Sydney Allen

Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2016

Document Type

Education 530 Project

Degree Name

Master of Education



First Advisor

Guth, Nancy

Major or Concentration



This paper was a research assignment for the purpose of a masters' degree requirement through the University of Mary Washington's College of Education. The graduate author both designed and implemented the research in her internship-placement classroom. The present research paper is a qualitative comparative study exploring the effects of two different types of easy-listening music--orchestral and instrumental--on the on-task performance of 23 thirdgraders during creative writing. The research took place over the course of three weeks, in which students received three different treatments (one each week) in which they had fifteen minutes to complete a pre-determined writing prompt. The first week was the control, or silent treatment. Week two was the first experimental treatment--the orchestral music--followed by final week with electronic music. Using three tools of qualitative measurement: student surveys, observation notes, and composition analysis, the researcher concluded that the data was highly illustrative of individual preference with regard to background music promoting on-task performance. There was not just one treatment that proved favorable or unfavorable to the majority of participants.

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