In 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 research was conducted in the classrooms of participating teachers to determine if students’ attitudes toward Shakespeare, learning, and reading changed significantly during their involvement with the OSU/RSC Program. We sought to determine if there was any change in students’ academic achievement overall during the year, as compared with students who were not engaged with the program.
In the 2010/2011 study more than 1400 students (in classrooms with OSU trained teachers and with non-OSU trained teachers) participated in a survey (pre and post training) and school districts provided classroom state-level achievement data.
In the 2011/2012 study more than 500 students of OSU trained teachers participated in a survey (pre-post), additionally school districts provided student-level de-identified achievement data for students in classrooms led by both OSU and non-OSU trained teachers. In 2011-2012, 150 6th grade students, in classrooms led by OSU and non-OSU trained teachers, participated in a pilot study comparing the groups’ achievement on a national, norm-referenced assessment of reading comprehension and vocabulary.
Findings indicate significant differences in attitude and achievement outcomes for students in 3rd-12th grade classrooms when the teachers participated in the OSU program. Specifically the study found the following:
- 2011-2012 findings indicate that among elementary and middle school students, interest in Shakespeare was predictive of higher outcomes in reading and math achievement test scores. By using two variables for data at pre and post (survey and achievement test scores) we were able to see how change in two outcomes would progress together from one point to the next; indicating that where increased interest in Shakespeare was evident, it was possible to predict higher achievement scores in reading and math.
- The 2011-2012 pilot study of reading comprehension and vocabulary development indicated the students of teachers who participated in the OSU program scored significantly higher in student achievement on the nationally validated test.
- Across all grade groups (elementary, middle, and secondary), students’ positive attitudes toward Shakespeare increased along with improved attitudes toward school and school belonging (2010-2011).
- Middle and secondary students also showed increased interest in reading, reversing a longstanding trend of growing disaffection with reading through the adolescent years.
- 2011-2012 findings indicate that students who described more exposure to Shakespeare also had more positive attitudes toward Shakespeare; another reversal of the long held assumption that Shakespeare is not relevant to young people.