The purpose of this study was to compare the academic achievement of sixth grade students enrolled in a traditional middle school model versus those enrolled in a K-8 school model by analyzing English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics scores. Developmental Scale Score (DSS) data from the 2017 Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) were collected from three K-8 schools and three middle schools in one high-performing Florida school district. Results from an independent samples t-test revealed that middle school student scores were slightly higher in overall ELA and mathematics proficiency, but the differences were not substantive. Cross-tabulation was utilized to compute the proportion of students making learning gains in ELA and mathematics. The results were nearly identical among the middle school students and the K-8 students relative to ELA; however, the proportion of students making learning gains in mathematics was substantially higher among the K-8 students. To investigate equity in the distribution of achievement, a comparison was made between Middle School and K-8 bi-serial correlation coefficients measuring the strength and direction of the relationship between student achievement and socioeconomic status (SES). Results suggested that the negative influence of low-SES on academic achievement in ELA and mathematics was notably stronger among students enrolled in the middle school model. While making school construction decisions, policy makers will be informed through these findings as to which type of grade span configuration is most likely to positively impact student achievement.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Educational Leadership and Higher Education
Educational Leadership; Executive
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Asplen, Brennan, "A Comparison of Sixth-grade English Language Arts and Mathematics Achievement Between Middle Schools and K-8 Schools" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6451.