“I’ll be famous one day, but for now I’m stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons.” That’s harsh language from the downtrodden sixth-grade narrator of Diary of A Wimpy Kid, a blockbuster series of graphic novels.
But it speaks to a broader truth.
A large body of research suggests that students who go to middle school or junior high do worse academically, socially and emotionally, compared to the young teenagers who get to be the oldest students at schools with grades K-8.
A new paper in the Journal of Early Adolescence reinforces this message. The study found that starting a new school in either sixth or seventh grade hurts students’ perceptions of their own reading ability and motivation to work hard in English language arts.