Scientifically-based Research

Scientifically-based Results

UCLA Study Positively Correlates Test Scores with Different Ways of Knowing Participation

An external evaluation of Different Ways of Knowing by James Catterall of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) examined the performance of more than 1,000 students in four districts. It found 8 percentile points’ growth on standardized tests in vocabulary, comprehension, and other measures of language arts for each year of participation. This proved a positive correlation between students’ test scores and the number of years of their participation in Different Ways of Knowing.

Participating students also

  • Scored higher on written social studies tests
  • Maintained higher grades by one-half point
  • Showed greater engagement and interest in the humanities
  • Raised their levels of achievement and motivation over time

Participating teachers

  • Increased their use of the visual arts, drama, music, and movement to promote learning
  • Spent more time facilitating learning
  • Increased the amount of class time for complex creative-thinking activities

Kentucky Studies Prove Different Ways of Knowing Helps Schools Attain Achievement Goals

Different Ways of Knowing was brought into Kentucky to carry out the goals of the Kentucky Education Reform Act. Research from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville on twenty-four Different Ways of Knowing research and demonstration schools over a two-year period demonstrated that Different Ways of Knowing influenced teaching and learning in Kentucky’s classrooms in a number of ways:

Different Ways of Knowing changed knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes about how young children learn

  • Teachers became more confident, more flexible in their teaching, and more willing to change.
  • Teachers showed a greater appreciation for students’ unique talents and diverse ways of learning, a greater belief in the value of the arts in learning, and the recognition that active learning increases student engagement and motivation.
  • More than seven out of ten principals reported that Different Ways of Knowing helped teachers integrate the arts into their curriculum and use integrated learning strategies.
  • More than nine in ten teachers reported that as a result of Different Ways of Knowing, the school community became more involved in the arts and increased support for arts activities, enhancing the atmosphere of individual classrooms and creating an air of excitement and student involvement in learning throughout the school.

Different Ways of Knowing changed teachers’ instructional practices to accommodate differences in students’ learning styles and strengths
According to trained classroom observers, a higher percentage of primary teachers in Different Ways of Knowing sites implemented the student-centered teaching and learning components of Kentucky’s Primary Program as they were intended to be used than did primary teachers in the state samples. The research findings suggest that use of Different Ways of Knowing has accelerated the implementation of the student-centered practices in Kentucky.

Large percentages of teachers said that they had made significant changes in their instructional practices since they began using Different Ways of Knowing including

  • Integrating social studies with other subjects
  • Using more hands-on learning activities
  • Making greater use of fine arts, and engaging students in more group activities
  • Incorporating more writing opportunities for students into their language arts instruction

Different Ways of Knowing produced higher test scores and involvement
Compared to fourth grade students statewide on the Kentucky state assessment (Kentucky Instructional Results Information Systems, or KIRIS), Different Ways of Knowing students in the fourth grade showed

  • Increased gains over two years for Different Ways of Knowing schools in reading (7 percent), arts and humanities (7 percent), math (25 percent), science (7 percent), and social studies (10 percent) compared to other schools in the state
  • Greater involvement of students in their classrooms, and more interest in their schoolwork
  • Greater student eagerness to participate in learning and to show what they know
  • Increased opportunities for critical and creative thinking, and expanded use of multiple intelligences strategies
  • Improvements in specific skills or content knowledge including the ability to link their learning to real-life situations and make connections, working better in groups, asking more thought-provoking questions, improving their writing, exhibiting better research skills, and retaining more information

Different Ways of Knowing helped transform schools into learning communities
Principals reported that Different Ways of Knowing provided both the curriculum and the faculty with a “common thread” or “common ground.” Eighty-two percent of the principals agreed that Different Ways of Knowing contributed to improved student achievement, citing improved KIRIS scores, increased writing ability, deeper knowledge of subjects, and improved speaking skills.

These Kentucky results show that Different Ways of Knowing can help schools attain their goals for improvement. The program met teachers’ professional needs, improved students’ attitude toward school, and may have contributed to improved student achievement. Teachers in Different Ways of Knowing schools acquired new instructional skills and changed their instructional practices in accordance with the Kentucky Primary Program. In fact, the data show that Different Ways of Knowing teachers implemented almost all of the components of the Kentucky Primary Program at higher levels than teachers in the state sample. Teachers’ own accounts testify that Different Ways of Knowing helped them teach in ways appropriate to students’ varying levels of development.

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