ERIC Number: EJ949863
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec-7
Reference Count: N/A
Learning Declines Linked to Moving to Middle School
Sparks, Sarah D.
Education Week, v31 n13 p1, 23 Dec 2011
While policymakers and researchers alike have focused on improving students' transition into high school, a new study of Florida schools suggests the critical transition problem may happen years before, when students enter middle school. The study, part of the Program on Education Policy and Governance Working Papers Series at Harvard University, found that students moving from grade 5 into middle school show a "sharp drop" in math and language arts achievement in the transition year that plagues them as far out as 10th grade, even risking thwarting their ability to graduate from high school and go on to college. Students who make a school transition in 6th grade are absent more often than those who remain in one school through 8th grade, and they are more likely to drop out by 10th grade. The Florida findings are "almost identical" to the results of a smaller, 2010 study of New York City public schools. In it, Columbia University researchers found that students who started in K-5 or K-6 schools performed slightly better than their K-8 peers in math and language arts in 5th grade, but when they moved to a middle school, the K-8 and middle school students changed places, and the achievement gaps between those groups increased through 8th grade.
Descriptors: Middle Schools, Language Arts, Grade 8, Grade 6, Grade 5, Grade 10, Achievement Gap, Test Score Decline, Achievement Rating, Educational Research, Educational Assessment, Educational Indicators, Transitional Programs, Articulation (Education), Transfer Students, Mathematics Achievement
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida