ERIC Number: ED401050
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Key Characteristics of Middle Level Schools. ERIC Digest.
Lounsbury, John H.
Concerns about middle level education began early in this century and will continue to be discussed by researchers and observers well into the next century. This digest examines the evolving characteristics and goals of middle level education, especially in terms of the most recent statements of purpose by major organizations in the field. Noting that the characteristics of junior high schools identified during the 1920s, 1940s, and 1950s formed the framework for defining an effective middle level school, the digest explains that during the 1960s the middle school emerged as an alternative to the junior high school, which was seen as intransigent and dominated by the senior high school. However, a consensus definition of key characteristics was not reached until the 1980s when the National Middle School Association published "This We Believe" and the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development published "Turning Points." The most recent definition of key components or characteristics of a good middle level school appeared in November 1995 when "This We Believe: Developmentally Responsive Middle Level Schools" was revised by the National Middle School Association. The document describes six conditions or characteristics that developmentally responsive middle level schools should evidence: (1) educators committed to young adolescents; (2) a shared vision; (3) high expectations for all; (4) an adult advocate for every student; (5) family and community partnerships; and (6) a positive school climate. Following these foundational principles or conditions, the document identifies six major programmatic areas: (1) curriculum that is challenging, integrative, and exploratory; (2) varied teaching and learning approaches; (3) assessment and evaluation that promote learning; (4) flexible organizational structures; (5) programs and policies that foster health, wellness, and safety; and (6) comprehensive guidance and support services. (LPP)
Descriptors: Academic Aspiration, Adolescent Development, Adolescents, Community Involvement, Curriculum Development, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Early Adolescents, Educational Attitudes, Educational Environment, Educational Objectives, Educational Principles, Family Involvement, Guidance Programs, Intermediate Grades, Junior High Schools, Middle School Students, Middle Schools, School Policy, Student Attitudes, Student Evaluation, Student Needs, Teacher Attitudes, Teaching Methods
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; Opinion Papers; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.
Identifiers: ERIC Digests; National Middle School Association; This We Believe; Turning Points (Report)