2005).
The purpose of the ITBS was to obtain information about how the performance of
Georgia students compared with that of other students across the nation. While districts
concentrated most of their testing resources and attention on the high-stakes statewide
CRCT, the ITBS still provided valuable data about how students compare nationally, and
39
in what specific areas students may need additional help. ITBS results were particularly
helpful in identifying reading or math skills where students may need additional
instruction. By administering the test in the fall, teachers then have time to work with
students before spring CRCT testing begins (Cox, 2005).
Grades
Letter grades are so ingrained in our image of school, due in part to the fact that
80% of schools require letter grades (Polloway et al., 1994), that it is easy to overlook the
multitude of meanings or purposes that may be assigned to grades. Several potential
purposes for report card grades have been suggested in the literature (Bradley & Calvin,
1998; Carpenter, 1985; Ornstein, 1994). In general, purposed purposes involved
communication of information that is specific to the student (e.g., strengths/needs,
motivation and work habits, progress on individual goals), communication of information
regarding general and comparative achievement (e.g., general achievement on
curriculum, how performance compares to that of other students).
The most fundamental measurement principle related to meaningful assessment and
grading is the principle of validity (Gallagher, 1998; Gredler, 1999; Linn and Gronlund,
2000; Stiggins, 2001). Although there are many validity issues involved in classroom
assessment that classroom teachers should consider, such as making sure the way they
assess students corresponds to the type of academic learning behaviors being assessed
(Ormrod, 2000), the focus here is on the valid assessment and communication of final
class grades as summaries of students? academic achievement of content knowledge of a
subject. Validity addresses the accuracy of the assessment and grading procedures used
40
by teachers (Gallagher, 1998; Gredler, 1999; Linn and Gronlund, 2000). Validity is
important because the sole purpose of grades is to accurately communicate to others the
level of academic achievement that a student has obtained (Snowman and Biehler, 2003).
If grades are not accurate measures of the student?s achievement, then they do not
communicate the truth about the level of the student?s academic achievement. Assigning
grades to students is such a complex (and sometimes controversial) issue that some
educators have proposed their abolition (Kohn, 1999; Marzano, 2000). The current reality
for most teachers is that they are required to assign grades indicating students? academic
achievement in the subjects they teach. Therefore, grading should be as valid as possible.
Although students learn many things in the classroom, the primary objective is for
students to learn academic content knowledge of a particular subject. In order for teachers
to know if students are achieving this academic knowledge, they generally are required to
not only assess students? knowledge in some way, but eventually summarize that
assessment into a letter or numerical grade. This is known as ?summative? evaluation.
Hopefully, teachers are also gathering non-graded ?formative? assessments of students to
provide feedback to students as they learn, as well as considering how to motivate
students to learn and encouraging them to be self-regulated learners. However, generally,
teachers have to eventually assign a grade indicating what level of content knowledge a
student has achieved in the subject listed (Marzano, 2000).
Although there are various means to communicate student learning, currently a
single report card grade for each academic subject is the most common and generally
accepted system in schools (Bailey and McTighe, 1996; Lake and Kafka, 1996). Authors
of major texts devoted to classroom assessment suggested that the major reason for
41
assigning grades was to create a public record of a student?s academic achievement that
can accurately and effectively communicate to others the level of mastery of a subject a
student has demonstrated (Airasian, 2000; Gallagher, 1998; Gredler, 1999; Linn and
Gronlund, 2000; Nitko, 2001; Oosterhof, 2001; Stiggins, 2001). Nitko (2001) points out
that: ?Grades. . . were used by students, parents, other teachers, guidance counselors,
school officials, postsecondary educational institutions, and employers. Therefore
[teachers] must assign grades with utmost care and maintain their validity? (2001,
p. 365). Due to the wide variability in the criteria used in grading practices from teacher
to teacher, the validity of student grades was unknown and they have limited value as
guides for planning the academic and career futures of students (Thorndike, 1997). Thus,
if a single grade on a report card or transcript was to effectively communicate
information to all these varied parties, then that single grade had to have some shared and
accurate meaning (O?Connor, 1995). The purpose of an academic report is to
communicate the level of academic achievement that a student has developed over a
course of study. Therefore, the sole purpose of a grade on an academic report, if it is to
be a valid source of information, is to communicate the academic achievement of the
student. Since important decisions were often based on a student?s grade, invalid grades
resulted in dire consequences for the student. Grades can open up or close down
important learning opportunities for students (Jasmine, 1999).
Letter grades or numerical grades are used to report the progress of students
in grades one through five. In Georgia, student achievement was reported to parents as
numerical grades for reading, language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.
42
Assignment of the grade by the teacher was certification of the degree of mastery of the
essential knowledge and skills. Letter grades correspond with numerical scores. For
instance, a letter grade of A ranges from 100 to 90. A letter grade of B ranges from 89 to
80. A letter grade of C ranges from 79 to 70. A letter grade of F indicates that the
student received a grade below 70 and failed to master the essential knowledge and skills.
Summary
As required by the Quality Basic Education Act of 1985, Georgia must maintain a
curriculum that specifies what students are expected to know in each subject and grade.
The QCC had been the current guideline for instruction in Georgia since 1985 until a
Phi Delta Kappa audit concluded in 2002 that the QCC lacked depth. Teachers used the
QCC objectives more as a reference to mention in lesson plans than as a guide for quality
instruction. The QCC also did not meet national standards according to the NCLB Act.
The belief that every child can learn is one that is being embraced by education
experts around the nation. It is reflected in the federal NCLB legislation. Educators have
come to realize that the historical correlation between low socio-economic standing and
low-test scores has more to do with the education system than with the capabilities of a
child. Georgia?s Superintendent of School, Kathy Cox, concluded that to change the
direction of a school system, one must change the content taught in the classroom. Her
vision for Georgia to lead the nation in improving student achievement began with the
replacing the QCC with GPS.
43
The revised and strengthened GPS went into much greater depth than the content
standards used in the previous curriculum. GPS provided clear expectations for
assessment, instruction, and student work. They also defined the level of work that
demonstrates achievement of the standards. The review of literature confirms that
standards-based reform is the setting of clear expectations for student achievement
(Medrano, 2003). Curriculum and assessment research also contends that standards
provide clear expectations for instruction and define the level of student work that
demonstrates achievement (Steed, 1990).
Kathy Cox also believed that a strong curriculum combined with a good testing
program, could pave the way for targeted, focused instruction that will help Georgia
improve student achievement. Georgia law required that the CRCT be developed and
given to students in order to assess the QCC and GPS. All of Georgia?s students in
grades one through eight are required to take the CRCT in the content areas of reading,
English/language arts, and math. Students in grades three through eight were also tested
in science and social studies (Cox, 2006).
The CRCT measures whether or not the students have learned the skills taught
according to the QCC and GPS (Cox, 2006). The ITBS is a norm-referenced test that
compares student?s achievement at a national level (Cox, 2005). Grades are also valid
measures to communicate academic achievement (Erickson and Strommer, 1991). In
summary, the literature review of curricula, CRCT and ITBS testing, and grades provide
a sound basis to examine how QCC and GPS impact student achievement for the state of
Georgia.
44
III. METHODS AND PROCEDURES
Introduction
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the Quality Core
Curriculum (QCC) and the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) on student
achievement. The correlational study measured the association between grades,
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) scores, and Iowa Test of Basic Skills
(ITBS) scores for the QCC and GPS. A review of the literature revealed that grades and
test scores were considered valid measures to communicate academic achievement.
Pearson r correlation coefficients were set up as Blanchard Elementary students? reading,
language arts, and math grades were compared to their reading, language arts, and math
test scores. Fisher?s z transformations were used to determine if the correlation
coefficients were significantly different from each other.
The methods and procedures of the study are presented in Chapter 3.
A description of the population and its demographics, instrumentation, data collection
procedures, and data analysis procedures are also discussed. A brief summary concludes
the chapter.
Population
Participants in the study included 554 of the 650 students who attended Blanchard
Elementary School in Columbus, Georgia during the 2004-2005 school term and the
45
2005-2006 school term. The school includes grades pre-kindergarten through fifth.
Students in grades one through five who attended Blanchard Elementary School for the
two year period in which the Quality Core Curriculum replaced the Georgia Performance
Standards were selected to participate in the study. Attendance information was obtained
from the student?s cumulative file folder and used to identify participants. Parents
permission was not required to obtain this information since permission was given to
collect data (See Appendix E and Appendix F). The study was conducted over post hoc
data points.
Demographic Data
Blanchard Elementary School is a neighborhood school serving families who
represent diverse sizes of socioeconomic levels. The ethnic groups making up the student
body were approximately 74% White, 15% Black, 4% Hispanic, 4% Multi-racial,
2% Asian, and 1% American Indian. The school does not qualify as a Title I-funded
school because too few of the students, only 32.7% receive free (178 students) or
reduced lunch (54 students). At the time of the study, the student body contained about
49% girls and 51% boys. The school is located in a middle income community. Parental
support is very high. It is located within the northern part of the city, an area that is
experiencing an increasing growth of business and home development. Blanchard is
ranked as one of the top ten elementary schools in Muscogee County. Data for this study
included reading, language arts, and math grades and both Criterion-Referenced
46
Competency Test scores and Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores in reading, language arts,
and math from the students in grades one through five who attended Blanchard during the
2004-2005 and the 2005-2006 school terms.
Instrumentation
Data collection involved the use of educational tests and private records. The
principal investigator collected final grades and test scores from the administrations of
the CRCT and ITBS. Test printouts were placed in their cumulative folders after the tests
were scored. Their final grades were located on the inside jacket cover of the cumulative
folder. Final grades and test scores in reading, language arts, and math for each
participant was stored as electronic data in a Statistical Package for Social Science
(SPSS) data file on a computer disc.
Data Collection
A letter requesting permission to conduct the study was submitted to the
Superintendent of Schools (See Appendix A). A copy of the Research Protocol Review
Form was provided for the Supervisor of Research and Evaluation Department of
Muscogee County to explain the study in depth and request permission for the research.
The director of assessment and accountability and the superintendent granted permission
to conduct the study (See Appendix B and Appendix C). The principal investigator also
sent a letter to the principal of Blanchard Elementary School seeking permission to
conduct research at the school site (See Appendix D). The principal was assured of
47
anonymity and confidentiality and given the opportunity to ask questions during a
meeting to discuss the study. The principal granted permission for the principal
investigator to collect the appropriate data (See Appendix E and Appendix F).
Data Analysis
The research design utilized in this study is correlational. The purpose of
correlational research is to investigate the extent to which variations in one factor
correspond with variations in one or more factors based on correlation coefficients.
Correlation coefficients range from -1 (a perfect negative linear relationship) to +1 (a
perfect positive linear relationship). The direction of the relationship depends on the sign.
If the sign is negative, then the relationship is negative. A negative, or inverse,
relationship exists when two variables move in the opposite direction. A positive, or
direct, relationship exists when the two variables move in the same direction. The
strength of the relationship depends on the numerical value of the coefficient. The more
extreme the value, the stronger the relationship. Two variables that are unrelated have a
correlation coefficient of 0 (Hair, Anderson, Tatham, & Black, 1998).
A correlation coefficient can be transformed into a z-score for purposes of
hypothesis testing. This is done by dividing the correlation plus one, by the same
correlation minus one. Then take the natural log of the absolute value of the result and
divide the result by two. The end result is Fisher?s z-score transformation of Pearson?s r.
Fisher?s transformation reduces skew and makes the sampling distribution more normal
as sample sizes increases (Blalock, 1972).
48
The correlational research of this study examined the Pearson r correlation
coefficients between grades and CRCT scores in order to determine the degree of their
relationships and if there is a significant statistical relationship between the
implementation of the GPS and ITBS scores. The significance of the difference between
the correlations were tested using Fisher?s z
transformation. The correlations are
converted using the table found in Appendix G. The sample distribution of z, is
approximately normal with a standard error given by Sz
r
= 1/ N ? 3. The standard error
of the difference between two values of z
r
, is given by SE = SQRT[1/(n
1
-3) + 1/(n
2
-3)]
where n
1
and n
2
are the sample sizes of the two independent variables. The difference
between the two values of z
r
by the standard error of the difference is divided by the
standard error. This is a unit-normal-curve deviate and may be so interpreted. Values of
1.96 and 2.58 are required for significance at the 1 and 5 percent levels. When the
p-value is less than 0.05, the conclusion is that the two coefficients indeed are
significantly different (Blalock, 1972).
The results of this analysis were necessary to answer the following pertinent
research questions. First, what is the relationship between grades and Criterion-
Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based upon the
Quality Core Curriculum? Second, what is the relationship between grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based
upon the Georgia Performance Standards? Third, are there differences between
relationships for grades and Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores for students
who received instruction with the Quality Core Curriculum as compared to students who
49
received instruction with the Georgia Performance Standards? Fourth, what is the
relationship between grades and Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores of students who
received instruction based upon the Quality Core Curriculum? Fifth, what is the
relationship between grades and Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores of students who
received instruction based upon the Georgia Performance Standards? Sixth, are there
differences between relationships for grades and Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores for
students who received instruction with the Quality Core Curriculum as compared to
students who received instruction with the Georgia Performance Standards?
Summary
This chapter discussed the methods and procedures that were used in the study.
A description was included of the population, demographic information, data collection
procedures, and data analysis procedures.
50
IV: STATISTICAL ANALYSIS AND RESULTS
Introduction
The analyses of data relative to the research questions presented in chapter one
were reported in chapter four. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of
Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) and Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) on student
achievement, which is defined in terms of grades and Criterion-Referenced Competency
Tests (CRCT) scores and Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS). 554 students enrolled at
Blanchard Elementary School in grades 1 through 5 in the spring of 2005 and 2006
participated in the study. This resulted in actual sample sizes of 102, 110, 105, 112, and
125 for grades 1 through 5, respectively. All analyses were done using Statistical
Software for Social Science (SPSS). The study consisted of the following analyses.
Pearson r correlation coefficients were calculated to determine the relationship between
grades and CRCT scores in reading, math, and language arts from the Spring 2005 and
2006 assessments. Correlations were also calculated to determine the relationship
between grades and ITBS in reading, math, and language arts from the Fall 2004 and
2005 assessments. Fisher?s z transformations were used to determine whether the
correlation coefficients are significantly different from each other. The research
questions and hypotheses are stated and answered based upon information obtained from
the statistical tests at the end of this chapter.
51
Descriptive Analysis of Data
Table 1
Bivariate Correlation Coefficients of Grades and Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests
Scores for Different Students
________________________________________________________________________
Grades and Test Scores 1
st
2
nd
3
rd
4
th
5
th
_______________________________________________________________________
Quality Core Curriculum
(2004 ? 2005)
Reading .50 .50 .26 .37 .70
Language Arts .44 .44 .20 .44 .69
Math .46 .46 .23 .41 .66
Georgia Performance
Standards (2005 - 2006)
Reading .70 .63 .63 .77 .76
Language Arts .71 .77 .74 .73 .71
Math .78 .62 .44 .77 .71
Table 1 allows comparisons of correlations for different groups of children before
and after the GPS were introduced as a basis for curriculum and assessment in reading
and language arts and before they were introduced at all in math. Pearson r correlation
coeffiecients were calculated to determine the relationship between grades and CRCT
scores from reading and language art tests, which were taught and tested using GPS in
52
2005-2006. GPS standards were not implemented in math during the time of the study.
Therefore, the correlations between grades and tests scores in math were taught and
tested using QCC objectives in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. To explain further, the grades
and test scores of students that took the CRCT in Spring 2005 instructed with the QCC
were correlated with their grades and CRCT test scores in Spring 2006 after the GPS
were implemented for reading and language arts but not for math.
The starting point for obtaining a correlation coefficient is having a measurement
for each variable being studied. Thus, in this study, one variable is grade the other
variable is a corresponding test score. The correlation between reading grades and
reading CRCT scores for first grade in spring of 2005 was r = .50. The correlation
between language arts grades and language arts CRCT scores for first grade in spring of
2005 was r = .44. The correlation between math grades and math CRCT scores for first
grade in spring of 2005 was r = .46.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for first grade
in spring of 2006 was r = .70. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for first grade in spring of 2006 was r = .71. The correlation
between math grades and math CRCT scores for first grade in spring of 2006 was r = .78.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for second
grade in spring of 2005 was r = .50. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for second grade in spring of 2005 was r = .44. The
correlation between math grades and math CRCT scores for second grade in spring of
2005 was r = .46.
53
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for second
grade in spring of 2006 was r = .63. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for second grade in spring of 2006 was r = .77.
The correlation between math grades and math CRCT scores for second grade in spring
of 2006 was r = .62.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for third grade
in spring of 2005 was r = .26. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for third grade in spring of 2005 was r = .20. The correlation
between math grades and math CRCT scores for third grade in spring of 2005 was
r = .23.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for third grade
in spring of 2006 was r = .63. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for third grade in spring of 2006 was r = .74. The correlation
between math grades and math CRCT scores for third grade in spring of 2006 was
r = .44.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for fourth grade
in spring of 2005 was r = .374. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for fourth grade in spring of 2005 was r = .44. The
correlation between math grades and math CRCT scores for fourth grade in spring of
2005 was r = .41.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for fourth grade
in spring of 2006 was r = .77. The correlation between language arts grades and
54
language arts CRCT scores for fourth grade in spring of 2006 was r = .73. The
correlation between math grades and math CRCT scores for fourth grade in spring of
2006 was r = .77.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for fifth grade
in spring of 2005 was r = .70. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for fifth grade in spring of 2005 was r = .69. The correlation
between math grades and math CRCT scores for fifth grade in spring of 2005 was r = .66.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for fifth grade
in spring of 2006 was r = .76. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for fifth grade in spring of 2006 was r = .71. The correlation
between math grades and math CRCT scores for fifth grade in spring of 2006 was r = .71.
The thirty correlation coefficients ranged from weak (r = .23) to strong (r = .77).
Correlations between grades and curriculum were higher during the year of the
implementation of the GPS. The CRCT scores were positively correlated with grades.
55
Table 2
Fisher?s z Transformations for Grades and Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests
Scores for Different Students
________________________________________________________________________
Subject First Second Third Fourth Fifth
Reading 2.28* 1.31 3.34* 3.03* 3.13*
Language Arts 2.99* 3.72* 5.26* 3.46* 2.03*
Math 3.94* 1.55 1.68 4.42* 4.90*
*p < 0.05
Table 2 calculates the statistical significance of the difference between the
correlation coefficients of tests and grades for each subject as indicated by Table 1 using
Fisher?s z
transformations. The correlation coefficients are converted to z-scores using
the table found in Appendix G.
In the reading correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for first graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.50 (n = 109) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.70 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 2.28 (p < 0.05), is associated with p = 0.011.
Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ significantly.
In the language arts correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for first graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.44 (n = 109) is compared with a correlation coefficient
56
of r = 0.71 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 2.99 (p < 0.05), is associated with
p = 0.0014. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
In the math correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for first graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.46 (n = 109) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.78 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 3.94 (p < 0.05), is associated with p = 0.011.
Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ significantly.
In the reading correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for second graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.50 (n = 88) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.63 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 1.31 (p < 0.05), is associated with p = 0.0951.
Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not differ
significantly.
In the language arts correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for second
graders, a correlation coefficient of r = 0.44 (n = 88) is compared with a correlation
coefficient of r = 0.77 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 3.72 (p < 0.05), which is
associated with p = 0.0010. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation
coefficients differ significantly.
In the math correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for second graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.46 (n = 88) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.62 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 1.55 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.0606. Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not
differ significantly.
57
In the reading correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for third graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.26 (n = 88) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.63 (n = 120). The critical value of z = 3.34 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.0004. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
In the language arts correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for third graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.20 (n = 88) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.74 (n = 120). The critical value of z = 5.26 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.0000. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
In the math correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for third graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.23 (n = 88) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.44 (n = 120). The critical value of z = 1.68 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.0475. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
In the reading correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fourth graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.37 (n = 120) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.77 (n = 114). The critical value of z = 4.03 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.000. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
In the language arts correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fourth
graders, a correlation coefficient of r = 0.44 (n = 120) is compared with a correlation
58
coefficient of r = 0.73 (n = 114). The critical value of z = 3.46 (p < 0.05), which is
associated with p = 0.0003. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation
coefficients differ significantly.
In the math correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fourth graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.41 (n = 109) is compared with a correlation coefficient
of r = 0.77 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 4.42 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.000. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
In the reading correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fifth graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.70 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient
of r = 0.76 (n = 101). The critical value of z = 0.93 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.1762. Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not
differ significantly.
In the language arts correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fifth graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.69 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient
of r = 0.71 (n = 101). The critical value of z = 0.28 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.3897. Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not
differ significantly.
In the math correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fifth graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.66 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient
59
of r = 0.71 (n = 101). The critical value of z = 0.68 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.2483. Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not
differ significantly.
Fisher?s z transformation provides a method by which to determine whether two
correlation coefficients are significantly different from each other. Correlation between
grades and test scores are significant if the critical value is 1.96 or higher and the p value
< 0.05. Thirteen of the fifteen correlations were significantly different.
Table 3
Bivariate Correlation Coefficients of Grades and Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests
Scores for Same Students
________________________________________________________________________
Grades and Test Scores 1
st
2
nd
3
rd
4
th
5
th
_______________________________________________________________________
Quality Core Curriculum
(2004 ? 2005)
Reading .50 .50 .26 .37 .70
Language Arts .44 .44 .20 .44 .69
Math .46 .46 .23 .41 .66
Georgia Performance
Standards (2005 - 2006)
2
nd
3
rd
4
th
5
th
6
th
Reading .63 .63 .77 .76 ---
Language Arts .77 .74 .73 .71 ---
Math .62 .44 .77 .71 ---
________________________________________________________________________
60
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for first grade
in spring of 2005 was r = .50. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for first grade in spring of 2005 was r = .44. The correlation
between math grades and math CRCT scores for first grade in spring of 2005 was r = .46.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for second
grade in spring of 2006 was r = .63. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for second grade in spring of 2006 was r = .77. The
correlation between math grades and math CRCT scores for second grade in spring of
2006 was r = .62.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for second
grade in spring of 2005 was r = .50. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for second grade in spring of 2005 was r = .44. The
correlation between math grades and math CRCT scores for second grade in spring of
2005 was r = .46.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for third grade
in spring of 2006 was r = .63. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for third grade in spring of 2006 was r = .74. The correlation
between math grades and math CRCT scores for third grade in spring of 2006 was
r = .44.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for third grade
in spring of 2005 was r = .26. The correlation between language arts grades and
61
language arts CRCT scores for third grade in spring of 2005 was r = .20. The correlation
between math grades and math CRCT scores for third grade in spring of 2005 was
r = .23.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for fourth grade
in spring of 2006 was r = .77. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for third grade in spring of 2006 was r = .73. The correlation
between math grades and math CRCT scores for third grade in spring of 2006 was
r = .77.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for fourth grade
in spring of 2005 was r = .37. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for fourth grade in spring of 2005 was r = .44. The
correlation between math grades and math CRCT scores for fourth grade in spring of
2005 was r = .41.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for fifth grade
in spring of 2006 was r = .76. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for fourth grade in spring of 2006 was r = .71. The
correlation between math grades and math CRCT scores for fourth grade in spring of
2006 was r = .71.
The correlation between reading grades and reading CRCT scores for fifth grade
in spring of 2005 was r = .70. The correlation between language arts grades and
language arts CRCT scores for fifth grade in spring of 2005 was r = .69. The correlation
between math grades and math CRCT scores for fifth grade in spring of 2005 was r = .66.
62
The correlation between reading, language arts, and math grades and reading, language
arts, and math CRCT scores for sixth grade were not obtained by the principal
investigator. Obtaining these CRCT test scores for the sixth grades was out of protocol
for data collection approved by the director of assessment and accountability.
Twenty-eight correlation coefficients ranged from weak (r = .20) to strong
(r = .77). Correlations between grades and curriculum were higher during the year of the
implementation of the GPS. The CRCT scores were positively correlated with grades.
Table 4
Fisher?s z Transformations for Grades and Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests
Scores for Same Students
________________________________________________________________________
Subject First Second Third Fourth Fifth
Reading 1.37 1.25 5.77* 4.53* -----
Language Arts 3.89* 3.12* 5.55* 3.09* -----
Math 1.62 0.16 6.01* 3.36* -----
________________________________________________________________________
*p < 0.05
Table 4 displays the statistical significance of the difference between the
correlation coefficients of tests and grades for each subject as indicated by Table 3 using
Fisher?s z
r
transformations. The correlation coefficients are converted to z
r
s using the
table found in Appendix G.
63
In the reading correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for first graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.50 (n = 104) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.63 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 1.37 (p < 0.05), is associated with p = 0.085.
Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not differ
significantly.
In the language arts correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for first graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.44 (n = 104) is compared with a correlation coefficient
of r = 0.77 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 3.89 (p < 0.05), is associated with
p = 0.0000. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
In the math correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for first graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.46 (n = 104) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.62 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 1.62 (p < 0.05), is associated with p = 0.042.
Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ significantly.
In the reading correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for second graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.50 (n = 88) is compared with a correlation coefficient of r
= 0.63 (n = 88). The critical value of z = 1.25 (p > 0.05), is associated with p = 0.106.
Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not differ
significantly.
In the language arts correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for second
graders, a correlation coefficient of r = 0.44 (n = 88) is compared with a correlation
coefficient of r = 0.74 (n = 88). The critical value of z = 3.12 (p < 0.05), which is
64
associated with p = 0.0000. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation
coefficients differ significantly.
In the math correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for second graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.46 (n = 88) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.44 (n = 88). The critical value of z = 0.16 (p > 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.437. Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do
not differ significantly.
In the reading correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for third graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.26 (n = 120) is compared with a correlation coefficient
of r = 0.77 (n = 120). The critical value of z = 5.77 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.000. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
In the language arts correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for third graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.20 (n = 120) is compared with a correlation coefficient
of r = 0.73 (n = 120). The critical value of z = 5.55 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.0000. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
In the math correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for third graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.23 (n = 120) is compared with a correlation coefficient
of r = 0.77 (n = 120). The critical value of z = 6.01 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.000. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
65
In the reading correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fourth graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.37 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient
of r = 0.76 (n = 114). The critical value of z = 4.53 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.000. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
In the language arts correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fourth
graders, a correlation coefficient of r = 0.44 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation
coefficient of r = 0.71 (n = 114). The critical value of z = 3.09 (p < 0.05), which is
associated with p = 0.001. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation
coefficients differ significantly.
In the math correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fourth graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.41 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient
of r = 0.71 (n = 114). The critical value of z = 3.36 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.000. Since p < 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients differ
significantly.
In the reading correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fifth graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.70 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient
of r = 0.76 (n = 101). The critical value of z = 0.93 (p > 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.1762. Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not
differ significantly.
In the language arts correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fifth graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.69 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient
66
of r = 0.71 (n = 101). The critical value of z = 0.28 (p > 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.3897. Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not
differ significantly.
In the math correlation of CRCT tests scores and grades for fifth graders,
a correlation coefficient of r = 0.66 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient
of r = 0.71 (n = 101). The critical value of z = 0.68 (p > 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.2483. Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not
differ significantly.
Fisher?s z transformation provides a method by which to determine whether two
correlation coefficients are significantly different from each other. Correlation between
grades and test scores are significant if the critical value is 1.96 or higher and the p value
< 0.05. Eight of the twelve correlations were significantly different.
67
Table 5
Bivariate Correlation Coefficients of Grades and Iowa Tests of Basic Skills Scores
________________________________________________________________________
Grades and Test Scores 3
rd
5
th
_______________________________________________________________________
Quality Core Curriculum
(October 2004)
Reading .70 .71
Language Arts .70 .75
Math .64 .64
Georgia Performance
Standards (October 2005)
Reading .63 .71
Language Arts .77 .77
Math .62 .67
________________________________________________________________________
The Georgia Department of Education directs all school districts to administer the
Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) each fall. The ITBS complete battery was administered
to Blanchard students in grades 3 and 5 in October 2004 and October 2005. The core
subjects tested by the ITBS include reading, math, and language arts.
Table 5 allows comparisons of correlations for children before and after the GPS
were introduced as a basis for curriculum and assessment in reading and language arts
and before they were introduced at all in math. Pearson r correlation coeffiecients were
calculated to determine the relationship between grades and ITBS scores from reading
68
and language art tests, which were taught and tested using GPS in 2005-2006. GPS
standards were not implemented in math during the time of the study. Therefore, the
correlations between grades and tests scores in math were taught and tested using QCC in
2004-2005 and 2005-2006. To explain further, the grades and test scores of students that
took the ITBS in Fall 2004 instructed with the QCC were correlated with their grades and
ITBS test scores in Fall 2005 after the GPS were implemented for reading and language
arts but not for math.
The correlation between reading grades and reading Iowa Test of Basic Skills
scores for third grade in October of 2005 was r = .70. The correlation between language
arts grades and language arts Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores for third grade in October
of 2005 was r = .70. The correlation between math grades and math Iowa Test of Basic
Skills scores for third grade in October of 2005 was r = .64.
The correlation between reading grades and reading Iowa Test of Basic Skills
scores for third grade in October of 2006 was r = .72. The correlation between language
arts grades and language arts Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores for third grade in October
of 2006 was r = .71. The correlation between math grades and math Iowa Test of Basic
Skills scores for third grade in October of 2006 was r = .69.
The correlation between reading grades and reading Iowa Test of Basic Skills
scores for fifth grade in October of 2005 was r = .71. The correlation between language
arts grades and language arts Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores for fifth grade in October
of 2005 was r = .75. The correlation between math grades and math Iowa Test of Basic
Skills scores for fifth grade in October of 2005 was r = .64.
69
The correlation between reading grades and reading Iowa Test of Basic Skills
scores for fifth grade in October of 2006 was r = .71. The correlation between language
arts grades and language arts Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores for fifth grade in October
of 2006 was r = .77. The correlation between math grades and math Iowa Test of Basic
Skills scores for fifth grade in October of 2006 was r = .67.
All twelve of the correlation coefficients were strong ranging from r = .64 to
r = .77. Correlations between grades and curriculum were high during the 2004-2005
school term in which the curriculum was guided by the QCC objectives and the
2005? 2006 school term when GPS were implemented. The ITBS tests scores were
positively correlated with grades for both QCC and GPS.
Table 6
Fisher?s z Transformations for Grades and Iowa Tests of Basic Skills Scores
________________________________________________________________________
Subject Third Fifth
Reading 0.29 0.00
Language Arts 0.14 0.34
Math 0.14 0.38
________________________________________________________________________
*p < 0.05
Table 6 calculates the statistical significance of the difference between the
correlation coefficients of tests and grades for each subject as indicated by Table 1 using
70
Fisher?s z
transformations. The correlation coefficients are converted to z-scores using
the table found in Appendix G.
In the reading correlation of ITBS scores and grades for third graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.70 (n = 109) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.72 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 0.29 (p < 0.05), is associated with p = 0.386.
Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not differ
significantly.
In the language arts correlation of ITBS scores and grades for third graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.70 (n = 109) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.71 (n = 104). The critical value of z = 0.14 (p < 0.05), is associated with p = 0.444.
Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not differ
significantly.
In the math correlation of ITBS scores and grades for third graders, a correlation
coefficient of r = 0.71 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient of r = 0.72
(n = 101). The critical value of z = 0.00 (p < 0.05), is associated with p = 0.500.
Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not differ
significantly.
In the reading correlation of ITBS scores and grades for fifth graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.71 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.72 (n = 101). The critical value of z = 0.00 (p > 0.05), is associated with p = 0.500.
Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not differ
significantly.
71
In the language arts correlation of ITBS scores and grades for fifth graders, a
correlation coefficient of r = 0.75 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient of
r = 0.77 (n = 101). The critical value of z = 0.34 (p < 0.05), which is associated with
p = 0.367. Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not
differ significantly.
In the math correlation of ITBS scores and grades for fifth graders, a correlation
coefficient of r = 0.64 (n = 114) is compared with a correlation coefficient of r = 0.67
(n = 101). The critical value of z = 0.38 (p > 0.05), which is associated with p = 0.352.
Since p > 0.05, it is concluded that the two correlation coefficients do not differ
significantly.
Fisher?s z transformation provides a method by which to determine whether two
correlation coefficients are significantly different from each other. Correlations between
grades and test scores are significant if the critical value is 1.96 or higher and the
p value < 0.05. In comparisons of QCC and GPS correlations between grades and ITBS
scores, none of the correlation coefficients were significantly different from each other.
Research Questions and Hypotheses
The results of this analysis were necessary to answer the following research
questions. Research questions one through three are also addressed first, for different
groups of students. To further explain, the following results address the correlation
between grades and test scores for different students who took the CRCT in the Spring of
2005 guided by the QCC and the Spring of 2006 after the implementation of GPS.
72
1. What is the relationship between grades and CRCT scores of students
who received instruction based upon the QCC? This research question was refined into
the following hypotheses:
Null Hypothesis 1: There will be no relationship between students? grades and Criterion-
Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based upon the
Quality Core Curriculum (H
o
: ?
1
? ?
2
).
Alternative Hypothesis 1: There will be a relationship between students? grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based
upon the Quality Core Curriculum (H
o
: ?
1
= ?
2
).
Null hypothesis 1 was analyzed by calculating the Person r correlations (See
Table 1). The fifteen correlation coefficients ranged from weak (r = .20) in third grade to
strong (r = .70) in fifth grade. The correlations for the CRCT scores and grades acquired
using the QCC standards were moderately correlated. The null hypothesis was rejected.
2. What is the relationship between grades and CRCT scores of students who
received instruction based upon the GPS? This research question was refined in the
Null Hypothesis 2: There will be no relationship between students? grades and Criterion-
Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based upon the
Georgia Performance Standards (H
o
: ?
1
? ?
2
).
Alternative Hypothesis 2: There will be a relationship between students? grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based
upon the Georgia Performance Standards (H
o
: ?
1
= ?
2
).
73
Null hypothesis 2 was also analyzed by calculating the Person r correlations (See
Table 1). The correlations for the CRCT scores and grades acquired using the GPS were
strongly correlated. The fifteen correlation coefficients ranged from r = .63 to r = .70
across all grade levels. CRCT scores and grades acquired using the GPS have a strong
relationship. Therefore, null hypothesis two was rejected also.
3. Are there differences between relationships for grades and CRCT scores for
students who received instruction with the QCC as compared to students who
received instruction with GPS? The question was refined into the following hypothesis:
Null Hypothesis 3: There will be no differences between relationships for grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores for students who received instruction with
the Quality Core Curriculum as compared to students who received instruction with the
Georgia Performance Standards (H
o
: ?
1
- ?
2
? 0).
Alternative Hypothesis 3: There will be differences between relationships for grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores for student who received instruction with
the Quality Core Curriculum as compared to students who received instruction with the
Georgia Performance Standards (H
o
: ?
1
- ?
2
= 0).
Null hypothesis 3 was evaluated by using Fisher?s z transformations which
converted the correlation coefficients to z-scores found in Appendix G (See Table 2).
The relationship between test scores and grades for QCC and GPS was significantly
different in 80% of grades one through five. Thus, the null hypothesis was rejected in
favor of the alternative hypothesis (H
o
: ?
1
- ?
2
= 0). There were a few notable exceptions.
Second grade reading grades and test scores and math grades and scores in second and
74
third grades were not statistically, significantly different. Insignificant differences and
there possible occurrence are summarized in Chapter 5.
Research questions one through three are also addressed for the same group of
students. The following results address the correlation between grades and test scores for
the same groups of students who took the CRCT in the Spring of 2005 guided by the
QCC and the Spring of 2006 after the implementation of GPS in reading and language
arts after promotion to the next grade.
1. What is the relationship between grades and CRCT scores of students
who received instruction based upon the QCC? This research question was refined into
the following hypotheses:
Null Hypothesis 1: There will be no relationship between students? grades and Criterion-
Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based upon the
Quality Core Curriculum (H
o
: ?
1
? ?
2
).
Alternative Hypothesis 1: There will be a relationship between students? grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based
upon the Quality Core Curriculum (H
o
: ?
1
= ?
2
).
Null hypothesis 1 was analyzed by calculating the Person r correlations (See
Table 3). The fifteen correlation coefficients ranged from weak (r = .20) in third grade to
strong (r = .70) in fifth grade. The correlations for the CRCT scores and grades acquired
using the QCC standards were moderately correlated. Therefore, the null hypothesis was
rejected.
75
2. What is the relationship between grades and CRCT scores of students who
received instruction based upon the GPS? This research question was refined in the
following hypothesis:
Null Hypothesis 2: There will be no relationship between students? grades and Criterion-
Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based upon the
Georgia Performance Standards (H
o
: ?
1
? ?
2
).
Alternative Hypothesis 2: There will be a relationship between students? grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores of students who received instruction based
upon the Georgia Performance Standards (H
o
: ?
1
= ?
2
).
Null hypothesis 2 was also analyzed by calculating the Person r correlations (See
Table 3). The correlations for the CRCT scores and grades acquired using the GPS were
strongly correlated. The twelve correlation coefficients ranged from r = .44 to r = .77
across all grade levels. CRCT scores and grades acquired using the GPS have a strong
relationship. Therefore, null hypothesis two was rejected also.
3. Are there differences between relationships for grades and CRCT scores for
students who received instruction with the QCC as compared to students who
received instruction with GPS? The question was refined into the following hypothesis:
Null Hypothesis 3: There will be no differences between relationships for grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores for students who received instruction with
the Quality Core Curriculum as compared to students who received instruction with the
Georgia Performance Standards (H
o
: ?
1
- ?
2
? 0).
76
Alternative Hypothesis 3: There will be differences between relationships for grades and
Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores for student who received instruction with
the Quality Core Curriculum as compared to students who received instruction with the
Georgia Performance Standards (H
o
: ?
1
- ?
2
= 0).
Null hypothesis 3 was evaluated by using Fisher?s z transformations which
converted the correlation coefficients to z-scores found in Appendix G (See Table 4).
The relationship between test scores and grades for QCC and GPS was significantly
different in 66% of grades one through four. Thus, the null hypothesis was rejected in
favor of the alternative hypothesis (H
o
: ?
1
- ?
2
= 0). There were a few notable exceptions.
In, first and second grade, reading grades and test scores and math grades and test scores
were not statistically, significantly different. Insignificant differences and there possible
occurrence are summarized in the Chapter 5.
4. What is the relationship between grades and ITBS scores of students who
received instruction based upon the QCC? The research question was refined into the
following hypothesis:
Null Hypothesis 4: There will be no relationship between grades and Iowa Test of Basic
Skills scores of students who received instruction based upon the Quality Core
Curriculum (H
o
: ?
1
? ?
2
).
Alternative Hypothesis 4: There will be a relationship between grades and Iowa Test of
Basic Skills scores of students who received instruction based upon the Quality Core
Curriculum (H
o
: ?
1
= ?
2
).
77
Null hypothesis 4 was analyzed by calculating the Person r correlations (See
Table 5). The correlations for ITBS scores and grades acquired using the QCC standards
were highly correlated ranging from r = .64 to r = .75. The six correlation coefficients
were also positively correlated with each other. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores
were strongly correlated with grades. Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected.
5. What is the relationship between grades and ITBS scores of students who
received instruction based upon the GPS? The research question was refined into the
following hypothesis:
Null Hypothesis 5: There will be no relationship between grades and Iowa Test of Basic
Skillls scores of students who received instruction based upon the Georgia Performance
Standards (H
o
: ?
1
? ?
2
).
Alternative Hypothesis 5: There will be a relationship between grades and Iowa Test of
Basic Skills scores of students who received instruction based upon the Georgia
Performance Standards (H
o
: ?
1
= ?
2
).
Null hypothesis 5 was analyzed by calculating the Person r correlations (See
Table 5). The correlations for ITBS scores and grades acquired using the QCC standards
were highly correlated ranging from r = .67 to r = .77. The six correlation coefficients
were also positively correlated with each other. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores
were strongly correlated with grades. Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected.
6. Are there differences between relationships for grades and ITBS scores for
students who received instruction with the QCC as compared to students who received
instruction with the GPS? This question was refined into the following hypothesis:
78
Null Hypothesis 6: There will be no differences between relationships for grades and
Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores for students who received instruction with the Quality
Core Curriculum as compared to students who received instruction with the Georgia
Performance Standards (H
o
: ?
1
- ?
2
? 0).
Alternative Hypothesis 6: There will be differences between relationships for grades and
Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores for student who received instruction with the Quality
Core Curriculum as compared to students who received instruction with the Georgia
Performance Standards (H
o
: ?
1
- ?
2
= 0).
Null hypothesis 6 was evaluated by using Fisher?s z transformations which
converted the correlation coefficients to z-scores found in Appendix G (See Table 6).
The relationship between ITBS scores and grades for QCC and GPS were not
significantly different in grades three and five. Thus, the null hypothesis was accepted
(H
o
: ?
1
- ?
2
? 0). Insignificant differences and there possible occurrence are summarized
in the Chapter 5.
Summary
This chapter discussed how the correlational statistical methods and Fisher?s r to z
transformations were used to answer the six research questions. Five of the six null
hypotheses were rejected and the alternative hypotheses were accepted. The last null
hypothesis was accepted.
79
V: SUMMARY, FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Introduction
This chapter provides a complete summary of the study. An overview of the
research questions and hypotheses, including discussions of the statistical findings with
connection to related literature are also presented. The chapter ends with final
conclusions and recommendations for further research.
Summary
The state of Georgia is dedicated to leading the nation in improving student
achievement (Cox, 2006). The key to making this vision a reality lies in providing a
curriculum that will enhance the quality of education. According to Monson and Monson
(1997), the curriculum is crucial for improving student learning because it defines what
students are to learn, know, and understand in all content areas and at each grade level.
As required by the Quality Basic Education (QBE) Act of 1985, Georgia established
a Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) that specifies what students are expected to know in
each subject and grade (Mitzell, 1999). However, a Phi Delta Kappa audit of the state?s
curriculum concluded that the QCC did not meet national standards according to the
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act which was signed on January 8, 2002 by President
George W. Bush. Georgia?s approach to complying with the requirements and
regulations of NCLB Act was to implement performance standards that would enhance
both instruction and assessment for teachers and students (DuFour, 2004).
80
The new Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) replaced the QCC as the state?s
curriculum guidelines. The standards provided clear expectations for instruction and
defined the level of student work that demonstrates achievement of the standards
(Medrano, 2003). The standards also guided the teacher on how to assess the extent to
which the student knows the material and can apply this information (Ravitch, 1996).
The purpose of this project was to examine the impact of the QCC and GPS on
student achievement. A correlational research study was conducted to compare the
relationship between final grades and Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT)
and Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) scores of students who attended Blanchard
Elementary School, in Columbus, Georgia, after they received instruction guided by the
QCC during the 2004-2005 school term and GPS during the 2005-2006 school term.
Pearson r correlation coefficients between grades and test scores were used to determine
the degree of their relationships. Fisher 's z-tests were also used to compute the statistical
significance of the difference between the correlation coefficients. A summary and
discussion of findings follows.
Findings
Summary
There was a moderate relationship between grades and CRCT scores of students
who received instruction based upon the QCC. There was also a strong relationship
between grades and CRCT scores of students who received instruction based upon the
GPS. A significant difference exist between the relationship of grades and CRCT scores
81
of students who received instruction based upon the QCC as compared to students who
received instruction based upon the GPS.
There was a strong relationship between grades and CRCT scores of students
who received instruction based upon the QCC. There was also a strong relationship
between grades and CRCT scores of students who received instruction based upon the
GPS. No significant difference exist between the relationship of grades and CRCT scores
of students who received instruction based upon the QCC as compared to students who
received instruction based upon the GPS.
Discussion
1. What is the relationship between grades and CRCT scores of students
who received instruction based upon the QCC?
The null hypothesis for this research question was analyzed by calculating the
Person r correlations. The correlations for the CRCT scores and grades acquired
using the QCC standards were moderately correlated. The moderate correlation proved
that there is a relationship between grades and CRCT scores of students who received
instruction based upon the QCC. Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected.
These results were expected due to the fact that Georgia?s QBE Act mandates that
the curriculum and CRCT be aligned (Cox, 2005; Mitzell,1999). Mullis (1991) found
items on the CRCT that had less than a 50% match with QCC. The study conducted by
Firestone and Bader (1992) considered the impact of the QCC on student achievement
and concluded that the QCC was constricting to the suburban school districts, such as
Muscogee County. The QCC was perceived as only being helpful in Georgia?s rural
82
districts with high numbers of low achieving students and school personnel who had
limited experience developing curriculum. The moderate correlation between grades and
test scores while the teachers used the QCC to guide what they taught in the classroom
and assigned grades that reflected the students knowledge of the information presented
during the school year therefore proved to be consistent with these findings.
2. What is the relationship between grades and CRCT scores of students who
received instruction based upon the GPS?
Null hypothesis two was also analyzed by calculating the Person r correlations.
The correlations for the CRCT scores and grades acquired using the GPS were strongly
correlated. CRCT scores and grades acquired using the GPS have a strong relationship.
Therefore, null hypothesis two was rejected also. These results were expected since the
standards taught in the classroom and the CRCT are aligned with the GPS, which is also
mandated by the QBE ACT (Mitzell, 199). These findings are truly beneficial because
they support the notion of Kathy Cox that GPS improves education for all students so that
no child is left behind (Cox, 2006).
Bell (1992) expressed that standardized tests, such as the CRCT, play a valuable role
in helping to evaluate the educational achievement of individual students. The higher
correlations between grades and CRCT scores support the notion that the new GPS
reflect the knowledge and skills essential for competent student performance (Darling-
Hammond, 2001; Dodd, 1996; Goodlad, 2002; Otis-Wilborn & Winn, 2000; Roth, 1996;
Wigle & White, 1998). The CRCT was redeveloped to reflect GPS in accordance with
the phase-in plan for the new curriculum because CRCT are a curriculum-based
83
assessment programs. Research regarding the validity and reliability of the CRCT
written to assess the GPS is recommended to support the accuracy of the study findings.
3. Are there differences between relationships for grades and CRCT scores for
students who received instruction with the QCC as compared to students who
received instruction with GPS?
Null hypothesis 3 was evaluated by using Fisher?s z transformations which
converted the correlation coefficients to z-scores found in Appendix G. The relationship
between test scores and grades for QCC and GPS was significantly different. Thus, the
null hypothesis was rejected in favor of the alternative hypothesis. There were a few
notable exceptions. Math grades and test scores in second and third grades were not
statistically, significantly different. Math GPS had not been implemented during the time
this study was conducted. However, the correlations for math were higher after the
implementation of the GPS even though the math curriculum and math CRCT were still
aligned with the QCC.
Every item that appears on the CRCT has been reviewed by committees of
educators from around the state. All items have been reviewed at least once and in many
cases, two or three times before items appear on the spring version of the test. Test form
development consists of choosing accepted field test items and item specifications and is
completed by the test contractor and approved by the Georgia Department of Education.
Great care is taken to select items that measure the full curriculum and not just individual
84
standards. The Riverside Test Development Specialists aligned the QCC items to 82%
comparable GPS which supports the high correlation between grades and CRCT scores
(Cox, 2005).
One major limitation that occurred while conducting the study included the
questions on the Criterion Reference Competency Test which were different for each year
the test was administered because it reflected the curriculum that was administered except
in the area of math. The Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) that was
administered in the second year of the phase-in for a particular course will be developed
and aligned to the new curriculum. The state department is already looking at existing
test items and aligning them to the curriculum, rewriting certain questions to reflect the
new curriculum, specifying which items need to be moved to another grade level because
the skills have been moved to another items, and identifying which questions need to be
developed (Cox, 2006).
This study also did not consider the effects of how students and teachers used the
curriculum, or when they used the curriculum. Some analyses of timing of use may be
possible. However, no data are available regarding how the curriculum was used. Thus, it
is not possible to identify the particular manner in which the Georgia Performance
Standards may be used most effectively to improve classroom instruction. Finally, it is
possible that the implementation of the Georgia Performance Standards was correlated
with other factors (e.g., the use of other instructional tools) that contributed to improved
Criterion Referenced Competency Test performance. None of these other factors, which
85
may be responsible for some or even all the performance effects observed, were
identified or examined in this study.
Research questions one through three are also addressed for the same group of
students. The following results address the correlation between grades and test scores for
the same groups of students who took the CRCT in the Spring of 2005 guided by the
QCC and the Spring of 2006 after the implementation of GPS in reading and language
arts after promotion to the next grade. The correlations for the CRCT scores and grades
acquired using the QCC standards were moderately correlated. Therefore, the null
hypothesis was rejected. These results were also expected due to the fact that Georgia?s
QBE Act mandates that the curriculum and CRCT be aligned (Mitzell, 1999).
The correlations for the CRCT scores and grades acquired using the GPS were
also strongly correlated. CRCT scores and grades acquired using the GPS have a strong
relationship. The relationship between test scores and grades for QCC and GPS was
significantly different in 66% of grades one through four. Thus, the null hypothesis was
rejected in favor of the alternative hypothesis. In, first and second grade, reading grades
and test scores and math grades and test scores were not statistically, significantly
different. In comparison, both groups? grades and CRCT scores were more closely
related under the administration of the GPS. However, the significant difference between
the grades and CRCT scores had higher critical values which indicated a larger range of
improvement from one year to the next.
By definition, standardized and norm-referenced test compare children with each
other as if development were uniform. They are constructed so that half of all children
86
who take them must score below a certain norm, even though they may actually be within
the range of what is considered normal from a developmental perspective. In general, the
younger the age group, the more dramatic the variations in development within the group
and the more likely that differences in test scores reflect differences in age or
developmental level rather than in ability (Bell, 1992).
4. What is the relationship between grades and ITBS scores of students who
received instruction based upon the QCC?
The Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores were strongly correlated with grades.
Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected. These findings supported the research found
by the Georgia Department of Education who reported that correlations made between
the ITBS and the QCC were positive (Mitzell, 1999). Mullis (1991) reported that the
ITBS had a forty-four percent match with the QCC. The ITBS also serves as a diagnosis
of individual student as compared to their peers in the nation. Assessments and reports
yield information on academic achievement at the national level.
5. What is the relationship between grades and ITBS scores of students who
received instruction based upon the GPS?
The six correlation coefficients were also positively correlated with each other.
The Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores were strongly correlated with grades. Therefore, the
null hypothesis was rejected. Norm-referenced tests (NRT), such as the ITBS, measure
instructional standards commonly taught throughout the entire United States of America.
Additionally, scores from the ITBS are used to compare the performance of Georgia?s
students with the performance of students in a national sample, in the same grade (Cox,
87
2006). The results showed that the grades and ITBS scores have a slightly stronger
relationship with GPS; but, the differences were not statistically significant.
6. Are there differences between relationships for grades and ITBS scores for
students who received instruction with the QCC as compared to students who received
instruction with the GPS?
The relationship between ITBS scores and grades for QCC and GPS were not
significantly different in grades three and five. Thus, the null hypothesis was accepted
(H
o
: ?
1
- ?
2
? 0). The results of this hypothesis support the experimental study of Koretz,
Linn, Dunbar and Shepard (1991) which revealed that performance on high-stakes exam
did not generalize to other tests which students had not been specifically prepared. In
other words, the curriculum is assessed through the CRCT. However, the outcome of the
CRCT does not generalize for the student achievement on the ITBS. Therefore,
challenging the notion that high stakes test caused increases in academic achievement.
Mullis (1991) reported that correlations made between the ITBS and the QCC
were positive. This fact was also true for the ITBS and QCC in this study. There was no
significant difference between the correlations of the grades and ITBS scores for both
curricula. These results support Carter and Mason (1997) research conclusions
comparing standards-based curricula and non-standards-based curricula showed no
differences in student learning. However, it is presumed that there was no significant
difference between QCC and GPS on the ITBS because the GPS had only been
implemented for a few months prior to the administration of the fall ITBS.
88
It is recommended that the administrators of Blanchard use the results to review
the results of the ITBS scores after the implementation of the GPA to identify
areas to be addressed in curricular planning by the Instructional Leadership Team
and areas that need to be addressed in School Improvement Planning. The Data
Management Teams should review the disaggregated data for discrepancies in
achievement of subgroups and share their findings with the faculty.
Conclusions
One of the most important indicators of student achievement is curriculum
quality. Georgia provides their teachers with a revised and strengthened curriculum that
drives both instruction and assessment. The first step to a sound testing program is a
standards-based curriculum complete with performance standards that will serve as the
foundation upon which Georgia builds as it attempts to attain the goal of leading the
nation in improving student achievement.
The stage has been set for Georgia to have a world-class curriculum that is
published and usable?a curriculum that sets high standards, maintains clear expectations
and places schools and students at the top of the nation and the world. A curriculum
framework with performance standards is the key component in all Georgia educational
initiatives. With high standards in place, accountability systems, annual state tests,
teacher preparation programs, professional learning and other key actions of the districts
and schools will be guided by the revised curriculum. Teachers, students, and parents
will have a much better understanding of what is expected at each grade level because the
revisions and updates to the Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) that are embedded in the
89
GPS curriculum will incorporate examples of student work and sample problems that
demonstrate the meaning of the standards. They will have a solid idea of what each child
should be learning at each grade and in each content area.
Widespread concerns about the quality of education in Georgia have resulted in
an increased emphasis on testing in recent years. Standardized and norm-referenced
achievement tests have become a staple of both student and program evaluation at all
levels of education. Standardized tests of all types can and do play a valuable role in
helping to evaluate the educational achievement of individual students (Bell, 1992).
Unfortunately, few parents, teachers, or administrators fully understand the
limitations of standardized tests. As a result, test scores are often used to draw
inappropriate conclusions about individual children's strengths and weaknesses and to
make decisions about their educational careers. Parents and teachers may erroneously
lower their expectations for some children, and the general perception that test results that
fall below the norm are equivalent to failure can have a devastating impact on the
expectations and self-esteem of the children themselves (Bell, 1992).
Statewide tests are generally given annually to students in elementary schools.
These tests serve several purposes. They measure how each student has achieved in
comparison to an established standard, that all students are expected to possess at the
grade level. Increasingly, student scores are used to determine promotion (Good, 2001).
The test scores of all the students in a school are used to determine the success of
the school. Schools are held accountable by the state for the scores of their students.
Schools are, in effect, graded on how well their students do on the tests. If a school?s
90
grade is not high enough, then the state may impose consequences on the school
involving funding and/or requirements for improving test scores (Good, 2001).
The state is rated by the federal government (U.S. Department of Education) on
the basis of the scores of all the schools in the state. If the state?s performance level is not
high enough, then the federal government may cut the state?s education funding and
impose other restrictions. In other words, everyone has a great deal at stake with the
statewide tests ? students, schools, and the state (McFlane, 2001).
Concerns about the validity and reliability of grades for communicating
meaningful information about students? academic progress have been raised for a long
time (Starch and Elliot, 1912, 1913a, and 1913b; Adams, 1932). In addition, trying to
help teachers to understand the purpose and effective functions of grades in the overall
evaluation system has been addressed repeatedly in the literature (Airasian, 2000;
Brookhart, 1993; Cross and Frary, 1996; Gredler, 1999; Guskey, 1996; Linn and
Gronlund, 2000; Marzano, 2000; O?Connor, 1995; Stiggins, 2001). However, there seems
to be little progress being made in this area in actual classroom practice. Two major
thrusts need to occur in reforming grading practices. First, if factors such as effort,
attitude, compliance, and behavior are to be noted about a student on a report card, then
they should be reported with a separate mark and not figured in as part of a grade for
academic achievement of content knowledge. Teacher need to model sound grading
practices in courses in which grades accurately communicate students? achievement of
91
content knowledge learned. Research substantiates that when the curriculum is engaging,
involving hands-on, interactive learning activities, students will perform well (Moeller
and Reschke, 1993).
Recommendations
The information from this study is intended to help schools and districts gain more
value from their curriculum and test scores. Continual implementation of the curriculum
can help teachers identify students who might need additional help to reach the state
proficiency levels on Criterion Referenced Competency Test and Iowa Test of Basic
Skills. The relationship between curriculum and assessments also helps provide another
reference point that help parents and board members gain more benefit from the data.
It is recommended that classroom teachers should review the results of the ITBS
with grade level chairs or department chairs to assess areas of strengths and weaknesses
in curricular planning for individual classes. Students who achieved below the 25th
percentile should be included on the At Risk Roster and provided a program of treatment
designated. It would also being interesting to determine if the results of the ITBS can be
used as a predictor of students achievement on CRCT in the spring. ITBS scores are use
as one indicator of student performance to continue to achieve even higher expectations
and standards for students.
The kind of teaching envisioned in these standards is significantly different from what
many teachers themselves have experienced in their classrooms. Since classroom
teachers need time to learn and develop this kind of teaching practice, appropriate and
ongoing professional development is crucial. For teachers to be able to change their role
92
and the nature of their classroom environment, administrators, supervisors, and parents
must expect, encourage, support, and reward the kind of teaching described in GPS.
Experience suggests that the changes that teachers must adopt are neither trivial
nor quickly attained and will require ongoing support over an extended period. Teachers
need the opportunity to work through new instructional materials, to confront issues
associated with new teaching strategies, and to increase their own knowledge of content.
The Muscogee County School District has created and facilitated professional
development programs that coincide with curriculum adoption and implementation.
Criticism came from teachers, themselves, who may have supported performance-
based assessments of standards in theory but became less than enthusiastic when they
discovered that the primary responsibility for the creation and year-round administration
of these assessment rests with the classroom teacher. The results of successfully
implementing standards will certainly be worth it in academic achievement, fairness,
equity, educational opportunity, professional development for teachers, public
accountability, and in many other ways. But only the most innovative and courageous
districts will endure the pain and discomfort of these criticisms in order to achieve those
long-term results. Georgia?s curriculum changes will not dilute standards. In fact, with
the complete adoption of a rigorous new curriculum containing performance standards
Georgia is making an effort to guarantee that no child will be left behind.
93
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APPENDICES
APPENDIX A
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APPENDIX B
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APPENDIX C
105
APPENDIX D
106
APPENDIX E
107
APPENDIX F
108
APPENDIX G
109