Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, PhD; Robert Donmoyer, PhD; Daniel M. Miller, PhD


child development, children & youth, ethnicity, Guam, Leadership studies, middle schools, school administration, teachers


In an effort to help middle school programs respond to the unique developmental needs of their students, in 1995 the National Middle School Association issued their influential list of twelve essential characteristics for a developmentally sound middle school. Although this paper spawned a significant amount of research regarding the importance of these essential characteristics, there has been little, if any, research in the last decade describing the extent to which these characteristics have been implemented in middle schools outside of the continental United States. To remedy this situation, this study surveyed all 471 middle school teachers on Guam as well as the 18 administrators charged with their oversight to determine the importance, degree of implementation, and existence of roadblocks for the twelve essential middle school characteristics in Guam's middle schools. After the perceptions of the teachers and administrators were coded, aggregated, ranked, and statistically compared, multiple regression analysis was then used to determine the extent to which teachers' perceptions regarding the importance and degree of implementation of these characteristics were related to their demographic profiles (e.g., age, gender, race/ethnicity, experience, certification and education level). The findings from this study revealed that both teachers and administrators agreed on the importance of the twelve essential components, although there were significant differences regarding the extent of implementation for three of the characteristics, with administrators more likely to believe that they had been implemented than teachers. Significant difference also occurred between teachers and administrators when asked to identify roadblocks to implementation, although respondents agreed that three of the roadblocks—lack of funds, apathetic parents and problem students—were considered serious. Ethnicity also played a role in explaining why some teachers considered certain characteristics as more important, or more implemented than others, with White teachers less likely to rate characteristics as important or implemented than Pacific Islanders. Credentialed teachers and teachers with greater experience were also more likely to consider certain school characteristics more important than others, and finally, older teachers and teachers with a master's degree were more likely to consider certain characteristics more implemented than other teachers.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access