Title page for ETD etd-07012012-231402

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Feighery, Mary Elizabeth
Author's Email Address mfeigh1@lsu.edu
URN etd-07012012-231402
Title Educational Looping and Retention in the Middle School Setting
Degree Master of Natural Sciences (M.N.S.)
Department Natural Sciences (Interdepartmental Program)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cherry, Michael Committee Chair
Hopkins, John Committee Member
Slezak, Cyrill Committee Member
  • educational looping
  • middle school
  • science
  • retention
Date of Defense 2012-06-22
Availability unrestricted
Educational looping is an educational method where teachers remain with the same core group of students over multiple academic years. The current research on this topic shows a strong positive correlation between the effects of looping and the growth of personal relationships between students and teachers, but neglects to examine the connection between looping and student educational growth. This paper explores the relationship between looping and academic gains, as well as between looping and retention of content material over time. This paper explores both the relationship between looping and academic gains and between looping and retention of content material, and attempts to explain the relationship between looping and student performance on state assessments. Additionally, the research also examines whether students who looped with one teacher throughout their middle school years retain more content knowledge than students who had different teachers during middle school. The focus on middle school is important to the academic community because most research on looping has focused on younger students.

In order to compare the quantitative effects of looping, this study compared student performance on the Louisiana state assessments at the end of each school year in 2009, 2010, and 2011. By analyzing two groups of students in Louisiana, one that looped with the same science teacher for three years, and one that had three different science teachers, we can determine that based on the state test scores, the two student populations were significantly similar at the end of the first year, significantly different at the end of the second year, and significantly similar at the end of the third year. In addition to the results from the state tests, the students were also given a retention assessment in August 2011 and May 2012 to see if students who looped retained more information than students who did not loop. Results from these assessments showed that looping did not cause a positive change in student retention of content knowledge. By breaking down the groups into different categories, a few small positive trends were found, but overall, the study was thwarted by a number of complicating systematic factors. Subsequently, a positive trend is seen in favor of looping after the first two years of the study, yet after the third year, an overwhelming amount of external factors prevented this trend from continuing.

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