Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Teri Denlea Melton

Committee Member 1

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 2

Paul M. Brinson, Jr.


The passage from elementary school to middle school, along with physical, social, and emotional changes associated with adolescence, often results in personal and social, organizational, and academic declines. The classroom structure of elementary school varies between a team teaching setting and a self-contained setting, and each instructional environment has the potential to impact all areas of development for each student. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between fifth grade classroom setting (team teaching vs. self-contained) and sixth grade student behavior. The gender and the socio-economic status of transitioning students also served as variables of the study. A secondary purpose of the study was to examine middle school students' perceptions of their transition from elementary school to middle school based on elementary classroom structure. Results from this study indicated that males, socio-economically disadvantaged students, and students from a self-contained elementary classroom experienced significantly higher levels of discipline referrals during the transition to middle school. Using the Student Transition Questionnaire (Akos, 2002), there were no statistically significant differences found between the self-contained and team teaching classroom structures on the social and personal, organizational, and academic constructs of middle school transition. The findings from this study suggest that elementary classroom structure may impact each student's transition experience into middle school. Suggestions regarding the implementation of effective transition strategies are provided along with recommendations concerning future research on the relationship between elementary classroom structure and middle school transition.

Research Data and Supplementary Material