Higher-order thinking in the high-stakes accountability era : linking student engagement and standardized test performance
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] The present study attempted to statistically test whether a nexus exists between student engagement levels within schools that elect to incorporate the Instructional Practices Inventory (IPI)and the integrity with which the treatment was adopted over time. After answering this researchquestion, further statistical tests were performed to ascertain the relationship between the student engagement levels that result between the IPI treatment and the achievement levels of schools. The IPI, an instructional treatment employed by schools whereby student engagement data across classrooms is observed and coded, provides robust empirical data upon which to test such a relationship. Two statistical methodologies were employed in the present study: Hierarchical Linear Modeling and Structural Equation Modeling. The relationship between student engagement levels and school practices and process was first considered. Next, influential site-level variables, in addition to the schools' practices associated with the IPI, were tested in relation to schools' achievement levels. The integrity and fidelity of the IPI-incorporated practices and processes demonstrated a positive statistical relationship with student engagement levels, as good faith efforts to adhere to the prescribed methods of IPI adoption within schools yielded heightened levels of student engagement in such schools. Additionally, the findings from the study were, with some exceptions, suggestive of a noteworthy yet moderate relationship between higher and lower-order student engagement levels and standardized test achievement.
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