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Integrated curriculum enhances academics
Date:9/29/2008

ns that using an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to curricula detracts from students' abilities to perform on standardized tests, P.E. Danforth, T.M. Waliczek, S.M. Macey, and J.M. Zajicek recently undertook a study of fourth grade students in Houston, Texas. The objective of the study was to determine if participation in the National Wildlife Federation's Schoolyard Habitat Program (SYHP) had an effect on standardized test scores of fourth-grade students.

Study results showed that students who participated in SYHP had significantly increased math scores when compared with peers from schools that used a more traditional curriculum. Interestingly, few differences were found in comparisons of reading scores of those students taught with SYHP and those taught using a more traditional curriculum. These findings support related studies of students' academic achievement when an interdisciplinary or integrated curriculum, particularly one with an environmental slant, was imposed.

Addressing difference in ethnic group participation, the study authors stated: "This study showed that, although the Caucasian sample of students outperformed others on the standardized tests, the most significant improvement of overall test scores was from improved scores for Hispanic students. However, although there was a statistically significant improvement in math scores between control and treatment schools, the improvement attributable to the SYHP was only evident in the predominantly Caucasian sample school pair, indicating that students in predominantly minority schools do not gain the same level of benefit from this program."


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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert

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