The A/B alternating block versus the modified block in the middle school
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Given that math achievement of eighth grade students has shown almost no growth in the United States over a ten year period (National Assessment of Educational Progress, United States Department of Education, 1995), this study attempted to examine the effect a particular schedule design (A/B Alternating Block and Modified Block) has on student math achievement as measured by a standardized test (Texas Assessment of Academic Standards), student attendance and drop out rate. The study attempted to determine whether middle school students benefit academically, especially in the area of mathematics, from instruction that is delivered in a Modified Block schedule format as compared to instruction that is delivered in the A/B Alternating Block schedule design. Four middle schools were selected according to comparable characteristics such as campus demographics (ethnicity break down, socio-economic level, etc) and schedule design in place. Data was collected on student math scores, attendance and drop out rates. Findings of the study indicate that overall and over time student mathematics achievement was higher in schools where students received instruction in the A/B Alternating Block scheduling format as compared to the Modified Blocked schools. A closer observation revealed this was true especially for White and Hispanic students. In reference to student attendance, the study showed that overall student attendance was higher for those students enrolled in schools with an A/B Alternating Block scheduling format as opposed to those enrolled in Modified Blocked Schools. Thus, recommendations for practice would include the continued implementation of the A/B Alternating Block schedule design and the continued monitoring over time of math achievement by whole group and by ethnic background. Finally, recommendations for further research were made to conduct additional studies to further identify middle school practices that will facilitate and provide for increased student achievement.