Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Constance Pearson

Primary Subject Area

Education, Curriculum and Instruction; Education, Educational Psychology; Education, General; Education, Language and Literature; Education, Mathematics; Education, Secondary

Keywords

advanced, curriculum, honors, middle school, perceptions, rigor

Disciplines

Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Gifted Education | Science and Mathematics Education

Abstract

The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to investigate student and teacher perceptions concerning the impact of honors middle school language arts and mathematics courses on preparedness for similar ninth through twelfth grade classes at a high school in northwest Georgia. The questions that guided the study focused on examining the perceptions of students and teachers who had experienced this phenomenon and their notions of the impact that participation in middle school honors mathematics and language arts courses had on preparedness for non-gifted students enrolled in similar accelerated high school courses. A transcendental phenomenological design was used to discover the essence of experience in middle school honors mathematics and language arts classes. Student interviews, student surveys, and a teacher focus group contributed to the study in order to increase trustworthiness through triangulation of data. Horizontalization and clusters of meaning were utilized to identify common themes that depicted the essence of the experience. Almost all of the participants expressed the belief that middle school honors courses significantly contributed to increased feelings of preparedness and confidence for the challenges and rigor of similar high school honors and Advanced Placement courses. Both student and teacher participants shared mostly positive experiences regarding the phenomenon of middle school honors math and language courses and perceived the early exposure to these classes to be beneficial in preparing high-achieving students for success in subsequent high school honors courses.