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Block Versus Traditional Scheduling Essay

This is a proposal to the study to investigate the affect of school scheduling on the student body. The short introduction will establish a purpose to view the students’ reaction to the block or traditional class schedule as the cornerstone of their success in their learning endeavor. Such study will promise to learn what has to be done to improve the student morale and to increase their effectiveness as learners, that is which specific scheduling type is instrumental in doing so. Since this is just a proposal to the study, and no actual study has been done, the readers will find no actual data sets yet.

Introduction Intensive or short-term classes, also known as block scheduling have risen out of search for alternative ways to the traditional scheduling. Such classes are presented in segregated units and might have a different construction from a high school to college. Students might be exposed to six specific classes, two hours each for the duration of a quarter with another set of six classes following the next quarter. Daniels (2000) and Queen (2000) presented a study in which she objectified the contrast between block and traditional schedules.

She confirmed that block scheduling became common on high school and college levels during the last decade. Post high school institutions explain infiltration of the block scheduling by incoming in a large numbers of non-traditional students. To serve such students better and to adapt to their schedules, the post secondary institutions initiated time-shortened courses, however more intensive, fitting two sets of class load in one semester. Per Daniels’ research, half of surveyed post secondary institutions have been using some sort of block scheduling (also see Stodden, Galloway, L. , & Stodden, 2003).

In the surveyed institutions the block schedule did not have a unified formation, either. Some moved to so-called quarter hours in which each student would take several classes for each quarter (three months) four quarters a year including a summer session(s). Other institutions provided scheduling that formed even more intensive course load. Marric College in Sacramento, California, in particular has students enroll into two courses lasting six weeks. Each class would last four hours and be offered once a week. Justification of study

Such tendency became widespread and included many Nation’s high schools. Many educators Mcleskey & Welle (2000) expressed a concern that a lack of uniformity among the schools and at times controversial findings might jeopardize the quality of instructional delivery. Some evidence suggests that the instruction must me at least 10 to 12 weeks short and presented a few times during the week in order to provide some significant impact on learning. It does appear that high school and postsecondary institutions are more concerned of quantity of classes being offered rather than the quality of the instruction.

After all, the argument that acceleration of the course load provides mode intense study opportunity is limited in that there is not enough time to study the subject matter deeper. Purpose There is no doubt that such diversity of schedule types in many different schools does not benefit uniformity of the instruction (Jenkins, Queen & Algozzine, 2002). The very fact that different schools, even within the same district, may exercise different type of scheduling appears to be disturbing.

Despite the fact that a number of researchers offered study-type investigations into the dilemma, it is still very difficult to find the concrete results based on two high schools within the same school district: one with block scheduling and another with traditional. Even when found there was no study available to test the students’ comfort level and presence or absence of stress when subjected to either block or traditional scheduling. Hence, the purpose of this study is to attempt to derive more narrow and directed conclusions with the following Null Hypothesis:

HO: Participants did not experience any stress level or discomfort when subjected to one quarter of block scheduling HA: Participants experienced significant (p>. 5) manifestation of discomfort and/or stress when exposed to block scheduling. To provide the quantitative opportunity, this researcher suggests devising a scale that would quantify the participants’ stress reaction to the stimuli. For example: 1 – No physiological/biological/psychological symptoms experienced during or after one block of classes is given. 2 – Some symptoms are experienced but do not produce any noticeable symptoms.

3 – Symptoms cause some psychological or physical manifestations that can be observed and recorded (non-natural posture, felt awkwardness, feeling/being clumsy, to some degree irritated). 4 – Extreme nervousness, body perspiration, observable irritation presentation, failing classes, cutting classes, feeling ill often. Definition of Theoretical Constructs and Research Design The research will measure levels of stress during and/or after attending classes in the students in block scheduling versus the students in traditional scheduling.

There are plenty of stated theories under the guise of stress research, however, this researcher found none that would examine the psychological state of students in and under block schedule versus their peers who are in the traditional scheduling. 1) degree of the schedule control/pressure on the students 2) degree and specific direction of initial reaction of students. 3) the degree of the school homeostatic reaction in its attempt to maintain status quo Negative attitude toward scheduling can be viewed as following states-of-being: a) self-pity b) helplessness c) low self-afficacy d) irritation

5) increased clumsiness The degree of school control/pressure can be quantified on nominal scale: 1 – feel no pressure/stress. Like classes and attend them with pleasure. Feel free to manifest my creativity. Am aware that every of my creative ideas are manifested in the productive process of my education. 2 – freedoms of creativity somewhat limited. There is a limited time to express myself. Some of my ideas/concepts are not heard/considered. Small degree of the schedule influence on my life outside the school is felt at times (more homework). 3 – feel pressure from the higher pressure of scheduling.

My ideas/concepts are not considered most of the times. Feeling that sharing my ideas can lead me in to trouble. Feeling not important to the school (or my class). Feeling not appreciated. 4 – feel constant (daily) pressure from the scheduling. Feeling being controlled (puppet-like state) by the scheduling. No ideas are being considered (or no time at all to share). Feel invisible. Perceive the message from teachers, “You are the small nut in the big mechanism. You must do your part consistently and efficiently, without aberration. ” Feeling trapped, depressed, and unhappy.

Missing days of school due to “illness. ” The degree of initial reaction to the scheduling type can be quantified as follows. A – Absence of any stress. Study duties seem easy and comfortable to perform. No anger or any negative feelings toward the teachers. B – Minimum stress level. Most days are comfortable and pleasant. Occasional and minimum negative reaction toward the teachers. C – Moderate stress. Three out of five school days are not comfortable and are stressful. Being critical to the teachers. Often complaining and/or expressing negative feelings to other students.

Fear of negative opinion of the teachers. D – Daily stress. Not comfortable performing schoolwork. Feeling of constantly being watched. Covert and at times overt feelings of hostility toward teachers. Strong urge to become instrumental in changing things around or drop out. Complain with open hostility. The degree of the organizational homeostatic reaction in its attempt to maintain status quo can be quantified as follows (in case if the participants answered 3/4 or C/D in previous scales): i) No events occur. Nothing to make stressed situation more stressful. ii) Some events do occur.

All events, however, are under control and none are long-lasting. iii) Events that occur are unpleasant and might be somewhat threatening in nature. Most bear unpleasant conversations/explanations with teachers. Most “fire” can be put down but require some effort. Some have the potential to become cause for administrative actions and other sanctions. iv) Events are very serious in nature. Most are felt like the cause of a complete failure or even drop out. May have the potential of causing disturbance in classes. Very difficult for the “fire” to be put down and requires a significant amount of effort.

v) Events result in separation from the school: suspension. This researcher proposes to use p < . 05 as the probability value. He will solicit two randomly selected groups with 30 students in each: one would be under the current block schedule and another under traditional one within the same school. Mitchel & Jolley (2004) suggested an effective randomizer that might work well in this scenario. The fact that two very different by nature of business schedules should cause different reactions from students and will contribute to more complete understanding of the schedule affect on the student body.

The survey (pre-test) will be administered to all 60 participants in both groups. The data will be tabulated to form the initial quantity (starting point) from which this researcher will operate. The purpose of the survey is to find out (to quantify) the initial psychological state of each student in two groups. The same survey will be administered in the midterm (six weeks later) and at the conclusion of 12-week research period. Data will ve compared, contrasted, and tabulated. Contributions This researcher believes that this study will provide a new and fresh approach to the study of scheduling influence on the students.

If allowed to experiment the school’s administration will have an opportunity to learn how each type of scheduling will affect students and to develop the student body with the least amount and manifestation of stress and with the highest possible morale and study ethics. As the result, the study productivity will increase and the quality of the learning will improve 100 fold. References Daniel, E. L. (2000). A Review of Time-Shortened Courses across Disciplines. College Student Journal, 34(2), 298. Retrieved May 15, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.

questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5001760249 Jenkins, E. , Queen, A. , & Algozzine, B. (2002). To Block or Not to Block: That’s Not the Question. The Journal of Educational Research, 95(4), 196+. Retrieved May 15, 2007, from Questia database: http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5000642089 Mitchell, M. L. , & Jolley, J. M. (2007). Research design explained (6th ed. ). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Queen, J. A. (2000). Block Scheduling Revisited. Phi Delta Kappan, 82(3), 214. Retrieved May 15, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.

questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5001115634 Stodden, R. A. , Galloway, L. , & Stodden, N. J. (2003). Secondary School Curricula Issues: Impact on Postsecondary Students with Disabilities. Exceptional Children, 70(1), 9+. Retrieved May 15, 2007, from Questia database: http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5002033905 Weller, D. R. , & Mcleskey, J. (2000). Block Scheduling and Inclusion in a High School. Remedial and Special Education, 21(4), 209. Retrieved May 15, 2007, from Questia database: http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5001073229


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