Issue: 1995 Volume 35

(5) Path Analysis of the Academic Achievement of Black Eighth Graders

Deril D. Wood
Pinellas County Schools

Abstract: This study analyzed the academic achievement of a nationally representative sample of black eighth-graders (N = 2730) and their parents by examining the direct and indirect “effects” of family, personal and school variables on academic achievement. A literature review provided a theoretical basis by identifying nine explanatory variables that fit into three categories. Academic achievement was a composite of standardized test scores in reading, mathematics, science and social studies. Data were collected through the National Center for Educational Statistics Longitudinal Study (NELS:88). Path Analysis revealed that five of the nine explanatory variables were related to academic achievement. SES, motivation and ability demonstrated the largest direct effects on achievement. School variables demonstrated only negligible effects on achievement. Motivation and ability were the best mediators of family variables. The mediating effects of school variables were either negligible or absent. The reader is urged to use caution interpreting these results.

Citation: Wood, D. D. (1995). Path analysis of the academic achievement of black eighth graders. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 35(1), 34-53.

Download:  Wood.351.pdf (812 downloads )

(4) A Call for Improved Teacher Assessment Training

Marie A. Revak
Florida Institute of Technology

Abstract: This literature review reports on the status of teacher assessment training and assessment practices in relation to the recommendations set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (1989). Present methods of assessment used by teachers are not in congruence with the NCTM standards. Furthermore, teachers have not been adequately trained to design, administer, score, or interpret the alternative assessments recommended by the NCTM. Recommendations are made for improved teacher assessment training and research to determine the effectiveness and usefulness of new assessment training programs.

Citation: Revak, M. A. (1995). A call for improved teacher assessment training. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 35(1), 63-71.

Download:  Revak.351.pdf (911 downloads )

(3) Equipping The Saints: Collaboration Instead of Altercation

Rick Nations
School Board of Sarasota County

Abstract: There is a creative tension between qualitative and quantitative researchers which encompasses differences on a wide variety of topics. Perhaps the most concise overview of various aspects of this debate is contained in Smith (1994). Part of the national debate revolving around qualitative-quantitative evaluation centers on the topic of teacher-as- researcher (e.g., Sechrest, Winter 1993; Reichardt & Rallis, Spring 1994). The situation is no different in Florida. The 1992 special issue of the Florida Journal of Educational Research (Emihovich, 1992) has generated much comment. At least one such formal comment, and rejoinder, was printed in the 1993 issue (Davis, 1993; Emihovich & Students, 1993). These were followed by a symposium (Emihovich, 1993a) and an institute (Emihovich, 1993b). And recently, there was an article by Vitale and Romance (1994) in the latest issue of FJER which treated parts of this discourse. The purpose of this brief position paper is to present three perspectives of a person who has been trained in classical research methods, has read and received some training in qualitative research methods, and lives – daily – with the practical realities of holding a central office school board researcher/evaluator position.

Citation: Nations, R. (1995). Equipping the saints: collaboration instead of altercation. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 35(1), 72-82.

Download:  Nations.351.pdf (808 downloads )

(2) Item Analysis of Criterion-Referenced Tests

L. R. Gay
Florida International University

Jo D. Gallagher
Florida International University

Abstract: We propose that teachers should not calculate reliability but rather should use item analysis data as the major determinant of the adequacy of classroom measures. Using the results of two actual classroom tests-one elementary-level mastery test and one secondary-level nonmastery test–we demonstrate an approach to item analysis for CRTs that involves the calculation of item difficulty for all items and discriminating power for those items with unacceptable P values. For each test, the effects on initial reliability estimates and item analysis indexes of systematically removing low-scoring students’ results (one at a time) are presented. We conclude that this modified item analysis strategy for classroom CRTs is both efficient and useful.

Citation: Gay, L. R., & Gallagher, J. D. (1995). Item analysis of criterion-referenced tests. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 35(1), 54-62.

Download:  Gay.351.pdf (1135 downloads )

(1) Gender Bias in the High School Canon Novels: A Subversion of Power

Helen O’Hara Connell
Barry University

Abstract: This descriptive study investigates gender bias in the high school canon novels as identified by Arthur Applebee (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993). An historical survey of the teaching of literature in the high school precedes the content analysis of the seven novels. The historical survey shows that most of the novels entered the high school canon during the 1960s. During the past three decades, these works have been subjected to a variety of critical interpretations, as well as assorted pedagogical strategies. The content analysis of the seven novels uses several critical perspectives. Gender bias exists in the focus on male protagonists and in the generalized idea of females as a dangerous presence. More specifically, the siren/whore image of women pervades the canon novels. Other stereotypes include the asexual older woman as pedantic authority figure. Women characters are subjected to violence, but this violence is rationalized. The high school canon novels perpetuate the ideology of the white Euro/ Anglo male as oppressor.

Citation: Connell, H. O. (1995). Gender bias in the high school Canon novels: a subversion of power. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 35(1), 5-33.

Download:  Connell.351.pdf (722 downloads )