A Comparison of Eighth Grade Math, Reading and Behavior Outcomes in Grade K-8 Schools Versus Grade 6-8 Middle Schools
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The purpose of this study was to examine differences between school configuration and students' academic and behavioral outcomes. The participants were eighth grade students in K-8 schools who were matched with eighth grade students in 6-8 middle schools on factors including percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch, percentage of students receiving services for special education and English language learners, average years of teacher experience, and percentage of boys and girls in each school. Eighth grade student's standardized math and reading achievement data were collected at the school level for a 3-year period. Additionally, school-level data on suspensions and expulsions over the same 3-year period were also collected. The data were analyzed using arc-sine transformation, means, standard deviation, and a repeated-measure analysis of variance. No statistical interactions were observed between time and school type for any of the research questions. However, main effects favoring K-8 schools were found for (a) Math Test, (b) Reading Test, (c) In-school Suspensions, (d) Out-of-school Suspensions, and (e) Expulsions. These findings are interpreted with a lens towards assisting school districts as to which school configuration they should consider as it relates to the district's values and long-range goals.
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