The Influence Of Departmentalization On Elementary School Students

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Summary The literature shows that confounding definitions related to elementary school instructional organization, limited research, and contradictory and inconclusive findings contribute to the difficulty in determining the impact of departmentalization on elementary school students. Also problematic are stakeholders’ influences on instructional organization decisions and how they view them, in terms of institutional factors such as rules, structures, and social and professional norms. Confounding definitions and misrepresentations make choices difficult, and force many school districts to create their own definitions of terms. The failure to establish static definitions continues to complicate the debate. Those that support the benefits of the self- contained classroom cite optimized individualization, time flexibility, and coordination across content areas. The advocates of departmentalization focus on the need for the teachers ' specialized knowledge, for increased student engagement and content mastery. They indicate that it is unrealistic to expect elementary teachers to have the specialized knowledge required to facilitate instruction in all content areas. The literature indicates that departmentalized instruction helps students transition to the middle-school format, and that grade-level instructional teams promote teacher retention. The association of teacher retention with departmentalization results in a positive impact on student achievement. The actual years

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