A comparison of the effects of the two options of the quarter-system schedule upon student enrollment in music organizations in two Texas high schools



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The increasing attention being given the quarter system scheduling concept appears to be related to the financial problems now confronting public schools. Extending the operation of the public schools to a year-round basis may provide a more fiscally efficient school program. For this and other reasons the state of Texas recently adopted the quarter system for use in its public schools. The effects of the quarter system schedule upon the school curriculum in Texas have not yet been firmly established. School activity groups, such as music organizations, may experience problems as they adjust to this scheduling concept. Functioning under the traditional semester system, high school performing music organizations in Texas have generally flourished in the past. Their status seems now to be in question, considering the two scheduling options available to Texas schools under the quarter system. The quarter-unit-plan option is so similar to the semester plan that few problems, as they effect music organization enrollment, are expected. The trimester-plan option, however, presents four areas of difficulty for music organization enrollment. They are: (1) the reduction of available elective choices for students and the scheduling conflicts caused by reducing the number of available periods in the school day; (2) the increased opportunity for early graduation; (3) the possibility of earning more music organization credits than the state will allow toward graduation; and (4) the opportunity for students to take a minimum number of courses to facilitate their outside employment. The study was designed to compare the effects of the two scheduling options upon student enrollment in two Texas high schools. Specifically it assesses the drop-out rate, reasons for withdrawal, the music contribution potential of the dropouts, and the attitudes of the dropouts concerning the music organizations from which they withdrew. The comparisons and analyses serve as indicators of the potency of the quarter system options concerning music organization enrollments. The reported results should prove beneficial to administrators of schools contemplating the adoption of one of the two mandated scheduling options. Pasadena (Texas) High School, which functions under the trimester plan, and Deer Park (Texas) High School, which functions under the quarter unit plan, were chosen as the two schools for the study. Dropouts from the 1974-75 music organizations at the two schools were identified and became the subjects of the study. These students were administered a questionnaire to determine their reasons for withdrawal and their attitudes toward the music organizations from which they withdrew. The music teachers completed questionnaires designed to rate the dropouts' music and generic skills thought to be desirable in music organization students and their attitudes toward the dropouts. Significantly greater drop-out rates were found at Pasadena High School. Differences in reasons for withdrawal were found to exist between the two schools but they did not occur among the four trimester-related reasons. No significant differences between the two schools were found in the dropouts' music contribution potential or their attitudes toward the music organizations. No differences in the magnitude of the correlations between the teacher ratings of the students and the students' attitudes was found. Conclusions based upon the statistical comparisons of the effects of the two scheduling options upon student enrollment in music organizations were: (1) the trimester plan had no significant effect upon the music enrollment at Pasadena High School; (2) the majority of the dropouts at Pasadena High School cited dislike of teacher, took too much time, took too much money, loss of interest, and scheduling conflicts as reasons for withdrawal; (3) the greatest number of students who withdrew were the matriculating students from the feeder schools who were entering each of the two high schools as ninth graders; (4) matriculating choir students were more apt to withdraw than were instrumentalists; (5) the majority of upperclassmen continued their participation in the music groups; and (6) no significant differences were found in the music contribution potential or the attitudes of the dropouts from the two schools.