Jacob discusses structures to support student performance in transition to middle school

an In The Media Reference

"Grosse Pointe schools weigh closures amid dropping enrollment" - Detroit News. 4/10/2019.

"Brian Jacob, a professor of public policy, economics and education at the University of Michigan, said transitions from elementary to middle school are difficult regardless of the grade at which they occur.

Configurations in middle schools run from grades 6-8 to 7-9 or 7-8, Jacob said, and some districts already operate 5-8 buildings.

"People talk about various configurations and what is best for one reason or another," Jacob said. "Wherever you look, if you track students over time, whatever grade they make a transition, you see a decline in their performance and that rebounds when they are in the new space."

In middle school, students move around in a larger facility, see a larger number of teachers during the day and experience changes in peer relationships. There is more regular homework and less monitoring and supervision, he said.

But if structures are put into place to support students, Jacob said, there is no reason a 5-8 middle school will be problematic.

"Some schools have done advisory periods for fifth graders," Jacob said. "Those are in middle school already with a short half-period with a smaller set of students.""

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