Committee Chair

Crawford, Elizabeth K.

Committee Member

Hinsdale, Bernard; Rausch, David W.; Rutledge, Valerie C.


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


This causal-comparative case study compares two scheduling practices to determine if there is a significant difference in English Language Arts and/or math scores among fourth and fifth grade students in a southeast Tennessee elementary school. The first scheduling practice included students in a traditional self-contained classroom. The second scheduling practice integrated a departmentalized and looping model where content specialist in ELA and a content specialist in math taught the students. For the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years, the school administrator assigned half of the school’s student body to a traditional, self-contained classroom and half to a departmentalized, looped setting known as a community. A community blends departmentalization, where students have subject-specific teachers, and looping, where students have the same teacher for consecutive school years. The quantitative portion of the study compares Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) scores of 59 students enrolled in traditional self-contained classes to the scores of 82 students enrolled in departmentalized, looped classrooms. Additionally, a qualitative component reflects 11 teachers’ anecdotal perspectives, anxieties, and general viewpoints of the academic benefits of elementary schedules. The results of the study indicated no statistically significant academic difference in reading between self-contained students and departmentalized, looped students. Furthermore, the results showed no statistically significant academic difference in math between self-contained students and departmentalized, looped students. The interviewed teachers favored some variation of departmentalization at the elementary level. Although the t-test results indicated no significant differences overall, an analysis of variance revealed significant differences between African American and Caucasian students’ scores. Considering the Common Core State Standards implemented during the period of study and considering theoretical underpinnings, findings showed the importance of teacher content knowledge as a precursor to establishing a favorable instructional setting at the elementary level. However, these results also indicated the importance of strong, efficacious learners who contribute to the collective efficacy of the classroom.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Looping (Education); Classroom management; Curriculum planning; Team learning approach in education


Elementary schedules; Departmentalization; Self-contained; Looping; Common Core; Teaching and learning

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




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