Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Center for Leadership & Learning


College of Education

Committee Chair

Dr. John Freeman

Second Committee Member

Dr. MarTeze Hammonds

Third Committee Member

Dr. Charity Smith

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Mary B. Gunter


The purpose of this study was to investigate school transition from elementary to middle school from the perceptions of economically disadvantaged students. Through the investigation, a determination was made on whether there is a difference in the level of connectedness among economically disadvantaged students between the low performing and higher performing schools. The study was a quantitative research design. The target population of the study was economically disadvantaged students in four middle schools in an urban school district located in the central region of the state. All of the four middle schools contained sixth through eighth-grade configurations and were designated as Title I schools at the time of the study. The target population consisted of 682 sixth grade students enrolled in the participating four middle schools during fall 2016. Survey data were obtained from 331 students or 49% of the student population. The school district administered the survey online, with students in the designated grades completing the survey in class on school-owned computers. The response rate of 49% was based on the total sixth-grade population of these four schools and the number of completed surveys. The Student Transition Questionnaire used to collect data on the perceptions of middle school students about transitioning from elementary to middle school, was developed by Akos (2002). This study found that there was no significant difference in the level of connectedness between economically disadvantaged students at low-performing and higher performing schools. The researcher does note that the items that fostered connectedness differed for this population at the lower performing and higher performing schools.