The Role of School Climate, Parent Involvement, and Principal Characteristics on the Effectiveness of Looping as a Student Achievement Tool
ABSTRACT JOCELYN M. HARRINGTON The Role of School Climate, Parent Involvement, and Principal Characteristics on the Effectiveness of Looping as a Student Achievement Tool Under the direction of OLIVIA BOGGS, Ed.D. School principals are responsible for implementing improvement strategies to address low academic achievement. Very little research connects the principal’s decision to implement looping and increased academic achievement. However, many principals continue to implement looping with little empirical evidence on the success of looping to increase student achievement. This study examined the extent to which principal characteristics, school climate, and parent involvement were associated with the effectiveness of looping as a student achievement tool. Further, the study sought to determine if there was a difference in the climate, level of parent involvement, principal characteristics, and academic achievement of third, fourth, and fifth grade students in Title I elementary schools that utilized looping as a school improvement strategy or did not use looping as a school improvement strategy. Principal characteristics included; years of experience, teacher to principal ratio, gender, and certification level. Title I elementary principals were contacted to determine if looping was implemented in their schools and to complete a school climate survey. Title I elementary third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers in looping and non-looping schools were then contacted to complete a school climate and a parent involvement survey. Principals provided CRCT data for teachers who participated in the study. Principal characteristic data were obtained from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. Data were analyzed using an independent samples t test to compare looping and non-looping schools. Fifteen research questions related to school climate, parent involvement, academic achievement in reading, English Language Arts, and mathematics for third, fourth, and fifth grade students in looping and non-looping schools guided the study. No differences were found in school climate, parent involvement, principal characteristics, and fifth grade achievement in looping and non-looping schools. No academic achievement data were collected for fourth grade. Differences in achievement were found in third grade reading, English Language Arts, and mathematics. Third grade students may benefit from looping. These students may have developmental and academic needs that support remaining with the same teacher for more than one year. Additional research on looping in Kindergarten first, and second grade may provide critical information on looping as a student achievement tool.
Harrington, Jocelyn Marie