Education Week took a look at K-8 schools, and whether the way grades are divvied up in schools impacts learning.

The short answer? Forming K-8 schools may cut down on disciplinary issues, but when it comes to achievement, scholars aren’t sure:

“I think K-8’s do have a definite advantage, but it isn’t as big as a lot of districts are assuming,” said Vaughan Byrnes, a researcher at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore who has studied Philadelphia’s K-8 programs.

There’s also a web poll on the Education Week site, asking readers if they support phasing out traditional middle schools in favor of the K-8 model.

Locally, San Diego Unified has taken renewed interest in K-8 schools.

Here, however, the push for K-8 has been driven not by student achievement, but by a desire to boost enrollment in areas where existing middle schools are either charter schools, or struggling schools that families avoid.

EMILY ALPERT

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