A study of student achievement on block scheduling versus traditional scheduling in a middle Tennessee high school

Betty Pierce Hendrickson, Tennessee State University


This study was conducted at a public high school following its fourth year of block scheduling. The sample included students who graduated in May, 2000, with four years in block scheduling and students who graduated in May, 1996, with four years in traditional scheduling. The school population in 1996 was 1,148 students with a graduating class of 201. The school population in 2000 was 1,196 students with a graduating class of 250. In the fall of ninth grade, students took an academic achievement test. They were assigned stanine scores of one through nine. Participants were grouped by ability according to the stanine scores: 1 through 3 = below average, 4 through 6 = average, 7 through 9 = above average. Descriptive data were tabulated and analysis of variance (ANOVA) was calculated to determine if statistically significant differences existed between student achievement using block scheduling and student achievement using traditional scheduling. The following data were gathered: standardized high school exit test scores, final grade point averages (GPA), and unweighted mathematics and English GPA. Participants were grouped by ability, gender, and race. A statistically significant increase existed in the mean cumulative GPA for female students on block scheduling compared to female students on traditional scheduling. A statistically significant difference was found in favor of the block schedule for African-American students. Results of the ANOVA indicated statistically significant increases in mean cumulative GPA, in mean unweighted English GPA, and in mean unweighted mathematics GPA. No statistically significant differences were found with respect to exit test (i.e., ACT, SAT, or Work Keys) scores. It was concluded that changes in schedules alone did not improve instruction and learning. Recommendations included continued and careful monitoring of classrooms to determine if the 90-minute block is being structured appropriately and using many achievement indicators to measure results. Further recommendations were planning additional monitoring and measuring and adjustment of school schedules as needed.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Betty Pierce Hendrickson, "A study of student achievement on block scheduling versus traditional scheduling in a middle Tennessee high school" (2000). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3007607.