there is more authentic instruction taking place in one classroom environment (PASS) than in another (non-PASS) and achievement is higher in the PASS environment, then authentic instruction may be linked to achievement outcomes, such as grades. Perhaps stronger evidence (for predicting the relationship between grades and authentic instruction) may be gained by additional studies that use the school classroom as the unit of analysis.
Results from this study also reveal that PASS classes score higher on all six dimensions of the Madison scores for authentic instruction. This result implies that the instructional settings of PASS and non-PASS classes are different. It may be the features and routines embedded within the PASS classroom that account, at least in part, for the variance found in the grades of PASS versus non-PASS students. Quantitative and qualitative observations suggest that there are specific features, for example, instructional strategies and social support, embedded within the PASS class (which differs from non-PASS classes) that may impact learning. Observations show that PASS classrooms are interesting and meaningful to students, which may help them achieve higher grades than non-PASS students.
These results are consistent with the key assumptions of Benard's ( 1991) characterization of protective factors within the school. PASS classrooms feature caring and support, high expectations, problem-solving strategies and skills, opportunities for youth participation, engagement, and involvement as witnessed in the classroom observations. Overall, these results indicate that the PASS classroom provides an excellent model of what a protective environment looks like for all students, especially those who are at risk for academic failure.
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