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ERIC Number: ED562765
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
How Does Transition from Elementary to Middle School Affect the Racial Achievement Gap?
Vanlaar, Gudrun; Reardon, Sean F.; Kalogrides, Demetra
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Most research on the middle school transition focuses on developmental and psychological changes around the age of the transition, and investigates or discusses the impact of such changes on academic performance, motivation and behavior in schools. In addition to intrapersonal developmental changes that middle-school students experience, they also experience significant changes in school context and school experiences. What has been less studied however, is whether and how the transition from elementary to middle school may affect the racial achievement gaps. In other words, it is not known yet whether the change in school contexts affects students from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds in different ways, possibly affecting the black-white or Hispanic-white achievement gaps. This paper addresses this question. On the whole, it is unclear whether the transition to middle school may exacerbate achievement gaps or narrow them. This paper attempts to provide initial evidence on this question. Preliminary findings suggest that the transition to middle school has, on average a significant effect on racial achievement gaps. Further analyses will need to be conducted to rule out alternative explanations for the findings, to explore potential mediators and mechanisms of the findings, and examine the extent to which these negative effects of the middle school transition persist over subsequent years. Tables and figures are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)