Assessing the Transitions to Middle and High School

  • Barber B
  • Olsen J
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This study assessed patterns of change in perceived school and youth functioning, and the extent to which perceived change in the school environment predicted changed youth functioning, across four consecutive grade transitions, two of which involved the transition to a new school. Youth reported decreased quality of the school environment and decreased academic/personal/interpersonal functioning at every grade transition. This pattern was most pronounced at the transition from sixth to seventh grade, a transition that did not correspond to the transition to middle school but did correspond to the move from small family pods during the first year of middle school to the more typical middle school environment in the eighth grade. Analyses revealed that perceived change in several elements of the school environment (most strongly, perceived change in teacher support) did significantly explain changes in levels of student academic, personal, and interpersonal functioning.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescents
  • High school
  • Middle school
  • Teacher support
  • Transitions

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  • Brian K. Barber

  • Joseph A. Olsen

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