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Do they feel that they belong on a team? A study of the effects of teaming on eigth graders

27 July 1992


This study is a comparison of the differences in affective responses between students in a traditional classroom setting and students on an interdisciplinary team. During the 1991- 1992 school year at Washington county junior high school, one half of the eighth grade class was placed on an interdisciplinary team for their language arts, social studies~ and science classes; the other half had a regular schedule of seven classes with different students and teachers. Students on the. team participated in two interdisciplinary units, and their. teachers met weekly to discuss curriculum and student needs. The eighth grade team is the second phase in transitioning this junior high to a middle school. During the previous year a pilot seventh grade interdisciplinary team was· setup; during the 1991-1992 school year all of the seventh graders and one half of the eighth graders were placed on teams; plans for the 1992-199~ school year include all seventh and eight graders to be placed on interdisciplinary teams. Since so much time, energy,. and money is being spent on interdisciplinary teams, it is logical to question their effects. A review of the literature provides a great deal of information about the benefits of middle schools and interdisciplinary teams, but very few studies have actually researched their I r effects. The research that is available shows little or no difference in achievement gains between students on teams and those in traditional classrooms. There is evidence, however, of affective benefits of interdisciplinary teams . This study is an attempt to examine one of those affective benefits, specifically students' sense of belonging. Do students on an interdisciplinary team have a greater sense of belonging than students in the traditional classroom? A survey for 77 eighth graders, 37 on a team and 40 not, was designed to find out. Previous research would suggest that. students on teams would have a greater sense of belonging to their school. than students not on teams. Analysis of the twenty question survey ? conducted for this study ,however, did not support this conclusion. The biggest support that this study gives is. for. i more research into the effects of interdisciplinary teams.


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