The Move to High School: Making the Transition to 9th Grade Successful
Most counselors, students, and their families recognize that there is a period of transition from grammar school to high school (8th to 9th grade) or from middle school to high school (9th to 10th grade). Educators focus on the academic leaps that students will have to make in high school. Researchers have documented that students often experience difficulty academically during the transition to high school (Chinien & Boutin, 2001; Forgan & Vaughn, 2000; George, 2000; Hertzog, Morgan, Diamond, & Walker, 1996; Mizelle & Irvin, 2000; Morgan & Hertzog, 2001; Newman, Lohman, Newman, Myers, & Smith, 2000; Reents, 2002).
This transition requires students to experience new environments, new and more difficult curricula, new class organizations, and new teachers at the same time when they are in a stage of transition in their own cognitive, physical, and psychosocial development. McIntosh, Flannery, Sugai, Braun, and Cochrane (2008) studied the relationships between academic performance and problem behavior in the transition from middle school to high school. They found that persistently low academic skills drastically modify the school experience. Academic problems restrict access to daily academic success and close teacher-student relationships, and persistent academic failure in middle school is clearly a risk factor for continued failure in high school (Finn & Rock, 1997; Slavin, 1999) even though cognitive ability has not been found to predict dropout (Bear, Kortering, & Braziel, 2006).