Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Ed Psychology and Research
The purpose of this study was to determine if transitioning from elementary school to middle school has an effect on value added scores of sixth graders versus those with no transition. Additionally, the effect of school size on student gains was examined.Data for this study was from the 2012-2013 school year for 442 Tennessee public schools. There were 203 schools with transition and 239 with no transition. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to analyze the data. Significant interaction was seen between transition and percent minority (p = 0.002). These findings suggest transition had an effect on value added scores depending on whether or not the school had a high percentage of minority students. There was a significant interaction effect of low percent minority and high percent minority where transition was concerned on mathematics, with those schools with a high percentage of minority that did not transition scoring significantly higher than all other combinations. There was also a significant interaction effect between low percent minority and high percent minority where transition was concerned on reading, with those schools with a high percentage of minority that did not transition scoring higher than all other combinations. These results suggest that students in schools with high percentages of minorities perform better when there is no transition than their transitioning counterparts. It lends support to the body of research that suggests K-8, or at least a transition after 6th grade, may be a better model where student achievement is concerned. School size was not significantly related to achievement gains.The middle school concept has the potential to address the academic and emotional concerns of middle school aged children when it is implemented in its full form (Weiss & Kipnes, 2006). However, since the middle school concept is just that, a concept, it would seem that the best combination for student achievement may be to implement the middleschool concept into the K-8 environment, giving students more of a sense of community, self-esteem, and ownership of their school and grades. This could also potentially lessen the White to Black gap in math and reading achievement.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Starks, Stacy Lancaster, "The Effects of School Grade Span Configuration on Student Achievement in Middle School-Aged Children" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1460.