Journal of Educational Change

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 345–401 | Cite as

Examining behavioral, relational, and cognitive engagement in smaller learning communities: A case study of reform in one suburban district

  • Heather A. Davis
  • Mei-Lin Chang
  • Carey E. Andrzejewski
  • Ryan R. Poirier


The purpose of this project was to examine the impact of Smaller Learning Community reform on students’ behavioral, relational, and cognitive engagement in a suburban school district experiencing urbanization. We describe a project in which we evaluated the engagement of a cohort of 8th grade students as they transitioned to high school (n = 605). Specifically, we disaggregated the data to identify how students’ engagement differed as a function of their participation in Smaller Learning Community structures, prior achievement, and race.


Smaller learner community SLC Schools within Schools Learner Centered Psychological Principles Engagement Self-regulation High school reform High school transition 



We would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of the administrators, faculty, and staff at the participating district. Without their support and passion for serving their students this project would not have been possible. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Steve Dackin, Mike Neubig, and Mary Alice Turner to the design of the project; and Evan T. Straub, Sarah Kozel Silverman, Mike Yough, Paige Shalter Bruening, Heather Dawson, Ann Bischoff, Anthony Durr, Jessica Emrick, and Marissa Hartwig for their assistance with data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather A. Davis
    • 1
  • Mei-Lin Chang
    • 2
  • Carey E. Andrzejewski
    • 3
  • Ryan R. Poirier
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of EducationNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Educational StudiesEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and TechnologyAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  4. 4.Strayer UniversityColumbusUSA

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