Date of Award

Spring 5-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership and Research

Committee Chair

Dr. Ronald Styron

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. Gaylynn Parker

Committee Member 3

Dr. Portia Hull

Committee Member 4

Dr. James T. Johnson

Abstract

In this study, the researcher examined the effect of the implementation of the middle school concept on student achievement in coastal Mississippi middle level schools with a grade configuration of 6-8. The study was conducted in the fall semester of the 2006-2007 school year; archival data were collected from the Mississippi Department of Education's Web site. There were 15 schools identified as housing grades 6-8; of those 15, participants included 12 coastal Mississippi middle level schools. There was a total of 9 schools identified as implementing the middle school concept, and 6 schools were identified as not implementing the concept; consequently, in an effort to keep all things as equal as possible, this study compared 6 schools identified as implementing the concept and 6 schools as not implementing the concept.

Student achievement data were collected from the Mississippi Curriculum Test administered in 2005 to determine if there was a significant difference between sixth grade academic achievement, seventh grade academic achievement, and eighth grade academic achievement in coastal Mississippi middle level schools (schools with a configuration of grades 6 through 8) where the middle school concept is implemented and those schools where the concept is not implemented.

After testing each of the three hypotheses, it was determined that there was no significant difference in sixth grade academic achievement and eighth grade academic achievement; however, there was a significant difference in student achievement in seventh grade academic achievement in the area of language.

This study was a mixed-method causal comparative study, a qualitative component, which also included interview questions and participants' responses. The participants were two administrators and two teachers from schools where the middle school concept was implemented. The findings of this study indicated that implementation of the middle school concept had a strong impact on student achievement relative to the qualitative component utilized in interviewing selected administrators and teachers. Both administrators and teachers have a strong commitment to meeting the needs of each student and building upon active parental involvement in their schools.