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K-8 Schools May Help School Districts Improve Student Performance, Report No. 05-02, January 2005
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  • In recent years, some school districts in other states have reconfigured their schools.  These districts have moved away from using separate middle schools for students in grades six to eight to schools serving children in kindergarten through grade eight.  The primary reason cited by these districts for switching to a K-8 configuration has been low performance of students in middle grades.  Other reasons include parental dissatisfaction, and efforts to reduce school size, high absenteeism, discipline problems, and dropout rates.
  • Available data show that students in K-8 schools score higher on standardized tests than their middle school counterparts.  However, these studies do not control for other factors that could affect student performance, and more research is needed on the success of K-8 grade configurations.
  • Moving middle school students into K-8 schools may help address lagging student performance but does not alleviate the need for high quality teachers and administrators, a rigorous curriculum, and appropriate educational practices.  Switching to K-8 schools would present districts with several challenges, including the need to retrofit buildings, revise attendance zones and transportation routes, and modify curriculum, teacher training, and collective bargaining agreements. 

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Public Schools (K-12 Education)

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 08-42 The Department of Education Has Taken Initial Steps to Improve Student Progression Data, published in June 2008.
  • Report No. 06-66 Third Grade Retention Policy Leading to Better Student Performance Statewide, published in October 2006.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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