ERIC Number: ED461672
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Apr-12
A Four-Year Contrast between High School Students in Interdisciplinary and Discipline-Based Curriculum Programs: Behavioral and Academic Implications.
A suburban Chicago, Illinois, high school administrator and several of her family members initiated an interdisciplinary curriculum in the mid-1990s. As the program grew, she began a systematic study to evaluate its impact on student learning and behavior and on teacher attitudes. A subsequent research partnership with the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy resulted in a 4-year study tracking the first graduating class of students educated under the program and contrasting them with students in the school's discipline-based program. The study focused on members of the class of 2000, tracking academic performance measures, such as grade point average and standardized test scores, and behavioral measures, such as attendance, tardiness, and days suspended. Data were gathered for 161 discipline-based and 247 interdisciplinary students. After adjusting for racioethnic and gender differences, students in the interdisciplinary program demonstrated more positive behaviors than the discipline-based students, as indicated by consistently lower absence rates and generally lower suspension rates. Academic performance indicators also favored the interdisciplinary students, and there was no indication of a "dumbing-down" of interdisciplinary content. Freshman year scores on the Iowa Test of Educational Development were equal or higher, and interdisciplinary students consistently had higher grade point averages. ACT college admissions test scores were also higher for interdisciplinary students. The attrition rate was lower for the interdisciplinary program, and students and teachers expressed positive feelings about the program. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Seattle, WA, April 10-14, 2001). For the report on the first 3 years of the study, see ED 442 816.