Researching the middle years

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Main, Katherine
Bryer, Fiona
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Donna Pendegast & Nan Bahr

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2005
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Abstract

The research so far done on middle schooling has revealed poor technical implementation of middle school practices and poor conceptual understanding of the vision of middle schooling responsiveness to the developmentally appropriate learning of Years 6-9 students. Poor implementation has contributed to the weak, negative, and confusing evidence, which has, in turn, contributed to the reactive blaming of middle schooling for the failure of robust organisations to emerge from the reform process and for the unconvincing data that has been reported from various trials. Analysis of educational research and its role in school reforms helps to explain some of the difficulties encountered by middle school proponents in implementing their vision. Future research efforts need to be focused on the implementation process, the barriers to and facilitators of successful reform, and the way to advance the interests of Year 6-9 students as the priority for implementing middle school practices. Australian researchers need to address ways to bridge the gap between the conceptual vision of a developmentally targeted education programming for Years 6-9 students and the everyday complexities of education for participants in this reform.

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Teaching middle years: Rethinking curriculum, pedagogy and assessment

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