When students move from elementary to middle school, their scores drop significantly in the first year compared to students in K-8 schools, conclude Martin West and Guido Schwerdt in The Middle School Plunge in Education Next. Middle-school students don’t catch up with K-8 students in high school.
The transition to high school causes a small drop in student achievement, but the decline does not appear to persist beyond grade 9.
Middle schools were created to ease the transition to high school, but gathering large numbers of pubescent children in one place doesn’t seem to create a good learning environment.
A number of urban districts are creating K-8 schools. It’s a good idea,write West and Schwerdt.