Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Jason Berman

Second Supervisor

William Stroud

Abstract

Urban communities are challenged by increasing numbers of young people dropping out of school. The small school movement's focus on personalization represents a response to social, economic, and political forces that require new approaches to educating students. Small size may nurture relationships; however, it cannot guarantee academic achievement. This exploratory quantitative study examined the predictive capacity for AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Elective (advisory) students' sense of membership, coupled with academic press, to influence academic achievement. A survey and scores on English Language Arts and Math assessments were used to determine what impact the two variables had on students' achievement. Findings indicated minimal evidence of the predictive capacity for AVID Elective (advisory) students' sense of membership to impact students' academic achievement. There was evidence of the predictive capacity for AVID Elective (advisory) students' sense of academic press to impact academic achievement. A significant difference was found between Math benchmark scores for stratified matched samples of AVID students versus Non-AVID. AVID students scored higher on Math assessments than did Non-AVID students. There was not a significant difference between English Language Arts assessment scores for stratified matched samples of AVID versus Non-AVID students. Among stratified matched samples of AVID students (large and small schools) and Non-AVID students (large and small schools), AVID students jn large schools scored the highest on Math benchmarks. AVID students in small schools scored the highest in English Language Arts among the four groups. The author proposes a new model for an "ethic of care" for urban students where social interactions between students and teachers, and among groups of students engender an ethos where academic achievement is possible.

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