How are we best able to change predicted academic failure of middle school students?: a paper

The purpose of this study was to discover how students in San Marcos Middle School were able to discontinue the ••failure cycle .. allowing them to participate in eighth grade promotion activities and proceed to San Marcos High School as ninth graders. The targeted population was a group of 128 students earning grade point averages below a 1.5 during at least one trimester of seventh or eighth grade. This targeted population also possessed at least one risk factor (excessive absenteeism, limited-Englishproficiency, SAT9 Scores below the 36th percentile for Language Arts, or frequent discipline referrals) in addition to their low grade point average. Risk factors were examined to determine if a relationship existed between grade point average and risk factors. This study suggests excessive discipline referrals and absenteeism most strongly influence grade point average. By the end of the second trimester of eighth grade, thirty-five students had improved their grades to a 2.0 or higher. These students and their parents were surveyed to discover their explanations for the improvement in grade point averages. District and school support programs in place were rated and student participation analyzed. Results gained from the survey strongly acknowledge the classroom teacher as the most effective change agent promoting student academic improvement. Given the findings of this study, school program improvements need to also include individual monitoring systems for 11at risk .. students to strengthen their connection to middle school and further support their academic needs.