K-8 schools vs middle schools: Being top dog makes a difference esp for Gr 6-ers
The American Educational Research Review includes an newly released article titled Do top dogs rule in middle school? Evidence in bullying safety and belonging by Schwartz, Steifel, and Rothbart.*
From news release titled Middle School Structure Affects Learning Environment, Student Achievement :
“Findings from new research published today suggest that longer grade spans that allow middle grade students to serve as relative “top dogs”—students in the highest grades—improve academic achievement and enhance their learning environment, including fewer instances of bullying and fights.
Attending a K–8 school as opposed to a 6–8 school, for example, would benefit sixth graders because they would no longer be “new dogs” in the school, would benefit seventh graders because they would hold a higher relative position than had they attended a 6-8 school, and would benefit eighth graders because they would hold top status over a larger number of grades.
The study, published in the American Educational Research Journal from AERA, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, is the first to provide credible causal evidence of the top dog/bottom dog phenomenon—verification that the oldest students in a school experience a more favorable environment than the youngest students in a school. Further, the study finds evidence that student position within a grade span also explains the achievement dip commonly seen among middle school students.”
*TDSB teachers have access to this journal through a Professional Library subscription but you will need a password aviable onthis list http://bit.ly/PL-Passwords Remember to use your TDSB Google login to access the list – or call the Library and we’ll email you the article.