An analysis of the impact of implementing interdisciplinary pods on student achievement in Georgia middle schools

Andrew Lynn Bristow

Abstract

With the increasing demands for middle schools to meet Annual Yearly Progress and the Annual Measurable Objective levels of the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) middle school principals are faced with decisions to incorporate the appropriate middle school instructional model. This study examined the longitudinal achievement data of sixth and seventh grade reading, English language arts, and math on the Georgia Criterion Reference Competency Test (CRCT) in 20 middle schools from 2008 - 2011 in a large suburban school district in Georgia. Of the schools, two implemented a junior high model, six implemented an interdisciplinary pod model, and twelve implemented an interdisciplinary team model. The student achievement data was collected from the School Performance Summary Reports that are compiled by the Georgia Department of Education for the years 2008 - 2011. Three of the research questions were designed to examine if a particular type of instructional model used by the middle schools influenced student achievement. After testing each of three hypotheses it was determined that there was no significant difference in academic achievement for reading, English language arts, or math when compared to the instructional model. Nor was there a significant difference between the instructional model and its implementation in either sixth or seventh grade. This study also asked a fourth question that evaluated the perception of middle school principals and the instructional model. This was accomplished using a survey that was developed specifically for this study. Based on the answers provided by the principals, it was establish that there was no significant difference between the perception of middle school principals and student achievement. However, the majority of the principals indicated that they preferred one model to another. Additionally, the majority of the principals agreed that the instructional model used at their school was based on external influences and that they would choose to change to an interdisciplinary pod model if given the opportunity.