Teaching teams and student achievement in Vermont's middle schools

2008 2008

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Abstract (summary)

In the 1990s many educators asserted that interdisciplinary teams of teachers working with students in middle grades 5–8 were more effective than traditional instruction in isolated disciplines. Research reported elements of team teaching positively affect student learning, behavior, and achievement (Arhar, 1990, 1994; Arhar & Irvin, 1995; Dickinson & Erb, 1997; Flowers, Mertens & Mulhall, 1999, 2000; Mertens, Flowers & Mulhall, 1999). This study identifies the characteristics and practices of teaching teams that correlate with higher student performance in mathematics, reading and writing in the eighth grade.

Student performance as measured by the New England Comprehensive Assessment Program (NECAP) was compared across teams teaching 7th graders in Vermont. The NECAP scores were adjusted to control for household income within each school district. The independent variables of teaching team characteristics and practices were measured by a team self-assessment survey developed using dimensions of teaching teams identified by the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS), an individual questionnaire completed confidentially about how team members work together, and a survey for principals to identify demographic characteristics of each teaching team.

This study found: (1) teaching teams giving students greater roles in decision-making correlate positively with student performance in reading and mathematics; (2) teaching teams communicating with parents via email or website correlate positively with student performance in mathematics; and (3) three descriptors of internal teaching team dynamics are associated positively with student performance.

The study also found elements of teaching teams that correlate negatively with student performance. These include: (1) team identity including, motto, logo or mascot, mission, song, apparel, and team awards for students; (2) the extent of control teaching teams have over instruction; and (3) the use of student advisory groups. Finally, the study explored the impact of how teaching teams are formed (careful consideration does not impact effectiveness), the integration of a special education teacher on teams (negative impact on student achievement), and overall school size (schools with larger enrollments performed better).

Indexing (details)

School administration;
Secondary education;
Curriculum development;
Academic achievement;
Middle schools
0514: School administration
0533: Secondary education
0727: Curriculum development
Identifier / keyword
Education; Achievement; Middle schools; New England Comprehensive Assessment program; Student achievement; Teaching teams; Team teaching; Vermont
Teaching teams and student achievement in Vermont's middle schools
John, Steven B.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 69/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Militello, Matthew C.
Committee member
Eiseman, Jeffrey W.; Keller, Lisa A.; Marx, Robert D.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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