Orange County Students Benefit Academically In Kindergarten Through Eighth-Grade Schools Which Bring Continuity And Lower Rates Of “Suspensions And Expulsions”

A 2004 study by the RAND Corp. suggested that converting all schools to kindergarten through eighth-grade campuses would lead to higher test scores and less misconduct.

Students tend to feel less attached to the traditional middle school model because they know they won’t be there for more than two or three years, the study concluded. Having students stay at a school longer helps create stronger relationships between the students and the school.

And when conduct issues rise, academic success plummets. The Register middle school report shows that 25 of the 29 schools earning medals rank in the top half of schools with the fewest suspensions and expulsions. Nineteen of the 21 schools with the highest rates of suspensions and expulsions failed to earn a medal.


(Excerpts from OC Register Article)

Other studies have linked drops in test scores among adolescents to less time spent reading, having more overall independence, and a decrease in parental involvement in students’ education.

“Middle schools are key to the development of students,” said county Superintendent William Habermehl. “Children often begin to form their identity as students with the variety of new classes and freedom they are given. It’s the first time much of the responsibility for learning falls on their shoulders.”

Orange County’s middle school students also outperform local elementary students in English, 58 percent to 56 percent, but the younger students take the lead in many other categories

The average API score for the county’s middle schools is 810; elementary schools average 817. Math scores also drop – 53 percent for middle schools, 63 percent for elementary. And among English learners, elementary school students outperform their older colleagues by 10 to 18 percentage points.

One place where middle schools score higher? Suspensions and expulsions, at an average of 13 per 100 students compared with two for elementary schools.


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