National Middle Grades Research Program

In response to a growing need for middle grades research and middle grades researchers, the MLER SIG initiated a series of focused, collaborative conversations and actions that ultimately led to the formation of a National Middle Grades Research Program. Though initially conceptualized as a research project, the possibility of multiple projects led to the decision to establish a SIG sponsored research program. The following sections provide highlights of the Common Planning Time Project (a two-phase research project) and the Program's Development.

To learn more about common planning time and this research project, we invite you to read an article published in the May 2010 issue of the Middle School Journal:

               What Research Says about Common Planning Time (Mertens, Flowers, Anfara, & Caskey, 2010)

To become an active researcher in Phase II of the Common Planning Time Project , we invite you to participate in a Phase II Training Session. Completion of this training session is required for participation in Phase II of the Common Planning Time Project. Use the following link to access the training:

CPT Phase II Training Session

Common Planning Time (CPT) Project

Phase II: 2009 - present

Phase II Project Announcement (April 2009)
Phase II of the project involves the collection of quantitative data on Common Planning Time. MLER-SIG partnered with the Center for Prevention Research and Development (CPRD) at the University of Illinois for this phase of the project

Phase II: Project Information Sheet for School/District Administrators
Succinct information sheet identifies the project's title and objectives, time requirements, and ethical considerations.

Phase II: Institutional Review Board (IRB) Template
Developed for use by project researchers, this IRB template follows the guidelines and parameters established for the national project.

Phase I: 2007-2009

CPT Project Information Sheet
Project information sheet provides an overview of the project including rationale, methodologies, and responsibilities of participant researchers and project leaders.

CPT: Key Research Findings
Brief description of research that identified the positive effects of common planning time on students and teachers.

Chicago 2007 Planning Session
Notes from planning session, including identification of research questions, development of data collection protocols, formation of project guidelines, and description of next steps.

CPT Project Timeline
Timeline traces project activities from November 2007 to December 2009, which can be used by participant researchers to plan their involvement in this project.

Invitation to Join CPT Project: New York AERA 2008
Invitation includes brief description of project and how to get involved in this national scale research project.

CPT Project: Training Sessions

Houston -- November 2007

New York -- March 2008

Chicago -- July 2008

Denver -- October 2008

CPT Project: Participant Researchers
List of participant researchers engaged in the CPT Project.

CPT Project: Emerging Research from the National Middle Grades Research Project [AERASymposium ] Symposium at AERA 2009 included overview and three papers shared by participant researchers.

Program Development:

White Paper
A proposal for establishing a National Middle Level Research Project (i.e., Program) by Steve Mertens (2006). Proposal identifies the need for the project, prior efforts for similar projects, and how the project could be implemented by the Middle Level Education Research SIG.

Steering Committee
10-member steering committee advanced the development of the National Middle Grades Research Program.

Chicago 2006 Planning Session
Synopsis of steering committee's (i.e., seven members) planning session in Chicago, July 26 – 27, 2006. Discussed the need for theoretical framework(s) in middle grades education research .

Nashville 2006 Planning Session
All 10 members of the steering committee met prior to the NMSA conference. Agreed to design study and invite researchers to join the research effort.

Chicago AERA 2007 Planning Session
A subgroup of the Steering Committee decided to design and implement a research project on a specific phenomenon in middle grades education---Common Planning Time (CPT).

Future Projects

The MLER SIG invites proposals for research projects that are national or international in scope and focus on a middle grades issue. Please complete and submit the National Middle Grades Research Program's Project Proposal Form to Penny Bishop (penny.bishop@uvm.edu), MLER SIG Chair. For additional information, please contact Micki M. Caskey, Immediate Past Chair (caskeym@pdx.edu) or Vince Anfara, Executive Advisor (vanfara@utk.edu).