Middle Grades Playbook: Leading a Full-Court Press on Student Achievement
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The Middle Grades Playbook is the centerpiece of EdSource's Action Kit for Superintendents and Principals. Squarely focused on the middle grades, it includes tools and information to help you “analyze your game” and “move the ball down the court.” This engaging hands-on guide can help you work more effectively to prepare students for high school—and get them on track for college and careers.
This playbook highlights specific practices that our research showed are implemented more intensely in higher-performing middle grades schools.
Based on the findings from EdSource’s groundbreaking study, Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades, it provides easy access to a compelling set of actionable practices that set higher-performing schools apart—regardless of student background or grade configuration.
In this playbook you will find:
- Actionable practices for superintendents, principals, and teachers that can help you gain ground in the middle grades.
- References to the work of other researchers and organizations that support the study findings.
- Self assessments to help you take stock of your current practices.
- Examples from schools that have put their plans into action.
This playbook is part of a larger Middle Grades Action Kit for Superintendents and Principals that also includes:
- Nine school profiles that describe how selected schools from the Gaining Ground study are thinking about, undertaking, and improving their practice.
- Principal and teacher survey tools designed to help you evaluate practices in your school or district.
- A PowerPoint presentation that district and school leaders can use to start the conversation.
- A CD with electronic versions of all the materials, plus the original study documents.
EdSource thanks the Stuart Foundation for its generous project support of the development, design, and dissemination of the Middle Grades Action Kit for Superintendents and Principals.
Read the Research
- Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades: Why Some Schools Do Better - This EdSource study, released in 2010, is based on survey responses from 303 principals, 3,752 English language arts and math teachers in grades 6-8, and 157 superintendents. The study was designed to identify practices and policies that differentiate higher- from lower-performing middle grades schools that serve similar student populations.
- Improving Middle Grades Math Performance - This follow-up analysis to EdSource's landmark Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades study inquires further into the study data to provide a more in-depth look at middle grades mathematics practices and policies. The centerpiece is an empirical exploration of grade 8 Algebra I placement, based on longitudinal data linking the mathematics CSTs that students took in grades 7 and 8.