The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

Revolution Prep

Ready to unlock your potential? Whether tutoring or test prep, we’ve got you covered. Check out our low-stress, high-impact approach to academic support—just as individualized as you are.

Follow us on Instagram
Advertisement
The Wayland School Committee votes to hire current Interim Assistant Superintendent Betsy Gavron as the Wayland Public Schools assistant superintendent.
Breaking News: Wayland School Committee hires Betsy Gavron as assistant superintendent
February 28, 2024
Stay Informed with WSPN With Our Newsletter

Students and teachers reflect on the transition from middle school to high school

Students+enter+the+South+building+of+Wayland+High+School.+According+to+some+freshmen%2C+the+transition+from+high+school+to+middle+school+can+be+anywhere+from+exciting+to+stressful+depending+on+the+level+of+preparation+provided+from+the+middle+school.+%E2%80%9CMiddle+school+is+about+learning+your+skills+and+trying+to+get+better+at+understanding+how+you+learn%2C%E2%80%9D+Wayland+Middle+School+science+teacher+Jennifer+Nichols+said.+%E2%80%9CSo+when+you+get+to+high+school+and+it+counts%2C+you+can+actually+use+all+the+skills+youve+figured+out+in+middle+school+and+apply+them+to+your+classes+in+high+school.%E2%80%9D
Credit: Olivia Green
Students enter the South building of Wayland High School. According to some freshmen, the transition from high school to middle school can be anywhere from exciting to stressful depending on the level of preparation provided from the middle school. “Middle school is about learning your skills and trying to get better at understanding how you learn,” Wayland Middle School science teacher Jennifer Nichols said. “So when you get to high school and it counts, you can actually use all the skills you’ve figured out in middle school and apply them to your classes in high school.”

The first quarter of the 2023–2024 school year has just ended, leaving the freshmen class with mixed feelings about how the quarter went. Some freshmen agree that the jump from middle school to high school is not small, but what has the middle school done to prepare the current and incoming freshmen? There are many differences between middle and high school – the pressure, amount of studying and the grading system are just a few examples.

One big difference that some freshmen have noticed is that Wayland High School uses percentages and letter grades, while the Wayland Middle School uses a system called standard-based grading. This involves students being graded a number from zero to four, in which receiving a three means that the student has met expectations.

“I understand the theory behind the standard-based [grading system] especially in the younger grades,” WMS guidance counselor Suzanne Bernstein said. “But I worry that it sets kids up unfairly to struggle in high school.”

Some students also agree that the grades students receive in high school are more specific than middle school grades because rather than standard-based grading, students are graded based on percentages. With more specific material and standards to meet, some students find it beneficial to be able to dive deeper into the grades they receive.

“I like [the high school grading system] better because I like knowing the exact percentage I got rather than just [my overall grade],” freshman Mia Farley said.

Another big difference between the two schools is that WMS students are allowed to retake tests, whereas at WHS, students usually cannot retake tests.

“When they go to high school, they can’t retake tests until they get it right,” Bernstein said.

WMS put the standard based grading system into effect in order to put less pressure on students, but some students and teachers believe that this grading system can cause students to lose motivation.

“[Students] have less panic about the grade that they’re getting on something [when it is graded on a standard based grading system],” Nichols said. “[But] your temptation to not get it right the first time is high, and it doesn’t matter because in the end, the standard is lower.”

In high school, the stakes are higher for some students as they begin to prepare for college or their future paths. As a result, freshmen may begin to feel the pressure of high school bearing down on them. Some believe that this pressure sometimes pushes students to try and cheat on assignments in order to receive higher grades. However, some WMS teachers have found that cheating is not as big as a problem at the middle school because of the standard-based grading system.

“I find that I have less cheating and I find I have less stress with standard-based grading,” Nichols said.

Some high school students have also found that tests and homework are more frequent in high school than in their previous middle school years. As a result, some freshmen have had to adapt their homework and studying methods.

“I think it’s the right amount, but I need to adjust to it more than I did in middle school,” Farley said.

Some students and staff have a few ideas on how middle schoolers could feel more prepared as they transition into high school.

“I think maybe [grading] should evolve over the three years you’re in middle school,” Nichols said. “Maybe you have standards-based grading in sixth grade, halfway through seventh grade, you need to switch to [percentage] grades. I think that parents don’t really understand our grading system and have no idea what’s going on, and I think that students don’t really understand it either. So [percentage] grades [can] give you a more helpful understanding of what you’re actually grasping.”

According to some teachers and students, introducing percentage grades at earlier ages could be a very effective way to reduce the amount of confusion that some freshmen experience during their transition to high school.

“We should do more instruction around study skills and how to study for an exam [in order to] have kids practice that, especially as the eighth grade year moves on,” Bernstein said. “And I wish that eighth graders got letter grades at least half of the year to get used to [high school grading]. I think it would help them with the transition because when they get to high school, those grades go on their transcript for college and that’s when it matters. So I wish we had at least a semester for them to get used to that.”

The middle school and high school are similar yet different at the same time. The shift from one to the other is a huge step filled with lots of changes. This said, the way for students to effectively settle in at the high school can depend greatly on how the middle school prepares the students.

“Middle school is about learning your skills and trying to get better at understanding how you learn,” Nichols said. “So when you get to high school and it counts, you can actually use all the skills you’ve figured out in middle school and apply them to your classes in high school.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to Wayland Student Press
$0
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Wayland High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, cover our annual website hosting costs and sponsor admission and traveling costs for the annual JEA journalism convention.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Maggie Buffum, Staff Reporter
Maggie Buffum, Class of 2027, is a first year reporter for WSPN. She loves playing sports and watching TV. She plays for the Wayland JV volleyball team in the fall, and loves watching sports games. Contact: [email protected]
Olivia Green, Staff Reporter
Olivia Green, Class of 2027, is a first year reporter for WSPN. She plays for the freshman volleyball team in the fall. Outside of school, she loves to cook, go outside and spend time with her friends and family. Contact: [email protected]
Donate to Wayland Student Press
$0
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Wayland Student Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *