Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Guillermo Montes

Second Supervisor

Bruce Blaine

Abstract

Eighth grade students from the United States have historically achieved at mediocre levels on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). It would be useful for educators to know which characteristics within the classroom allow for the largest improvement in the TIMSS score. In this study hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was used to investigate the association between; (a) frequency of constructivist teaching strategies used in the classroom and eighth grade student achievement, (b) number of students in a class and eighth grade student achievement, (c) class size and frequency of constructivist teaching strategies used in the classroom. The findings of this study have shown that constructivist teaching strategies did not have an association with student achievement on the science portion of the TIMSS2007. The findings also suggested that a relationship did not exist between classroom size and the frequency a teacher used constructivist teaching in the classroom. The analysis has also shown that a relationship did not exist between class size and student achievement. The major implications of these findings suggested that; (a) educational policymakers should allow teachers to have free reign in deciding what teaching strategy will work best in the classroom (b) school districts cannot rely on decreasing class size to motivate teachers to increase their frequency of constructivist teaching, and (c) school districts can save money by increasing the number of students in an eighth grade science class without worry of decreasing the student’s achievement.

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