The basic skills movement in Tennessee and its impact on standardized test scores in mathematics in Rutherford County, Tennessee

Phillip Gerald Boyd, Tennessee State University


The Tennessee Basic Skills Program began in the 1970s with the creation of the Tennessee State Proficiency Test. To prepare students for the basic skills test and to provide a uniform curriculum, Basic Skills First was developed. The purpose of the reported study was to determine whether or not increased emphasis on basic skills has provided an effective means for student improvement in mathematics. Data were gathered on ninth grade students by means of two instruments: (a) Stanford Achievement Test, consisting of the forty-eight mathematical items, and (b) Tennessee State Proficiency Test, consisting of eighty-four mathematical items. Achievement test scores were taken from 1974-75 to 1983-84, while the proficiency test covered 1980-81 to 1984-85. Comparisons were made by means of uncorrelated t tests of student mean scores in Rutherford County, Tennessee, for each successive year of the study. Also, the scores of 1974-75 were compared to 1983-84. A significant increase at.001 level was shown from 1974-75 to 1983-84. However, steady improvement from year to year was not shown. Similar data analyses were performed on a rural and suburban school. Significant change was not exhibited for either school. Data analysis on the Tennessee State Proficiency Test showed student improvement from 1980-81 to 1984-85, but the improvement was not consistent from year to year. Regression analysis showed a very strong relationship between scores on the Stanford Achievement Test and the Tennessee State Proficiency Test. Recommendations included expansion of the study to cover language and reading, follow-up interviews with students and teachers, comparison studies with comparable survey data from other school systems in and out of Tennessee, and expansion of achievement testing to facilitate state-wide analysis of the Tennessee Basic Skills Program.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Phillip Gerald Boyd, "The basic skills movement in Tennessee and its impact on standardized test scores in mathematics in Rutherford County, Tennessee" (1986). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI8802613.