A new study conducted by researchers at Duke University and the University of California at Berkeley has concluded that sixth graders perform better at elementary schools than they do in middle schools. “Should Sixth Grade Be in Elementary or Middle School? An Analysis of Grade Configuration and Student Behavior” finds that sixth grade students who attend middle school are more likely to exhibit disciplinary problems, and that “the exposure to older peers and the relative freedom from supervision have deleterious consequences.”  Read the full text of the study at http://www.pubpol.duke.edu/research/papers/SAN07-01.pdf.

re: Should Elementary Schools Welcome Sixth Graders?

I can see this happening in our own school. We have a 5-8 grade middle school and many of us see that 5th graders, for certain, are thrown into a survival mode when they are tossed into a departmentalized building. This survival mode, for many, seems to last well into the 2nd quarter. I would love to see 5th and 6th graders in all schools placed into a transitional program in which they learn to become more responsible gradually. Departmentalization at such a young age provides too much freedom too quickly. I will look into the article more in depth and will pass the information along to my middle school cohort.

re: Should Elementary Schools Welcome Sixth Graders?

This research supports my thinking regarding 6th Graders in MS. I completely agree with the issues regarding discipline, however, I feel these students are not receiving the support academically that they deserve. For instance, in our district the 3-5 students receive 80 minutes of Mathematics Instruction, to the contrary 6th grade students only receive 40 minutes. This time discrepancy can be adamantly displayed through our State Standardized Test scores. Hopefully I will be able to open some eyes and make a change for the better.