EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGIES AND PRIMARY SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT
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The present research was performed to study the effect of educational organization strategies (i.e., segregated neighborhood schools, central integrated schools and integrated alternative options schools) on the primary achievement of children of different socio-economic status. The Stanford Achievement Test scores of 160 primary students from each of the educational strategies, or a total of 480 students, were followed from first through third grade. Each strategy sample consisted of twenty students selected randomly from each of the eight socio-economic groups defined on a modified Hollingshead Scale. Representativeness of these samples was determined through comparison with 160, 320 and 160 students beginning school in the year(s) following the sample groups, in each of these respective strategies.;The first hypothesis which predicted that in the segregated strategy high socio-economic status students would achieve higher than low socio-economic status students was supported in all three grades, for reading and arithmetic. Furthermore, the initial gap between socio-economic status group achievement and grade expectancy increased between first and third grades, i.e., low socio-economic status groups fell further behind while high socio-economic status groups increased their gains. The relative position of middle socio-economic status groups did not change.;The second hypothesis which predicted that achievement of low socio-economic groups would improve relative to the highest socio-economic status group and relative to national norms, was not supported for reading and was only weakly supported for arithmetic. For both reading and arithmetic, the overall achievement level of the groups was not significantly higher in the integrated strategy. However, in arithmetic, the initial gap between socio-economic status group achievement and grade prediction did not increase between first and third grade for all socio-economic status groups except the lowest. It was suggested that the significant deficits of the lowest socio-economic status group may have prevented them from gaining equally from the regular school experience.;The third hypothesis which predicted no achievement change as a result of the alternative options strategy was supported for reading, but not for arithmetic, which was higher for all socio-economic status groups. The result, however, was caused partly, and perhaps totally, by the higher grade equivalent scores on the newer test edition used at that time. An increase in the initial gap between socio-economic status group achievement and the grade prediction was seen for reading, and for extreme high and low groups in arithmetic. It was suggested that individualization of instruction may have allowed the highest socio-economic status students to progress more rapidly. Further research is needed to explore this more fully.;The fourth hypothesis which predicted a decrease in achievement score variability in the integrated strategy and an increase in the alternative options strategy was not supported for reading in either strategy or for arithmetic in the integrated strategy. Variability of arithmetic achievement increased somewhat in the alternative options strategy. However, there was no evidence to suggest that this finding was related to any factor other than the higher mean arithmetic achievement level in this strategy.;In summary, the most significant factor seen in this research was the relationship between socio-economic status and primary achievement. Educational organizational strategies appeared to have no significant effect on reading achievement, and only weak effects on arithmetic achievement, where, for all but the lowest socio-economic status group, school integration appeared to enable low socio-economic groups to maintain their initial position relative to grade expectancy. Discussion and interpretation of these finds plus suggestions for future research are presented.