Given Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) (1995) mandates, Virginia’s elementary teachers and school leaders utilized research for teaching methods that encouraged gains on the end of course mathematics tests.  The relationship between teacher motivation methods and student achievement on Virginia’s End of Course SOL Test for elementary deserves investigation. Camelot Elementary School is a Title I school housing high concentrations of minority students who normally achieve lower test score gains than students in other district and state schools.  Camelot has a student population receiving at least seventy percent free and reduced lunch nested in a low middle class neighborhood in Chesapeake, Virginia.

This research was based on school effectiveness by developing and testing hypotheses about the specific relationships between student competition and statewide testing results in elementary mathematics for grades three, four, and five at Camelot Elementary School in Chesapeake, Virginia. The study compiled data from the “Math Sprint Competition”, a series of student group related reviews of state released test items in a math test relay format. Research focused on methods for motivating a group of students motivated by the use of a math sprint competition from 2005 to 2010 to show achievement growth during the same time period. Students must maintain an annual pass rate in mathematics to meet Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) as recommended by the national “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001. Student learning activities were compared from teaching methods that included: direct instruction, problem-based learning, technology aided instruction, cooperative learning, manipulative, models, and multiple representations, communication, and study skills.

A cohort of twenty mathematics teachers from Camelot Elementary School participated in this research to ascertain how frequently they used research-based teaching methods and determined the influence of teaching methods on their students’ achievement. A multiple regression analysis was used to show results from a 40-item statewide test for each grade level. Individual Pearson Product Moment Correlations were conducted to determine which variables possess strong and statistically significant relationships. This analysis determined if gains on the end of the year SOL mathematics scores were a result of an impact of the series of math sprint competitions used as motivators before each benchmark assessment leading to the SOL tests in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade mathematics.