Middle School Attitude Inventory

Gillan, R. E. (1978). The Middle School Questionnaire. ERIC ED 160 617.


The Middle School Questionnaire is made up of five measures. They are: a Professional Description Sur- vey, Middle School Employment Survey, Professional Recommendations Survey, Middle School Concept List, and the Middle School Attitude Inventory. The focus in this description is on the Middle School Attitude Inventory. The 30-item Middle School Attitude Inventory assesses teachers’ attitudes toward the middle school.

Scale Construction:

The surveys were constructed as a result of meetings with school administrators, middle school teachers, university faculty, and a thorough review of the literature on middle schools. A pilot study was conducted to refine the surveys. In addition, college faculty were involved in content validation.


The sample for the pilot study consisted of 30 middle school teachers. They were instructed to select 15 items that they strongly agreed with and 15 items that they strongly disagreed with out of a total of 60 items. Based on the results of group consensus (Delphi technique), 30 bipolar statements were developed. A field study was conducted with 45 certified middle school teachers and 45 teachers who were certified at a different school level.

Data Analysis:

One-way analysis of variance was conducted on the Middle School Attitude Inventory to decide whether or not significant differences existed between the two groups. Chi-square analysis was performed on the School Concept List to decide whether or not significant differences existed between the two groups. Significant differences were found in four domains.

Middle School Attitude Inventory

1. The development of the middle school has given improved status to intermediate grade education.
2. A competitive atmosphere in the academic program as well as co-curricular activities will best prepare the student for real life.
3. The middle school teacher is responsible for the establishment of an effective learning environment and the student for learning.
4. The middle school provides an environment which specializes in helping the student make a smooth transition from childhood to adolescence.
5. Flexible scheduling provides for efficient use of teacher time and permits more effective instructional planning.
6. The middle school facilitates the reorganization of teacher education to provide three areas of specialized training (elementary, middle, and secondary).
7. Present undergraduate education programs adequately prepare both elementary and secondary teachers for the middle school.
8. In the middle school organization it is probably best that the lower grades (5 and 6) remain as self-contained classes.
9. The effective teacher must be able to anticipate change and adjust to changing situation, and to help the student do the same.
10. Since children in grades 6–9 are undergoing common experiences, little developmental difference is noted.
11. The middle school program stresses academic exploration as opposed to subject centered concentration.
12. The diagnosing and prescription for individual learning problems can best be accomplished through formal evaluation by the counselor or a testing team.
13. The middle school allows the student to begin studying academically challenging subjects under a subject specialist at a younger age.
14. The academic program of the middle school should emphasize how to learn through student exploration.
15. The six-period day should be introduced by grade 7 in order to prepare the students for the Carnegie Unit in high school.
16. Individual reading skills can be best developed by a separate middle school course in reading and spelling.
17. The nature of the middle school program requires that each teacher also function as a guidance counselor.
18. The middle school should place emphasis on student self direction and learner independence through joint student teacher planning.
19. The academic purpose of the middle school is to provide the student with a strong background for high school studies in the four basic academic disciplines.
20. The teacher should help the student develop a learning sequence appropriate to his level based on formal and informal diagnosis of ability and achievement.
21. The only difference between a middle school and a junior high school is the grade organization.
22. Future education (education for change) should be confined to high school grades as most preadolescence have not developed the conceptual processes such education requires.
23. Developmentally, children in grades 6–8 are probably more alike than children in grades 7–9.
24. Since most elementary and secondary teacher training programs overlap at the middle school grades, there is little need for a special program at this level.

25. The middle school facilitates the introduction in grades 5 and 6 of some specialization and team teaching in staff patterns.
26. Content area reading instruction should be a primary responsibility of each middle school teacher.
27. One of the most serious problems of the middle school program is the lack of teachers trained specifically for the middle school.
28. The mastery of concepts and skills in the four basic academic disciplines should be the primary goal of the middle school program.
29. Guidance and counseling in the middle school program should be practiced by and limited to those professionally prepared and certified in the field.
30. The middle school program should strive to lessen competition in all phases of the student’s life.


A five-point Likert scale ranging from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree is used on the Middle School Attitude Inventory. A “right” response has a value of plus one, while a “wrong” response has a value of minus one. On the Middle School Concept List, respondents are instructed to select 10 concepts that are the most important to a middle school program.