Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Charles C. Warfield

Second Advisor

Dr. David Cowden

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Strubbe-Davies

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ronald Crowell


During the past 30 years, the middle school movement has been a comprehensive effort to restructure middle level education. Literally thousands of school districts have chosen to change from junior high schools to middle schools for a variety of reasons. Research to support this massive reorganization of American schools has not been evident. The early research did not provide consistent evidence of improvement for middle school students. Most of this early research was based solely on the grade configuration of the schools being compared rather than the conceptual framework of the school.

The purpose of this study was to compare middle school students with junior high school students with respect to achievement and attendance records. The middle schools being studied had in fact implemented several key middle school components as they changed from junior high schools.

To complete this investigation, achievement test scores and attendance records of the middle school students were compared to the achievement test scores and attendance records of junior high students. The hypothesis of the study was that there would be no difference between the groups. To test the hypothesis a t test of independent means was used with a of .05.

In this study the null hypothesis was rejected for the attendance portion of the study but not rejected for the area of academic achievement. The conclusion of the study is that middle school students are attending school more frequently than their junior high counterparts but that there is no difference in achievement between the middle school students and the junior high school students.

This investigation was limited to a single school district setting that had changed from a junior high format to a middle school environment. Recommendations for future research suggest that the study be further ensued after more middle school instructional practices are implemented.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access