This study compared two configurations of sixth-grade students and core teachers to measure the students' perceived levels of social bonding with their peers, their school, and their teachers. One configuration featured a team of four teachers, each specializing in a core subject area and teaching this subject to all 100 students on the team. The other configuration featured a team of two teachers, both delivering multiple core curricula to 50 students. The researcher used three measures of social bonding to compare the two configurations—approximately 250 sixth graders in the 100-student/four-teacher configuration and approximately 250 sixth graders in the 50-student/two-teacher configuration. A sample of ten teaching teams was matched on size, SES, and percentage of minority students. A matched-paired set of t-tests was conducted for each measure of social bonding to determine the effect of interdisciplinary team organization. A comparison of the combined scores of the five schools of the 50-student/two-teacher configuration with the combined scores of the five schools of the 100-student/four-teacher configuration revealed that students' scores were significantly higher on all three measures of social bonding for students of the 50-student/two-teacher interdisciplinary teaching team configuration.
Published in Research in Middle Level Education Online, 2007