How Middle School Performance Drives College Success

Middle School Performance

A 2014 report produced by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research examined 20,000 Chicago Public School students as they progressed from elementary school through middle school and on to high school. According to the report, grades and attendance were the most important indicators of high school and college success – even more than factors like test scores.

One of the most important findings of the study was that the middle school years – between 5th and 8th grades – represented the period of time when students either establish a path for later success or fall hopelessly behind. This is why students either consciously or subconsciously make the decision about whether they want to attend college in the 7th grade! Specifically, the study found that students who had higher grades in middle school had a 50 percent better chance of college success.

The report also claims that it is very difficult for students who perform poorly in middle school to turn the corner and perform well in high school. Sadly, too many students in the region do not complete high school. Many will graduate high school, try community college for a semester and almost immediately drop out. Many students complain that when they enter college, they are forced to take remedial courses that they pay money for, but do not receive any credit. It’s incredibly demoralizing and sometimes too much to bear.

This is why it is so important to understand exactly what where our students’ academic levels are when they enter 6th grade. We devised an individualized approach, unlike anything in El Paso, to tailor each student’s education to their specific needs. We quickly close their learning gaps, get them back on track and completely change lives for the better through the process. Our approach can mean the difference between a high school graduate who goes on to college – or a dropout facing dead-end career prospects.

Along with these disturbing findings, the report also provided encouragement. Schools that focused on maintaining consistent attendance among their students obtained better outcomes for those students than schools that focused on improving test scores. That’s right – ensuring that students are present and in class during their middle school years represents a powerful tool in helping them achieve success in high school and beyond.

El Paso Leadership Academy focuses its efforts on providing a supportive atmosphere where students are excited about being there. We provide the structure and discipline our scholars need while allowing them to be themselves. To learn more about EPLA, give us a call today!


Omar Yanar
Founder and CEO, El Paso Leadership Academy