Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

David E. Bartz


The town of Bement, Illinois, had an elementary school (K-8) and a high school (9-12) prior to 1976. The Bement Community Unit School District initiated its junior high school in 1976. This school consisted of the seventh and eighth grades.

During the 1983-84 school year, the administrators of the Bement schools expressed a general concern with the academic grades, social development, and behavior that was occurring in the Bement Junior High School. They indicated that many of the problems were the result of having the junior high school students housed with the senior high school students. They perceived that some of the high school students were negative influences on some of the seventh- and eighth-grade students during the school day and on the younger students' personal lives.

One immediate suggested solution was the physical separation of the seventh- and eighth-grade students from the high school students. The members of the Bement Board of Education instructed the administrators to implement a middle school that would be operational for the 1984-85 school year. This school included the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades and was housed in a separate area of the school building.

This field experience studied the Bement Middle School students' academic grades, social development, and behavior after the 1984-85 school year.

Compared to their seventh-grade accomplishments, the academic grades were improved for 55% of the eighth-grade students in language arts; 36% in mathematics; 49% in social studies; and 45% in science. The accumlative grade point average for the eighth grade increased from 3.38 as seventh graders to 3.57 as eighth graders after the first year in the middle school.

In order to determine the change in behavior and social development of the middle school students, a survey was given to the 1984-85 eighth graders, the parents of those students, and the staff (administrators, teachers, guidance counselor, and a social worker) of the Bement Middle School. The majority of the students did not indicate that their behavior or social development improved after the first year of the Bement Middle School in comparison to the Bement Junior High School. However, the parents' and staff's opinions strongly supported the improvements of the behavior and social development of the middle school students.