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Scholarly Writing By William Molnar In the article “A Lingering Question of Priorities: Athletic Budgets and Academic Performance Revisited”, the central problem that is being addressed is how do schools deal with the traditional education mission and balance it with athletics. The article clearly states that schools provide more than just a K-12 education for students and among these is the athletic program. The author states that how schools integrate academics and athletics can tell a great deal of how organizations deal with multiple goals. In the beginning of the article, it appears that the author feels that exposing athletics to students has a positive impact on students. He backs this up with credible evidence by various sources. The authors then states that if “the devotion to athletics conpetes with a school’s traditional academic mission, then athletic programs might have a negative impact on the academic skill of the school as a whole.” (pg. 800). In addition to the traditional education mission and balancing with athletics, the researcher also addresses whether athletics and academics are divergent goals and what divergence has on an organization. It appears to me that the reason the study was undertaken was as previously mentioned, the author is trying to show a correlation between athletics budgets and student performance. In an
experiment done by the authors of this article, they state that attendance is an indirect performance measure because students who are not in class cannot learn. Another issue is basic skills. The basic skills performance that the authors study are the Texas Assessmentof Academic Skills, the SAT or the ACT. The final indicator included is the percentage of students who score above one thousand on the SAT or the ACT. Their hypothesis is that the relationship between
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athletic expenditures and student performance is positive. The alternative hypothesis is that the relationship will be negative. Other variables that need to be considered is the percentages of Black and Latino students. Meier states that minority students do less well than nonminority students. In addition to Black and Latino students is poverty. Poverty is a serious constraint on students’ ability to learn. Meier is considering poverty students as those that are from low-income families, measured as eligibility for free or reduced-price school lunches. In his findings, Meier found that “while athletic expenditures are positively correlated with student attendance, the relationship does not meet traditional levels of statistical significance” (pp 802-803). The results were consistent with the null hypothesis of no relationship between athletic budgets and overall class attendance. On the other hand, with regards to class attendance, Meier found that the relationship between athletic expenditures and student performance of the TAAS was negative. This supports evidence that students involved in athletics do not perform any better on the TAAS than those who do. Meier also examines the relationship between college entrance exam scores and athletic budgets. In both cases, there was a strong negative relationship between athletic budgets and student performance on SAT and ACT exams. He also claims that schools with large athletic budgets not only have fewer students taking college entrance exams, but the students who take the exam score lower on them.
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In his conclusion, Meier has found a positive relationship between athletics and student performance, but when the analysis is moved to the district level, a different finding results. The final results show that overall student performance is reduced by expenditures on athletics. There was no evidence seen in a relationship between athletic budgets and student attendance. The central research problem is that the author is trying to show that there is no correlation between standardized test scores and athletic expenditures. He finds that athletic budgets have a significant negative relationship with academic performance I found a lot of strengths in Meier’s writing. His writing was clear, specific, meaningful, concise, objective and thorough; all the hallmarks that were taught on the Walden University video. He wrote to inform and persuade the reader to agree with his feelings and he does this by presenting credible evidence via the results for class attendance, the relationship between athletic expenditures and student performance on the TAAS, and the relationship between college entrance exam scores and athletic budgets. Meier also shows the flip side of the hypothesis by showing through his research that athletics is negatively linked to student performance rather than positively linked. I don’t feel that there was much weakness in the article. Meier followed the 3 components of scholarly writing; 1) awareness of audience, 2) solid evidence, 3) scholarly voice. He also used solid evidence that would pass the critical read of the audience.