Date of Award

Fall 6-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Trey Moeller

Third Advisor

Dr. Terry Reid


Transition years and grade configurations for middle level students have been a topic of debate since the onset of middle schools in the 1970s. With increased educational accountability, some school districts are beginning to change back to K-8 configurations. The purpose of this study was to investigate the difference in student achievement during the transition year and provide information to school administration as to the optimal year to transition students from elementary to middle school. Transition year achievement was examined among 5th -7th grade students in Missouri and grade configurations were compared by analyzing 8th grade achievement in three separate grade configurations. Significant differences in student achievement were uncovered during the analysis of the student achievement data. A significant decrease in student achievement was found between two independent fifth grade groups in English Language Arts and mathematics. Cohorts in sixth and seventh grade did not show a statistically significant difference in student achievement during the transition year. Significant decreases were found in English Language Arts scores between the transition year and pre-transition year along with the transition year and post transition year. In both scenarios the transition year score was significantly lower than the post and pre-transition year score. A significant difference in mathematics achievement was found between fifth and seventh grade transition year students with seventh grade transition year students attaining a higher mean score than fifth grade transition year students. Grade configuration and timing of the transition to middle school did not have an impact on eighth grade student achievement.


Copyright 2014