Despite the focus on students’ transition to high school, a new study of U.S. schools suggests that a critical transition point is move to middle school. The study, part of the Program on Education Policy and Governance Working Papers Series at Harvard University, found that Florida students moving from fifth grade into middle school show a “sharp drop” in math and language arts achievement in the transition year that follows them as far out as tenth grade, potentially thwarting their ability to graduate high school and go on to college. Students who make a school transition in sixth grade are absent more often than those who remain in one school through eighth grade, and they are more likely to drop out of school by 10th grade.
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