This is a question I'm going to ask a group of people in a couple of weeks, as the school system I work in begins to look at the role midde schools play in preventing kids from dropping out. If you Google this subject, there isn't a whole lot out there. However, there ae a few very interesting thoughts on the subject. There is a great article in Social Science Research that discusses the concept of 9th Grade Shock, which is used to describe how a student's GPA tends to drop when transitioning from 8th grade to 9th grade. I have to wonder why this drop is taking place? Here are a couple of questions I've come up with to ponder this:
- Are we adequately preparing students to be successful in 9th grade?
- Is there that much of a discrepancy in our expectations?
- Are students socially prepared for college?
- Are they always grown-up enough to handle college?
- Are students aware of the other financial responsibilities that go along with college?
- How much of this should we really be responsible for?
- Does the middle school curriculum progressively increase in rigor so that students are well-prepared for high school?
- Are middle schools and high schools working together to make the transition smooth?
- Do students have a strong understanding of how high school credits work?
Nikolas Pharris-Ciurej, Charles Hirschman, Joseph Willhoft, The 9th grade shock and the high school dropout crisis, Social Science Research, Volume 41, Issue 3, May 2012, Pages 709-730, ISSN 0049-089X, 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2011.11.014.