CAM Academy: A Philosophy in Action
Dean, Susan Elizabeth
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The original purpose of this study was to evaluate the academic success of CAM Academy and determine as far as possible the relative contributions of the factors responsible for whatever degree of success was found. This was to be done by means of participant observation, interviewing students, collecting test scores and other data, and administering a semantic differential for measuring attitudes. The selection of this focus for my project was, of necessity, made with very little knowledge about the Academy itself. On the basis of one visit to the building early in the summer to talk with the principal, and the reading of several planning papers and progress reports from the first semester, I had to choose a specific topic for study, review the literature in that area, and plan my research in detail. This was to be done during the summer quarter at Kalamazoo. The result of this situation was that my early background reading had more effect on my choice of focus than did the Academy itself. From this reading I formed two specific hypotheses concerning attitudes for testing at CAM Academy. While trying to keep CAM's primary goal for its students --academic achievement -- paramount in the study, I planned to evaluate it in relation to the students' attitudes. I hypothesized that (1) A) Returning CAM students will show more favorable attitudes towards the concept "school" than either new students or dropouts; and B) New and returning students will show more favorable attitudes towards "CAM Academy" than will CAM dropouts. I assumed that all CAM students would show favorable attitudes towards "education" since they came to CAM voluntarily. My second hypothesis was: Achievement w1l1 be positively related to general attitude among returning students and dropouts; that 1s, students who show improved achievement will also show increasingly favorable attitudes towards "school," "education" and "CAM Academy," and those who have not improved, will not. I also stated a third hypothesis concerning the factors of the CAM Academy environment itself and their influence on both attitudes and achievements CAM Academy's teaching methods and materials, its emphasis on non-academic achievement, its work study program, and its interest in each student as an individual will be felt by students and staff to make the greatest contribution to developing more favorable attitudes and raising achievement levels.