In the Journals

Middle school students exhibited poor reading confidence vs. K-8 school peers

Elise Cappella

Eighth-grade students who attended a middle school were more likely to think negatively about their reading skills than students who attended a kindergarten through eighth-grade school, according to data published in The Journal of Early Adolescence.

“Early adolescence is an important time for youth, who are undergoing a variety of biological, psychological and social changes,” Elise Cappella, PhD, associate professor of applied psychology at New York University Steinhardt and director of NYU’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change, said in a press release. “Students’ self-perceptions of academic competence are critical in early adolescence, as they contribute to the development of their identity and their engagement with school.”

Children who attend middle schools are more likely to have lower teacher- and self-reported reading skills.
Source: Shutterstock.com

Researchers examined whether attending a middle school or junior high school as compared with a K-8 school altered the academic and psychosocial outcomes among eighth-graders in the U.S. Using data from a national sample of kindergarteners followed from 1998-1999 through 2006-2007, Cappella and colleagues analyzed 5,754 students’ test scores in math and reading, self-perception broadly and academically, social adjustment in school, academic values and peer support. They also collected additional information on the children supplied by parents and teachers.

Initial analysis revealed that attending a middle or junior high school negatively impacted teacher- and self-reported reading/writing competence. After applying population weights to remain nationally representative, the researchers observed that only students enrolled in middle school had a negative view of their reading skills. The researchers suggest that students who are not at risk as measured by socioeconomic status or academic performance when they enter kindergarten may not experience the negative effects seen in middle school. These findings also suggest that school settings need to be strengthened.

“This may involve paying attention to the instructional and social environment, teachers’ expectations of student achievement, and students’ self-perceptions as they progress to and through middle and junior high school,” Cappella said in the release. “Strengthening middle schools may also involve increasing our understanding of what kinds of schools enhance growth as well as how school can be leveraged to support students’ development and enhance the odds that youth will approach high school with the competence to succeed.” – by Savannah Demko

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

Elise Cappella

Eighth-grade students who attended a middle school were more likely to think negatively about their reading skills than students who attended a kindergarten through eighth-grade school, according to data published in The Journal of Early Adolescence.

“Early adolescence is an important time for youth, who are undergoing a variety of biological, psychological and social changes,” Elise Cappella, PhD, associate professor of applied psychology at New York University Steinhardt and director of NYU’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change, said in a press release. “Students’ self-perceptions of academic competence are critical in early adolescence, as they contribute to the development of their identity and their engagement with school.”

Children who attend middle schools are more likely to have lower teacher- and self-reported reading skills.
Source: Shutterstock.com

Researchers examined whether attending a middle school or junior high school as compared with a K-8 school altered the academic and psychosocial outcomes among eighth-graders in the U.S. Using data from a national sample of kindergarteners followed from 1998-1999 through 2006-2007, Cappella and colleagues analyzed 5,754 students’ test scores in math and reading, self-perception broadly and academically, social adjustment in school, academic values and peer support. They also collected additional information on the children supplied by parents and teachers.

Initial analysis revealed that attending a middle or junior high school negatively impacted teacher- and self-reported reading/writing competence. After applying population weights to remain nationally representative, the researchers observed that only students enrolled in middle school had a negative view of their reading skills. The researchers suggest that students who are not at risk as measured by socioeconomic status or academic performance when they enter kindergarten may not experience the negative effects seen in middle school. These findings also suggest that school settings need to be strengthened.

“This may involve paying attention to the instructional and social environment, teachers’ expectations of student achievement, and students’ self-perceptions as they progress to and through middle and junior high school,” Cappella said in the release. “Strengthening middle schools may also involve increasing our understanding of what kinds of schools enhance growth as well as how school can be leveraged to support students’ development and enhance the odds that youth will approach high school with the competence to succeed.” – by Savannah Demko

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.