Staying at elementary school for longer associated with higher student attainment

phys.org | 8/29/2019 | Staff
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A new study has discovered that U.S. students achieve better results in reading and mathematics tests when they stay in elementary school for grades six (age 11–12) and seven (age 12–13), rather than transfer to middle school. In contrast, students in grade eight (age 13–14) achieve better results in middle school than high school.

"The current study adds to the growing body of research that experiencing a school transition during early adolescence is associated with detrimental outcomes," said lead researcher Marisa Malone from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Malone and her colleagues report their findings in School Effectiveness and School Improvement.

US - Ways - Students - Schools - Age

In the U.S., there are various ways that students can transfer between schools as they age, with the span of grades covered by different schools known as grade configuration. One of the most common configurations is to go to elementary school up to grade five, and then to middle school from grades six to eight, and then to high school from grade nine onwards. But several studies have found that academic motivation and achievement tend to fall in middle school, with sixth-grade students in middle schools more likely to exhibit lower academic competency, more disciplinary problems and poorer attendance than those who stay in elementary schools.

Most of these studies focused on student performance, but to gain a slightly different perspective on the issue, Malone and her colleagues decided to focus on school performance. This also allowed them to take account of various school-level factors that can affect academic performance, including school size, racial composition, socioeconomic status, and whether the school is in an urban, suburban or rural location. They also considered sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, whereas most studies only focus on sixth and seventh grade students.

Study - Schools - Virginia - Grade

They conducted their study on 573 public schools in Virginia, which adopts various grade...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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