Purpose Of Using A Mixed Method Design Education Essay

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This chapter discusses the design and methods that will be employed in this study. This study will determine whether a relationship exist between the influence of (a) teachers; (b) parents; and (c) the self-perception of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th on their academic reading performance and self-efficacy. This chapter describes the design of the study including a description of the data sources, setting, participants, and procedure for analyzing the data. The quantitative section of this chapter describes the components of utilizing a correlation analysis design and the qualitative section describes the components of using a constant comparative analysis design. This chapter concludes with a summary.

Purpose of Using a Mixed Method Design

Mixed method research was deemed important for this study for several reasons. A mixed research design is a procedure for collecting, analyzing, and mixing both quantitative and qualitative research methods in a single study to understand a research problem (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007). The core argument for a mixed methods design is that the combination of both forms of data provides a better understanding of a research problem (Creswell, 2008). The research questions in this study will require beyond the collection of only analyzing quantitative data. Using quantitative data will attempt to investigate if there was a definitive relationship between the instruments and the participants' responses during the audio recorded interviews.

It is difficult to measure one's set of beliefs and values; therefore quantitative data alone was not enough to answer the research questions. The findings of this type of data, depending on the sample sizes, is more easily generalizable, precise, and relatively independent of the researcher (Creswell, 2008). Yet numerical data alone may not be strong enough to explain complex issues. Thus collecting both quantitative and qualitative data allows the words, observations and narrative to add meaning to the numbers, and the numbers can add precision to the words, observations, and narrative (Johnson & Onwuebugzie, 2004).

Design of Study

The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship a relationship exist between the influence of (a) teachers; (b) parents; and (c) the self-perception of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th on their academic reading performance and self-efficacy. The study utilized mixed methods design.

Quantitative data employed a correlational analysis and data will be collected and analyzed to determine if a relationship existed between the influence of teachers and parents on the academic reading performance of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th . The focus of correlational studies is to examine whether and to what degree a statistical relationship exists between two or more variables and to describe the strength of the relationship between the variables (Creswell, 2009). The basic design for correlational research involves a single group of people who are measured on at least two characteristics (variables). When a correlational design is used, there is no manipulation of the variables being measured (Creswell, 2000). A correlation is a measure of the direction and magnitude of the linear relation between two variables. The analysis can range from -1 to 1. The closer the correlation coefficient is to positive or negative 1, the stronger the relationship between the two variables in the analysis (Nicol & Pexman, 2010, p. 41).

Qualitative data employed a constant comparison analysis and data will be gathered in order to gain a more in-depth understanding of the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of the participants in the study. The focus of a constant comparative study is to gather data during interviews and compare it to other data gathered within the same study. After collecting all of the data, the researcher will determine differences and similarities of the responses of the participants. The researcher will examine the data critically and draw new meaning of the study.

Research Questions

The following research questions will guide this study:

1. Does a relationship exist between the culturally relevant beliefs of teachers and the self-efficacy of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th ?

2. Does a relationship exist between parental engagement and the academic achievement of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th ?

3. Does a relationship exist between African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th self-perception as a reader and their academic performance?

4. Does the teachers' knowledge of culturally relevant pedagogy and implementation of culturally relevant instructional practices in the classroom influence the academic performance of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th?

5. Does the parents' knowledge and understanding of the connection between home and school literacy practices influence the academic performance of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th?

Analysis of the Research Questions

In order to answer research questions one, two, and three to determine if a relationship exist between parents, students, and teachers on the academic performance of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th the researcher will use a Pearson r. Questions four and five will be answered using the constant comparative method.

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Question 1

In order to answer research question number one, a Pearson's Product-Moment coefficient (r) or Pearson r will be calculated to a determine if a relationship exist between culturally relevant beliefs of teachers and the self-efficacy of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th .

Question 2

In order to answer research question number two, a Pearson's Product-Moment coefficient (r) or Pearson r will be calculated to a determine if a relationship exist between Parental Engagement and the academic achievement of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th .

Question 3

In order to answer research question number three, a Pearson's Product-Moment coefficient (r) or Pearson r will be calculated to a determine if a relationship exist between the self-perception as a reader of American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th and their academic achievement and the self-efficacy of African.

Question 4

In order to answer research question number four, using the data from the semi-structured interviews, the researcher will use a constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). This method will compare, categorize concepts, identify properties, and explore the teachers' knowledge and implementation of culturally relevant pedagogy instructional practices and how it influences the academic achievement of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, 5th . The researcher will integrate the data into a coherent theory (Taylor & Bogdan, 1998).

Question 5

In order to answer research question number five, using the data from the semi-structured interviews, the researcher will use a constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). This method will compare, categorize concepts, identify properties, and explore how the parents' knowledge and understanding of the connection between home and school literacy practices influence the academic achievement of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, 5th . The researcher will integrate the data into a coherent theory (Taylor & Bogdan, 1998)

Setting

The study will occur in an Open-Enrollment Charter school located in North Texas. In 1995, the Texas Education code established Charter Schools. Charter schools were created to give parents and students another option for education. Although charter schools are governed by the Texas Education Agency and must adhere to the same statewide testing and accountability systems as other school districts, they are subject to fewer state laws than regular public schools. However, as other school districts in Texas, the goal of is to improve the academic achievement and produce students that are college and career ready for the global world.

In Texas, schools are ranked according how students perform on state test at the end of the year. The charter school chosen for this study received a ranking of Recognized which means that …. number of students scored… on the state assessment.

The school was comprised of kindergarten through twelfth grade. A total of 1,502 students were enrolled in the school system. The school is identified as a Title I school with a 90% population of African American students receiving free or reduced lunch. Title I is the largest single federal funding source of education. In order to be classified as Title I, schools must have (a) a percentage of low-income students that is a least as high as the districts overall percentage, and (b) have at least thirty-five percentage of low-income students (whichever is the lower of the two figures). Schools with 75% or more of the students who are eligibility for free and reduced lunches are identified as a Title I school and must be served using additional federal dollars (NC Department of Education, 2007).

The school consists of eight third grade classrooms, eight fourth grade classrooms, and four fifth grade classrooms.

The ethnic breakdown of the school was as follows: fill in data at time of study.

Participants

Participants were parents, teachers, and students in an Open-Enrollment Charter school located in North Texas. Students, grade level teachers, and parents aligned with students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade were asked to participate in the study. Only parents, grade level teachers, and students who returned signed parental consent and gave assent were chosen to participate in this study.

The investigator discussed the study with parents, teachers, and students and sent home consent and assent letters. Parents were asked to provide written permission for participation of their children. The researcher collected parental consent forms.

Chief Educational Officer

In 1998, the Chief Educational Officer (CEO) created the charter school that will be used in this study. After being granted the permission of the charter from the Texas Education Agency, the CEO spent countless hours deciding on and creating a curriculum that would improve the education of all students as well as challenge their thinking. With twenty-five years of educational experience in North Texas, Kentucky, Chicago and spending the last 5 years as the Director of Gifted Education, the CEO, implemented a Problem Base Learning (PBL) model. In 1998, the school started with approximately 125 students, now the CEO has grown the school to 1,502 students. The CEO based a good portion of her educationally philosophy on the work of Dr. Marva Collins. Like Dr. Collins, the CEO believed that all students can learn and that is the teachers' job to foster the educational attainment of the students. For this study, the researcher chose a charter school where children and parents were valued and supported.

Teacher Participants

Participation in the study will be on a volunteer basis. The goal is to have a response rate of 100%. The consent forms will be distributed during the weekly grade level staff meeting; teachers will be given a consent form and an opportunity to ask any questions about the study. The surveys, The Culturally Relevant Beliefs (CRB) Survey will be distributed to teachers who are responsible for teaching students in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th. This excluded the special education teachers who work solely with students that are considered full resource. Students considered full resource are served solely by the special education teacher and receives 6-weeks grades from this teacher.

Teachers were informed that the surveys were not anonymous, but were assured of the confidentiality. Each survey will be given an identification number and will be sealed in individual envelopes with the teachers' name on them. The surveys will be confidential and no other district personnel will be given access to the surveys once completed. All teachers participating in the study will be required to complete The Culturally Relevant Beliefs (CRB) Survey. The researcher estimated the CRB and one-on-one semi structured interview will take approximately 45 minutes.

Public school teachers in Texas are required to hold a degree from an accredited four year institution. As part of the demographic section of the survey, teachers were asked to include the highest degree obtained at the time of the survey administration.

Parent Participants

Participation in the study will be on a volunteer basis. The goal is to have a response rate of 100%. The consent form will be sent home with the students and distributed at the monthly parent meeting where parents will have an opportunity to ask questions. As part of the school policy, parents are required to attend monthly parent meetings. The teachers will be informed of the surveys prior to sending them home with the students. The researcher will attend a monthly parent meeting to notify parents of the study. The researcher will present the significance of the study at the parent meeting. After the meeting, parents who choose to volunteer to participate in the study will be given consent and assent forms. The surveys will be distributed to parents who have children in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Parents will be informed that the surveys will be confidential. Each survey will be given an identification number and will be sealed in individual envelopes with the teachers' name on them. The surveys will be confidential and no other district personnel will be given access to the surveys once completed. The students will return the surveys to the teacher and the researcher will obtain them from the teacher. All parents participating in the study will be required to complete the Family Involvement Questionnaire (FIQ). The researcher estimated the FIQ and semi structured interview will take approximately 45 minutes.

Student Participants

Participation in the study will be on a volunteer basis. The goal is to have a response rate of 100%. The researcher will purposefully select African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th to participate in this study. The teacher will send home consent and assent form to the parents of the students to gain permission for students to participate. Students will return the consent and assent forms to the teacher and the researcher will obtain all signed consent and assent forms from the teacher. All students participating in the study will be required to complete the Reader Self-Perception Scale (RSPS). The RSPS questions will be read to the student by the teacher Parents will be informed that the surveys will be confidential. Each survey will be given an identification number and will be sealed in individual envelopes with the teachers' name on them. The surveys will be confidential and no other district personnel will be given access to the surveys once completed. The students will return the surveys to the teacher and the researcher will obtain them from the teacher. The researcher estimated the RSPS will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Students

All boys in the classroom will take the RSPS. However, the researcher will only use data of the boys whose ethnicity is African American.

Instrumentation

Cultural Relevant Beliefs Survey (CRB)

The survey was comprised of forty-eight statements measured on a five point Likkert scale ranging from zero (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree). Twenty-five of these statements reflect the culturally relevant beliefs and practices of teachers. The remaining 23 statements represent "assimilations" beliefs. These statements emphasize the teacher's high regard for students, cooperation, and the importance of the students' race, ethnicity and culture in teaching (Love, 2005). Love (2001) identified 5 factors among the questions on the CRB.

Reliability and Validity

Love (2001) created a quantitative instrument that measures teachers' culturally relevant beliefs and examines how they correlate with student achievement data. Love's survey is based solely upon the work of Ladson-Billings (1994). Ladson-Billings conducted a study with public school teachers in the metropolitan schools of Atlanta and New Orleans. The culturally relevant statements emphasize the teachers' high regard for students, cooperation, and the importance of the students' race, ethnicity and culture in teaching (Love, 2005). Love (2001) identified 5 factors among the questions on the Culturally Relevant Beliefs Survey (CRBS). All of the factors were based on the charactertics identified by Ladson-Billings (1994).

The Reader Self-Perception Scale (RSPS)

The Reader Self-Perception Scale (RSPS) was created to assess how students feel about themselves as readers. The thirty-three item scale assessed the students' self-perception aligned with the four dimensions related to self-efficacy. The dimensions are Progress, Observational Comparison, Social Feedback, and Physiological States.

The survey was comprised of thirty-three statements measured on a 5-point likert scale ranging from SA (strongly agree) to SD (strongly disagree). The RSPS consists of 1 general item and 32 subsequent items that represent the four scales. The general item was used simply to prompt the children to think about their reading ability. The remaining items deal with overall reading ability as well aspects of word recognition, word analysis, fluency, and comprehension. The authors chose to keep the wording of the items simple so that reading ability itself would not confound the assessment. In addition, all items were stated positively to foster straightforward decision-making. The survey is broken up into 4 components. The first component, Progress, will focus on how one's perception of the present reading performance compares with past performance, the second component, Observational Comparison, will focus on how a child perceives her or his reading performance to compare with the performance of classmates, the third component, Social Feedback, will include direct or indirect input about reading from teachers, classmates, and people in the child's family, and the fourth component, Physiological State, will refers to internal feelings that the child experiences during reading.

Reliability and Validity

The RSPS has been validated systematically and measures a dimension of affect that almost certainly influences attitudes toward reading. The norming of the instrument has been quite extensive, and the scale provides meaningful data for teachers, administrators, parents, and perhaps the students themselves (Henk, 1995).

A pool of initial items was developed that reflected each of Bandura's (1977) four factors (Performance, Observational Comparison, Social Feedback, and Physiological States). Thirty graduate students in reading were presented the pool items in random order well as the conceptual definitions for each of the four factor categories. The graduate students were asked to place each item in a category. The instrument was then administered to students in grades four, five, and six in two different school districts. Preliminary alpha reliabilities for each scale measured in the mid-70s range. After the revisions by the first pilot had been made, an additional 1,479 children in several urban, suburban and rural school districts were asked to respond. Further reliability analyses indicated scale alphas ranging from .81 to .84 with all items contributing to the overall scale reliability.

Family Involvement Questionnaire (FIQ)

The Family Involvement Questionnaire (FIQ) was created to in order to gather information from families. In addition to completing the FIQ, the families were asked to complete the following information: (a) gender of person completing the survey, (b) relationship to the child, (c) year they were born, (d) highest level of education completed, (e) current occupation, (f) total household income, (g) current marital status, (h) mode of transportation for attending school events, and (i) ages of other children in the household.

The Family Informational Questionnaire (FIQ, Fantuzzo et al., 2002), is a 42-item

self-reporting rating scale developed to determine the involvement of parents in their

child's education. This instrument is a multidimensional rating scale that asks primary

care providers of young children to indicate the nature and extent of their involvement in

their child's early educational experiences. The questionnaire was developed in

partnership with parents and early childhood teachers in a large, urban school district in

the Northeast United States. Questionnaire items were rated on a 4-point Likert-type

scale ranging from 1 (rarely) to 4 (always) to assess the respondent's rate agreement with

each item measured. The items are grouped into three subscales: school-based

involvement, home-based involvement and home-school conferencing. Of the original

42 items developed, only 36 fit into the subscales and was used for these analyses. The

School-Based Involvement sub-scale contained 13 items and were defined by activities

and behaviors that parents engage in at school to benefit their child. Parent activities

include volunteering in the classroom, going on class trips, and meeting other parents to

plan events. The Home-Based Involvement sub-scale contained 13 items and include

behaviors that promote a learning environment at home. Parent behaviors include

creating space for learning activities at home and providing learning opportunities within

the community. The Home-School Conferencing sub-scale contained 10 items that describe the communication behaviors between parents and school personnel as it relates to the child's educational experiences and progress. Parent behaviors include talking with the child's teacher about learning difficulties and accomplishments, and discussing with the child's teacher ways

to promote learning at home.

Reliability and Validity

The Family Involvement Questionnaire demonstrates adequate reliability and

validity. Internal consistency for each subscale was reliable as noted with Cronbach

alphas of .85, .85 and .81, respectively. Concurrent validity was demonstrated through

significant correlations between the three self-reported dimensions of the FIQ and

documented parent volunteer experiences in Head Start (Fantuzzo et al., 2002). The

questionnaire was assessed using the Preschool Learning Behaviors Scale (PLBS;

McDermott, Green, Francis, & Scott, 1996), a teacher-report measure of preschool

children's approaches to learning.

Sample Selection

The students, teachers, and parents at the school will serve as the primary sampling unit for this study. In an effort to get a representative sample of the students, the researcher solicited all of the parents of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th to participate in this study. Since the researcher is only interested in African American males, the researcher site and participants are purposefully selected.

Procedures

Before beginning this study, a school was selected with a large population of African American students to serve as the research site. The researcher was granted permission from the school administration to conduct this study and regular communication will continue via email and telephone between the researcher and the school administration throughout the duration of this study.

The researcher submitted a research protocol to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Texas A&M University-Commerce to request permission to conduct the study; permission was granted via formal letter.

The researcher requested written consent for all participates that choose to volunteer for this study. All teachers, parents, and African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th received consent and assent forms explaining the study and its purpose.

The researcher will utilized three survey instruments and conduct audio recorded interviews of parents, students, and teachers as part of data gathering. The researcher will associate all variables listed to determine the relationship existence and the effect of reading performance.

All participants were given their specific survey instruments and the researcher conducted the one-on-one interviews with the participants of this study.

Data Gathering

Texas Assessment Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)

Data will be collected from existing databases containing administered TAKS Reading tests results for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students who are enrolled the Open-Enrollment Charter School for the test administration during the Spring of the 2011 school year. Data collected will also include gender, race, and socioeconomic status, and reading achievement scores on each of the administered tests for grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Data for students who were not enrolled in the Charter School for test administration will be excluded from the study. Students who take an alternate form of the TAKS (TAKS-Alternative, TAKS-Modified, or TAKS-Accommodated) will be excluded from the study. There are approximately 90- third grade students, 90- fourth grade students, and 90-fifth grades. Students in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th, listed as female and are not coded Black or African American Male according to the PIEMS Data provided by the Charter School will be excluded from the study.

The Culturally Relevant Beliefs (CRB) Survey will be used to examine culturally relevant beliefs and practices of teachers.

The Family Involvement Questionnaire (FIQ) will be used to examine relationship between the academic performance of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th and parent involvement.

The Reader Self-Perception Scale (RSPS) will be used to examine the self-perceptions of African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th, and its impact upon the individual's overall orientation toward the process itself. Teachers will read the survey questions aloud to the students as they conduct the survey. All boys in the classroom will take the RSPS, however, the researcher will only use data for those boys who have assented to participate and whose parents have consented for them to participate.

Semi structured interviews will be conducted for teachers, students, and parents. These interviews will be conducted one-on-one. All interviews (teachers, students, and parents) will be audio recorded and selective transcription will occur throughout the data collection process. All interviews will take place at the Charter School.

Treatment of Data

Quantitative Data Analysis

The quantitative data from the surveys and TAKS Test will be put into SPSS

to determine if a relationship exist between any of the variables.

The researcher will use the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient sometimes referred to as the PPMMC or the Person's r developed by Karl Pearson . The Pearson's r will measure the correlation between the variables, giving a value between +1 and -1 inclusive. It is used as a measure of strength of linear dependence between two variables. When the results are near zero, there is no correlation, but as it approaches -1 or +1 there is a strong negative or positive relationship between the variables.

Qualitative Data Analysis

Qualitative data will be analyzed using a constant comparison analysis (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) by open, axial and selective coding to determine the thoughts and perspective of the participants. The researcher determined reoccurring themes, similarities, differences, and patterns when analyzing the interview data while comparing and contrasting it to the quantitative survey data. The researcher purposefully selected the parents, students, and teachers for the interviews conducted in this study. The interviews provided individual information on the participants and allowed the researcher to gain a better understanding of their thoughts and perspective of their influence on the academic performance of African American males. The interviews were audio recorded and responses were selectively transcribed by the researcher. Member checking will be conducted to establish verifiability and dependability. A peer reviewer will confirm coding and development of themes.

Although the researcher estimated approximate times for the survey and semi-structure interview completion, each of the participates will have as much time as they needed to complete the surveys and semi-structured interviews. The assessment tools used in this study were chosen because all are very user friendly and have high reliability and validity. The data collected will allow for triangulation and richness that may have been missed while gathering quantitative data.

The semi-structured interview protocol consisted of the following questions for each group of participants.

Teacher Interview Protocol

1. What culturally relevant teaching practices are implemented in your classroom?

2. What do you use in your classroom to reflect a variety of cultures and ethnicities? (Please Describe)

3. What teaching practices are implemented based on gender differences?

4. What teaching practices are implemented based on student's culture, background, and appropriate reading level?

5. Describe your university courses and/or professional development provided by your school district on the following and how it relates to the instructional practices in your classroom.

A. Gender

B. Culture

C. Student Backgrounds

6. Which instructional areas of reading do you view as difficult for the African American males in your classroom? Why?

7. What do you believe schools and teachers can do to ensure the success of academic reading achievement for the African American males in your classroom? Why?

8. When providing instruction to AA males, you discuss the media and hip-hop culture influences with the African American male students in your classroom? How?

9. What classroom practices and/or assignments do you use to engage parents in the learning process? How often do you send home these types of assignments? Explain

10. What parent workshops based on reading practices or gender differences do you offer throughout the school year? Explain

11. How do you allow student input and create choices for students within your reading selection? How do you value and use student input (directly or indirectly) in your lesson planning?

Parent Interview Protocol

1. How important was learning to read to you during the elementary school years? Were you a good reader or did you struggle to read?

2. What is your favorite book? What is your child's favorite book?

3. When do you read to your child? How often?

4. Would you consider yourself as someone that loves to read?

5. What do you hope your child will become or do once he finishes high school? How are you helping him to achieve this goal?

6. Do you think your child is a good reader?

7. What committees or activities do you participate in at your child's school?

8. What is your personal perception of the way African American males are viewed by the following:

A. Schools

B. Teachers

C. Society

9. Do you discuss the media and hip-hop culture influences with your child in your home?

10. What workshops have you attended or plan on attending to help your child be a better students?

11. What video games does your child play at home? How often?

12. What books does your child read at home? How often?

13. When does your child read to you?

Student Interview Protocol

1. What is your favorite book to read?

2. What do you like best about your reading class?

3. What do you like least about your reading class?

4. How many books do you have in your home library?

5. How many magazines do you have in your home library? What are they?

6. What do you like about yourself as reader?

7. What do you wish you could do better as a reader?

8. Do you like it when your parents/teachers read to you?

9. What books do you like to buy when you go to the bookstore?

10. What video games do you like to buy when you go the store?

11. What do you want to do or be when you grow up? Why?

12. Do you like to read with your friends/small group or do you like to read alone? Why?

13. Does your teacher call on you to read in class? How often?

14. Is reading hard or easy for you? Explain

15. If you could write a book about anything, what topic would it on?

16. When your teacher gives you choices, what kind of books do you pick?

Data Sources

Multiple contacts will be used to maximize the response rate and create a stronger claim in generalizing results from the sample to the population (Creswell, 2008). Strategies such

Thank-you postcard, additional questionnaire and a follow-up contact will be used to increase response return rate.

Copies of the informed consent form, cover letter and survey information were delivered to participants in student backpacks used to carry information between home and school in the Thursday Folder of Parent-School communication. Information will be pre-packaged in an envelope with instructions to seal one copy of the consent form and the survey contents in the envelope prior to returning it to school in the backpack. As packets are returned, teachers will collected them and turn them in daily to the administrator whom will contact the researcher to pick them up. The returned instruments will be stored in a locked file cabinet until the researcher retrieves them.

The researcher will track respondents with a sequential numbering system for

confidentiality. Each participant will be was assigned a sequential number that indicated the

classroom and teacher. This also provided confidentiality as packets were passed back

and forth between home and school. Using this system returned packets will be tracked

and non-respondents were sent replacement materials. Replacement materials will include two copies of the informed consent, the cover letter and Instrument.

Archival Data: TAKS

The researcher will contact the PIEMS Department Director, to obtain data from existing databases containing administered TAKS Reading tests results for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students who are enrolled in the B School, for the test administration during the Spring 2011 school year. Data collected will also include gender, race, and socioeconomic status, and reading achievement scores on each of the administered tests for grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Data for students who were not enrolled in school for the Spring 2011 test administration will be excluded from the study. Students who take an alternate form of the TAKS (TAKS-Alternative, TAKS-Modified, or TAKS-Accommodated) will be excluded from the study. There are approximately 90- 3rd grade students, 90- fourth grade students, and 90- 5th grades. Students in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th, listed as female and are not coded Black or African American Male according to the PIEMS Data provided by school, will be excluded from the study.

TAKS has been the primary measure of reading success in Texas since 1999. Students in 3rd. 4th , and 5th grade are required to complete the TAKS Objectives in order to be promoted to the next grade level. TAKS is designed to measure student's knowledge of the statewide curriculum, known as the TEKS (TEA, 2004).

Reliability and Validity

Test validity for criterion or standards referenced assessments is content-based and tied to the statewide curriculum. TAKS test items have been examined by advisory committees made up of educators across the state, test development specialists, and staff members from TEA. Additional committees reviewed and edited TAKS items for content and bias; TAKS test items are field-tested annually. The Kuder-Richardson Formula 20 (KR 20) was used to determine the TAKS test reliability. While most internal consistency reliabilities range from the high .80s to the low .90s, the TAKS assessments range from 0.81 to 0.93 (TEA, 2004).

The researcher will use the results of the Spring 2011 TAKS, a criterion-referenced assessment mandated in Texas schools. The scale scores from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Reading TAKS will be utilized as data sources. The researcher will only focus on the scores of African American males.

Data Gathering

Data Storage

Data will be stored on the researcher's password protected personal computer and backed up on a flash drive and external hard drive. All data collected will be locked in the researcher's personal 2-drawer file cabinet in her home office.

Summary

The benefits of this study may contribute to educational research as it relates to boys and specifically African Americans. This study will broaden the understanding of how influences related to the academic reading achievement of African American boys impact their achievement potential and self-efficacy. The results of this study will allow teachers, researchers, parents, and the general society to understand the needs of boys and diverse learners. The researcher will report all findings of this study.

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