Action Research Proposal - Essay

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Action Research Proposal
Athletics and the Effect on Academics

Abstract

The purpose of this research proposal is to determine if extracurricular activities such as sports has a positive or negative affect on junior high student’s academic achievement. I will discuss past research that has been conducted and their results as well articles written on the topic. I will also discuss my research method and how it will be implemented in order to see how previous research compares to my school. This research will be conducted with students in the 6th through the 8th grade.

As a teacher and a coach I have wondered if there is any correlation between students academic success while they were part of a sports program. I know that as a former student-athlete in junior high and high school I was motivated to maintain a certain grade level in order to participate in any type of sport. I recently attended my son’s parent meeting for his freshman basketball team and learned that according to IHSA rules a student can fail two classes and still participate in their sport. That is a topic of discussion for another time but it did spark my curiosity to see if my students at the junior high level worked harder to stay eligible during their sport season and not so hard during their off –season. It should be stated that at my school a student has to maintain a 70% to participate and this is checked on a weekly basis.

It would seem that ever since sports has become part of our schools environment there has been a debate about the effects of athletic participation on academic achievement. I believe now more than ever it has become a more relevant issue because of the budget restraints in our country’s schools. The school boards often find it easy to cut athletic programs because they do not see the value it has in the academic arena. It is important for our administrators to know these effects of athletics on academics before they would decide to cut or retain these athletic programs.

This particular research proposal would focus on junior high students that are both male and female at J.W. Eater in Rantoul Illinois. Our demographics are about evenly split between both Caucasian and African American students, the African American student being slight higher, with a smaller percent of Hispanics. It should also be noted that there are a high number, close to 80%, of these students whose families fall below the poverty line; therefore there is a high number of kids that are on the free or reduced lunch plan. In addition to the research that will be conducted at Eater Junior High there will also be some information from other articles and studies that have been done in research journals. I feel these articles and studies will provide a clearer picture as to the positive effect of athletic participation and academic achievement.

I found an article that supports the theory that athletic participation can help at-risk students and other students who have academic problems. Since we have several at-risk students because of our demographics in Rantoul this article seem to relate. In this article it states that educators believe that athletic participation reduces the chance of school dropout by approximately forty percent. It argues that extracurricular participation decreases this chance because it gives those at-risk students a chance to create positive connections to the school system. Involvement in these activities was perceived by educators to support these at-risk students by maintaining, enhancing and strengthening the student to school connection (Holloway, J.H. 2000). Although we don’t have the dropout problem as say our high school, athletics is a connection to the next level of education and can provide motivation to stay in school.

A research article I found that involves using a questionnaire, as I intend to use with my research proposal, measures academic achievement between athletes and non-athletes...
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