Administrative Issues Journal


Purpose, Scope, and Method of Study: The purpose of this study was to determine if a correlation exists between grade span for ninth grade and gains in math achievement test scores in 10th grade and 12th grade. A quantitative, longitudinal, correlational research design was employed to investigate the research questions. The population was high school students in the United States from public and private schools who were in the ninth grade for the first time during the 1989-1990 school year. The data collection instrument was the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88). Further sampling and data analysis was conducted through SPSS and hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) software programs. A three-level, repeated-observations, HLM model was employed. The first level included scores and data collected over time nested within students. The second level included within schools data. Data were compared between schools for the third level of the full model. Findings and Conclusion: This study confirmed the significance of race, socioeconomic status, math courses taken, math credits earned, different rates of growth in mathematics, and school level factors that affect individual student math performance. School level factors also contributed to student learning at a significant level. Although this study did not identify a correlation between grade span and math achievement, it may have provided other researchers and practitioners’ recommendations that will guide practice and further research. This study also indicated the need, based on the unexplained variance, to identify additional factors that may contribute to improvement in learning for students.