Title

Key Characteristics of Effective Middle Schools: Meeting the Academic Performance Standards of Students With Disabilities

Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

First Advisor

Ronald A. Styron, Jr.

Advisor Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

In this study, the research examined student performance in middle schools with a grade configuration of six through eight and a student subgroup of 40 or more students with disabilities. Twenty-one selected middle schools were categorized into two groups: high performing middle schools: (1) middle schools making adequate yearly progress for two consecutive school years and (2) middle schools not making adequate yearly progress for two consecutive school years. Nine middle school administrators elected for teachers to participate in the research study. Participants included 283 middle school teachers, 171 teachers from five high performing middle schools and 112 teachers from low performing middle schools. Three questionnaires were used to gather information about middle school practices, school climate, and school health. Respondents used a 4-point scale on all three instruments to describe the extent to which each item characterized the school. MANOVAs with follow-up ANOVAs were used to test hypotheses. The Middle School Questionnaire was developed by the researcher to measure the extent of organizational structures and instructional practices described in the literature evident in the school. Low performing middle schools scored higher on organizational structures. No significant difference was found in instructional practices. The Organizational Climate Description Questionnaire for Middle Schools (OCDQ-RM) measured six dimensions related to principal and teacher behavior: supportive behavior, directive behavior, restrictive behavior, collegial behavior, committed behavior, and disengaged behavior. Low performing schools scored higher on supportive behavior, directive behavior, and committed behavior. High performing schools scored higher on collegial behavior. No significant differences were found in restrictive behavior and disengaged behavior. The Organizational Health Inventory for Middle Schools (OHI-M) measured six dimensions related to health and well-being behavior and interactions in middle schools: institutional integrity, collegial leadership, principal influence, resource support, teacher affiliation, and academic emphasis. Low performing schools scored higher on collegial leadership, principal influence, and resource support. No significant differences were found in institutional integrity, teacher affiliation, and academic emphasis.