CLASSROOM SONGS: AIDING IN THE RETENTION AND RECALL OF TEST MATERIAL WITH FOURTH GRADE STUDENTS
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As New York State continues to weigh heavily upon the scores achieved by students on standardized testing. Teachers are in search of methods of teaching their students that will be more successful in helping the students to retain the material taught and then to be able to later recall that material when it is time to take a test. This study concentrates on the possibility that songs rewritten to include test material are a substantial means in which teachers could cover material in their classes. Within the review of the literature, Cohen (2005) believed that music would have such a profound affect on student’s ability to later recall material that he included music into every lecture. Cohen’s lectures were often accompanied by songs written by notable members of a particular time period in American history. That auditory link then would aid student in recalling that material easier when asked to. This study utilized that same belief but instead of college students in a large lecture hall, this study dealt with fourth grade students in their general music class. The students were offered the opportunity participate on a voluntary basis. Once on board with the study the students were asked to take a series of tests on the Pilgrims and the Civil War. Each topic had a pre-test, test after a power point presentation and then a final test after songs were taught including material from both topics. The data gathered was plotted on graphs and charts so that the researcher could gain insight the overall outcome of the study. On the graphs was plotted the grade each student achieve, and it became evident very quickly that there was overwhelming evidence that music aided in the students success on the final test. The majority of students who had done poorly on the pre-test and made a moderate increase in their score after the power point lesson, scored an eighty or higher on the final test. The line graphs show the improvement from test to test and the clear rise in score after music was incorporated into the lesson. The action research model used in this study made it fun for both the researcher and the students involved. All parties involved in the study got to see the progress made throughout the study and it was clear in the end that music, when used in the form of a song to cover material, can be very powerful in reaching every student in the class. This study dealt with students with many learning abilities and even included students from one a education classroom. The outcome for the special education students was staggering in comparison to the general education students. Once the music was introduced with the special education students, their grades improved dramatically. Special education students often need a great deal more attention than their general education counterparts. However, throughout this study the researcher gave them the same attention as the rest of the class and they performed wonderfully by their own accord. It is the hopes of the researcher that this study is utilized by many to advocate the power that music can have when used in this way.