Should Sixth Grade Be in Elementary or Middle School? An Analysis of Grade Configuration and Student Behavior

24 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2006 Last revised: 31 Jul 2022

See all articles by Philip J. Cook

Philip J. Cook

Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy; Duke University, Dept. of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert MacCoun

Stanford Law School

Clara Muschkin

Duke University - Center for Child and Family Policy

Jacob L. Vigdor

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 2006

Abstract

Using administrative data on public school students in North Carolina, we find that sixth grade students attending middle schools are much more likely to be cited for discipline problems than those attending elementary school. That difference remains after adjusting for the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of the students and their schools. Furthermore, the higher infraction rates recorded by sixth graders who are placed in middle school persist at least through ninth grade. A plausible explanation is that sixth graders are at an especially impressionable age; in middle school, the exposure to older peers and the relative freedom from supervision have deleterious consequences.

Suggested Citation

Cook, Philip J. and MacCoun, Robert and Muschkin, Clara and Vigdor, Jacob L., Should Sixth Grade Be in Elementary or Middle School? An Analysis of Grade Configuration and Student Behavior (August 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12471, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=926050

Philip J. Cook (Contact Author)

Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy ( email )

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Duke University, Dept. of Economics

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Robert MacCoun

Stanford Law School ( email )

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Clara Muschkin

Duke University - Center for Child and Family Policy ( email )

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United States

Jacob L. Vigdor

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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