Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Education

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Imbeau, Marcia

Reader

Kindall, Heather

Second Reader

Wissehr, Cathy

Abstract

The study researches interest-based learning in a controlled setting in order to gain insight into student attitudes toward school, more specifically among identified gifted and talented students. This study poses the research question, “Does an after-school program designed to cater to student needs affect student attitudes toward school?” This was an action research study using pre and post assessments to determine elementary students’ attitudes toward school. The study was conducted at an after-school program, once a week for ten weeks total. There were ten students involved in the study, with three of them being formally identified through the school district as “gifted and talented.” Of these participants, nine of them were females and one was male. Students ranged in grade from 2nd to 5th grade. Student interviews were conducted with a random selection of students after the conclusion of the intervention enrichment cluster to support data and findings. The results of the study were statistically significant; students declined from pre to post survey. However, through qualitative data and other data collection methods apart from the numerically scored surveys, it was observed that the students who participated in the study do have positive attitudes toward school. Students did enjoy learning about concepts, topics, and ideas in which they were interested. Interest-based activities have a substantial place in the academic culture.

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