Master of Education Research Theses

Date of Successful Defense


Date Degree Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M.Ed.)




Dr. Timothy Heaton


departmentalization, self-contained, students’ perceptions, school connectedness


This study examines students’ perceptions and attitudes toward entering a departmentalized middle school program after experiencing a self-contained elementary setting and if those perceptions and attitudes are reflected in their overall grades. In this longitudinal qualitative study, forty students were surveyed at the end of their last year in a self-contained classroom regarding their perceptions of entering the focus school’s departmentalized fifth grade program. Students remaining in the study group were surveyed again at the end of their fifth grade year to gain information on their attitudes toward departmentalization after completing the program. Data was collected from students’ end of year grades and attendance during the course of the study. This study found, for the students in the sample group of this study, conducted at a moderate sized private school in the midwest, that the majority of the students have positive perceptions toward entering the departmentalized program and left the departmentalized program with similar attitudes. Grades for the majority of the students remained either static or improved during the course of the study. Several of the younger students in the sample group did indicate a lack of desire to enter the program and were among the few who did not perform as well academically in the departmentalized program.



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