Choosing the right school can be overwhelming. With more options to choose from than ever before, it can be tough to know what is best for your child. Due to the pressure for youth to succeed both socially and academically, the right educational environment is key for youth during the mid-level grades. But with both middle school and K-8 schools to choose from, which one is better?
After preschool, a competition develops between middle school and K-8 schools, however, the research is clear as to which one triumphs. According to studies published in Harvard Ed, students who attend K-8 schools have a significant advantage over their peers in middle schools. Students who attend K-8 schools for middle-level grades have better attendance and lower suspension rates. They also score better on reading and mathematics assessments. This difference in achievement is especially pronounced as students transition from middle grades to high school. Not only do K-8 students outperform their middle school peers academically, but studies suggest they also are more likely to feel confident in their academic abilities. Since middle-level grades can a time of emotional upheaval, promoting self-esteem in this age group is crucial.
The research also suggests that when compared to K-8 schools, middle schools are less adapted to the unique needs of adolescents. This developmental stage is characterized by a need for independence, acceptance, and self-esteem. K-8 schools provide students with a nurturing environment that promotes higher levels of belonging, peer support, and social adjustment than middle schools.
What accounts for these differences? Several factors make a K-8 education the better option. K-8 schools tend to have fewer students per class. This allows teachers to spend more time attending to the academic and social needs of individual students. Teachers in K-8 schools also tend to be more in tune with the developmental needs of students in the middle grades. Middle-level students are more similar developmentally to elementary students than to those in high school. This means they lack the maturity to navigate the autonomy that comes with a middle school environment. K-8 teachers are more likely to provide the discipline middle level students need to be successful both academically and socially. These factors combined promote a sense of security in which middle-level students thrive.
Students in the middle grades have unique social and academic needs that are best served in a K-8 setting and with the help of a school management system. When compared side by side, K-8 schools justs seem like the smarter choice. Check out The Academies of Math and Science Arizona Charter Schools if you too believe in the power of a K-8 education to set students up for success in high school and beyond.