The Impact of Departmentalization of Grades Four and Five on Student Performance

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The purpose of this non-experimental quantitative study was to examine the impact of a departmentalization structure in grades four and five on student performance. The study was conducted in a large, kindergarten through 12th-grade urban school district in northern New Jersey. The focus was on determining if departmentalization in grades four and five was a model that districts could use to meet the demands of accountability regarding student performance. Student performance measured by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Mathematics and English Language Arts student scale scores and student growth scores were examined. This research study’s major findings supported the hypothesis that grade four and five students who receive instruction in the departmentalization instructional setting would demonstrate significantly higher scale scores and student growth scores than students in the self-contained group, depending on demographic factors and content area. However, the size of the effect for these significant differences were small. Finally, this study concludes that departmentalization in the elementary grades provides districts with an alternative organizational structure that will allow students to achieve the student standards, student growth, and meet their accountability standards.

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