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ERIC Number: ED505452
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Dec
Pages: 137
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
Middle School Classrooms: Teachers' Reported Practices and Student Perceptions
Moon, Tonya R.; Callahan, Carolyn M.; Tomlinson, Carol A.; Miller, Erin M.
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented
Middle school teachers' reported classroom practices, middle school students' perceptions of classroom practice, and the alignment of reported practices and perceptions with the middle school movement's orientation towards student achievement form the foci of this study. As part of a larger study looking at two different interventions for addressing the academic diversity of middle school learners (Callahan, Tomlinson, Moon, Brighton, & Hertberg, in preparation), teachers in participating schools were asked to complete a middle school practices survey. Students completed a parallel survey on their perceptions of their classrooms. In addition to reporting teacher and student responses to the surveys, comparisons between teacher reported practices and student perceptions as well as comparisons with the 1995 national study of middle school teacher practices (Moon, Tomlinson, & Callahan, 1995) are provided in this monograph. Examination of teacher practices and student perceptions in addressing academic diversity in middle school classrooms evolved from examining the literature on: (a) characteristics of middle school students, (b) student achievement goals in the middle school, (c) middle school curriculum, instruction and assessment practices, (d) accommodating academic diversity in the middle school classroom, and (e) student grouping. Findings replicate what was previously found in the 1995 NRC/GT study as well as provide unique findings relative to the particular interventions implemented as part of the larger NRC/GT study. Consistent with the 1995 study findings, teachers report that learning contracts, tiered assignments, advanced organizers, computer programs focusing on basic skills or advanced understanding, curriculum compacting, learning centers, flexible grouping, or interest centers are rarely used in their middle school classrooms. In contrast to the 1995 study findings, state curriculum standards, local curriculum guides, and key concepts and principles of core disciplines are considered the three most important factors in determining instructional content taught by teachers. Findings unique to the study indicate the majority of teachers report using example activities and observations to modify the content of activities, types of products required of students, and student grouping arrangements; yet a large portion of teachers also indicate never tailoring an assignment for students or varying materials based on student readiness levels. Instead, lecture, direct instruction to the whole class using the state standards and local curriculum guides, is the predominant reported modality of teaching. Students indicated, consistent with teachers' responses, that the instructional content of their classes was textbook driven and focused on student success for more formal assessments (e.g., end-of-unit tests, standardized tests). Students also indicated whole group instruction supported by note taking and all students working on the same assignment as the predominant format of their classrooms. (Contains 66 tables.)
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. University of Connecticut, 2131 Hillside Road Unit 3007, Storrs, CT 06269-4676. Tel: 860-486-4676; Fax: 860-486-2900; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented