Date of Award

4-1998

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Special Education and Literacy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. George J. Haus

Second Advisor

Dr. Troy Mariage

Third Advisor

Dr. Art Gorman

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Lonnie Hannaford

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of changing from a traditional schedule to a block schedule on selected school-related behaviors and measures of secondary students with learning disabilities and their regular education teachers. Areas of impact that were addressed included school performance measures of student success rates, attendance rates, and discipline referrals as well as affective measures of levels of students' active engagement in learning activities, the variety of teaching and learning modes used, and the amount of individualized teacher attention given to students.

The research population consisted of six high schools in south and central Michigan. Three of these schools (target buildings) switched from traditional six period per day schedules in the 1995-96 school year to the implementation of comparable versions of a 4 by 4 semester block schedule during the 1996-97 school year. The remaining three schools (control buildings) had traditional six period per day schedules for both the 1995-96 and 1996-97 school years. Student subjects for the study had to meet predetermined criteria including: (a) be in 10th through 12th grade, (b) have a documented learning disability on an active individualized education plan, and (c) be continuously enrolled in the school for the full 1995-96 and 1996 school years. Data collection occurred through two distinct methods: (1) a review of existing historical records, and (2) through direct classroom observation.

The findings show that the students with learning disabilities passed a lower percentage of classes, earned lower grade point averages, and had a higher number of days absent in the first year of the switch from the traditional to the block schedule. The teachers appeared to be more actively involved and the students engaged in more active learning activities in the block scheduled classrooms. There were no significant differences in discipline referrals, the classroom behavior of LD versus nondisabled students, or in the amount of individualized attention given to students in block-scheduled classrooms.

Implications for the education of students with learning disabilities are presented as are recommendations. Both limitations of the study and directions for further research are included.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access