IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Should Sixth Grade be in Elementary or Middle School? An Analysis of Grade Configuration and Student Behavior


  • Philip J. Cook
  • Robert MacCoun
  • Clara Muschkin
  • Jacob Vigdor


Using administrative data on public school students in North Carolina, we find that sixth grade students attending middle schools are much more likely to be cited for discipline problems than those attending elementary school. That difference remains after adjusting for the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of the students and their schools. Furthermore, the higher infraction rates recorded by sixth graders who are placed in middle school persist at least through ninth grade. A plausible explanation is that sixth graders are at an especially impressionable age; in middle school, the exposure to older peers and the relative freedom from supervision have deleterious consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip J. Cook & Robert MacCoun & Clara Muschkin & Jacob Vigdor, 2006. "Should Sixth Grade be in Elementary or Middle School? An Analysis of Grade Configuration and Student Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12471
    Note: CH ED PE

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2003:93:11:1830-1836_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kelly Bedard & Chau Do, 2005. "Are Middle Schools More Effective?: The Impact of School Structure on Student Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    4. Claudia Goldin, 1999. "A Brief History of Education in the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12471. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.