Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Educational Leadership, Research and Counseling
Numerous educators have suggested that traditional scheduling practices in the nation's schools have contributed to the inability of teachers to utilize "proven" instructional techniques. This study examined the effects of the 4 x 4 block schedule on teaching behavior and student engagement rate in four core curriculum areas in 21 Louisiana high schools. This causal-comparative, ex-post facto study involved three group of schools matched to the extent possible on student population, free/reduced lunch, and community type. The 250 teachers in the Phase I (quantitative study) sample were randomly selected and measured via classroom observations. MANOVA results relating to differences on effective teaching behaviors among the three established groups of teachers revealed a significant multivariate effect for scheduling type (Group 1, Three + Years Block Scheduling; Group 2, Two Years Block Scheduling; Group 3, Traditional Scheduling). Teachers across the three groups differed significantly in use of effective teaching behaviors when all effective teaching items were considered together. Univariate ANOVA results on 15 effective teaching items provided evidence of a significant effect for two dependent variables: "Appropriately Uses Student Grouping" and "Number of Transitions in Modes of Instruction." Post hoc analysis regarding "Number of Transitions in Modes of Instruction" revealed that teachers in both block scheduled groups differed significantly from teachers in traditionally scheduled schools in that block scheduled schools had more transitions, as predicted. Phase II (qualitative study) involved case study development in two Group 1 schools scoring at the extreme levels on the effective teaching instrument. Six school-level factors were found to have differentially influenced implementation of block scheduling in the two schools: High Expectations; Clear, Articulated Academic Focus; Atmosphere of Professionalism; Spirit of Innovation; Shared Leadership and Decision Making; and Faculty Cohesiveness. Four recommendations for practice include: (1) certain school-level factors such as school discipline must be controlled so that teachers may focus on improving instruction; (2) shared leadership appears to be necessary for creating accountability and sustaining innovations such as block scheduling; (3) teachers must be provided time to plan professional development activities which are specific to core content areas and research-based if practice is to improve; and (4) there must be agreement on objectives for each course/subject.
Soniat, Karen Meredith, "Effects of the 4 X 4 Block Schedule on Teacher Behavior and Student Engagement Rate at the High School Level." (1999). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 7129.