Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wilkins, Elizabeth A.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction (CI)


Due to increased accountability requirements under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and, most recently, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), educators and administrators face intensified pressure to increase students’ achievement in their schools. Changing how classrooms are organized for instruction has been one response to this pressure. Platooning at the elementary level is one example of such an organizational change; however, very little research specifically addresses platooning at the elementary-level. Therefore, many interested school districts are faced with making an uninformed decision about platooning, particularly at the elementary level.

This qualitative study studied the perception of platooning on teacher and collective efficacy through an in-depth case study of three fifth-grade teachers in a suburban Chicago school district. Data collection occurred over an eight-month period and included individual interviews with each of the three teachers, a team interview, and analysis of the reflective journal responses and scale data. Specifically, this study explored teachers’ perceptions of teacher and collective efficacy when teaching one or two content areas instead of all subject areas required of a self-contained teacher.

Three findings were drawn from the research. First, teachers described the creation of a platooning definition and team norms led to mastery experiences as a source of teacher efficacy. The second conclusion suggested that when teachers perceived team norms were not being followed, collective efficacy began to disintegrate. The last finding indicated a connection between teacher and collective efficacy based on mastery experiences or classroom observations. However, in the absence of observations, data indicated teacher and collective efficacy, although informed by the same sources, worked independently.

Based on the findings, it is recommended that district administration, principals, and teachers work together to define platooning. Without a current, research-based definition of platooning, it is essential that all stakeholders have a common understanding of the organizational structure within their school district. In addition, it is also recommended that all school members working with the teachers (i.e., principal, special education teacher, social worker, etc.) should be considered part of the platooning team and participate in the creation of group norms. This ensures members contributing to the success of platooning understand the expectations and needs of both the platooning teachers and the students. Finally, it is recommended that platooning teachers participate in both district and building level professional learning to meet the challenge of academic standards and ultimately, raise the level of learning for all students.


270 pages




Northern Illinois University

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