Recent studies show the middle school model—moving students to a new school for grades 6—has an adverse effect on both behavior and academic performance.
2022 Grade 6 Rising Ceremony—a Waldorf education rite of passage for the 6th grader. Photo by Adam Tripp.
“We find that moving to a middle school causes a substantial drop in student test scores (relative to that of students who remain in K–8 schools) the first year in which the transition takes place, not just in New York City but also in the big cities, suburbs, and small-town and rural areas of Florida. Further, we find that the relative achievement of middle-school students continues to decline in the subsequent years they spend in such schools. Nor do we find any sign that the middle-school students catch up with those who remained in the K–8 environment once all of them have entered high school ... The overall climate for student learning is worse in middle schools than in schools that serve students from elementary school through the eighth grade.”
—Harvard and Columbia researchers Benjamin Lockwood and Jonah Rockoff
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