Middle school critical to students’ success in high school

Russell Rumberger:

More than 100,000 California students quit high school each year, but the path toward dropping out begins long before high school. Three new studies from the California Dropout Research Project reveal how and why academic success in middle school is critical to graduating from high school.
The studies, based on data from four of California’s largest school districts, found that both middle school grades and test scores predicted whether students graduated from high school. The strongest predictor was whether students passed all their core academic subjects in math, English, history and science.
In the Los Angeles Unified School District, only 40 percent of students who failed two or more academic classes in middle school graduated within four years of entering ninth grade. In Fresno, Long Beach and San Francisco only a third of the students who failed two or more courses in seventh grade graduated on time.