Processes of typification and allocation in a 9-13 middle school.

Troman, Arthur Geoffrey (1986). Processes of typification and allocation in a 9-13 middle school. The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f823

Abstract

This study is concerned with three related issues, the ideology and practice of middle schools, the perceptions middle school teachers have of their pupils and the allocation of their pupils to subject sets.

The account provided is ethnographic in nature, although case study data are supplemented by evidence derived from repertory grid technique and large scale surveys.

The ideology of middle schooling is contrasted with the reality of life in 9-13 middle schools, as indicated by data derived from large scale surveys and previous ethnographic studies.

The development of Midway, the case study school, from a secondary modern school to a middle school is described. This development is then related to the perceptions held by the present staff of the school.

Teacher constructs and the teachers' perceptions of their pupils are located in teacher biography and different traditions of schooling. These teacher perspectives are in turn related to the allocation process in which first year pupils are allocated to ability groups (sets) for Mathematics.

The findings of this study are, firstly, that there is a gulf between the ideology and practice of middle schooling, which is revealed by the internal organisation of the 9-13 middle school: this does not reflect egalitarian concerns, but rather provides for the early selection of pupils for different routes through schooling, secondly, that this selection is found to take place at an early stage, and, thirdly, that teachers' perceptions of their pupils are highly influential in this process.

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