Grounded within constructivist theory, the purpose of this investigation was to investigate knowledge acquisition and developing conceptions of high school-aged students during a unit of instruction in badminton. Six different qualitative methods were utilized: (a) observations, (b) formal interviews, (c) informal interviews, (d) think aloud procedures, (e) Daily Question Cards, and (f) analysis of written documents. Findings were reduced into thematic categories representing misconceptions about motor skill execution, official badminton rules, and complex concepts. Students constructed new knowledge that had been filtered through prior experience. The instructional style of the teachers and the social environment of the class also contributed to the manner in which knowledge was constructed.
In this analysis of North Carolina high schools the author examines school tracking policies using an amended version of Sorensen's (1970) conceptualization of the organizational dimensions of tracking. Data from curriculum guides in a stratified sample of 92 high schools reveal both consistency and variation in how tracking is implemented at the school level. Understanding the policies that promote inclusive course taking, or that affect other dimensions of tracking, such electivity and scope, is the first step to improving the implementation of tracking. Research on tracking will continue to be disconnected from school improvement efforts until the relationships between school policies, the organizational dimensions of tracking, and outcomes for students are understood.
State assessments are taking over our classrooms. This study provides a descriptive account of how the testing culture affected students and instruction during one school year in two small, rural Mississippi secondary mathematics classrooms. Throughout this school year, engaging instructional activities were sacrificed for more traditional drill and practice lessons aligned specifically with the end-of-the-year assessments. Curriculum was limited and teaching to the test was emphasized, especially during the weeks just prior to the assessments. Students found the assessments to be motivational, but like the instructor, students experienced pressures associated with these tests.
A case study approach was used to examine the perspectives of three high school department chairs and their work at providing instructional supervision to the teachers in their departments: math, science, and social studies. We sought to discover the beliefs and practices of three department chairs in one high school, located in a southeastern state. From interview data, three primary findings emerged: 1) The high school department chairs experienced role conflict and ambiguity relative to providing instructional supervision; 2) The meaning of instructional supervision for the department chairs was intuitive and reflected in differentiated approaches; and 3) The constraints of instructional supervision include time and lack of emphasis. The findings indicate that the department chairs were not prepared for the practice of instructional supervision in that the participants received little instruction to enact the role of instructional supervisor, and the participants were compelled to create their own roles given the lack of direction by the principal. The participants indicated instructional supervision was not a "priority" of either system or local school administrators. The participants did evidence some important knowledge concerning instructional supervision, albeit intuitively concluded rather than formally learned.