The effects of two spelling approaches among sixth grade students and their participating teachers : a study of spelling achievement and teachers' attitudes toward staff development

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1979

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The increasing inability of American school children to spell has in recent years become a problem of special concern. The need for staff awareness of and curricular improvements in this area has been viewed as urgent. The purpose of the study was to determine how an administrator can influence teacher behavior, thereby affecting student performance. The specific concern of the study was student spelling performance. The study posed the following question: can a staff development program that focuses on two comparable methods of teaching sixth-grade spelling elicit instructional participation to the extent that the desired goals of improved student performance are achieved? The study was designed to test the following hypotheses: (1) there will be significant differences between the attitudes of teachers using the Silver Burdett Spell Correctly program and the Stetson Reading-Spelling Approach (SRSA) and the teachers using only the traditional Silver Burdett Spell Correctly (SBSC) program with respect to staff development program designed to improve student spelling performance; (2) there will be a significant difference in short- range spelling achievement favoring the experimental group, as measured at the end of each week of study; (3) there will be a significant difference in the long-range spelling achievement favoring the experimental group, as measured at the conclusion of the nine-week study; and (4) there will be significant differences in spelling ability favoring the experimental group as measured by the spelling portion of the Metropolitan Achievement Tests at the conclusion of the nine-week study. The sample population was comprised of 1,114 sixthgrade students attending three Sixth-Grade Centers in Las Vegas, Nevada. Students enrolled in the Mackey Center became the experimental group. The remainder of the students comprised the control group and were enrolled in the Madison and Kit Carson Sixth Grade Centers. The study took place in five phases: solicitation for the experiment and in-service training, pretesting, treatment period, posttesting, and follow-up interviews with teachers. Three test instruments were used to collect the data: the nine weekly tests, the Silver Burdett Long-Range Spelling Retention Test, and the Metropolitan Achievement Tests, Forms F and G. [...]

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