Moving targets: An interpretive look at how one school faces issues related to transiency, achievement and instructional continuity

Donna Rosato Sanderson, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Little data exists that specifically examines what teachers are doing to accommodate transient students. There are also only a few studies that use quantitative measures to disentangle the achievement of both the transient and stable populations. This study is significant because it fills these gaps by using data collected through qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the impact of transiency on one suburban/urban school. ^ This dissertation addresses the question, “What are teachers doing to accommodate transfer students and assist with their inclusion into the classroom to meet their needs?” As a backdrop it also addresses the questions, “When broken down by enrollment year, how do Main Street fifth graders perform on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment Test?” and “How do stable Main Street fifth graders perform on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment Test as compared to other stable fifth graders district-wide?” Conducted by a district employee in the participating school district, this study is naturalistic and interpretive. The data included results of a questionnaire/survey, in-depth individual interviews with veteran teachers, student case studies, parent interviews, and finally, multiple documents. ^ The results of this study revealed that teachers are employing a variety of strategies to try to assimilate new transfer students into their classes. Three interconnected themes appeared as significant in accommodating for highly diverse classrooms. Issues of student behavior, weak academic foundations, and the lack of instructional time consistently emerged as problematic for teachers. Other obstacles included class size, lack of resources, gaps in learning, and curriculum continuity. When the results of one standardized test were disentangled it was found that the stable Main Street population outperformed their transient Main Street peers. The results showed a correlation between mobility and achievement scores; as the number of moves a student made increased, their academic score decreased. Additionally, this study showed that among the stable population district-wide, the lower test scores were found in schools that have a substantial amount of transiency and a lower socioeconomic level, thus correlating with much of the already published literature. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) ^

Subject Area

Education, Elementary|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Donna Rosato Sanderson, "Moving targets: An interpretive look at how one school faces issues related to transiency, achievement and instructional continuity" (January 1, 2001). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3008899.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3008899

Share

COinS