Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades: Why Some Schools Do Better
- Making the Middle Grades Matter
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan touts EdSource's Gaining Ground study. *new
- AEI Education Outlook article
- National organizations express support for study
Action Kit & Slides
Educators widely recognize that the quality of preparation in middle school often determines whether our young people will succeed in high school and beyond. This is a particularly important challenge in California—the nation’s largest and most diverse state—which educates one out of eight middle grades students in the United States.
What district and school policies and practices are linked to higher student performance in the middle grades? To find out, a research team led by EdSource spent 18 months conducting the most extensive study ever of middle grades.
Besides EdSource, the team included professors Michael Kirst (as principal investigator) and Edward Haertel (as technical director) of Stanford University; senior research scientist Jesse Levin (as principal data analyst) at American Institutes for Research, and special consultant William Padia (retired) deputy superintendent of Assessment and Accountability, California Department of Education. In addition, Robert Balfanz, principal research scientist, Everyone Graduates Center, Johns Hopkins University, served as an advising consultant. (bios for full team below)
The study surveyed more than 4,000 California teachers, principals, and superintendents about a wide range of middle grades practices. To see what higher-performing schools did, the responses were then analyzed against school-level student outcomes on standards-based state tests in English language arts and math, controlling for student background.
The major contribution of this study is the set of interrelated, actionable practices that middle grades educators and leaders can implement now by making smart, strategic choices.
EdSource thanks Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix,for his generous support of this study.
This 22-page report provides a broad overview of the methodology, limitations, and findings of EdSource's large-scale study of 303 middle grades schools in California. February 2010
74 pages February 2010
This 8-page executive summary is excerpted from the Initial Research Report - Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades: Why Some Schools Do Better. February 2010
21 pages February 2010
13 pages February 2010
53 pages February 2010
18 pages February 2010
This presentation helps explain the Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades study. February 2010
3 pages February 2010
4 pages February 2010