Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2018

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. V. Carole Smith

Third Committee Member

Dr. Marcia Smith

Program Director

Dr. John Freeman

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Jeff Robertson


Researchers have reported a loss of achievement for students transitioning between elementary and middle-level schools. Transitioning students often find themselves in classroom and school environments that are not a fit to their psychological and developmental needs. Since the transition to middle school has a profound impact on student academic success, schools should create developmentally appropriate environments that support student needs. Middle-level practitioners utilize a variety of activities and structures to support students. Interdisciplinary teaming structures are an important tool that middle schools use to create smaller communities within the school that support the development of student and teacher relationships to improve student socio-emotional development and academic learning. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the effects of interdisciplinary team size on student perceptions of the school environment after the transition to middle school. This quantitative study examined variables associated with the positive psychological development of adolescents within three-teacher and five-teacher interdisciplinary teams to determine the effect of team size on student perceptions. The variables measured were hope, engagement, belonging, goal-orientation, academic press, and autonomy. The results of the study found that three-teacher interdisciplinary teams had a significant positive effect on emotional engagement, and teacher and student academic and personal belonging. Five-teacher interdisciplinary teams had a statistically significant negative effect on emotional engagement, student and teacher personal belonging, and autonomy.