Education News

Transition into Middle School Affects Academics

Research confirmes a sharp decline in academic performance for students transitioning from fifth grade into middle school.

A recent study, which is part of the Program on Education Policy and Governance Working Papers Series at Harvard University, recently found a sharp drop in mathematics and language arts achievement and increased absences during transition into sixth grade. In fact, research suggests that this transitional period can lead to increased student dropout by the 10th grade.

Even more startling is the correlation between a student who attends K-8 and K-5 grades. “[S]tudents who had attended a middle school were 18 percent more likely than students who attended a K-8 school before high school to not enroll in grade 10 after attending grade 9 — an indicator that they may have dropped out.”

While this seems to be the trend in urban middle schools, the same pattern can be found in rural and suburban schools.

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Read the report of the Program of Education Policy and Governance Working Paper Series at Harvard University.