The Relationship Between Academic Performance and Elementary Student and Teacher Attitudes Towards Departmentalizing
AuthorFreiberg, Elizabeth Jean
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn response to the continued pressure placed on American public schools to increase academic achievement, some schools have begun to reorganize instructional environments in an effort to improve student outcomes. The current study examined one such elementary school that implemented a departmentalized model of instruction in fourth and fifth-grade classrooms in an effort to improve student learning. This longitudinal, cross-sectional study followed a sample of students and teachers over a two-year period in an attempt to ascertain how departmentalizing in the elementary school affected student and teacher perceptions and academic achievement among students in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade. Student perceptions of their school, teachers, peers, and academic performance were measured using surveys and standardized achievement test scores were collected. Teacher attitudes toward departmentalization were also measured using surveys. A factor analysis of student survey results with Varimax rotation resulted in ten factors that revealed a consistent pattern of change in student perceptions when correlated. A consistent relationship between students' academic achievement and perceptions at each grade level was not found. Results suggested that students who began switching classes in elementary school had positive perceptions of their teachers and of themselves as social beings in school. Perceptions of their academic abilities, however, separated from their perceptions of their teachers over time. In contrast, students with one teacher in self-contained classrooms had positive perceptions of their teachers. These students' perceptions of their academic abilities and perceptions of themselves as social beings in school were connected to their perceived teacher-student relationships. Elementary teachers expressed concern over meeting their students' emotional needs, but otherwise reported positive attitudes toward their abilities to teach and meet their students' academic needs in a departmentalized setting. Teachers at the elementary school and the middle school felt that students who switched classes in elementary school were more prepared when they got to middle school and adjusted more quickly than students who came from self-contained elementary classrooms.
Degree ProgramGraduate College