Middle school

Middle school

Middle School and Junior High School are levels of schooling between elementary and high schools. Most school systems use one term or the other, not both. The terms are not usually interchangeable. In China, Taiwan, Hong Kong,[citation needed][1], and Vietnam, [2] the term middle school is used as a synonym for secondary school.[clarification needed]




In Algeria, a middle school includes grades 6 through 9, consisting of students from ages 11 to 14.


In Egypt, middle school precedes high school. It is called the preparatory stage and consists of three phases: first preparatory in which students study more subjects than primary with different branches.[clarification needed] In second preparatory students study Science, Geography, the History of Egypt starting with Pharonic history, passing by the Coptic, Islamic and finally the modern history, Also they study three different languages, Arabic is obligatory; two others are chosen as first and second languages: English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian. They study also Mathematics. Middle School (Preparatory Stage) lasts for three years. Students are given an overview about future fields of studies.

Tunisia and Morocco

In Tunisia, a middle school includes grades 7 through 9, consisting of students from ages 12 to 15.



In Afghanistan, education often does not last until middle school. When the Taliban ruled most parts of the country between 1996 and 2001, girls were not allowed to attend school. Since 2001, both boys and girls are allowed to attend school by the government, where it has control.

People's Republic of China

In the People's Republic of China, middle school has two stages, junior stage (grades 7-9) and senior stage (grades 10-12). The junior stage education is the last 3 years of 9-year-compulsory education for all young citizens; while the senior stage education is optional but considered as a critical preparation for college education. Some middle schools have both stages while some have either of them. In English, a number of schools with senior stage education are translated as "High School"; but in Chinese they are all named as "Middle School".[3]

The admissions for most students to enroll in senior middle schools from junior stage are on the basis of the scores that they get in "Senior Middle School Entrance Exam",[4] which are held by local governments. Other students may avoid the exam, based on their distinctive talents, like athleice, or excellent daily performance in junior stage.


In Iran, middle school is considered as a 3 years period, grades 6, 7 and 8. It is called guidance school (راهنمایی: Persian). This term mainly refers to the fact that students get enough information in this period and then can choose what to focus in high school: math, natural science, social science, etc.


In Lebanon, middle school consists of grades 7, 8, and 9. At the end of 9th grade, the student is given the National diploma examination.


CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) classifies Middle School as Class 5 to Class 8 (typically ages 10–13). At the end of Class 8, students sit for a Board Exam.[citation needed]

There are other Central Boards such as ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education). Each state has its own State Board. Each has its own standards, which might be different from the Central Boards.[citation needed]

In some institutions, providing education for 5th to 10th are known as secondary school.[citation needed]

South Korea

In the Republic of Korea, a middle school is called joong-hakyo (중학교, 中學校, also literally meaning "middle school") which includes grades 7 through 9 (approx age 13-15).[citation needed]


In Indonesia, middle school includes grade 7 through 9.[5]

Although compulsory education ends at junior high, most pursue higher education. There are around 22,000 middle schools in Indonesia with a balanced ownership between public and private sector.[6]


In Israel, middle school consists of grades 7, 8 and 9. Several cities have no middle school. There, elementary schools consist of grades 1-8.


Junior high schools (Three years from 7th to 9th grade) in the Republic of China (Taiwan) were originally called "primary middle school".[7] However, in August 1968, they were renamed "citizen middle school"[8] when they became free of charge and compulsory. Private middle school nowadays are still called "primary middle school". Taiwanese students older than twelve normally attend junior high school. Accompanied with the switch from junior high to middle school was the cancellation of entrance examination needed to enter middle school.[citation needed]


In Malaysia, pre-schools (Kindergarten) are meant for children from 5–6 years old. 7–12 year old kids attend Primary School/Elementary School[9] from Standard 1 to Standard 6. There are three types of schooling depending on the child's spoken language: Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. 13–17 year old students study in secondary school/high school. These schools are numbered from Form 1 to Form 5. There is also an optional Form 6 (Pre-university or A level equivalent). This is divided into Lower Form 6 and Upper Form 6. Students may choose to study other equivalent courses instead of taking Form 6 classes.

Form 1 to 3 students are called lower secondary students[10] and Form 4 to 6 are called upper secondary students.[11]

There are three major exams: 1) Standard 6. 5 Subjects, 2) Form 3. 7 subjects for non-Muslim students and 8 subjects for Muslim students, and 3) Form 5. O level equivalent -subjects varying, according to the elective and extra subjects chosen by the students.[citation needed]



Most regions of Australia do not have middle schools, as students go directly from primary school to secondary school.

In 1996 and 1997, a national conference met to develop what became known as the National Middle Schooling Project, which aimed to develop a common Australian view of

  • early adolescent needs
  • guiding principles for educators
  • appropriate strategies to foster positive adolescent learning.

The first middle school established in Australia was The Armidale School, in Armidale (approximately 570 km north of Sydney, 470 km south of Brisbane and approximately 170 km inland from the coast). Schools have since followed this trend, such as The King's School.

As of 2007, the Northern Territory has introduced a three tier system featuring Middle Schools for years 7–9 (approx ages 12–15) and high school year 10–12. (approx ages 15–18)[12]

Many schools across Queensland have introduced a Middle School tier within their schools. The middle schools cover the grades/years 5 to 8.

On the Gold Coast, Upper Coomera State College (Prep-12) has three sub-schools; Junior School (Prep-6), Middle School (7–9) and Senior School (10–12).[13]

Currently in Brisbane, Queensland, students do not go to middle school. Primary School covers preschool to year 7 (ages 5–12), and high school covers years 8 to 12 (ages 13–17.)

New Zealand

In New Zealand intermediate schools cover years 7 to 8 (formerly known as Forms 1 to 2, with children aged 11–13). Most primary schools however, do teach year 7 and 8 with students continuing to high school at year 9/Form 3. These primary schools may have a relationship with a nearby intermediate school to teach manual training classes, such as woodwork.[citation needed]

Intermediate schools are rarely found outside of the major populated cities and towns of New Zealand, with the more isolated rural townships often having an Area School with classes from New Entrants to Form 7, Years 1 to 13.[citation needed]


Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia

In the countries of former Yugoslavia, srednja škola/šola (literally translated as Middle School) refers to age between 14 and half – 15 and 18, and lasts 2–4 years, following elementary school (which lasts 8 or 9 years). The final four years of elementary school are actually what would be called junior high school in USA. Students have up to 12–13 different subjects in each school year (most of them only two 45-minute class periods per week). For example, 8th grade students do not have one subject called Science but three separate subjects called Chemistry, Physics and Biology.[14]


In France, the equivalent period to middle school is collège, which lasts four years from the Sixième (sixth, the equivalent of the Canadian and American Grade 6) to the Troisième (third, the equivalent of the Canadian and American Grade 9), accommodating pupils aged between 11 and 15. Upon completion of the latter, students are awarded a Brevet des collèges if they obtain a certain amount of points on a series of tests in various subjects (French, history / geography, mathematics) and oral examinations (history of arts). They can then enter high school (called lycée), which lasts three years from the Seconde to the Terminale until the baccalauréat, and during which they can choose a general or a professional field of study. (check the french ministry of education website)


While a school may be called "middle school"[15] it is not a Middle School in the sense of the article but simply a secondary school of a certain type. Depending on Bundesland, Middle School may be comparable to either a Realschule[clarification needed] or a Hauptschule[clarification needed] or a combination of both. The middle school in the English language sense has an approximate analog in the Orientierungsstufen which exist in some German states.[clarification needed]


There are four middle schools in Gibraltar, following the English model of middle-deemed-primary schools accommodating pupils aged between 8 and 12 (National Curriculum Years 4 to 7). The schools were opened in 1972 when the government introduced comprehensive education in the country.[16]


Middle school in Poland, called gimnazjum, was first introduced in 1932. The education was intended for pupils of at least 12 years of age and lasted 4 years. Middle schools were part of the educational system until the reform of 1947, except during World War II (1939–1945).

The middle schools were reinstated in Poland in 1999 now lasting 3 years after 6 years of primary school. Pupils entering gimnazjum are usually 13 years old. Middle school is compulsory for all students, and it is also the final stage of mandatory education. In the final year students take a standardized test to evaluate their academic skills. Higher scorers in the test are allowed first pick of school if they want to continue their education, which is encouraged.


Middle school in Romania, or gymnasium, includes grades 5 to 8. At the end of the eighth grade students take an exam that counts for 50% of the average needed to enroll in high school.[citation needed]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, some English Local Education Authorities introduced Middle Schools in the 1960s and 1970s. The notion of Middle Schools was mooted by the Plowden Report of 1967 which proposed a change to a three-tier model including First schools for children aged between 5 and 8, Middle Schools for 8–12 year-olds, and then Upper or High Schools for 12–16 year-olds.[17] Some authorities introduced Middle Schools for ideological reasons, in line with the report, while others did so for more pragmatic reasons relating to the raising of the school leaving age in compulsory education to 16, or to introduce a comprehensive system.[18][19]

Different authorities introduced different age-range schools, although in the main, three models were used:

  • 5–8 First Schools, followed by 8–12 Middle Schools, as suggested by Plowden
  • 5–9 First Schools, followed by 9–13 Middle Schools
  • 5–10 First Schools followed by 10–13 Middle Schools, or Intermediate Schools

In many areas Primary School rather than First School was used to denote the first tier.

In addition, some schools were provided as combined schools catering for pupils in the 5–12 age range as a combined first and middle school.[18]

Around 2000 middle and combined schools were in place in the early 1980s. However, that number began to fall in the later 1980s with the introduction of the National Curriculum. The new curriculum's splits in Key Stages at age 11 encouraged the majority of Local Education Authorities to return to a two-tier system of Primary (sometimes split into Infant schools and Junior schools) and Secondary schools.[20] There are now fewer than 250 middle schools still operational in the United Kingdom, meaning that approximately 85% of middle schools have closed since 1980.[21]

Under current legislation, all middle schools must be deemed either primary or secondary. Thus, schools which accept pupils up to age 12 are titled middle-deemed-primary, while those accepting pupils aged 13 or over are titled middle-deemed-secondary. For statistical purposes, such schools are often included under primary and secondary categories "as deemed".[22] Notably, most schools also follow teaching patterns in line with their deemed status, with most deemed-primary schools offering a primary-style curriculum taught by one class teacher, and most deemed-secondary schools adopting a more specialist-centred approach.

Some Middle Schools still exist in various areas of England. They are supported by the National Middle Schools' Forum. A list of middle schools in England is available.

In Scotland a similar system was trialled in Grangemouth middle schools, Falkirk between 1975 and 1987.[23] The label of junior high school is used for some through schools in Orkney and Shetland which cater for pupils from 5 up to the age of 14, at which point they transfer to a nearby secondary school.

In the Craigavon area of Northern Ireland, the Dickson Plan operates, whereby pupils attend a primary school from ages 4-10, a junior high school from 11-14, and a senior high school or grammar school from 14-19. This is not dissimilar to the middle school system.

North America

Canada and the United States

As noted above, the first junior high school was established in 1909. Advocated by groups such as the National Middle School Association, the "middle school" concept (grades 6-8) is a relatively new model for the mid-level grades, contrasted with the more traditional "junior high school" concept (grades 7-9).

Conceptual distinctions

Junior high schools were created for the purpose of "bridging the gap between the elementary and the high school," a concept credited to Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard University.[24] The faculty is organized into academic departments that operate more or less independently of one another. The middle school movement in the United States saw this model as inadequately addressing the intended purpose of transition by maintaining an emphasis on the high school model, as reflected in the "junior high" designation.

The middle school concept often involves a group of two to eight teachers, depending on the school, from different disciplines working as a team with the same group of students of the same grade level, with each teacher teaching a different subject. This format facilitates interdisciplinary units, where part or all of the entire team teaches on the same general topic from the perspective of different disciplines. The middle school philosophy also advocates assigning students in each team to a homeroom. By having homeroom daily for various discussions and activities, middle schools try to foster a sense of belonging in students to ease social and emotional difficulties during adolescence.[citation needed]

Middle school in North America carries with it associations of personal and emotional difficulty. Physical and hormonal changes that accompany adolescence are exacerbated by newfound self-consciousness, social pressures, and the desire for conformity and identity.[25][26][27]


Middle school is often used instead of junior high school when demographic factors increase the number of younger students.[28] Whereas junior highs tend to only include grades 7 and 8, middle schools are usually grades 6, 7, and 8 (i.e. around ages 11–14), varying from area to area and also according to population vs. building capacity. Other common models includes grades 5–8, and grades 7-9. Alberta, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island junior high schools (the term "middle school" is not commonly used) include only grades 7 to 9, with the first year of high school traditionally being grade 10.

The middle school format has now replaced the junior high format by a ratio of about ten to one in the United States, but at least two school districts had integrated both systems in 2010.[29][30]


In Mexico, the middle school system is called Secundaria and usually comprises three years, grades 7–9 (ages: 7: 12-13, 8: 13-14, 9: 14-15). It is completed after Primaria (Elementary School, up to grade 6: ages 11–12.) and before Preparatoria/Bachillerato (High School, grades 10–12).

South America


In Brazil, middle school is a mandatory stage that precedes High School called "Basic Cycle"[31] consisting of about three to four grades,5th or 6th to 9th, ages 10 or 11-14. All the schools (Kindergarten to High School) usually are in the same school, so sometimes the middle school starts in 5th grade, sometimes in 6th.


In Colombia, middle school is 6-8th grade.[citation needed]


In Uruguay, the public middle school consists of two stages, one mandatory called "Basic Cycle" or "First Cycle". This consists of three years, ages 12–13, 13-14 and 14-15, and one optional called "Second Cycle", ages 15–16, 16-17 and 17-18. The Second Cycle is divided into 4 options in the 5th grade: "Human Sciences," "Biological","Scientific" and "Arts".


In Venezuela, public middle schools have a different Spanish name than private schools.[32] The school system includes a preparatory year before first grade, so nominal grade levels are offset when compared to other countries. Middle schools are from 7th grade (equivalent to 8th grade US) to 11th grade, which is equivalent to 12th grade. Graduates are eligible for college.[citation needed]

Professional organizations

The National Middle School Association (NMSA) was founded in 1973. It now claims over 30,000 members representing principals, teachers, central office personnel, professors, college students, parents, community leaders, and educational consultants across the United States, Canada, and 46 other countries.[citation needed]

An equivalent organisation operates in the UK under the name of The National Middle Schools' Forum.[citation needed]

See also

  • QuickSmart


  1. ^ 中学
  2. ^ Trung học
  3. ^ (中学)
  4. ^ commonly referred as "Zhong Kao" (Simplified Chinese:中考)
  5. ^ Sekolah Menengah Pertama
  6. ^ Middle school statistics between 2004–2005 http://www.depdiknas.go.id/statistik/thn04-05/SMP_0405.htm
  7. ^ chuzhong (初級中學, 初中
  8. ^ guozhong (國民中學, 國中
  9. ^ Sekolah Rendah
  10. ^ Pelajar Menengah Rendah
  11. ^ Pelajar Menengah Tinggi
  12. ^ "About Middle Years". Middle Years – N8orthern Territory of Australia. Northern Territory Government. 200. http://www.middleyears.nt.gov.au/about/. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  13. ^ http://www.uppercoomerasc.eq.edu.au/main.php/pages/about-ucsc.php
  14. ^ http://www.doiserbia.nb.rs/(A(Khk4Jr78yQEkAAAANzRjZmY4ZjgtZTlmYi00NTI0LTk5MjktNzJmN2NhM2Q5NTQ59aWa4OjfCOqjVqyzc8ZcObCmAB41))/img/doi/0579-6431/2006/0579-64310602333A.pdf
  15. ^ "Mittelschule"
  16. ^ "Schools Gibraltar | Colleges Gibraltar". http://www.recruitspain.com/schoolsingibraltar.asp. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  17. ^ Central Advisory Council for Education (England) (1967). "Volume 1 Chapter 10 The Ages and Stages of Primary Education". Children and their Primary Schools. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. http://www.educationengland.org.uk/documents/plowden/plowden1-10.html. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  18. ^ a b "Middle schools decline due to haphazard development". Times Educational Supplement: pp. 9. 1981-11-13. 
  19. ^ Andrew, Herbert; Department of Education and Science (1965-07-12). "Main forms of comprehensive organisation". Circular 10/65: The Organisation of Secondary Education. HMSO. http://www.oldmonovians.com/comprehensive/circular1065.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  20. ^ British Broadcasting Corporation (1998-06-28). "Education: End of the Middle Way?". BBC News website (BBC News). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/121169.stm. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  21. ^ http://sites.google.com/site/middleschools
  22. ^ "The Education (Middle School) (England) Regulations 2002". Statutory Instrument 2002 No. 1983. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 2002. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si2002/20021983.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  23. ^ Meldrum, James (1976). Three-tier Education in Grangemouth. 
  24. ^ "Junior high plan outlined", The Dallas Morning News, September 22, 1929, section 1, page 9.
  25. ^ http://www.journalwatchdog.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=354&Itemid=47
  26. ^ "SOAPBOX; Middle School Angst Revisited". The New York Times. 2004-09-12. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E02E5D91430F931A2575AC0A9629C8B63. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  27. ^ http://gnmparents.com/my-middle-school-angst/
  28. ^ [1] Definition of junior high school, accessed June 12, 2007. Archived 2009-10-31.
  29. ^ USD, Concordia, Kansas retrieved 28 October 2010
  30. ^ [2] retrieved 17 June 2011
  31. ^ "Ensino Fundamental II"
  32. ^ "Liceo"; private schools are called "Colegio"

Further reading

  • Arnold, J. "Needed: A Realistic Perspective of the Early Adolescent Learner." CLEARINGHOUSE 54:4 (1980).
  • Atwell, Nancie. "In the Middle: New Understanding About Writing, Reading, and Learning." Boynton/Cook Pub (1987).
  • Beane, J. "Dance to the Music of Time: The Future of Middle Level Education." THE EARLY ADOLESCENT MAGAZINE 2 (September 1987):18–26.
  • Beane, J. A MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM: FROM RHETORIC TO REALITY. Columbus, Ohio: National Middle School Association, 1990a.
  • Cross Keys Middle School. A PLACE OF OUR OWN. Florissant, Missouri: Florissant Public Schools, 1990.
  • Jennings, W., and Nathan, J. "Startling/Disturbing Research on School Program Effectiveness." PHI DELTA KAPPAN 59 (1977): 568–572.
  • Fenwick, J. (Primary Author) Taking Center Stage: A Commitment to Standards-Based Education for California's Middle Grades Students. Sacramento: California Department of Education, 2001
  • "Why Middle Level Schools Are KEY to Young Adolescent Success" Westerville, OH: NMSA, 2003. [3]

External links

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