Issue: 1984 Volume 26

(6) Local Development of Subject Area Item Banks

Annie W. Ward
Ward Educational Consulting, Inc.

Gene Barlow
Dade County Public Schools

Abstract: It is feasible for school districts to develop and use subject area tests as reliable as those previously available only from commercial publishers. This paper describes procedures used in a large school district to develop item banks in algebra, life science, career education, geometry, biology, and U. S. history. Districts who put a reasonable amount of effort and resources into such projects can develop tests valid for assessing specific courses.

Citation: Ward, A. W., & Barlow, G. (1984). Local development of subject area item banks. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 26(1), 21-27.

Download:  Ward.261.pdf (4 downloads)

(5) Performance Characteristics of Florida’s Early Exit Equivalency Candidates

Howard Stoker
Florida State University

Abstract: Many questions have been raised recently about the impact of the Early Exit Program on Florida Schools. Are those who pass the GED and earn a high school diploma: (a) high achievers which might lead to a brain drain from state high schools, (b) low achievers who cannot pass high school courses, or (c) fairly representative of the achievement range of high school students in general? Achievement scores on district level achievement tests were compared to GED scores for 410 students from four Florida districts who passed the GED between January, 1981 and May, 1983. Those who passed the GED were neither predominantly “cream of the crop” students nor low achievers on the high school tests. Rather, they represented the entire range of school achievement with the majority falling in the 40-80 percentile range of the district tests.

Citation: Stoker, H. (1984). Performance characteristics of Florida’s early exit equivalency candidates. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 26(1), 43-67.

Download:  Stoker.261.pdf (4 downloads)

(4) Teaching Writing as a Process: Evaluation for District Decision-Making

Lore A. Nielsen
Hillsborough County Public Schools

Susan D. Turner
Hillsborough County Public Schools

Abstract: New instructional programs should evolve using formative evaluation as a tool for program development. Formative evaluation of program implementation and student performance was used to assess a new writing program used in 11 Hillsborough County elementary schools. Twenty-one teachers and 600 fourth and fifth grade students participated. Teachers were interviewed, 200 randomly selected students’ writing samples before and after instruction were evaluated, and students completed an attitude survey. Teachers perceived that the program was implemented as intended but reported that they need more specific feedback on their methods. Students writing skill improved and their attitudes about writing were more positive. Specific areas for program improvement were identified.

Citation: Nielsen, L. A., & Turner, S. D. (1984). Teaching writing as a process: evaluation for district decision-making. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 26(1), 93-108.

Download:  Nielsen.261.pdf (4 downloads)


(3) Relationship of Student Achievement and Grade of Entry into the Intermediate School

Bernard Jones
Palm Beach County School System

Jean Jolly
Palm Beach County School System

Robert Pickens
Palm Beach County School System

Abstract: An investigation of the effect on achievement of the timing of the transition from elementary to intermediate school was undertaken. The sixth and seventh grade achievement scores of 1140 students who entered middle school in the sixth grade were compared to those of 1158 students who entered junior high school in the seventh grade. Results indicate that achievement is affected by the transition into middle school whether it occurs at grade six or seven.

Citation: Jones, B., Jolly, J, & Pickens, R. (1984). Relationship of student achievement and grade of entry into the intermediate school. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 26(1), 69-91.

Download:  Jones.261.pdf (4 downloads)


(2) Some Comments on “The Unit of Analysis: Group Means Versus Individual Observations”

R. Clifford Blair
University of South Florida

J. J. Higgins
Kansas State University

Abstract: Hopkins (1982) has criticized the use of means as the unit of analysis in situations where intact groups (e.g. classes) rather than individuals have been randomly assigned to various treatment conditions. Instead Hopkins advocates the use of certain ANOVA models which, insofar as tests for treatment effects are concerned, yield results that are equivalent to those that would be obtained if class means were employed as the unit of analysis. This paper points out that, because of the nonrobustness of the sample mean as an estimator of location, use of the class mean as the unit of analysis or of the ANOVA models advocated by Hopkins can lead to larger than necessary Type II error rates in tests of significance for treatment effects. This paper also shows how, in the nonnormal population situation, use of summary statistics other than the mean (e.g. members of the family of trimmed means) can lead to significant increases in the power of tests for treatment effects. It is also suggested here that the pooling options offered by Hopkins should be viewed with caution.

Citation: Blair, R. C., & Higgins, J. J. (1984). Some comments on “the unit of analysis: group means versus individual observations”. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 26(1), 5-20.

Download:  Blair.261.pdf (3 downloads)