Long-term effects of looping on the transition to middle school
Mayo, Ruth Anne
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This study was conducted to determine the impact of looping on the transition to middle school from elementary school. The transition for students has often been a difficult time because of the changes occurring in the middle school student’s life. Not only are the school buildings, teachers, administrators, and students unfamiliar, but the emotional, social, and intellectual changes in children of this age often contribute to decreased confidence, confusion, anxiety, and lower academic achievement. Looping, which is at least a two-year placement where a teacher moves with his or her class to the next grade, was used as a transition from elementary school to middle school by Hampton Elementary School and Henry County Middle School during the years of 1996 and 1997. During each of the years, two classes from Hampton Elementary School entered the middle school in the sixth grade with their fifth-grade classmates and teachers to form a middle school team. The researcher followed the treatment and control groups through middle school to see if there were significant differences in the relationship of looping into the middle school with the same class and teacher and in their success in school. Covariance and independent samples t-tests were conducted to determine if there were statistically significant differences in the areas of achievement, attendance and discipline between the treatment and control groups. There were no differences in the total math and reading comprehension ITBS mean scores between the treatment and control groups. When yearly averages were compared in reading and mathematics, there were significant differences for the sixth grade, seventh grade, and the eighth grade, with the treatment group having higher mean scores each year. Reading yearly averages showed statistically significant differences in the sixth and seventh grades, but there was no difference by the time the students finished the eighth grade. Attendance and discipline showed no statistical difference for all three years. The only difference found was in the area of yearly averages.