U.S. Department of Education
High School Seniors' Instructional Experiences in Science and Math
U.S. Department of Education
To what extent are high school seniors' instructional experiences affected by their social backgrounds and by the schools they attend?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Office of Educational Research and Improvement
- The instruction seniors receive in their science and mathematics classes is strongly associated with the average achievement level of their classes. Students in higher classes experience a greater emphasis on developing higher-order thinking skills.
- Teachers manage their classes differently depending on the achievement level of the class.
- Students in lower-level classes receive less whole-class instruction and have a greater share of their class time consumed efforts to maintain order.
- Gender differences are very small both in rates and types of course enrollments and in the teacher reports of instructional practices. Race and ethnic differences are evident but mainly reflect socioeconomic differences among groups.
- Stronger professional cultures led to instruction that is closer to the ideals of the current reform movements in mathematics and science.
- Students in a higher achievement level class gained much more over the two year period on the NELS:88 math and science test scores than otherwise comparable students in lower achievement level classes. The results are more consistent in mathematics, but present in science as well.
- Controlling for sophomore achievement level, social background, school characteristics, achievement level, and teacher credentials, we still find that students whose teachers place greater emphasis on higher-order skills and lower emphasis on practical applications tend to score higher on NELS:88 tests.
Ability Groups, Academic Achievement, Instruction, Math, Science
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Seniors in 1988
Unit of Analysis:
- Data came from NELS:88 second (1992) follow up surveys of students and their teachers.
- 90 % of the teachers completed questionnaires, providing data for 9,634 teachers of the 10,603 NELS: 88 seniors enrolled in math and science.
- Study analyzes different things: 1) relationship between teacher education level and the achievement level of the class selected instructional variable, 2)estimated effects of school variables on math/science instruction, 3) effects of class achievement level, teacher education, and instructional variables on sophomore-to-senior achievement growth in math/science, 4) estimated effects of class-achievement level, teacher, and instruction variables on grade 12 composite math/science achievement, by grade 10 composite science achievement quartile, 5) estimated effects of achievement level, teacher, 6) and instruction variables on the probability of proficiency at different levels of grade 12 math/science.
- Regressions of main interest for Spivack project have as:
- IV: instruction variables (teacher's emphases on various learning objectives, the allocation of instructional time, and the methods of instruction), student background variables, class achievement level, teacher education
- DV: sophomore to senior growth in mathematics and science, grade 12 composite mathematics achievement, composite grade 12 science achievement, probability of proficiency at different levels of grade 12 math and science.