Date of Graduation

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department/Program

Learning and Instruction

First Advisor

Robert Burns

Second Advisor

Patricia Busk

Third Advisor

Caryl Hodges

Abstract

The National Center of Education Statistics' Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K) data were used to explore the curricular emphasis in schools of varying socioeconomic status in both public and private schools. Data collected between 1998 and 2003 were used in the secondary analyses of curricular emphasis in nine curriculum areas identified in the Teacher Questionnaire were grouped into academic, arts, or physical education.

The results from descriptive statistics, correlations, and multiple regressions at each grade indicated differences in academic, arts, and physical education emphases based on public or private schools and school socioeconomic status (SES). Although lower-SES schools had greater academic emphasis in grade 1, this was not found in grades 3 and 5. Low-SES schools in grade 5 had greater academic emphasis in both public and private schools than higher-SES schools. For grades 1 and 3, public schools with high SES, on average, had greater arts emphasis than low-SES schools. For private schools in grade 1, low-SES schools, on average, had greater arts emphasis than high-SES schools. In grade 5, public and private schools had greater arts emphasis, on average, in schools with high SES compared to schools with lower SES. In general, low-SES schools had a physical education emphasis with little difference between low-, middle-, and high-SES in grades 1, 3, and 5. In general, both the academic and arts emphasis variables were related to reading and mathematics achievement, and the relations were statistically significant, but the regression coefficients were small. Academic emphasis only predicted reading and mathematics achievement in grade 1 and in grade 5 reading. Arts emphasis only predicted reading achievement in grade 5. Physical education emphasis predicted reading achievement at grade 3 and mathematics achievement at grade 1. In conclusion, school status variables such as public or private school and school SES indicated differences in academic, arts, and physical education emphases in grades 1, 3, and 5. None of the three curricular emphasis variables predicted both reading and mathematics achievement in grades 1, 3, or 5.

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