Teaching and Learning in the Middle Schools: Lessons from an Urban Community.Report as inadecuate

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This study investigated factors in middle schools that contributed to student outcomes. It was conducted in a district serving predominantly minority and disadvantaged students. Data collection involved surveys of 555 personnel in the district's 17 middle schools and interviews with teachers, administrators, instructional guides, students, and district office personnel. The study examined the influence of outside factors; how schools were organized to facilitate teacher collaboration; academic assistance available to students; how the schools were organized to deliver instruction; administrative structures and practices; and parent/community involvement and support. Overall, the schools were complex organizations that were difficult to define and categorize. Five schools were high academic performers, and five were low performers. There were no consistent relationships between their academic performance and the way they were judged by respondents. In three high performing schools, there was a culture of success that was not present in low performing schools. Schools appeared to focus their efforts on improving TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills) scores, though many teachers believed this limited their ability to present material that would engage the students and develop their critical thinking skills. Teachers in every school rated themselves as the school's greatest strength, though they did not accept responsibility for certain school problems (e.g., poor discipline and apathy). Many teachers perceived that school administrators provided poor leadership and districts inadequately served school needs. The interview questions are appended. (Contains 10 references.) (SM)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Administrator Attitudes, Administrators, Instructional Leadership, Low Achievement, Middle School Students, Middle Schools, Minority Group Children, Poverty, Principals, School Culture, Teacher Attitudes, Teachers

Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East Seventh Street, Austin, TX 78701-3281. Tel: 512-476-6861.

Author: Rutherford, Bill; Broughton, Mary

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=9828&id=ED449262

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