Date of Award

Spring 3-19-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Arthur K. Ellis, Ed.D., Chairperson of the Dissertation Committee

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Rick Eigenbrood, Ph.D., Dean, School of Education

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Richard Scheuerman, Ph.D., Committee Member

Fourth Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. John B. Bond, Ed.D., Committee Member


Communication and the arts, Education, Arts and academic achievement, Arts integration, Creative dramatics education, Interdisciplinary education, Vocabulary development and the arts


Seattle Pacific University


The Effects of Creative Dramatics on Vocabulary Achievement of Fourth Grade Students in a Language Arts Classroom: An Empirical Study


AnnRené Joseph

Chairperson of the Dissertation Committee: Dr. Arthur K. Ellis,

School of Education

That the arts enhance academic achievement has been a claim of educators for the past century. An empirical and replicable study to investigate this claim was needed.

This experimental study examined whether and to what extent the use of creative dramatics interventions increased the vocabulary achievement of fourth grade students in a language arts classroom. The 20-day study was conducted across five weeks of

school – for 45 minutes each day – during the normally scheduled language arts instruction block. It included a pretest, 17 consecutive school days of instruction, and a posttest. A retention test was administered five weeks later. Three fourth grade teachers were randomly assigned to a random sample of 83 fourth graders. The study was conducted at a Learning Assistance Program (LAP) reading and math school, in a large school district in rural and unincorporated Pierce County, in Washington State. Students were randomly divided among two treatment groups utilizing creative dramatics interventions, and one control group using established district strategies. Teachers used identical and collaboratively created lesson plans developed from the adopted district language arts curriculum. The dependent variable was a teacher-researcher developed criterion-referenced vocabulary test covering the unit of instruction. Two experimental groups employed 15-20 minutes of different creative dramatics interventions, each day. The control group students experienced the district adopted language arts Readers’ theatre component. Teachers were taught the treatment interventions by the investigator.

Descriptive statistics were used to describe the demographics of the sample, while inferential statistics were used to calculate the differences between groups. Statistical analyses included parametric (one-way between-groups ANOVA, one-way repeated measures ANOVA, and mixed between-within subjects ANOVA), and nonparametric procedures (Kruskal-Wallis, Mann Whitney U, and Friedman) to analyze data generated by the pretest and posttest gains, and the retention test (re-administration of the pretest and posttest). All three groups maintained vocabulary achievement from posttest to retention test, at the same rate. Findings provide statistically significant evidence that students who practiced the creative dramatics interventions had greater vocabulary achievement versus the control group. Replication of this study is recommended with a larger sample size and stricter controls to validate the results.


The uploaded PDF copy of my dissertation includes the entire dissertation of 420 pages. The full PDF copy includes a scanned copy of the dissertation signature page, with dissertation committee signatures and date, as the first page of the PDF of the full dissertation, as well as a scanned copy of the Certification of Registration from the United States Library of Congress as the last page, to indicate official publication and copyright of my dissertation, as the last page of the PDF copy of my dissertation.

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