What does the research say about effective transition systems between the middle grades and high school?

The research brief “Transition from Middle School to High School” starts with a summary of findings. The opening sentences state that:

  • The most successful schools see the transition between the middle grades and high school as a process, not an event.
  • The schools involve teachers, students and families in continuous planning to support students’ academic and social success in high school and beyond.

Students that have a successful transition are more likely to achieve in the 9th grade, to attend regularly and to not drop out of school. They are more likely to develop and sustain positive social relationships with peers and with adults.

Two questions are answered in the Brief:

  1.  Why Is It Important?
  2.  What Are the Characteristics of Effective Transition Practices?

Four components of effective transition systems are identified with strategies outlined for each component:

  • Component 1: Provide Students and Families with Accurate, Useful Information
  • Component 2: Provide Social Support
  • Component 3: Support Students’ Academic Preparation for High School
  • Component 4: Work Together to Support Students’ Successful Transition

Final thoughts

The evidence is clear about the importance of comprehensive transition programs between the middle grades and high school. Students with a difficult transition are more likely to fail and dropout of school. The good news is that educators have identified the most essential things that must occur to reduce anxiety and increase success during the transition to a new school.

Read the research brief “Transition from Middle School to High School” to see how it ties into the transition resources I have developed over several years.