Title

Implementation of Characteristics and Provisions of Developmentally Responsive Middle Schools

Date of Award

2002

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Ric Keaster

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to ascertain the implementation of effective middle school characteristics and provisions as perceived by members of the selected southern state's middle school association in middle schools across that state. Dorman, Lipsitz, and Verner (1985) suggested that middle level students have unique needs as a school group. Middle level students need schools that provide diversity in teaching, curriculum, and scheduling; opportunities for self-exploration and self-definition; meaningful participation in school and in communities; positive social interaction with peers and adults; physical activity; competence and achievement; and clear structure and limits. The National Middle School Association (1995) identifies characteristics and provisions of developmentally responsive middle schools. Those characteristics included commitment, vision, expectations, adult advocacy, family and community partnerships, and school climate. Provisions of developmentally responsive middle schools included the following: curriculum; teaching and learning approaches; assessment and evaluation; organizational structures; programs and policies for health, wellness, and safety; and comprehensive guidance and support services. The following conclusions were drawn: There was not a significant relationship between the members of the selected southern state's middle school association's perception of commitment; vision; expectations; adult advocacy, family and community partnerships; curriculum; teaching and learning approaches, assessment and evaluation, organizational structures; programs and policies for health, wellness, and safety; comprehensive guidance and support services and variables of years of experience in middle school, areas of certification, educational degree, school grade configuration, and current position. There was a significant relationship between the members of the selected southern state's middle school association's perception of school climate and the variables of grade configuration and current position. There was not a significant relationship between the members of the selected southern state's middle school association's perception of school climate and the variables of years of experience in middle school, areas of certification, and educational degree. The findings of this study suggested that middle school grade configurations and faculty positions affected the perception of middle school climates. To enhance school climate middle school organization should include grade configurations that best meet the needs of young adolescents. Administrators ranked school climates in a more positive manner than teachers. Further investigation of middle school climates should include variables of grade configuration and faculty positions.