Tuesday, 28 April 2020 15:09

Adeimy concludes dissertation study, presents intramural findings at UNCG

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ELLERBE — The recent COVID-19 outbreak and closure of in-person school days put a sudden halt on a local physical education teacher’s dissertation. But it didn’t stop him from finishing what he started.


Allen Adeimy, who teaches and serves as Ellerbe Middle School’s athletic director, is nearing the end of his doctoral journey at UNC-Greensboro. He is scheduled to defend his dissertation, titled “Effects of an In-School Physical Activity Program on School Improvement” on Tuesday in front of a committee of three faculty members in Greensboro.  

After defending, Adeimy will have to make whatever edits recommended by the panel and submit his finished work to the graduate school at UNCG for final approval. This will conclude the process, once the graduate school signs off on the finished dissertation, and will grant “Dr." Adeimy an Ed.D in Kinesiology.

For his dissertation, Adeimy used his longstanding intramural program at Ellerbe to collect data on whether or not the early-morning physical activity benefitted his Wildcat students in a variety of ways. 

His original plan was to continue to collect data through most of the spring semester, but the coronavirus limited Adeimy’s collection window.

“After using the fall 2019 semester to collect data on Ellerbe's intramural program and program participants, the results of the study are in,” Adeimy shared. “Some things went as expected, while other results could be considered somewhat surprising.”  

As a skeletal structure to his study, intramural game and participant data was taken on students’ grades, attendance and behavior for two nine-week periods. The first was the nine-weeks prior to their first participation in intramurals at EMS, and the second was the nine-weeks of their first participation in the intramural program.  

One of his focuses was to see if there was a change, hopefully positive, in students’ grades, attendance and behavior in the nine-weeks of participation. 

Adeimy used a Paired T-Test, a statistical test which looks at change over a specific time period. This test can be completed on known statistical programs like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, as well as specific stats programs like SPSS. Adeimy ran the test using Google Sheets.  

“The results of the statistical test could not show significant evidence that there was a change, positive or negative, in any of the three variables,” Adeimy noted of his findings. “While this could be considered disappointing, as it was the hope that statistics would show improvements, it is not all that surprising.  

“There has to be significant change for the test to show strong statistical evidence of change, and looking at the data, it would be difficult to get that result.”

Based on his findings from his intramural program, of the over 80 participants, between 60 and 65 percent of them didn't show changes in raw data of more than one or two points on their grade averages, more than one missed school day or more than one plus-or-minus behavior incident.  

“What that means is that a large percentage of EMS kids don't miss much school and don't get in trouble often, and that their grades stay fairly consistent throughout the year," Adeimy explained.  

What that did leave was around 35 percent of students who did show significant changes in some of the variables. This was spread out between the three variables, with only one of the students showing significant changes in all three variables.  

"It is encouraging to see that this student improved significantly in all three areas during his participation in the program," Adeimy added.  

In other situations, some students improved during participation while others saw their variables take a dip.  

"One thing that was noted from the statistical results is that kids whose attendance improved saw improvements in their grades at least 80 percent of the time. Could that be related to participation in intramurals? That depends on perspective.”

The second part of Adeimy’s dissertation study looked at just that, the perspective. Both student perspectives and the researcher’s perspective were studied using formal observations (six), student questionnaires (over 80) and daily reflections of intramurals (15).  

Adeimy used two approaches to this data, which were inductive and deductive reasoning.  Inductive reasoning involves observing a phenomenon and allowing certain ideas and themes to emerge from it, while deductive reasoning involves using pre-thought ideas and themes and looking at a phenomenon to specifically spot those things.  

Adeimy's study included both, and Initially, he expected to see teamwork, sportsmanship, conflict, success of play and leadership instances emerge within play.  Of these, success of play, leadership, and conflict were most evident, being observed in play over 30 times each.  

The most encouraging of these was leadership, where Adeimy noted "several students emerged from nowhere as leaders of their respective teams. They were vocal, encouraging and planned strategies to help their team succeed.  Further, these skills were observed outside of intramurals in other areas of the school day.”

Upon further analysis of his findings, the soon-to-be Dr. Adeimy said the most telling of all the data were the inductive themes that emerged from the students' perspectives.  Students in the intramural program first and foremost like to play intramurals.  

In questionnaires, the fact that intramural games were “fun” was noted over 100 times. Further, students noted that intramurals allowed them to be active and get fit, encouraged them to come to school on intramural game days, helped them get their "wiggles" out before heading to class, and made them feel a part of something while at school.  

The students also found it important to win, play well and contribute to their team's success.  This theme was loud and clear from the student's point of view.  It was also noted that students wanted to play more, and for longer increments.  Most were satisfied with the types of activities offered, and felt like intramurals was an important part of their experience at EMS. 

Adeimy said these were very encouraging themes that came from the study.

Armed with this information, it is now up to Adeimy to take his findings to Ellerbe’s principal Melvin Ingram and the school improvement team to figure out how to turn the results into data driven improvements within EMS.  

Other schools in the county have shown interest in starting programs like the one at EMS, and Adeimy has created a Google folder to help other teachers plan and develop programs of their own. 

Adeimy said one of the most important responsibilities of the researcher is to use the new knowledge to make an impact on their respective field.  

Adeimy would like to thank Ingram, the EMS teachers and staff, data manager Tan Wall, Superintendent Dr. Jeff Maples and everyone who has supported him within Richmond County Schools with this dissertation study.  He also thanks his wife, Deborah Spears-Adeimy, who has been a very supportive and patient wife during this process.  

"A big thanks to the Richmond Observer for publishing these articles,” he closed. “Getting my work out to the public is a big part of my dissertation, and the RO has made this possible for me."

Allen Adeimy and sports editor Kyle Pillar contributed to this article.

Kyle Pillar

Nine-time N.C. Press Association award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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