Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Wilma Kuhlman


This study investigated sixth-grade students' academic and personal responses to self-selection in the spelling curriculum. Student participants were from a public elementary school classroom located in a Midwest urban school district. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods of a non-emergent design was used. The students were considered as one group using an A-B-A research format, and as eleven independent case participants. The researcher used a two-tailed t-test and constant-comparative method for analysis of the collected data. Weekly test scores, field notes, and interview questions were used to identify patterns in individual student and group reactions to changes in instructional procedure. Interview responses indicated many students liked contracts and choice, but as the amount of choice involved in selecting words decreased, spelling test scores went down. The mean test scores from the treatment phase were slightly lower, but it was an insignificant decrease. Several students indicated that using learning contracts made them feel more accountable for turning homework in; however, completing assignments and activities had little impact on students' performance on weekly tests.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Teacher Education and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Susan R. Bergemann July, 1998