In the News: BPS Plan Would Eliminate Middle Schools

By 01/12/2018

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Superintendent Tommy Chang presented a plan to the Boston School Committee that would eliminate middle schools and change the grade configuration of other schools in Boston so that students only have to change schools once during their education, James Vaznis reports in the Boston Globe.

Under the new plan, Boston public schools would serve children in grades K-6, K-8, 7-12, or 9-12.

A study published by Education Next found that transitioning to middle school can have a negative impact on student achievement.

The authors, Martin West and Guido Schwerdt, write:

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. On the contrary, students entering a middle school in grade 6 are more likely not to be enrolled in any Florida public school as 10th graders (despite having been enrolled in grade 9), a strong indication that they have dropped out of school by that time.

— Education Next

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