Date of Award

Summer 1995

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Morris Beers

Second Advisor

Linda Schloner

Third Advisor

Patricia E. Baker

Abstract

To address the unique needs of middle school students, many middle schools have developed advisor/advisee type programs to help ease transition into the school. Odyssey at Hoover Drive has developed a program called Connectime whose objectives include building communities, strengthening relationships and increasing student autonomy. This study investigates sixth graders’ transition into the middle school setting and assesses whether the Connectime program assists students with this transition. Five sixth grade teachers and ninety-two sixth grade students completed questionnaires to determine whether Connectime was properly meeting the students’ needs. Percentages were calculated for each of the questions asked in both the student and teacher questionnaires and a chart was compiled to identify favorable and unfavorable results for each objective. Analysis of the teacher questionnaire shows that all sixth grade teachers agreed that Connectime’s objectives were important for incoming sixth graders, but they disagreed on whether the program was actually meeting those goals. The teachers were particularly skeptical of the use of small groups to assist in educational endeavors and end result of increasing student autonomy. Students generally had a favorable response to Connectime’s attempts to develop small communities and personal connections to Odyssey’s faculty. Importantly, the majority of students had favorable responses to attempts to build student autonomy, with more than three-fourths of students feeling their Connectime teacher respected them. The author argues that Connectime fulfills its objectives in helping sixth grade students transition into middle school. However, while Connectime teachers seem to have a strong influence on their students, peer groups remain the most influential group for dealing with personal problems. The author recommends further study to see how needs develop over time, as well as the perception of parents on advisor/advisee programs.

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