Gongshu Zhang

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Smith, M. Cecil

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Block scheduling (Education)--North Carolina; Schedules; School--North Carolina; High school teaching--North Carolina; Academic achievement--North Carolina


Schooling is first and foremost about teaching and learning. In recent years, in order to improve secondary-school student achievement, many educators viewed the restructuring of schools by rethinking schedules as the primary vehicle for improvement. In North Carolina, high-school block scheduling grew dramatically—from six schools in 1992–93 to 288 schools in 2000–01. The objective of this study was to determine whether there are differences in student achievement as measured by the NC EOC tests between the 4 x 4 block-scheduled and the traditionally scheduled regular high schools. This was a non-experimental causal-comparative research. The causal-comparison in this study was conducted through after-the-fact approaches such as matching and statistical control. A total of 256 regular North Carolina high schools were included in an all-schools study, and 68 out of 256 schools were included in a matched-schools study. The state testing data for five major subjects, algebra I, English I, economic, legal, and political systems (ELPS), biology, and US history, from 1992–93 to 2000–01 were examined. ANCOVA, without concerns of violations of assumptions, was conducted. After statistical control of pre-test-score, percentage of minorities, percentage of students with free reduced-price lunch, and percentage of students with parents with low-education levels, the study concluded that the 4 x 4 scheduling had a significantly positive impact on student achievement in algebra I and economic, legal, and political systems (ELPS), and most likely a significantly positive impact on student achievement in English I, but did not have a significantly positive impact on student achievement in biology or US history. Although the findings of this study show that 4 x 4 scheduling had advantages over traditional scheduling for certain subjects, it does not suggest that 4 x 4 scheduling is generally better than traditional scheduling in all-high school academic subjects and under all circumstances. In comparison with traditional scheduling, block scheduling is still fairly new in the United States although it has spread rapidly. Block scheduling may take years to show its real effects (good or bad) on high-school teaching, learning and student academic achievement. Further studies are needed.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [100]-105)


viii, 150 pages




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