Introduction - Nature of the Problem
The general problem is that high school students demonstrate decreased achievement levels in mathematics and language arts literacy compared to middle school levels. An early study by Catsambis (1994) demonstrated that gender and racial differences account for some of this change due to a decrease in interest. For example, minority and female students, compared to white male students, report that they only take math classes when required and beyond this they are more interested in other subjects. Lack of opportunities and ability as well as other factors such as SES, family values, and personal interests affect this drop in math and language arts literacy achievement levels. Hamblin (2000) and Milburn (2001) pointed out that students are motivated when they are interested in the topic. High school students, particularly minority students may not be interested in mathematics or language arts literacy if these subjects are not viewed as relevant to career choices.
The impact of the problem is that once students complete required courses in mathematics and language arts, they may not chose to be exposed to extracurricular or additional coursework in these areas, that would maintain high levels of achievement. Mathematics and language arts test scores are dropping at Camden Charter Schools and this may be due to high school students having interest priorities in other areas.
The problem is that student test scores in mathematics and language arts were above state average in 2004 at Camden's Promise Charger School but these scores dropped below state average in Camden's Academy Charter High School.
The purpose of this research study is to investigate the perceptions of teachers and students to determine reasons for drops in math and language arts literacy scores from middle school to high school.
Background and Significance of the Problem
The problem is that student tes...