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Title:Measuring the middle school concept: the status and effectiveness of middle school concept implementation in Illinois
Author(s):Woods, Scott Christopher
Director of Research:Hackmann, Donald G.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hackmann, Donald G.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Alexander, Samuel K; Cromley, Jennifer G.; Sloat, Linda
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Middle school
Middle school concept
Interdisciplinary teaming
Common planning time
Middle grades school
Junior high
Abstract:The status and effectiveness of middle school concept (MSC) implementation in Illinois is unknown. MSC is not new and has evolved over time. MSC represents specific practices of school organization and programming with implementation systems designed for the unique needs of young adolescents. Although there have been recent national studies looking at the level of implementation of various aspects of MSC, the role student demographics in schools plays in implementation practices as well as any relationship to academic achievement is a gap in the literature. Specifically in Illinois, it is unknown what the status of MSC implementation is or whether there is a relationship between a school’s demographics and rates of MSC implementation. At the same time, there is little evidence that correlates rates of MSC implementation to schoolwide academic performance outcomes. This quantitative study serves to identify MSC implementation in Illinois and MSC’s relationship between a school’s demographics and school academic performance data. This study surveyed 610 middle grades schools’ principals in Illinois to determine MSC implementation levels in Illinois, and 149 principals provided useable responses. A statistical analysis of that survey data was analyzed relative to available school demographic data and standardized academic performance outcomes. Rates of students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch, school district operating expenditure per pupil, racial/ethnic composition of schools’ students, and standardized academic testing performance data were all considered as related to schools’ rates of implementing specific MSC practices of interdisciplinary teaming, common planning time, and advisory. This study found that Illinois’ implementation of MSC in middle grades schools is comparable to national data and that there are relationships between MSC implementation and demographic and academic achievement. Schools implementing advisory programs were found to have significantly higher operating expenditures per pupil than schools not implementing advisory. Schools with higher percentages of Latino/a students were found to be more likely to have advisory programming in place. Implementation of teaming did show a statistically significant main effect on academic performance, but when factors of race/ethnicity and relative wealth of the school were considered the effect of teaming was no longer significant. Additionally, this study identified four generalizable types of school clusters related to MSC implementation: schools implementing advisory, teaming, advisory plus teaming, and schools implementing neither advisory nor teaming indicating that 86.8% of middle grades schools were utilizing some aspect of MSC, and 73.7% of middle grades schools were implementing teaming. The final chapter discusses the findings of this study and makes recommendations for educational practice, policy, and future research.
Issue Date:2017-01-23
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Scott C. Woods
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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