“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.
The negative effects were exaggerated for students from higher-income households. That surprised Elise Cappella, a lead author on the study and associate professor of applied psychology at New York University. Although children from lower-income households did worse in school overall, switching to middle school didn’t affect them as severely as the most privileged kids.
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