Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This study tested the effects of having teachers use mastery learning techniques in preparing rural second-grade students for the Louisiana minimum competency test. Experimental teachers were trained in the use of mastery learning and assisted in planning instruction that applied the strategies, particularly formative testing and corrective teaching. Each skill in the Louisiana minimum competency curriculum was taught by the regular classroom teacher, according to the Louisiana Basic Skills Test Specifications: Grade 2. Initial instruction was similar in methods and materials in all classrooms as was time spent on instruction. Experimental teachers concluded each lesson with a formative test. Corrective teaching followed when necessary to bring each student to a 75 percent mastery criterion. All second-grade teachers and students in six schools in three rural parishes (counties) were in the sample. There were six teachers in the experimental group (133 students) and five in the control group (125 students). A Static-Group Comparison Design was used. Analyses of covariances were used to test the effect of multiple factors (treatments, sex, and race) and their interactions on the Language Arts and Mathematics Test scores and on the frequencies of students passing each section of the test. The covariables used in the analyses were 1981 SRA "total reading" and "total mathematics," respectively. There were no significant main effects or interactions in the analyses of either the Language Arts or Mathematics Test data. The factor contributing most to both the variances in test scores and the number of students who passed the test was the covariable, with significance levels reaching .01. Therefore the single best predictor of performance on the Louisiana Basic Skills Test was achievement at the end of the first grade. The following conclusions and recommendations were made from this study: (1) A need exists for attention to prerequisite skills, either before a learning sequence is begun or as a corrective when a deficiency is noted; (2) The mathematics curriculum lends itself better to mastery teaching than does language arts; and, (3) There is need to identify the factors that contributed to the higher mathematics performance of boys in the mastery learning group.