The Effects of the Sums Initiative on Student Performance on FCAT Test

The Effects of the Sums Initiative on Student Performance on FCAT Test

Author: 
Marilyn Kelly-Gassett
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
Problems of learning mathematical concepts encountered by elementary students in the United States lead to performing below grade level. The intent of this ex post facto, causalcomparative quantitative study was to investigate the effect on student success on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) through the implementation of Students Understanding Mathematics and Science (SUMS), a constructivist mathematics initiative. Research questions revealed to what extent the implementation of SUMS increase student performance on the FCAT standardized mathematics test. The theoretical framework for this study emanated from connections of Piaget and Vygotsky’s cognitive and social constructivist theories of education. Thirty random cases each for 2 groups in Florida were included in the study which provided data for analysis. Use of an independent samples t-test tested the hypotheses. Data analyses included statistical calculations of the mean and standard deviation, descriptive characteristics and comparisons of FCAT archived scale scores for Group 1(SUMS) and Group 2 (Non-SUMS). The findings revealed that students taught using the constructivist methods (SUMS) yield practical improved mathematics scores, but were not significantly statistically different from the traditionally taught students. Both groups mean scale scores are between the 298-346 ranges, which indicated a passing score. Findings of this study have important implications for mathematics instructions for struggling students. Classroom teachers and educational leaders may consider these findings to assist with making decisions that affect student mathematics academic achievement. A final notable key component is for a positive social change to include better understanding the most effective type of mathematics instruction for at-risk students that can result in increased mathematics achievement.
Dedication: 
To my parents, the late Mother Helen and Rev. Marcus Kelly, I dedicate this study to you. The guidance and the values you instilled in me helped me to persevere through the tough times. Mom I can hear your words raining down from heaven every time I wanted to give up saying, “Hang on in there for all it’s worth!” Then Dad you saying, “Get all you can, while you can, after you’ve gotten all you can, now get off your CAN!” As I write this, tears come to my eyes because there is nothing like the love and support of parents to make a person stronger. To my son Derek, your memory will always live on in my heart. Moms did it again!
Acknowledgements: 
I thank GOD for listening to my prayer of, “Order my steps and bridle my tongue.” I am a living testament for the saying “through GOD all things are possible.” Next I acknowledge my dear husband, Eric and wonderful son, JaMaal for encouraging me to keep my eyes on the prize and to never give up on my dreams. To my brother, Marcus Kelly, Jr.; sisters Blondell Daniels, Veloria Kelly, and Margarett Kelly-Boswell and nieces Valoria Smith and Helen Harris you are positive influences in my life and I thank God for each of you daily. Dr. Midcalf, you are the greatest for stepping in when I needed you most. You encouraged me to keep pressing on towards the end product throughout all of the setbacks along the way. Your guidance during the final stage of this journey will never be forgotten. I have been blessed to have you as my mentor. Thanks to Dr. Champion and Dr. Summers for their advice, guidance through the data analysis and interpretation of the findings, editing, and words of encouragement. I am grateful to my church and school families who encouraged me to push on. Last, special thanks go to my study buddy, Linda. We met in class prior to our second residency for without you I would have made this journey alone. I can say in you I have a friend for life.