Science Says We Don't Need Middle School, So We All Suffered For Nothing


New research has proven what's always been obvious: Middle school is completely unnecessary.

The study, which was a joint effort by two professors from Syracuse and one from NYU, surveyed 90,000 kids from over 500 schools across the country.

The key finding was sixth graders are much better placed for success when they aren't forced to be the youngest in a school, as that placement instantly makes them "bottom dogs."

The abstract of the research explained,

This paper provides the first credibly causal evidence that top dog status improves the learning environment and academic achievement. We further find that the top dog effect is strongest in 6th grade and in schools with longer grade spans and that the top dog effect is not explained by new students to a school or student height.

So obviously we should all just skip those grades, right?


The big takeaway of the study is simple: It's much better to place kids in elementary schools that run from kindergarten to the eighth grade than separate them into middle schools.

The reasoning is pretty straightforward, too. Using the information they gathered by surveying the thousands of students for three years, the trio of researchers arrived at the following conclusions.

First, students who are in the higher grades of a school enjoy the effect of being "top dogs." Second, students who aren't uprooted out of elementary school to become the "bottom dogs" at middle schools feel safer and more included. They also experience less bullying.


The professors wrote,

Top dogs are 10.5 percentage points more likely to report feeling safe in hallways, locker rooms, and bathrooms; 11.5 percentage points more likely to report feeling they are known; and 3.7 percentage points more likely to report feeling welcome.

Welp, there you have it. Middle schools sucks.

What a revelation.

Citations: An Idea: Let's Get Rid of Middle School (, Sixth Grade Is Tough; It Helps To Be 'Top Dog' (NPR)