We often hear that preparation for college and careers begins when students are young. Yet, it can be difficult for middle grade educators to know how best to prepare these students for future success. Middle grade practitioners need to know what to pay attention to and who needs additional support. Without knowing how to identify students who are on-track for high school or college graduation in the middle grades, it can be difficult to set appropriate performance goals, or intervene when students struggle.
The study Looking Forward to High School and College: Middle Grade Indicators of Readiness in Chicago Public Schools shows how students’ middle grade (grades five through eight) performance can be used to determine students’ likelihood of graduating from high school and leaving high school with a strong probability of success in college. This brief summarizes a few key findings relevant for schools serving students in the middle grades.