Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Allen Eury


This dissertation was designed to examine whether fourth-grade students who received instruction in a self-contained setting were more likely to meet their target score on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test than students who were taught in a departmentalized setting. Fourth-grade students in ALPHA School District took the MAP test in the fall and spring of the academic calendar year. Target scores were originated by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). These target scores showed the typical growth for a student in the particular grade level as calculated by national norms. The MAP test growth norms were very precise. Due to the enormous number of students involved in the norming study, NWEA staff was able to calculate the mean growth of similar groups of students from each grade level (2–10) who scored at each RIT level in the initial testing season. For this study, the researcher focused on students in the fourth grade. Fourth-grade students from ALPHA School District were tested in the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2016. Scores of students taking both tests were obtained and categorized into two groups: self-contained and departmentalized. Once this process was completed, the researcher analyzed the target scores to determine whether or not there were significant differences in scores of self-contained and departmentalized classrooms. Teacher participants were asked to respond to a collection of survey questions to determine which factors were key contributors to students finding success in the math program in their classroom structure (self-contained, departmentalized). The researcher followed up by utilizing a group of volunteer interview participants to partake in a brief interview based on the findings to determine the identifiable cultural classroom differences in environments in comparing self-contained and departmentalized settings. An analysis of the data determined that all students grew equally well regardless of their target growth and classroom structure. Through a survey, it was determined that self-contained teachers place the highest importance on the factors of human relationships and individualized instruction, while departmentalized teachers place their importance in engaging lessons and content specialization. It was discovered that teachers are better when they teach toward their strengths; that math is most effectively taught in a structured environment where routines are evident; and the value in the importance of engaging students with relevant, creative instruction.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.