Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Coats, T. Linda

Committee Member

Hamil, Burnette

Committee Member

Prince, Debra

Committee Member

Patterson, Kimberly

Committee Member

Tompkins, Renarta

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education


The purpose of this study is to examine rural black middle school students’ sense of belonging in looping and teaming settings. This research is based on prior research that school offers an essential source of support for adolescent students as they come to an all-important crossroad in their life journey: the merging of school culture, home culture, and the transition to adulthood. The literature on adolescent psychology confirms that sense of belonging is important during adolescence. The importance of this study lies in its ability to examine how the constructs of teaming and looping contribute to rural black middle school students’ feelings of belongingness in school. Data for this qualitative study were drawn from interviews, focus groups, observations, and document analysis of seven middle school students over the course of an academic year. This study offers insight for educators and policymakers that make decisions for adolescents into how alternative school structures can affect rural black students.



Community||African American