A Quantitative Study Into the Effects of the Physical Classroom Environment on Secondary Mathematics Students' Academic Achievement and Perceptions of Teacher Leadership
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Many students in Title I, low-income public high schools in the Pacific southwest do not appear to have the same levels of academic mastery as their more affluent counterparts. This dissertation examines whether a classroom environment has an effect on students' perceptions of their teacher and academic achievement, and consists of a causal comparative, quantitative research study. The treatment group took place in an optimally designed classroom, while the control group took place in a non-designed classroom. The sample was chosen based on readily accessible participants and purposive in that all subjects were in the same math course with the same teacher. Each class contained around 30 students, mostly sophomores, and half English learners. An independent two-samples t-test and Mann-Whitney U test were used to compare assessment results measuring academic achievement, while a Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire results measuring perceptions of the teacher's leadership. The findings of this study did not yield any statistically significant differences between the academic performance and the perceptions of the teacher’s leadership between the control and treatment groups, suggesting that the classroom environment had no effect on students' perceptions of their teacher or their academic performance. Differences between student sub-groups, grouped by English proficiency status, provide a basis for analysis and discussion. The primary audience includes administrators, teachers, and district personnel who have the ability to allocate resources to address this leadership issue of providing an enriching and relevant classroom for secondary students.