Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Peggy C. Kirby

Second Advisor

Robert K. Wimpelberg

Third Advisor

Myles Seghers

Fourth Advisor

James Meza, Jr.

Fifth Advisor

Ernest Chachere


Middle schools serve young adolescents who require a separate schooling experience from both elementary and high school students. The Middle School Movement has been around since the 1960s, yet middle schools have not been fully implemented in this country. Middle schools are still in the early stage of reform.

Staff development activities are necessary to prepare school personnel to implement best middle school practices. Because few states require certification at the middle school level, most school personnel are poorly prepared to implement best middle school practices. Thus, Carnegie (1989) recommendations are not fully incorporated in most middle schools.

In this nationwide study, a packet consisting of 15 demographic items, the Middle Level Practices Questionnaire, and the Professional Development Survey were mailed to 1,000 systematically selected principals who were members of NMSA. Usable responses were obtained from 604 of the 1,000 who received the packet. A majority of the responding schools were of the 6-7-8 grade configuration.

The majority of the principals who responded (32%) were from the ages of 50 to 54 years of age, male (61%) and white (86%). About one fourth (24%) were appointed to the principalship for the first time between the ages of 40 to 44. Many of these principals came from the teaching ranks, with 62 % stating that they had more than 10 years in the classroom. Only 10% had a doctoral degree, while 37% had a master's degree plus some additional graduate work. Almost half (45%) had secondary certification for the principalship. Only about 14% had middle level certification, and 9% had elementary certification. Job satisfaction appeared high with 44% planning to remain in their present position.

The total MLPQ mean score was 3.92 on a 1-5 scale with 5 as the maximum score. Thus, middle schools are implementing Carnegie (1989) recommended practices to a moderate extent. The lowest mean score on the MLPQ was obtained on subscale 1, Curriculum and Instruction with a mean score of 3.67. Results of this study indicated that females and principals with higher degrees do a better job of implementing the MLPQ than their male counterparts.

The Professional Development Survey was constructed to gauge the types and amount of staff development being conducted in middle schools across the United States today. Three subscales-- Opportunities for Staff Development, Planning Time for Staff Development, and Incentives for Staff Development-assessed staff development practices. The only mean score below three was the mean for Incentives for Staff Development (2.57). Thus, teachers are not receiving appropriate, if any, incentives for engaging in staff development activities.

There was a relationship between .MLPQ mean scores and PDS Component mean scores. A positive relationship exists between staff development and implementation of middle level components. Although principals reported staff development opportunities at the middle level, the level of implementation of middle level components does not support this belief. Recommendations for practice and research are suggested.


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