Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Lynn Harrill


Abstract This study examined the impact of grade configuration on academic achievement. Specifically compared were 6-8 middle schools versus a K-8 school in one upstate South Carolina district. One purpose of this study was to determine if the performance, as indicated by the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) reading and math tests, was different for students enrolled in grades 6-8 in a certain school configuration. The other purpose was to determine if reading and math growth during the transition year from elementary to middle school is higher in 6-8 middle schools or K-8 schools. The researcher utilized data from 3 schools, with 2 of the schools being 6-8 middle schools and one school being K-8 in configuration. All schools are within one upstate urban South Carolina school district. All schools were similar in resources, core subjects offered, and electives. This was a population study of middle schools and one K-8 school in one upstate South Carolina school district over a three year period, 2010-2013. Data were retrieved from the NWEA website and consisted of reading and math MAP scores from 6-8 middle school students from the three schools in the district. Data from the K-8 and middle schools were processed using the SPSS statistical program.

Data were analyzed for statistical significance using Factorial Repeated Measures ANOVA for the first two research questions, and using a 3X2 Factorial ANOVA for the other two research questions. The data were analyzed to determine if there were significant interactions for school type and student achievement.

The results did not suggest that a particular grade configuration was more appropriate for middle school age children. However, some effect sizes were large enough to be considered educationally significant. Additionally, the estimation of the marginal means suggested more growth in the K-8 model than in the 6-8 middle school model during the middle school years. School districts would be wise in monitoring student achievement and the area of grade configuration to best meet the needs of students.