• Comparing academic achievement of students accelerated in Mathematics to their non-accelerated peers.

      Bongiovanni, Bryan (2014)
      This thesis investigated the mathematics acceleration policy of a suburban school district and its academic effects on students. This study was conducted using a comparative analysis of accelerated and non-accelerated students from two classes, and comparing and contrasting the teachers' and administrations’ beliefs about the acceleration policy. The study was performed using a mixed methodology. The quantitative portion of the study was carried out using De-identified historical data, and a teacher survey with a Likert scale. Qualitative data was collected in the form of face-to-face interviews with school administrators. The study yielded several results on the academic effects of the mathematics acceleration policy and beliefs about acceleration of the school district’s teachers and administration. Students who were accelerated in math were later able to take more advanced math courses than non-accelerated students. Accelerated students out performed non-accelerated students academically, but several non-accelerated students had similar academic achievement to their accelerated peers. Teachers and administrators reported mixed and contradicting data. Several advocated for an open acceleration policy for those few students who meet the established criteria, but also oppose the idea of expanding the current acceleration policy to include students who just missed meeting the acceleration criteria. Results indicated that the acceleration policy appeared to be executed based on the strength of tradition rather than promoting maximum access to challenging math coursework.
    • Exploring the effectiveness of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model.

      Walters, April L. (18/10/2012)
      Few empirical studies specifically address the effectiveness of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) as a professional development tool, an instructional model, or a tool for measuring sheltered instruction implementation. This study attempted to add to the literature regarding the effectiveness of SIOP. Approximately 458 teachers from five school districts in Western New York were surveyed electronically to inquire about the grades and subjects they taught, years of teaching experience they had, type of training or professional development they had, and presence of English language learners (ELLs) in their classrooms. A subset of six teachers from four schools in three school districts were observed using the SIOP evaluation rubric and then interviewed. Survey, observation, and interview data were analyzed in an attempt to answer the following question: Do teachers without SIOP training work as effectively with ELLs as do SIOP-trained teachers when defined and measured by the SIOP evaluation rubric? Data was analyzed and results indicated that some non-SIOP trained teachers had equal or higher total and mean observation scores than SIOP trained teachers. Results also question the validity and reliability of the SIOP evaluation rubric as an accurate measure of sheltered instruction (SI). Major implications suggest that further research is needed to discern whether or not SIOP is a valid instrument for measuring successful SI or if the model serves as an effective means of professional development.