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An investigation of the subject preferences of intermediate students Court, Deborah Jean 1984

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AN INVESTIGATION OF THE SUBJECT PREFERENCES OF INTERMEDIATE STUDENTS DEBORAH JEAN COURT B.A. The University of B r i t i s h , Columbia, 1974 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (EDUCATION) WE ACCEPT THIS THESIS AS CONFORMING TO THE REQUIRED STANDARD THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH MARCH 198 4 © Deborah Jean Court, COLUMBIA 1984 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by h i s or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of EWCPTTlCih/  The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date A?(?\L 3 l°ik4 DE-6 (3/81) i Abstract A questionnaire measuring the subject preferences of 296 grade five to seven students showed physical education to be the most popular subject and language arts the least. A second questionnaire investigated reasons for students* d i s l i k e of language arts. Pearson product moment correlations and an analysis of variance were used to investigate factors which might be associated with subject preferences. General a b i l i t y , achievement and the teacher did not appear to be major factors. Grade level was s i g n i f i c a n t l y related to preference for reading, mathematics and language, with f i f t h grade students expressing the greatest preference for a l l of these. Sex was s i g n i f i c a n t l y related to preference for reading, language and music, with g i r l s expressing greater preferences than boys for these three subjects. Results from this study agreed with previous research in finding l i t t l e or no relationship between preference and achievement, a decline with increasing grade in attitudes to school subjects, and a greater preference among g i r l s than among boys for reading, language and music. i i Table of Contents page Abstract i L i s t of Tables iv L i s t of Figures v Chapter I Introduction 1 Chapter II Review of Related Literature 4 Studies of Subject Preference 4 Attitude and Achievement 7 Influence of the Teacher 14 Sex Differences 19 The Decline in Attitudes to School 21 Other Factors Related to Attitudes to School 23 Summary 25 Chapter III Method 28 Subjects 28 Instruments 28 Design and Procedure 31 Chapter IV Results 34 Data Analysis 34 Further Findings 46 i i i page Chapter V Discussion 52 Subject Area Preference Test 52 Discussion of Results of the How I Feel about Language Arts Questionnaire 54 Chapter VI Summary 59 Bibliography 61 Appendices 67 iv L i s t of Tables page Table 1 Grade Placement of Boys and G i r l s in The Sample 30 Table 2 Test-Retest and S p l i t Half R e l i a b i l i t i e s of The Subject Area Preference Test 30 Table 3 Order of Subject Preferences Overall .... 35 Table 4 Order of Subject Preferences: Boys ...... 35 Table 5 Order of Subject Preferences: G i r l s 36 Table 6 Order of Subject Preferences: Grade Five 36 Table 7 Order of Subject Preferences: Grade Six 37 Table 8 Order of Subject Preferences: Grade Seven 37 Table 9 Subject Preferences Grouped According to Sig n i f i c a n t Differences in the Means .... 38 Table 10 Pearson Product Moment Correlations 39 Table 11 Responses to the How I Feel About Language Arts Questionnaire 49 V L i s t of Figures page Figure 1 Frequency Distributions 40 Figure 2 Subject Preference Means 47 1 Chapter I Introduction The purpose of this study was to discover the preferences of intermediate students for eight subjects in the school curriculum, and to i d e n t i f y possible factors associated with these preferences. When the subject preferences of students in the sample had been determined, attention was focused on the least popular subject, and an attempt was made to determine possible reasons for the apparent d i s l i k e of this subject. A review of the l i t e r a t u r e on student attitudes to school indicated that r e l a t i v e l y few studies have investigated students' subject preferences. Students' preferences for and attitudes toward the subjects in the curriculum merit research for several reasons. One reason i s the p o s s i b i l i t y that there i s a relat i o n s h i p between attitude and achievement. Research has yielded c o n f l i c t i n g r e s u l t s on whether achievement in school and attitudes toward school subjects are related. If a positive attitude toward, or strong preference for a school subject i s indeed related to achievement in that subject, then knowledge about students' subject preferences and factors related to them could help lead to improved c u r r i c u l a and in s t r u c t i o n a l methods that 2 could in turn improve achievement. Those studies that have found a connection between attitude and achievement have not indicated any causal rela t i o n s h i p , but i t does not seem unreasonable to speculate that working to improve students' attitudes to certain subjects might result in improved achievement as well. I f , on the other hand, there i s no relationship between attitude and achievement, there i s s t i l l good reason to s t r i v e toward understanding of students' attitudes and preferences. Most educators would agree that school should be a positive and happy experience for children, and any knowledge that can help educators foster more positive attitudes should be considered a worthwhile contribution toward that goal. Much of the research on student attitudes to school has focused on general attitudes, examining such variables as i n t e l l i g e n c e , socioeconomic status, s e l f concept and the influence of the teacher. As w i l l be shown in Chapter II, the major area of research has been the investigation of the rel a t i o n s h i p between attitude and achievement. The study of students' expressed preferences for s p e c i f i c school subjects constitutes one area of student attitude research that i s r e l a t i v e l y unexplored. Few attempts have been made to determine variables affecting students' subject preferences and attitudes to s p e c i f i c subjects. 3 T h i s s c a r c i t y o f r e s e a r c h , and t h e need f o r k n o w l e d g e i n t h i s a r e a t o p e r m i t e d u c a t o r s t o f o s t e r more p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e s i n s t u d e n t s , f o r m t h e j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r t h i s s t u d y . T h e r e have b e e n no r e p o r t s i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e i n w h i c h an e x a m i n a t i o n h a s been made o f p r e f e r e n c e s t o w a r d t h e f u l l r a n g e o f s u b j e c t s i n t h e c u r r i c u l u m i n r e l a t i o n t o s e x , g r a d e l e v e l , a c h i e v e m e n t , a b i l i t y and t h e t e a c h e r . R e s e a r c h e r s h a v e c o n s i d e r e d some o f t h e s e v a r i a b l e s w i t h many s u b j e c t s , o r a l l o f them b u t i n r e l a t i o n t o o n l y a f e w s c h o o l s u b j e c t s . The p r e s e n t s t u d y was s p e c i f i c a l l y d e s i g n e d t o p r o v i d e a more c o m p r e h e n s i v e p i c t u r e o f s t u d e n t s ' s u b j e c t p r e f e r e n c e s and f a c t o r s r e l a t e d t o them. T h i s s t u d y was d e s i g n e d t o p r o v i d e a n s w e r s t o t h e f o l l o w i n g q u e s t i o n s : 1. What a r e t h e p r e f e r e n c e s o f i n t e r m e d i a t e s t u d e n t s f o r e i g h t s u b j e c t s i n t h e s c h o o l c u r r i c u l u m ? 2. What r e l a t i o n s h i p s e x i s t b e t w e e n s u b j e c t p r e f e r e n c e and t h e v a r i a b l e s o f s e x , g r a d e l e v e l , a c h i e v e m e n t , a b i l i t y and t h e t e a c h e r ? 3. What v a r i a b l e s a p p e a r t o be i m p o r t a n t c o r r e l a t e s o f a t t i t u d e s t o w a r d t h e l e a s t p r e f e r r e d s u b j e c t ? 4 Chapter II Review of Related Literature Consistent with the major emphasis of the study, t h i s review w i l l focus on student's subject preferences. The relationship to preferences of such factors as i n t e l l i g e n c e (IQ), socioeconomic status, method of instruction, s e l f concept, the teacher, sex, grade l e v e l , a b i l i t y and achievement w i l l also be examined. Studies which examine general attitudes to school, while appearing only peripherally related, have been included because they may be relevant to the study of subject preferences. Knowledge of the effects of IQ, socioeconomic status or method of instruction on students' attitudes to school in general, may help contribute to understanding of the more s p e c i f i c area of subject preference. Studies of Subject Preference Recently Cox and Wilson (1978) reported on an informal survey of student attitudes to school. This survey, though supervised by two teachers, was i n i t i a t e d and designed by intermediate students in a New York school. The children and t h e i r teachers polled 350 f i v e to eleven year olds as to how they would run the school i f they had the power to 5 do so. One of t h e i r findings was related to subject preference. Students f e l t that reading, writing and arithmetic were the most important subjects. They also expressed a desire for a c t i v i t y oriented lessons such as f i e l d t r i p s , and they favored a m u l t i d i s c i p l i n a r y approach rather than the compartmentalization of subjects. Beck (1977) looked at the preferences of 13,500 grade one to eight children for various subjects in the school curriculum. He found that across the grades science was the best liked subject and arithmetic was liked the l e a s t . These results c o n f l i c t with several other studies which have found arithmetic to be favored. G i r l s in this study were more posit i v e than boys to language arts and reading; boys were more posit i v e than g i r l s to science. These results are consistent with most other studies. No s i g n i f i c a n t sex difference was found for mathematics or s o c i a l studies. Haladyna and Thomas (1979) found that 3,000 grade one to eight pupils, both boys and g i r l s , liked art the most and s o c i a l studies the least. This study showed s o c i a l studies to be held in very low regard. Arithmetic was liked about the same by g i r l s and boys. G i r l s l i k e d reading, music and language more than boys, while boys liked science and physical education more than g i r l s . These preferences were f a i r l y stable throughout the grades. 6 The only subject to show a considerable decline from grade one to eight was music. A l l grades rated reading and mathematics in the middle of the scale, with art and physical education above them. Fraser (1980) explored the attitudes toward English, mathematics, s o c i a l studies and art of 1,800 grade seven to ten students. Fraser looked s p e c i f i c a l l y for grade l e v e l and sex differences in r e l a t i o n to these subjects. He found that s i g n i f i c a n t declines in attitude to each subject occurred with grade l e v e l . G i r l s expressed s i g n i f i c a n t l y more favorable attitudes than boys to English, s o c i a l studies and a r t , and boys expressed s i g n i f i c a n t l y more favorable attitudes than g i r l s to mathematics. These differences were for the t o t a l group, not for each grade l e v e l . The o v e r a l l order of preference expressed by the students in this study was English f i r s t , then mathematics, s o c i a l studies and a r t . The 2,500 grade four to six students in Faust's study (1963) showed the i r preference for the four subjects measured in t h i s order: arithmetic was f i r s t , followed by s p e l l i n g , reading and language. Inskeep and Monroe (1965) used the f u l l range of school subjects in their study of the subject preferences of intermediate students. They found the order of students' preferences to be arithmetic f i r s t , followed by 7 a r t , heal th and p h y s i c a l education, reading, s p e l l i n g , sc ience, music, s o c i a l s tudies , handwriting and language. These f indings agree with Faust i n that ar i thmetic was found to be the most popular subject and language the l ea s t . A t t i t u d e and Achievement The study of a poss ib le r e l a t ionsh ip between a t t i tude and achievement has been pursued i n two d i f f e rent ways. Some studies have looked at students' a t t i tudes toward school i n general and compared these with achievement i n several d i f f e rent subjects . Other studies have focused on one subject , such as a r i thmet ic , reading or science, and examined a t t i tude and achievement i n r e l a t i o n to that one subject . The question important to the present d i scuss ion i s whether or not there i s a r e l a t i o n s h i p between preference for a school subject and achievement i n that subj ect . While Abram's study (1982) of fourth graders d id not d i r e c t l y address the topic of subject preference, she d id attempt to f i n d whether high achievers , those with high marks at the end of grade three, l i k e d school bet ter than other students i n grade four. She found that high achievers d id appear to l i k e school a b i t bet ter , but th i s di f ference was not s i g n i f i c a n t . The study found no 8 s i g n i f i c a n t relationship between achievement and three dependent variables: l i k i n g for school, popularity and anxiety. S i g n i f i c a n t association was found between reading and math scores and personal happiness and s a t i s f a c t i o n , separate from l i k i n g for school. Beck (1977) reported results from the Survey of School Attitudes of 13,500 grade one to eight students in ten U.S. states. No s i g n i f i c a n t relationship was found between scores on achievement tests and school attitude measures. • In an extensive study of student attitudes toward school Tenenbaum (1941) found no s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n between attitude to school and grade l e v e l marks or IQ. In another report on the same study Tenenbaum (1944) describes some of the other variables investigated, such as absence and conduct. Absence, l i k e achievement and IQ, was not s i g n i f i c a n t l y related to attitude, nor was conduct. However conduct correlated most highly with attitude and absence correlated the lea s t . Those children whom teachers considered to be behavior problems expressed more unfavorable attitudes than others to school, teachers and classmates. Malpass (1953) tested grade eight students to determine th e i r attitudes to several aspects of school: school in general, classmates, teachers, schoolwork and d i s c i p l i n e . They were also tested for i n t e l l i g e n c e 9 and given standarized achievement tests for reading, s o c i a l studies, science and arithmetic. Malpass found a relationship between attitude to school and achievement, not as measured by standard achievement t e s t s — t h e s e scores did not relate to attitude scores—but in terms of actual marks received for classroom work. These marks were found to relate to attitude scores. Negative feelings about school and poor classroom grades were related. Malpass makes the point that while i t cannot be said which came f i r s t , a vicious c i r c l e of negative attitudes and poor grades, seemingly stimulating each other, could be seen. In the book L i f e in Classrooms (Jackson, 1968), a l l studies done on attitude and achievement to that date were reviewed. Jackson noted that no s i g n i f i c a n t relationships had been reported. Neal, G i l l and Tismer (1'970) f e l t t his was because Jackson cited only studies which measured overall attitude to school, not to s p e c i f i c subjects. Their study looked at attitude and achievement in arithmetic, reading, s o c i a l studies and science separately, and also looked at g i r l s and boys separately. They also attempted to determine whether attitude could be used to predict achievement. Their findings were as follows: for boys, a s i g n i f i c a n t correlation between attitude and achievement was found for s o c i a l studies, arithmetic and 10 reading, and for g i r l s only for reading. In terms of prediction, attitude at the beginning of the year and achievement at the end of the year were s i g n i f i c a n t l y related only for arithmetic for boys. Roettger's (1975) study focused only on reading, and showed a low correlation between attitude to reading and achievement for 697 grade three to six students. Roettger concluded that while there does seem to be some relationship, i t i s a weak one, and cannot be used to make predictions. In another study Roettger (1980) measured attitude and achievement in reading and selected for further study 75 students whose attitude scores co n f l i c t e d with their achievement scores. Thirty-six had low attitude and high performance; 39 had high attitude and low performance. Discussions with these students led the author to conclude that the f i r s t group saw reading as a tool for survival and future success, and i t made them fe e l smarter. The second group saw reading as a means of gaining s p e c i f i c information for good school performance. In Knaupp's (1973) review of studies on attitude and achievement in arithmetic, almost a l l of the studies found no s i g n i f i c a n t relationship between attitude and achievement in mathematics. Most studies seemed to indicate that students value mathematics, that i s , they 11 fe e l i t i s an important subject, but they do not necessarily l i k e i t . E a r l i e r Neale (1969) stated s i m i l a r l y that we can produce students who achieve well in mathematics, and think highly of i t s value, yet d i s l i k e i t and prefer not to do i t . Knaupp's review also indicated that achievement cannot be used as a predictor of attitudes in mathematics, and vice versa. Knaupp himself f e l t that the instruments used to measure attitudes to mathematics have not been sensitive enough and are of questionable v a l i d i t y . He suggested that there i s a major need for better instruments that might help uncover factors which influence students' attitudes and opinions. Michaels and Forsyth (1978) offered some advice on exactly what should be measured in a study of attitudes to mathematics. They stated that instruments should measure a student's enjoyment of mathematics, security and confidence with i t , and appreciation of i t s value and usefulness. They cautioned that researchers should be sure they are measuring attitudes to mathematics, and not other variables such as achievement or attitude to teacher. Shaughnessy, Haladyna and Shaughnessy (198 3) used a regression analysis to i l l u s t r a t e which of several variables contributed to the attitudes toward mathematics of grade four, seven and nine students. The strongest relationship in a l l three grades was with the quality the authors called "fatalism". They describe this as the b e l i e f that "math i s something that happens to you, and i s not a res u l t of your work and e f f o r t . " It could also be described as students' perception of their a b i l i t y in mathematics. While achievement was not a variable in this study, the study does have implications for the attitude-achievement question. Malpass (1953) described the possible e f f e c t of this f a t a l i s t i c attitude as "a vicious c i r c l e of negative attitudes and poor grades". In another review of attitudes toward mathematics Aiken (1976) reported that 1) when attitude scores are used as predictors of achievement, a low but s i g n i f i c a n t positive c o r r e l a t i o n i s usually found; 2) attitude i s second to a b i l i t y as a predictor of achievement; 3) i n late elementary and junior high school the marks a student gets help to form his attitudes, rather than vice versa; 4) the attitude-achievement predictor i s stronger for g i r l s than for boys; and 5) boys show somewhat better achievement, and less anxiety to mathematics, than g i r l s . Schofield (1982) measured attitudes toward and achievement in mathematics for nearly 2,000 grade three to six students at the beginning and end of the school year. Schofield administered two kinds of achievement tests, one testing mathematics concepts and one testing computation. Results from this study indicated that the attitude-13 achievement relationship was s i g n i f i c a n t l y stronger 1) in boys than in g i r l s ; 2) in computation compared with concepts; and 3) late in the school year rather than early. The rel a t i o n s h i p between attitude and achievement also appeared to increase with successive grades. Some of the d i f f i c u l t i e s of accurately analyzing and c l a s s i f y i n g the very diverse responses of students i s evident in Kiryluk's (1980) sample of students' responses to questions about their feelings on mathematics. Some students said they liked mathematics because i t was always d i f f e r e n t ; some hated i t because i t was always the same. Some desired easy exercises so that they did not have to struggle; some wanted challenging, d i f f i c u l t exercises. Brodie (1964) tested high school students to see i f any rela t i o n s h i p existed between attitude and achievement. He administered tests measuring nine aspects of academic knowledge and s k i l l . Attitudes were measured using the Student Opinion P o l l developed by Jackson and Getzels (1959). The res u l t s of Brodie>s study indicated that tests which measured s k i l l s closely associated with classroom objectives and d r i l l routine were more closely related to attitude than were general knowledge areas acquired through independent reading and observation. In other words, a negative attitude to school was related to poor performance in school subjects, but not to general knowledge gained outside the classroom. These results are similar to those of Malpass (1953), who found that classroom grades, as opposed to standard achievement test marks, were related to attitude. Dean (1950) examined the attitude-achievement question by asking students their subject preferences and r e l a t i n g these to scores on achievement tests. He found a tendency, but no s i g n i f i c a n t relationship, between subject preference and achievement among the elementary school students involved in the study. Influence of the Teacher Tenenbaum (1940) suggested that while many factors may influence a child' s attitude to school, the teacher i s the single most important factor. He also expressed the view that of the many influencing factors the teacher i s the most f l e x i b l e and e a s i l y changed. If, as research seems to indicate, the teacher i s an important influence on students' attitudes, then the discussion of the teacher-pupil r e l a t i o n s h i p i s relevant to the study of subject preference. Lounsbury (1981) reported on a study of the middle school experience in which researchers closely observed 100 grade seven students in 100 d i f f e r e n t schools. Each student was followed through a day of school, observed, and 15 l a t e r interviewed as to how he f e l t about school. These conclusions were drawn: the grade seven day i s often not interesting or varied enough; more emphasis shold be placed on individual needs; the relations between teachers and pupils are generally good, but the relationship i s not being translated into educational independence of thought or the sharing of learning experience. Brooks (1978) had 94 grade four to six students draw pictures of their classrooms. Each picture portrayed the teacher answering a question the pupil had just asked. Students also answered a written questionnaire that measured attitude to school. Results were that students with negative attitudes to school usually drew the teacher far away from the student in the picture, while those with positive attitudes drew the teacher standing closer to the student. There was also less discrepancy in height between the student and the teacher in the drawings of those with positive attitudes. The authors f e l t that such classroom contextual drawings formed a good, unobtrusive measure of pupil attitudes to school. The influence of the teacher on younger children was demonstrated i n Sechrest's study (1962) of children i n kindergarten, grades one, two and three. From the i n t e r -views with the children, i t appeared that their teachers used many motivational devices such as stars, praise and 16 c r i t i c i s m . The most powerful device from the children's point of view was the teacher's own attention, which she could give or withhold. Most of the children in this study were generally positive about th e i r experiences in school, and most seemed to regard the teacher as the main source of the good things that happened to them in school. J e r s i l d ' s (1943) study of c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of teachers who are liked best and d i s l i k e d most showed the most valued t r a i t s to be kindness, sense of humour, l i v e l i n e s s and a l i k i n g for others. As well, children li k e d teachers who were f a i r d i s c i p l i n a r i a n s and were interesting and helpful in actual teaching. S k i l l as a teacher was mentioned more by older children. Characteristics d i s l i k e d were sarcasm, unkindness, the showing of favoritism and the meting out of unfair punishments. Leeds' (1954) study of teacher behavior lik e d and d i s l i k e d by grade four to six students showed sim i l a r r e s u l t s . Students d i s l i k e d teachers who scolded a l o t , were bossy and cross, talked too much, were angry when students didn't understand, and gave a l o t of homework. Even superior teachers were seen as having 'pets', and t h i s was universally d i s l i k e d . Pupils did l i k e teachers who were patient, kind, interested, h e l p f u l , understanding, f a i r , fun and who kept their promises. They expressed a real fear and d i s l i k e of teachers who yel l e d , were unfair 17 and embarrassed p u p i l s . Sense of humour was much val u e d . The extent to which teacher behavior a f f e c t s students' s u b j e c t p r e ference remains to be demonstrated, but i t seems l o g i c a l that a teacher whom students l i k e and t r u s t c ould evoke more p o s i t i v e r e a c t i o n s to the v a r i o u s s u b j e c t s , and a teacher students d i s l i k e could have the o p p o s i t e e f f e c t . Together with p e r s o n a l i t y t r a i t s must go s k i l l as a teacher of a s p e c i f i c s u b j e c t , but s k i l l as a teacher was mentioned l e s s o f t e n than the 'human' c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s by the students i n these two s t u d i e s . Tenenbaum (1944) , whose study i n d i c a t e d t h a t students were q u i t e c r i t i c a l of s c h o o l , found that teachers were more popular than school i t s e l f , although those who d i s l i k e d school mentioned the teacher most f r e q u e n t l y as the cause. G i r l s l i k e d t h e i r teachers more o f t e n than boys. Tiedeman (1942) found r e s u l t s s i m i l a r to the l a t e r s t u d i e s o f J e r s i l d and Leeds: seventh, e i g h t h and n i n t h graders d i s l i k e d teachers who were a u t o c r a t i c and domineering; who used r i d i c u l e and sarcasm; who made t h r e a t s and gave severe punishments; who d i d not provide f o r i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s and who showed f a v o r i t i s m . Students l i k e d teachers who were kind and c h e e r f u l ; were h e l p f u l and e x p l a i n e d things w e l l ; who had no 'pets' and were f a i r to a l l ; who were neat and t i d y i n t h e i r d ress and 18 classroom; who were fr i e n d l y and p o l i t e when encountered out of the clasroom; who had a sense of humour and who understood children. In Witty's (1947) analysis of the personality t r a i t s of the e f f e c t i v e teacher, he described the results of reports written by 12,000 grade two to twelve students e n t i t l e d , "The Teacher Who Has Helped Me Most". The twelve most frequently mentioned t r a i t s were a co-operative, democratic attitude, kindliness and consideration for the i n d i v i d u a l , patience, wide in t e r e s t s , good personal appearance and pleasing manner, fairness and i m p a r t i a l i t y , sense of humour, good dis p o s i t i o n and consistent behavior, interest in pupils' problems, f l e x i b i l i t y , use of recognition and praise, and unusual proficiency in teaching a p a r t i c u l a r subject. Two studies linked teacher attitude toward school subjects and students' attitudes toward the same subject. Faust (1963) studied the subject preferences of 2,535 grade five p u p i ls. One of the findings of this study was that there was a s i g n i f i c a n t relationship between the attitudes of teachers and the attitudes of their students to school subjects. Breen (1979) studied grade one to f i v e students and their attitudes to arithmetic, science, s o c i a l studies nd reading, and found a s i g n i f i c a n t relationship between teacher interest in subject matter taught and students' attitudes toward subject matter. Inskeep and Monroe (1965), however,' concluded from the i r study that there was no s i g n i f i c a n t correlation between the preferences of teachers and the preferences of their students, for various elementary school subjects. Sex Differences One of the factors that i s mentioned most often in student attitude reseach i s the d i f f e r e n t attitudes expressed by g i r l s and boys. Boys and g i r l s tend to react d i f f e r e n t l y in school and have d i f f e r e n t subject preferences. Barker Lunn (1972), who studied 2,000 junior school children i n England, found that g i r l s had s i g n i f i c a n t l y more favorable attitudes to school. They also had more interest i n , and placed more importance on schoolwork. They were more involved with the s o c i a l network of their own classrooms, and were more conforming. On the other hand, g i r l s had a poorer academic self-image and were more anxious in c l a s s . Barker Lunn suggested that this was because g i r l s set higher standards for themselves and judged themselves more harshly. In this study g i r l s also obtained higher scores on relationships with teachers. Brodie (1964) found that the attitude-achievement l i n k 20 was stronger in g i r l s than in boys. In this study, which measured students' s a t i s f a c t i o n with school against their achievement, s a t i s f i e d g i r l s obtained the highest achieve-ment scores, and d i s s a t i s f i e d g i r l s obtained the lowest achievement scores. Glick (1970) also found more extremes with g i r l s when he studied attitude to school and socioeconomic status. Low socioeconomic status g i r l s had the least favorable attitudes to school, and high socioeconomic status g i r l s had the most favorable attitudes. Jackson and Getzels (1959) examined the psychological bases for students' d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with school. They found that while d i s s a t i s f i e d boys tend to place blame outwardly on school authorities and others, and thus become disruptive, d i s s a t i s f i e d g i r l s tend to feel inadequate and blame themselves. The fact that teachers in t h i s study were able to distinguish d i s s a t i s f i e d from s a t i s f i e d boys, but were less able to make the d i s t i n c t i o n with g i r l s , was considered by Jackson and Getzels to be indicative of how feelings of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n are manifested d i f f e r e n t l y in g i r l s and in boys. While d i s s a t i s f i e d boys tend to act out, d i s s a t i s f i e d g i r l s tend to retreat into themselves with an inner anxiety that may not be e a s i l y d i s c e r n i b l e . Neil and Tismer (1970) , Tenenbaum (1940) and Wisenthal (1965) a l l found that g i r l s ' attitudes in general were more 21 positive than boys'. There are also differences in the subject preferences and achievement of g i r l s and boys. Most studies show that g i r l s l i k e English better and boys l i k e mathematics and science better. In terms of achievement, Wisenthal (1965) found that g i r l s did s i g n i f i c a n t l y better in school. Of three studies that did find a l i n k between attitude and achievement, one study found this relationship to be stronger in g i r l s than in boys, while two studies found the l i n k to be stronger in boys than in g i r l s . The Decline in Attitudes to School Two studies indicated that students' attitudes to school may decline from f a l l to spring of the school year. Flanders, Morrison and Brode (1968), who studied 820 sixth graders, found a s i g n i f i c a n t loss in positive attitude of pupils toward th e i r teachers and their schoolwork during the school year. This erosion of p o s i t i v e attitudes did not appear to be related to IQ, socioeconomic status or school achievement. Rather i t was related to a student's sense of locus of control. Those with an external locus of control, who tended to believe that outside factors were affecting, t h e i r l i v e s , began the year with less positive attitudes and also showed s i g n i f i c a n t l y greater loss of 22 p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e s during the year than d i d students with an i n t e r n a l l o c u s of c o n t r o l , who tended to b e l i e v e that they b a s i c a l l y c o n t r o l l e d t h e i r own l i v e s . Greater l o s s e s of p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e s a l s o occurred among students whose teachers e x h i b i t e d a lower i n c i d e n c e of p r a i s e and encouragement. Neale, G i l l and Tismer (1970) found that students' a t t i t u d e s toward a l l s u b j e c t s were l e s s p o s i t i v e at the end of the year than at the beginning. While both g i r l s ' and boys' a t t i t u d e s d e c l i n e d , g i r l s ' a t t i t u d e s i n g e n e r a l were found more f a v o r a b l e than boys'. Several s t u d i e s have found a g e n e r a l d e c l i n e i n students' a t t i t u d e s to school as they progress from the primary grades to j u n i o r high s c h o o l . Wisenthal (1965) , i n a study o f over 2,000 E n g l i s h j u n i o r school s t u d e n t s , found that a t t i t u d e s to school d e c l i n e d from the f i r s t to the f o u r t h form. Beck (1977) reported that while p u p i l a t t i t u d e s to the school c u r r i c u l u m were g e n e r a l l y p o s i t i v e , a t t i t u d e s were l e s s p o s i t i v e as grade l e v e l i n c r e a s e d , e s p e c i a l l y a f t e r grade f o u r . Haladyna and Thomas (1979) s t u d i e d 3,000 grade s i x to e i g h t p u p i l s and found that t h e i r a t t i t u d e s to s c h o o l showed a steady d e c l i n e as grade l e v e l progressed, u n t i l by grade e i g h t students were q u i t e n e g a t i v e . A t t i t u d e to 23 school did not seem to be related to attitude to s p e c i f i c subjects. Attitudes to s p e c i f i c subjects were f a i r l y stable throughout the grades. Snyder and S i b r e l (1971) found that of 40 common educational experiences, 24 were perceived s i g n i f i c a n t l y more negatively by intermediate children than by primary children. Other Factors Related to Attitudes to School Another factor that has been looked at in r e l a t i o n to student attitudes to school i s method of instruction. Anttonen and Broome (1978) examined students' attitudes, as well as several other factors, at three schools in the same d i s t r i c t . One of the schools had individualized instruc-tion and the other two had regular i n s t r u c t i o n . The results indicated that students in the school with individualized instruction had more posit i v e attitudes than those in the two schools with regular i n s t r u c t i o n . Gilbe r t (1980) reported on an evaluation of a new alternate program offered at an elementary school in Vancouver. This program had c u r r i c u l a r and organizational modifications that offered optional a c t i v i t i e s , community recreation, semestering of some subjects and structured free time for grades four through seven. Evaluation of the program indicated that there was b a s i c a l l y no difference in attitude between the alternate program students and their regular program counterparts, except that alternate program students were more positive regarding school s o c i a l structure and climate. Another study compared the attitudes to science of students in a regular and a revised program. Lowery, Bowyer and P a d i l l a (1980) compared the attitudes of 110 elementary students who had experienced the f u l l six years of a new, experimental science course that was less text-book and more a c t i v i t y oriented, with the attitudes of similar regular program students. Boys in both programs were more favorable to science than g i r l s . New program students, both boys and g i r l s , were s i g n i f i c a n t l y more favorable to science, experimenting, and to s c i e n t i s t s , than the regular program students. The new program students enjoyed science more. The authors saw this as an encouraging sign that an improved curriculum can have a positive e f f e c t on students' attitudes. Glick (1970) found that the attitudes to school of sixth grade students were affected by socioeconomic status. Low socioeconomic status females had the least p o s i t i v e attitudes to school, and high socioeconomic status females had the most posit i v e attitudes. Low socioeconomic status boys' attitudes improved from f a l l to spring, and high 25 socioeconomic boys' a t t i t u d e s d e c l i n e d from f a l l to s p r i n g . E p s t e i n and McPartland (1976) s t u d i e d students' s a t i s -f a c t i o n with school and found that students with high s a t i s f a c t i o n with school were g e n e r a l l y those who were comfortable with the school r u l e s and r e g u l a t i o n s , were ambitious and i n d u s t r i o u s , had good s e l f - e v a l u a t i o n and re c e i v e d good feed-back from teachers and p a r e n t s . These s t u d i e s help to form the o v e r a l l p i c t u r e of student a t t i t u d e s of which s u b j e c t preference i s a p a r t . Summary From t h i s review, s e v e r a l major p o i n t s have emerged with r e s p e c t to students' a t t i t u d e s to s c h o o l . 1. While most s t u d i e s found no r e l a t i o n s h i p or a weak r e l a t i o n s h i p between a t t i t u d e to school and achievement, Malpass (1953) and Brodie (1964) d i d f i n d a r e l a t i o n s h i p between a t t i t u d e and a c t u a l classroom grades, r a t h e r than s t a n d a r d i z e d t e s t r e s u l t s . Neale, G i l l and Tismer (1970) found s i g n i f i c a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s between a t t i t u d e and achievement f o r boys f o r s o c i a l s t u d i e s , a r i t h m e t i c and reading, and f o r g i r l s f o r rea d i n g . 2. The teacher i s a major i n f l u e n c e on student a t t i t u d e s . While r e s e a r c h has revealed the important i n f l u e n c e o f the teacher on students' g e n e r a l a t t i t u d e s to s c h o o l , l i t t l e research has been directed toward the influence of the teacher on attitudes to s p e c i f i c subjects. Faust (1963) and Breen (1979) did find that teacher attitudes toward school subjects were related to students' subject preferences. 3. Boys and g i r l s have d i f f e r e n t attitudes to school. G i r l s tend to be more positive to both school and teachers. Boys and g i r l s also tend to have d i f f e r e n t subject preferences. G i r l s express stronger preferences for language and reading, while boys express stronger preferences for science and mathematics. 4. Curriculum, method of i n s t r u c t i o n , socioeconomic status and self-concept appear to be related to attitude to school. Several studies showed that an improved curriculum or a d i f f e r e n t method of instruction could result in improved attitudes toward a s p e c i f i c subject, or to school in general. Students with a good self-concept appear to have more posit i v e feelings about school. Glick (1970) found that low socioeconomic status g i r l s had the least positive attitudes to school, and that high socioeconomic status g i r l s had the most positive attitudes. Glick's study also indicated that low socioeconomic status boys' attitudes improved from f a l l to spring of the school year, and high socioeconomic status boys' attitudes declined from f a l l to spring. 5. In terms of subject preference, students appear to l i k e physical education, arithmetic and art best, rate s o c i a l studies, science, music and reading in the middle, and rate language the lowest. The present study attempts to add to the body of know-ledge on student attitudes to school by examining students' subject preferences in r e l a t i o n to sex, grade l e v e l , achievement, a b i l i t y and the teacher. By examining a l l of these variables in r e l a t i o n to the f u l l range of elementary school subjects, this study should provide a more comprehensive picture of subject preference than has yet been reported in the l i t e r a t u r e . 28 Chapter III Method Subjects This study involved 296 students from a school d i s t r i c t in the metropolitan area of Vancouver, B r i t i s h Columbia. This number comprised a l l the grade f i v e , six and seven students in three d i f f e r e n t schools. Table 1 shows the number of boys and g i r l s o v e r a l l and in each grade. Instruments Subject Area Preference Test. Students' subject preferences were determined by using a test developed by the Instructional Objectives Exchange in C a l i f o r n i a . The test measures preferences for eight subjects in the elementary school curriculum. It i s scored as follows: for each subject, four questions are asked. Students can assign zero, one or two points for each question. Thus a t o t a l score of eight can be assigned to a subject. Eight indicates the most positive attitude toward a subject, and zero indicates the most negative attitude. Students can assign any number from zero to eight for each subject. A copy of this test can be found in Appendix 1. No r e l i a b i l i t y or v a l i d i t y data were available from the publishers for the test, and an ERIC search gave no indication that i t had been used by other researchers. Logical v a l i d i t y was established by submitting the test to a panel of teachers, who found i t to appear s a t i s -factory for i t s stated purpose. Two methods were used to establish r e l i a b i l i t y . F i r s t , the tes t - r e t e s t method was used. One class was given the test twice with an intervening period of three weeks. Test-retest r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t s were computed for each of the eight school subjects. These are presented in Table 2. Second, the s p l i t half method was used to test i n t e r -nal consistency. This test was performed on one class's Subject Area Preference Tests. These results also appear in Table 2. The low test-retest r e s u l t for reading may be accounted for by the fact that only one class was used for the t e s t - r e t e s t , and any change in that class's reading instruction or curriculum could have affected the students' attitudes to reading, causing them to rate reading d i f f e r e n t l y the second time. This class did experience a change of teacher after the f i r s t administration of the Subject Area Preference Test. While a larger t e s t - r e t e s t sample would have corrected for this type of e f f e c t , only one class was available for two administrations of the 30 Table 1 Grade Placement in the Sample of Boys and N=296 G i r l s 5 grade 6 7 t o t a l boys 52 54 58 164 g i r l s 47 46 39 132 t o t a l 99 100 97 296 Table 2 Test-Retest and S p l i t Half R e l i a b i l i t i e s of the Subject N=28 Area Preference Test Subject area Test-Retest Results Internal Consistency ( s p l i t half) Results Physical education 0.84 0.85 Art 0.70 0.70 Mathematics 0.54 0.55 Music 0.84 0.65 Social Studies 0.67 0.70 Science 0.74 0.69 Reading 0.37 0.83 Language arts 0.82 0.58 t e s t . Since the ing i s high, and are s a t i s f a c t o r y , i n t e r n a l c o n s i s t e n c y c o e f f i c i e n t f o r read-s i n c e a l l other r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t s t h i s i s not seen as a s e r i o u s weakness. How I F e e l About Language A r t s . The purpose of t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e , designed by the author, was to determine p o s s i b l e reasons f o r students' f e e l i n g s about language a r t s , which was the l e a s t popular s u b j e c t according to the r e s u l t s of the Subject Area P r e f e r e n c e Test. L o g i c a l v a l i d i t y was e s t a b l i s h e d through a procedure i n which the t e s t was shown to a panel of t e a c h e r s , who agreed that i t appeared to be an a p p r o p r i a t e instrument f o r i t s s t a t e d purpose. I t was not p o s s i b l e to a d m i n i s t e r t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e twice to any c l a s s because of the amount of c l a s s time t h a t was a v a i l a b l e , and as most responses were d e s c r i p t i v e , the s p l i t h a l f technique f o r computing r e l i a b i l i t y was not a p p r o p r i a t e . Thus no r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t s could be computed. T h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e can be found i n Appendix 2. Design and Procedure In January of 198 3 a l e t t e r was sent to the s c h o o l board asking permission to conduct t h i s study i n i t s s c h o o l d i s t r i c t . The request was approved but s e v e r a l c o n s t r a i n t s r e s u l t e d : 32 1. The o r i g i n a l request was for 600 students and permission was granted to use 300 students. 2. Random sampling was not possible due to the disruption of classes that would occur i f only a few students from each class were to complete the test and questionnaire; thus intact classes were used. 3. Data on the socioeconomic status of the students were not available. Thirteen of the fourteen grade f i v e to seven teachers in the three schools agreed to participate in the study, and these teachers supplied l e t t e r grades for t h e i r students in reading, language a r t s , mathematics, s o c i a l studies, science, a r t , music and physical education. Teachers also supplied reading scores from the Canada Test of Basic S k i l l s for each of the i r students. Throughout the study students were not i d e n t i f i e d by name, but by school, class and number on the class l i s t . In February, 1983, the Subject Area Preference Test was submitted to a panel of teachers for their examination. After t h i s panel judged the test to be v a l i d , the test was administered to one grade seven c l a s s . Three weeks l a t e r , at the end of February, the test was administered to th i s class again as well as to the other twelve p a r t i c i p a t i n g classes. The test was administered by classroom teachers according to instructions accompanying the questionnaires. Questionnaires were then collected and scored by the author. Test-retest r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t s were computed from the scores of the class that completed the test twice. Scores from the Subject Area Preference Test showed language arts to be the least popular subject, and to investigate further this r e s u l t the How I Feel About Language Arts questionnaire was designed in March, 198 3. This questionnaire was submitted to the same panel of teachers to establish l o g i c a l v a l i d i t y . In A p r i l , 1983, the How I Feel About Language Arts questionnaire was administered by classroom teachers. 34 Chapter IV Results Data Analysis The order of subject preferences was determined o v e r a l l , by sex and by grade, and means and standard deviations for each subject were calculated. These results are presented in Tables 3 through 8. When subjects were arranged in ov e r a l l rank order, as shown in Table 3, four groups or clusters of subjects were discovered. While inspection reveals that the differences between rank orders in each group were minimal, the differences between groups were found to be s i g n i f i c a n t , ^ - t e s t s of the significance of these differences are presented i n Table 9. Each school subject was plotted according to the frequency by which each of the possible preference scores, zero to eight, was chosen. The d i s t r i b u t i o n of preference scores for each school subject i s presented in Figure 1. Pearson product moment correlations were calculated to see which variables might be correlated with subject preference scores. These results are presented in the form of a cor r e l a t i o n matrix i n Table 10. 35 Table 3 Order of Subject Preferences Overall N=296 Rank Subject name Mean* Standard deviation 1 Physical Education 6.67 1.79 2. Art 5.73 2.06 3. Mathematics 5.69 2.02 4. Music 5.20 2.32 5. Social Studies 5.11 2.19 6. Science 5.08 2.37 7. Reading 5.08 2.20 8. Language Arts 4.17 2.48 *Eight was the highest score that could be assigned to a subject. Table 4 Order of Subject Preference: boys N= = 164 Rank Subject name Mean Standard Deviation 1. Physical Education 6.78 1.67 2. Mathematics 5.46 2.08 3. Art 5.44 2.22 4. Social Studies 5.29 2.27 5. Science 5.18 2.49 6. Music 4.79 2.56 7. Reading 4.72 2.24 8. Language Arts 3.73 2.24 36 Table 5 Order of Subject Preferences: g i r l s N=132 Rank Subject name Mean Standard deviation 1. Physical Education 6.54 1.94 2. Art 6.10 1.78 3. Mathematics 5.98 1.91 4. Music 5.71 1.88 5. Reading 5.53 2.08 6. Science 4.95 2.22 7. Social Studies 4.88 2.07 8. Language Arts 4.71 2.43 Table 6 Order of Subject Preferences: grade fi v e N=99 Rank Subject name Mean Standard Deviation 1. Physical Education 6.76 1.73 2. Art 6.48 1.47 3. Mathematics 6.29 1.78 4. Reading 5.68 2.12 5. Music 5.45 2.50 6. Science 5. 28 2.41 7. Social Studies 5.26 2.22 8. Language Arts 5.07 2.49 37 Table 7 Order of Subject Preferences: grade six N=100 Rank Subject name Mean Standard deviation 1. Physical Education 6.68 1.83 2. Art 5.87 1.75 3. Mathematics 5.66 1.98 4. Music 5.54 2.18 5. Science 5.43 2.13 6. Social Studies 5.28 1.98 7. Reading 4.68 2.06 8. Language Arts 3.96 2.26 Table 8 Order of Subject Preferences: grade seven N=97 Rank Subject name Mean Standard Deviation 1. Physical Education 6.57 1.84 2. Mathematics 5.12 2.14 3. Reading 4.90 2.32 4. Art 4.84 2.50 5. Social Studies 4.78 2.36 6. Music 4.59 2.18 7. Science 4.50 2.50 8. Language Arts 3.48 2.44 38 Table 9 Subject Preferences Grouped According to Sig n i f i c a n t Differences in the Means N=296 Rank Subject name Standard Mean deviation 1. Physical Education 6.67 1.79 t=6.22 p<.01 2. Art Mathematics 3. Music Social Studies Science Reading 5.73 5.69 5.20 5.11 5.08 5.08 2.06 2.02 2.32 2.19 2.37 2.20 t=2.82 p<.01 t=4.65 p <.01 4. Language Arts 4.17 2.48 Table 10 Pearson Product Moment Correlations N=276 Subject Achievement and other Variables Preferences APE AA AM AMu AS ASc AR AL CTBS Div Gr Sex Sch PPE .18 .04 .16 .13 .15 .13 .08 .05 .24 .10 .03 .12 .13 PA .18 .02 .01 .02 .05 .02 .03 .10 .07 .01 .31* .11 .04 PM .06 .02 .11 .02 .01 .01 .10 .12 .10 .20 .23 .08 .16 PMu .22 .10 .15 .28* .09 .01 .06 .01 .05 .19 .02 .08 .21 PS .09 .01 .16 .04 .25 .17 .09 .02 .07 .04 .12 .18 .08 PSc .01 .04 .01 .10 .01 .19 .03 .02 .05 .06 .19 .12 .05 PR .06 .02 .10 .02 .08 .03 .03 .02 .19 .22 .32* .21 .15 PL .11 .07 .07 .09 .09 .09 .01 .04 .09 .13 .26 .03 .10 * p < .01 Abbreviations: Preferences: Physical Education-PPE, Art-PA, Mathematics-PM, Music-PMu, Social Studies-PS, Science-PSc, Reading-PR, Language Arts - P i . Achievement: Physical Education-APE, Art-AA, Mathematics-AM, Music-AMu, Social Studies-AS, Science-ASc, Reading-AR, Language Arts-AL. Other variables: Canada Test of Basic S k i l l s Reading Score-CTBS, Division-div, School-sch, Grade-gr. 40 Figure 1 Frequency Distribution Social Studies Mean 5.11 SD 2.19 80 70 0 J 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Preference scores Science Mean 5.08 SD 2.37 90 80 70 < 0 I 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Preference scores Figure 1 - cont'd 41 Reading Mean 5.08 SD 2.20 80 70 0 | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Preference scores F i g u r e 1 - c o n t ' d 4 2 P.E. I Mean 6.67 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Art Mean 5.7 3 SD 2.06 90 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 P r e f e r e n c e s c o r e s Figure 1 - cont' d 43 Math Mean 5.69 SD 2.02 10 <D -H O CD <D 4 5 6 7 Preference scores Music Mean 5.20 SD 2.32 cn CD •rH O c CD fa 4 5 6 7 Preference scores 44 An examination of Table X shows three s i g n i f i c a n t correlations: preference in music i s correlated with achievement in music (r=.28), preference in art i s correlated with grade (r=.31) and preference in reading i s correlated with grade (r=.32). Analyses of variance were done for the e f f e c t of sex and grade on each of the eight subject preferences. The eff e c t due to sex was found to be s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t for three school subjects, with g i r l s expressing s i g n i f i c a n t l y greater preferences than boys for reading (F(290)=9.99, p<.01), language arts ( F( 290) =10 .77 , p<.01) and music (F(290)=10.48, p<.01). The e f f e c t due to grade was found to be s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t for four school subject, reading (F(290)=5.56, p<.01), mathematics (F(290)=7.84, p<.001), language arts (F(290)=9.62, p<.01) and art ( F( 290) =15. 61, p<.001). The interaction between sex and grade l e v e l was not found to be s i g n i f i c a n t for any of the eight school subjects. While the analyses of variance showed a s i g n i f i c a n t grade e f f e c t for four subjects, they did not reveal which grade l e v e l differences were s i g n i f i c a n t . To determine which grade l e v e l differences were s i g n i f i c a n t , a number of t-tests were done. To reduce the number of J:-tests, and thus reduce the chance of making a type one error, the 45 smallest difference was measured for each subject. In the case of mathematics, the difference between the means of grade six and seven was smaller than the difference between grade five and six. The smaller, grade six-seven difference was measured and found to be s i g n i f i c a n t (t(195)=0.54, p<.01), so the larger, grade f i v e - s i x difference was also assumed to be s i g n i f i c a n t . In the case of reading the smallest difference, which was between grades six and seven, was not found to be s i g n i f i c a n t , so the larger difference between grade f i v e and six was measured and found to be s i g n i f i c a n t (jt(197) = 5.79, p<.01). For language arts the smallest difference was between grades six and seven as well. This difference was found to be s i g n i f i c a n t (t (195) =2. 58 , p<.01), so the larger, grade f i v e - s i x difference was also assumed to be s i g n i f i c a n t . For a r t , the smallest difference was between grade five and six . This difference was measured and found to be s i g n i f i c a n t (jt (197) =4. 55 , p<.01), so the larger, grade six-seven difference was also assumed to be s i g n i f i c a n t . In summary, for each of the four subjects in which a s i g n i f i c a n t grade e f f e c t was found (reading, mathematics, language arts and a r t ) , the differences between grade f i v e and six and between grade six and seven were s i g n i f i c a n t , except in the case of reading, where only the grade f i v e - s i x difference was s i g n i f i c a n t . 46 The d i f f e r e n c e s i n s u b j e c t p r e f e r e n c e means f o r a l l e i g h t s c h o o l s u b j e c t s , a c c o r d i n g t o s e x and g r a d e , a r e d i s p l a y e d i n F i g u r e 2. F u r t h e r F i n d i n g s R e s u l t s f r o m t h e How I F e e l A b o u t Language A r t s q u e s t i o n n a i r e a r e p r e s e n t e d i n T a b l e 1 1 . R e s p o n s e s t o e a c h q u e s t i o n a r e g i v e n i n t h e f o r m o f p e r c e n t a g e s . O n l y t h o s e r e s p o n s e s t h a t were g i v e n by 10% o r more o f t h e s t u d e n t s i n t h e g r o u p a r e p r e s e n t e d . O n l y t h e r e s p o n s e s f r o m s t u d e n t s who e x p r e s s e d a d e f i n i t e l i k e o r d i s l i k e o f l a n g u a g e a r t s were a n a l y z e d . T h ose who a s s i g n e d s i x , s e v e n o r e i g h t o u t o f a p o s s i b l e e i g h t t o l a n g u a g e a r t s on t h e S u b j e c t A r e a P r e f e r e n c e T e s t were i n c l u d e d i n t h e ' l i k e ' g r o u p , and t h o s e who a s s i g n e d z e r o , one o r two t o l a n g u a g e a r t s were i n c l u d e d i n t h e ' d i s l i k e ' g r o u p . 47 S u b j e c t P r e f e r e n c e Means (a) S u b j e c t P r e f e r e n c e Means PPE PA PM PMU PS PSc PR PL PPE O v e r a l l MEAN 6.7 SD 1.8 PA 5.7 2.1 PM 5.7 2.0 PMu 5.2 2.3 PS 5.1 2.2 PSc 5.1 2.4 PR 5.1 2.2 PL 4.2 2.5 (b) S u b j e c t P r e f e r e n c e Means by Sex Boys G i r l s . . . MEAN SD PPE 6.8 6.5 1.6 1.9 PA 5.4 6.1 2.2 1.8 PM 5.5 5.9 2.1 1.9 PMu 4.8 5.7 2.5 1.8 PS 5.3 4.8 2.3 2.1 PSC 5.2 4.9 2.5 2.2 PR 4.7 5.5 2.3 2.1 PL 3.7 4.7 2.4 2.4 CD CQ PPE PA PM PMu PS PSc PR PL CO rH CO rH >i U >, U O -H O -H m o CQ o 48 Figure 2 continued (c) Subject Preference Means by Grade Grade 5 Grade 6 - - -Grade 7 MEAN SD-PPE 6 .7 6.6 6 .5 1 .7 1.8 1.8 PA 6 .5 5.8 4 .8 1 .5 1.7 2.5 PM 6 .3 5.6 5 .1 1 .7 1.9 2.1 PMu 5 .4 5.5 4 .6 2 .5 2.1 2.1 PS 5 .3 5.3 4 .8 2 . 2 1.9 2.3 PSc 5 .3 5.4 4 .5 2 .4 2.1 2.5 PR 5 .7 4.7 4 .9 2 .1 2.0 2.3 PL 5 .1 4.0 3 .5 2 .5 2.2 2.4 Grade 5 6 7 5 6 7 PPE PA PM PMu PS PSc PR PL School Subjects Table 11 49 Responses to the How I Feel About Language Arts Questionnaire l i k e N=86 d i s l i k e - N=73 statement l i k e response d i s l i k e If I had to describe language arts in one word, I would say i t i s If I were a language arts teacher I would The hardest thing about language arts i s If I could change language arts somehow I would 25% boring 26% 18 interesting 13 okay 22 11 good/excellent — bad 17 make i t more fun/ 25 interesting 30 give more work/ 15 make i t harder give less work/ make i t easier 15 emphasize creative 14 writing quit 15 be a good teacher/ 14% explain well 12% emphasize spelling 10% The thing I l i k e best 45 about language arts i s 27 creative writing 41 spe l l i n g 22 nothing 22 creative writing/ deciding what to 32 to write 26 22 language 27 11 nothing-it's easy — — sp e l l i n g 11 make i t more fun/ 23 interesting 32 give less work/ 16 make i t easier change i t to a r t , PE or math 32 50 statement response l i k e d i s l i k e 6. The most important 37 spelling 39 thing I have learned 21 how to write well 27 from language arts i s 15 punctuation 13 11 how to speak well — 7. The most boring part 28 creative writing 10 of language arts i s 22 language 31 15 spel l i n g — — everything 19 8. When I was younger I 30 fun 18 thought language arts 26 boring 17 was — bad 22 9. The most interesting 44 creative writing 42 part of language arts 23 spe l l i n g 19 i s 10 language — — nothing 22 10. The thing a language give too much arts teacher should 22 work — never do i s 13 yell/be mean 17 11 give homework 22 give work that i s — too d i f f i c u l t 13 — be boring 13 11. The part of language 48 creative writing 57 arts I l i k e best i s 42 spel l i n g 41 10 language 12. The part of language 50 spe l l i n g 43 arts I am best at i s 38 creative writing 57 12 language 13. Language arts i s 38 agree 10 interesting 19 d isagree 53 no strong 43 feelings 37 51 statement 14. Language arts i s useful to me now 15. Language arts w i l l be useful to me when I am older 16. Language arts i s d i f f i c u l t 17. Language arts i s fun 18. I get l o t s of language arts homework 19. I used to l i k e language arts better when I was younger 20. I wish I didn't have to take language arts response l i k e d i s l i k e 62 agree 38 10 disagree 19 no strong 28 feelings 43 78 agree 52 7 disagree 20 no strong 15 feelings 28 18 agree 20 35 disagree 31 no strong 47 feelings 49 28 agree 7 32 disagree 64 no strong 40 feelings 29 8 agree 12 72 disagree 58 no strong 20 feelings 30 32 agree 41 35 disagree 34 no strong 33 feelings 25 20 agree 57 44 disagree 16 no strong 36 feelings 27 52 Chapter V Discussion Subject Area Preference Test In terms of the o v e r a l l order of subject preference there were four groups, and not eight d i s t i n c t categories. These four groups are similar to other subject preference study r e s u l t s . Inskeep and Monroe (1965), Faust (1963) and Fraser (1980) a l l found physical education and arithmetic to be among the most popular subjects, and Inskeep and Monroe, and Faust found language to be the least popular subject. This study confirms those r e s u l t s . The frequency graphs (Figure 1) show considerable s i m i l a r i t y between a l l of the subjects except language arts and physical education. The graph for physical education shows just how popular this subject was among the students in the study. 130 pupils, or almost half the sample, assigned physical education the maximum preference score of eight. Physical education also had the smallest standard deviation. The graph for language a r t s , on the other hand, shows that preference scores for language arts were more widely d i s t r i b u t e d , as attested to by the fact that language arts had the largest standard deviation. The Pearson product moment correlations showed three s i g n i f i c a n t correlations. Achievement and preference in 53 music appeared to be r e l a t e d . T h i s was the o n l y apparent r e l a t i o n s h i p between achievement and p r e f e r e n c e , though the c o r r e l a t i o n c o e f f i c i e n t f o r achievement and preference i n s o c i a l s t u d i e s approached the l e v e l o f s i g n i f i c a n c e . The other two s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n s were grade l e v e l c o r r e l a t i o n s with preference i n a r t and r e a d i n g . For a r t , the p r e f e r e n c e means f o r each grade were grade f i v e : mean 6.5, SD 1.5; grade s i x : mean 5.8, SD 1.7; grade seven: mean 4.8, SD 2.5. These f i g u r e s show a d e c r e a s i n g p r e f e r e n c e and an i n c r e a s i n g standard d e v i a t i o n with i n c r e a s i n g grade l e v e l . Reading d i d not f o l l o w t h i s p a t t e r n . While grade f i v e s again expressed the g r e a t e s t p r e f e r e n c e , grade s i x pr e f e r e n c e scores were the lowest. Means and standard d e v i a t i o n s were grade f i v e : mean 5.7, SD 2.; grade s i x : mean 4.7, SD 2.0; grade seven: mean 4.9, SD 2.3. Standard d e v i a t i o n s i n t h i s case were a l l very s i m i l a r . The analyses of v a r i a n c e showed sex to be r e l a t e d to s u b j e c t p r e f e r e n c e f o r three s u b j e c t s , with g i r l s e x p r e s s i n g s i g n i f i c a n t l y g r e a t e r p r e f e r e n c e s than boys f o r r e a d i n g , language and music. These r e s u l t s are s i m i l a r to those of Beck (1977) and Haladyna and Thomas (1979). The analyses of v a r i a n c e a l s o showed a s i g n i f i c a n t grade l e v e l d i f f e r e n c e f o r f o u r s u b j e c t . For each of these four s u b j e c t s , r e a d i n g , language, mathematics and a r t , 54 grade f i v e students expressed the greatest preferences. For language, mathematics and a r t , differences between the grade five and six scores, and between the grade six and seven scores, were a l l s i g n i f i c a n t , indicating a steady decline over the three grades in these subjects. This confirms the findings of Beck (1977) that students' attitudes to school subjects become less positive as grade l e v e l progresses. These findings do not concur with those of Haladyna and Thomas (1979), however, who found that while general attitudes to school declined with increasing grade, attitudes to s p e c i f i c subjects were f a i r l y stable throughout the grades. The only subject in t h i s study that did not show some decline from grade five to seven was physical education, which seemed to enjoy universal and continued popularity. Neither general a b i l i t y , as measured by the Canada Test of Basic S k i l l s , nor the teacher, as represented in Table 10 by the variable called d i v i s i o n , appeared to be related to subject preference. The How I Feel About Language Arts Questionnaire Responses to many of the questions were remarkably similar for students who lik e d language arts and those who d i s l i k e d i t . As can be seen i n Table 11 (page 31), responses to questions one, two and f i v e a l l indicated that students in both groups found language arts boring, and f e l t i t should be made more interesting and more fun. Percentages were very close for both groups making these responses. Questions three, nine and eleven a l l indicated that within language arts, students from both groups preferred creative writing overwhelmingly, with s p e l l i n g second and language a distant t h i r d . Again, percentages were very close for both groups. Question six also showed si m i l a r results for both groups. Spelling was f e l t to be the most important thing learned from language arts, how to write well was second, and punctuation was t h i r d . Responses to several questions did show differences between the two groups, however, questions two, four and ten gave some indication that perhaps students who d i s l i k e language arts find i t more d i f f i c u l t . In question two, 15 of the students who liked language arts said that a language arts teacher should give more work and make the work harder, while the same percentage of students who d i s l i k e d language arts f e l t a teacher should give less homework and make the work easier. This difference could also indicate less willingness to apply and extend themselves on the part of students who d i s l i k e d language arts, and not be an indication that they found the work 56 more d i f f i c u l t . While students from both groups like d creative writing better than s p e l l i n g and language, question twelve shows that 57% of the students who d i s l i k e d language arts f e l t that creative writing was the part of language arts at which they did best. More students who liked language arts f e l t they were better at s p e l l i n g . Language was again a distant t h i r d , with no students in the d i s l i k e group claiming language was their best area. Question sixteen does not support the idea that students who d i s l i k e d language arts found i t more d i f f i c u l t , and results from the Subject Area Preference Test did not show any relationship between either achievement or a b i l i t y , and preference for language art s . Thus despite the possible interpretation of some parts of the How I Feel About Language Arts Questionnaire that students who d i s l i k e d language arts found i t more d i f f i c u l t , t h i s i s not a conclusion that can be r e a l i s t i c a l l y drawn. Additional research in this area i s needed to c l a r i f y this ambiguity. One of the things that i s evident from the results of th i s questionnaire i s that students viewed creative writing, s p e l l i n g and language very d i f f e r e n t l y . It appears that creative writing, s p e l l i n g and language should probably have been treated as separate subjects on the 57 Subject Area Preference Test. This might have resulted in a clearer picture of students' subject preferences. Students generally appeared to l i k e creative writing, with those who d i s l i k e d language arts expressing even greater favour for creative writing than those who l i k e d language arts. The students in the d i s l i k e group, who did appear to be more apprehensive about d i f f i c u l t work or too much work, may have liked creative writing partly because i t allows room for expression with fewer judgements of correct or incorrect. Unlike s p e l l i n g or language, in which an answer i s either correct or incorrect, creative writing i s an area in which students can express ideas, even show a sense of humour, and be praised for these things by the teacher without constant corrections. Sometimes minor errors are ignored by the teacher in favour of encouraging students' free expression. Thus there may be less tension and worry involved in creative writing. Also, by i t s very nature, creative writing might seem less boring than r e p e t i t i v e language worksheets or s p e l l i n g exercises. Although students from both the l i k e and d i s l i k e group expressed a preference for creative writing, both groups chose s p e l l i n g as the most important thing they had learned from language a r t s . This i s probably because they must use correct s p e l l i n g for writing in a l l subject areas and in 58 d a i l y l i f e . The p r a c t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n s of s p e l l i n g might be most evident to them. By the same token, language might be the hardest area from which to p e r c e i v e a p r a c t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n . Undoubtedly language t o p i c s such as punctuation and sentence s t r u c t u r e must be taught, but perhaps changes are needed i n the worksheet and d r i l l method by which language i s o f t e n approached. If language s k i l l s could be taught more as they occur i n d a i l y use they might seem l e s s b o r i n g and students might f i n d i t e a s i e r to see t h e i r p r a c t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n . Perhaps teachers could i n c o r p o r a t e more language i n s t r u c t i o n i n t o c r e a t i v e w r i t i n g l e s s o n s , where students could see how strengthening t h e i r language s k i l l s can improve t h e i r w r i t i n g . At any r a t e , the r e s u l t s of t h i s study hold a c o n s i s t e n t and strong message to t e a c h e r s : language aspects of the c u r r i c u l u m need examination with r e s p e c t to both content and methodology. Chapter VI Summary 59 Physical Education was found to be the most popular subject; art and mathematics were second; music, s o c i a l studies and reading were t h i r d ; and language arts was the least popular subject. The breakdown of language arts into language, creative writing and sp e l l i n g showed that students liked creative writing best, s p e l l i n g second and language t h i r d . Spelling was seen by students to be the most useful part of language arts. Most students said they found language arts boring. The very low preference expressed by the students for language arts seemed to be related to their negative feelings about language, not creative writing or s p e l l i n g . Of the variables investigated in r e l a t i o n to subject preference, sex and grade l e v e l appear to be the most important. Pearson product moment correlations showed grade l e v e l to be s i g n i f i c a n t l y correlated with preference for art and reading, and an analysis of variance showed the grade l e v e l e f f e c t to be s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t f or reading, mathematics, language and ar t . In each of these subjects, grade fives expressed the highest preference. A l l of the eight school subjects studied showed some decline in popularity from grade five to grade seven, with the continued exception of physical education, which enjoyed universal popularity. The analysis of variance also showed the sex e f f e c t to be s i g n i f i c a n t for three subjects, reading, language and music, with g i r l s expressing greater preferences than boys for each of these. Achievement, a b i l i t y and the teacher did not appear to be related to subject preference. The results of this study are generally in agreement with previous research in the order of subject preferences, in finding a general decline in attitude to school subjects, and in finding that g i r l s are more favorable than boys to reading, language and music. Most studies investigating a possible l i n k between achievement and subject preference or attitude have found a weak relationship or no relationship, and the results of t h i s study also confirm that finding. 61 Bibliography Abram, Marie J. "Is There an Association Between Students' 1) Self Concept 2) Liking for School and 3) Choice of Time Spent in Subject Area, and Their Level of Preparation for Fourth Grade?" 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"An Analysis of the Personality T r a i t s of the Effect i v e Teacher" Journal of Educational Research, 40, 1947, pp 662-671. 67 Appendix 1 Subject Area Preferences Intermediate Level Description and Rationale The Subject Area Preference inventory i s composed of two parts: the f i r s t presents a l i s t of seven subject areas commonly taught in the upper elementarty grades and asks students to indicate those which they l i k e and d i s l i k e very much; the second presents the same seven subjects and asks students to respond "yes" or "no" to indicate i f each (1) i s interesting; (2) i s useful, and (3) has interesting textbooks and other materials. The measure provides a straightforward descriptive index of students' preferences regarding the various subject areas and a modicum of information regarding student perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of each subject as i t i s taught in school. Directions for Administration Directions are provided with the measure and should be read o r a l l y to the students, with ample tme a l l o t t e d for student questions. Remind the students that on both parts of the instrument, items about which they have no strong opinion should be l e f t blank. Scoring To obtain, for each student, a p r o f i l e of his r e l a t i v e preferences for the seven school subjects, assign points to 68 each response as f o l l o w s : 2 p o i n t s f o r each "L" or "yes" response 1 p o i n t f o r each space l e f t blank 0 p o i n t s f o r each "D" or "no" response To o b t a i n an average score f o r a group of students f o r a p a r t i c u l a r s u b j e c t area, sum the i n d i v i d u a l students* scores and d i v i d e by the number of students i n the group. I f more d e t a i l e d i n f o r m a t i o n i s d e s i r e d r e g a r d i n g which s u b j e c t s are perce i v e d as being i n t e r e s t i n g , u s e f u l , and having good textboks and other p a t e r i a l s , these responses f o r each s u b j e c t area may be t r e a t e d s e p a r a t e l y . D i r e c t i o n s : Show how you f e e l about the f o l l o w i n g s u b j e c t by marking: . L by those you l i k e very much D by those you d i s l i k e v ery much Where you have no strong o p i n i o n , leave the space blank You may mark L or D by as many s u b j e c t as you wish. Do not wr i t e your name on t h i s paper. Reading A r i t h m e t i c S o c i a l S t u d i e s ( i . e . h i s t o r y and geography) Art Music P h y s i c a l Education (P.E.) 69 Science Language Arts Instructional Objectives Exchange Copyright 1970 Box 24095 Los Angeles, C a l i f o r n i a 90024 Directions; Below you w i l l find seven school subjects, each followed by three descriptive phrases. If you think a description i s d e f i n i t e l y true about a subject, mark yes next to the descriptive phrase. If you think a description i s d e f i n i t e l y not true, mark no on the l i n e . If you have no strong opinion, leave the space blank. For example: Subject X yes i s interesting i s useful no has good textbooks and other materials 1. Reading i s interesting i s useful has good textbooks and other materials is i n t e r e s t i ng _is useful .has good textbooks and other materials Social Studies _is interesting .is useful .has good textbooks and other materials Art _is interesting is useful .has good textbooks and oth er materials Music _is interesting .is useful has good textbooks and other material , Physical Education — i s interesting i s useful .has good equipment and other material; Science i s interesting i s useful has good textbooks and other materials Language Arts i s interesting i s useful has good textbooks and other materials A p p e n d i x 2 How I f e e l a b o u t l a n g u a g e a r t s L anguage A r t s i n c l u d e s l a n g u a g e , c r e a t i v e w r i t i n g and s p e l l i n g . Some o f t h e s e q u e s t i o n s w i l l a s k you t o t h i n k a b o u t t h e s e t h r e e t h i n g s s e p a r a t e l y . When a q u e s t i o n j u s t s a y s Language A r t s i t means t h e g e n e r a l s c h o o l a r e a c a l e d L a n g uage A r t s . I n t h e s e q u e s t i o n s t h i n k o f l a n g u a g e , c r e a t i v e w r i t i n g and s p e l l i n g t o g e t h e r . P l e a s e a n swer e a c h q u e s t i o n a s c a r e f u l l y and t r u t h f u l l y a s y o u c a n . 1. I f I had t o d e s c r i b e Language A r t s i n one work I w o u l d s a y i t i s . 2. The t h i n g I l i k e b e s t a b o u t L a nguage A r t s i s 3. I f I were a Language A r t s t e a c h e r I w o u l d 4. The h a r d e s t t h i n g a b o u t Language A r t s i s 5. I f I c o u l d c h a n g e Language A r t s somehow I w o u l d 6. The most i m p o r t a n t t h i n g I have l e a r n e d f r o m L a nguage A r t s i s 7. The most b o r i n g p a r t o f La n g u a g e A r t s i s 8. When I was y o u n g e r I t h o u g h t L a nguage A r t s was 9. The most i n t e r e s t i n g p a r t o f Language A r t s i s 10. The t h i n g a Language A r t s t e a c h e r s h o u l d n e v e r do i s P l e a s e c h e c k o n e : 11. The p a r t o f Language A r t s I l i k e b e s t i s Language C r e a t i v e W r i t i n g S p e l l i n g 12. The p a r t o f Language A r t s I am b e s t a t i s Language C r e a t i v e W r i t i n g S p e l l i n g 73 Please put a checkmark that shows whether you agree, disagree, or have no strong feelings about each of the following sentences. no strong agree feelings disagree 13. Language Arts i s interesting ( ) ( ) ( ) 14. Language Arts i s useful to me now ( ) ( ) ( ) 15. Language Arts w i l l be use-f u l to me when I am older ( ) ( ) ( ) 16. Language Arts i s d i f f i c u l t 17. Language Arts i s fun 18. I get a l o t of Language Arts homework 19. I used to l i k e Language Arts better when I was younger 20. I wish I didn't have to take Language Arts A p p e n d i x 3 74 D e a r P r i n c i p a l : I am a b o u t t o embark on my M a s t e r ' s t h e s i s s t u d y and I w o u l d v e r y much l i k e t o have s t u d e n t s i n y o u r s c h o o l p a r t i c i p a t e . The p u r p o s e o f t h e s t u d y i s t o d e t e r m i n e t h e p r e f e r e n c e s o f i n t e r m e d i a t e s t u d e n t s f o r t h e s u b j e c t s i n t h e s c h o o l c u r r i c u l u m . T h i s w i l l be done by means o f a q u e s t i o n n a i r e . Once t h e s u b j e c t p r e f e r e n c e s have b e e n d e t e r m i n e d a s e c o n d q u e s t i o n n a i r e w i l l a t t e m p t t o d i s c o v e r r e a s o n s f o r t h e d i s l i k e o f t h e s u b j e c t t h a t a p p e a r s t o be most u n p o p u l a r . E a c h q u e s t i o n n a i r e w i l l t a k e a b o u t f i f t e e n m i n u t e s and w i l l be a d m i n i s t e r e d by c l a s s r o o m t e a c h e r s . T e a c h e r s w i l l be a s k e d t o g i v e l e t t e r g r a d e s f o r e a c h s t u d e n t f o r e a c h o f t h e s u b j e c t s i n q u e s t i o n , and i t i s hoped t h a t CTBS r e a d i n g s c o r e s c a n be o b t a i n e d f r o m s c h o o l r e c o r d s . T h i s i n f o r m a t i o n , as w e l l as o t h e r v a r i a b l e s s u c h a s s e x , age and g r a d e w i l l be c o r r e l a t e d w i t h t h e s u b j e c t p r e f e r e n c e r e s u l t s t o f o r m a p r o f i l e o f how v a r i o u s g r o u p s o f s t u d e n t s f e e l a b o u t t h e v a r i o u s s u b j e c t s . A t o t a l o f t h i r t y m i n u t e s o f c l a s s t i m e i s r e q u i r e d f r o m e a c h s t u d e n t . I w o u l d l i k e t o use a l l t h e g r a d e f i v e t o s e v e n c l a s s e s i n y o u r s c h o o l . 75 I feel the results of this study could be useful for curriculum planning and revision, and would be most grate-f u l for your p a r t i c i p a t i o n . Please contact me at any time and I w i l l be happy to discuss the study in greater d e t a i l . Thank you very much. Sincerely, Deborah Court telephone: 1 i 76 A p p e n d i x 4 De a r T e a c h e r : Thank y o u s o much f o r t a k i n g y o u r c l a s s t i m e t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h i s s t u d y . The t o t a l t i m e r e q u i r e d i s a b o u t 30 m i n u t e s f r o m y o u r s t u d e n t s and a n o t h e r f i f t e e n m i n u t e s o r s o o f y o u r t i m e . The p u r p o s e o f t h e s t u d y i s t o d i s c o v e r w h i c h s u b j e c t s i n t h e c u r r i c u l u m i n t e r m e d i a t e s t u d e n t s l i k e and d i s l i k e t h e m o s t . The S u b j e c t A r e a P r e f e r e n c e T e s t w i l l be u s e d f o r t h i s p u r p o s e . When t h e s e r e s u l t s h ave been t a b u l a t e d a s e c o n d s h o r t q u e s t i o n n a i r e w i l l f o l l o w . I t s p u r p o s e w i l l be t o d i s c o v e r r e a s o n s why t h e s u b j e c t t h a t i s most d i s l i k e d i s h e l d i n s u c h l o w r e g a r d . The f i r s t q u e s t i o n n a i r e w i l l t a k e o n l y t e n m i n u t e s f o r t h e s t u d e n t s t o c o m p l e t e . P l e a s e go o v e r t h e i n s t r u c t i o n s y o u r s e l f f i r s t , and t h e n d i s c u s s them w i t h y o u r s t u d e n t s t o be s u r e t h e y u n d e r s t a n d what t o do. The s e c o n d q u e s t i o n n a i r e , w h i c h w i l l come i n two o r t h r e e w e e k s , w i l l t a k e f i f t e e n o r t w e n t y m i n u t e s f o r y o u t o a d m i n i s t e r . I f y o u w i l l t a k e t h e a d d i t i o n a l t i m e t o f i l l i n a p p r o x i m a t e l e t t e r g r a d e s f o r y o u r s t u d e n t s , a s w e l l a s t h e i r most r e c e n t CTBS R e a d i n g s c o r e s , i t w i l l be much a p p r e c i a t e d . 77 S t r i c t c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y w i l l be observed. No students' or teachers' names w i l l ever be used. It i s necessary to i d e n t i f y students by number, though, for purposes of data analysis. Thus each student questionnaire i s marked at the lower right hand corner with a number. This number corresponds to a student's number on your alphabetical class l i s t . Sheet number one, in a hypothetical c l a s s , would go to student Anderson, and sheet number 28 would go to student Zaborsky. Put your completed answer sheets in the envelope 'and return them to the o f f i c e , where they w i l l be picked up. Results of the study w i l l be available when the f i n a l report i s completed. I hope that knowledge gained through th i s study might prove useful in curriculum planning and r e v i s i o n . Again, thank you. Sincerely, Deborah Court UBC Master's candidate and teacher at Diefenbaker School 78 Appendix 5 Please give a grade of A, B, C, D or F for each Subject (except CTBS). Pupil CTBS No. Reading Math Soc. S c i . Art Music PE Reading 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Pupil CTBS No. Reading Math Soc. S c i . Art Music PE Reading 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 Appendix 6 80 Dear Teacher: The questionnaire f i l l e d out by students recently showed Language Arts to be the least popular subject. The enclosed questionnaire w i l l try to uncover some reasons for this d i s l i k e . Thank you for your p a r t i c i p a t i o n in the l a s t part of this study. I would l i k e very much to tabulate these results over spring break, so I hope you w i l l be able to find the time to administer t h i s questionnaire by Thursday, March 24th. Envelopes w i l l be picked up at the o f f i c e . Enclosed i s a l i s t of your class results for the Subject Area Preference Test. Subjects are l i s t e d from most to least popular. Thanks again for a l l your help. Sincerely Deborah Court 

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