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Middle schools are where middle school students receve middle school education from middle school teachers

In education systems where children receive three levels of schooling, a middle school is a school which educates them after they have finished their first school and before they commence the last. Middle schools generally cover between the fourth or fifth year of schooling up to the eighth or ninth year, although this may vary. The education delivered by middle schools is usually considered a part of secondary education, but in some education systems may be primary education or a mix of the two.

In some areas, junior high school fulfills the same function as a middle school.



In Algeria, a middle school includes grades 5 through 8, consisting of students from ages 10 or 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. For instance, algebra and geometry are taught instead of "mathematics." In the second preparatory phase, students study science, geography, the history of Egypt starting with pharaonic history, including Coptic history, Islamic history, and concluding with modern history. The students are taught three languages. Arabic is obligatory. Two others are chosen as first and second languages: English, French, German, Spanish, or Italian. Middle school (preparatory stage) lasts for three years.[citation needed]


In Somalia, middle school identified as intermediate school is the four years between secondary school and primary school. Pupils start middle school from form as referred to in Somalia or year 5 and finish it at year 8. Students start middle school from the age of 11 and finish it when they are 14-15. Subjects, which middle school pupils take are: Somali, Arabic, English, Religion, Science, Geography, History, Maths, Textiles, Art and Design, Physical Education (PE) and sometimes Music. In some middle schools, it is obligatory to study Italian.

Tunisia and Morocco

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



In Afghanistan, middle school consists of 6, 7 and 8 grade. When the Taliban controlled a majority of the country, between 1996 and 2001, girls were not allowed to attend public school. Since 2001, both boys and girls are required to attend school by the government, where it has control. But the Taliban insurgents continue to attack and burn down schools in the countryside which they deem secular threatening Taliban ideology.

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, middle school includes grade 7 through 9, consisting of students from ages 12 to 15.

People's Republic of China

In the People's Republic of China, middle school has two stages, junior stage (grades 7-9, some places are grades 6-9) 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.

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",[1] which are held by local governments. Other students may avoid the exam, based on their distinctive talents, like athletics, 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 refers to the fact that students are guided to sufficient information in this school in order to be able to select a focus on in high school: mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, 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 a combination of Lower (Class 1 - 5) and Upper Primary (Class 5 - 8).[2]

There are other Central Boards / Councils such as CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination).

Each state has its own State Board. Each has its own standards, which might be different from the Central Boards.[3]

In some institutions, providing education for 5th to 10th are known as secondary school.[3]

South Korea

In South Korea, a middle school is called a jung hakgyo (Hangul: 중학교; Hanja: ) which includes grades 7 through 9 (referred to as: middle school 1st–3rd grades; approx. age 13-15).[4]


In Indonesia, middle school covers ages 12 to 15[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 "nationals' middle school"[8] often translated "junior high") 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.[9]


In Malaysia, pre-schools (Kindergarten) are meant for children from 5–6 years old. 7–12 year old kids attend Primary School/Elementary School[10] 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[11] and Form 4 to 6 are called upper secondary students.[12]

There are three major exams: 1) Standard 6. 5 Subjects for Malay Schools(government school) and 7 subjects for Chinese and Tamil Schools(non-goverment schools), 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]


Main article: Education in Pakistan

In Pakistan, the Middle School is a combination of Lower (Class 1 - 5) and Upper Primary (Class 5 - 8). In some institutions, providing education for 5th to 10th are known as secondary school.[3]



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

As an alternate to the middle school model, some secondary schools divided their grades into Junior High School (Years 7 to 10) and Senior High School (Years 11 and 12). An example of this is McCarthy Catholic College - originally named Our Lady of the Rosary College, established in 1981.

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,[13] 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 2007Template:Dated maintenance category, 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)[14]

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).[15]

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 generally aged between 10 and 13). There are full primary schools which also contain year 7 and 8 with students continuing to high school at year 9/Form 3. Some high schools also include years 7 and 8.[citation needed]

In the last decade there has been an increased interest in middle schooling (years 7-10) with at least seven schools offering education to this age group opening around the country in both Auckland, Cambridge, Hamilton, Christchurch and Upper Hutt.[citation needed]


Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia

In the countries of former Yugoslavia, srednja/средно škola/šola/училиште (literally translated as Middle School) refers to age between 14 and half – 15 and 18, and lasts 3–4 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 12–15 different subjects in each school year (most of them only two 45-minute class periods per week). For example 7th and 8th grade students do not have one subject called Science but three separate subjects called Chemistry, Physics and Biology.[16]


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.[17]


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.[18]


In Italy the equivalent is the "middle lower school" (Scuola Media Inferiore), commonly shortened to "middle school" (Scuola Media) as the "Scuola Media Superiore", the equivalent of high school, is just commonly called "Superiore". It lasts three years from the student age of 11 to age 14. Since 2009, after "Gelmini reform", the middle school was renamed "Scuola Secondaria di primo grado" ("junior secondary school").


See also: Education in Poland

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.


Main article: Education in Portugal

In Portugal, the middle school is known as 2nd and 3rd cycles of basic education (2º e 3º ciclos do ensino básico). It comprises the 5th till 9th year of compulsory education, for children between ten and fifteen years old. After the education reform of 1986, the former preparatory school (escola preparatória) or liceu, became part of basic education (educação básica).

Basic education now includes:

  • 1st cycle (1º ciclo) - former primary education
    • 1st year (6–7 years old)
    • 2nd year (7–8 years old)
    • 3rd year (8–9 years old)
    • 4th year (9–10 years old)
  • 2nd cycle (2º ciclo) - former preparatory education
    • 5th year (10–11 years old)
    • 6th year (11–12 years old)
  • 3rd cycle (3º ciclo) - former preparatory education (continuation)
    • 7th year (12–13 years old)
    • 8th year (13–14 years old)
    • 9th year (14–15 years old)

""10th year"" (15–16 years old) 11th year (16–17 years old)

Romania and Bulgaria

Middle school in Romania and Bulgaria, 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.[19] 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.[20][21]

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.[20]

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.[22] There are now fewer than 200 middle schools still operational in the United Kingdom, meaning that approximately 90% of middle schools have closed since 1980.[23]

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".[24] 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.[25] 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.[citation needed]

North America


Middle school and junior high school are both used, depending on what grades the school caters to.[26] Junior highs tend to only include grades 7, 8, and 9 (some older schools with the name carved in concrete, still use "junior high," as part of their name, although grade nine is now missing), whereas middle schools are usually grades 6-8 or only grades 7 and 8 (i.e. around ages 11–14), varying from area to area and also according to population vs. building capacity. Another common model is grades 5–8. Alberta, Nova-Scotia, and Prince Edward Island junior high schools (the term "middle school" is not commonly used) include only grades 7-9, with the first year of high school traditionally being grade 10.


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).

United States

Historically, in the United States, local public control (and private alternatives) have allowed for some variation in the organization of schools. Elementary school includes kindergarten through fifth grade or sixth grade. Basic subjects are taught in elementary school, and students often remain in one classroom throughout the school day, except for physical education, library, music, and art classes. There are (as of 2001) about 3.6 million children in each grade in the United States.[27]

"Middle school" usually includes sixth, seventh and eighth grade. "Junior high" typically includes seventh, eighth and ninth grades. The range defined by either is often based on demographic factors, such as an increase or decrease in the relative numbers of younger or older students, with the aim of maintaining stable school populations.[28] At this time, students are given more independence, moving to different classrooms for different subjects, and being allowed to choose some of their class subjects (electives). Usually, starting in ninth grade, grades become part of a student’s official transcript.

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]

The "junior high school" concept was introduced in 1909, in Columbus, Ohio.[31] In the late 19th century and early 20th century most American elementary schools had grades 1 through 8. As time passed, until the 1940s, junior high schools increased quickly. After the 1940s the original model of junior high school began to disappear. Jon Wiles, author of Developing Successful K-8 Schools: A Principal's Guide, said "A major problem for" the original model was "the inclusion of the ninth grade" because of the lack of instructional flexibility due to the requirement of having to earn high school credits in the ninth grade, and that "the fully adolescent ninth grader in junior high school did not seem to belong with the students experiencing the onset of puberty."[32] The new middle school model began to appear in the mid-1960s. Wiles said "At first, it was difficult to determine the difference between a junior high school and a middle school, but as the middle school became established, the differences became more pronounced[...]."[32]

Additional distinctions & Pedagogy

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.[33] 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 teachers 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.[dubious] 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. Students are assigned a homeroom. This is intended to foster as a sense of belonging, for social and emotional support to students transitioning from the usual single classroom in elementary school. Various discussions and activities occur in homeroom.[citation needed]

South America


In Brazil, middle school is a mandatory stage that precedes High School called "Basic Cycle"[34] 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 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.[35] 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 Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), formerly National Middle School Association, 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.[36]

See also


  • Wiles, John (editor). Developing Successful K-8 Schools: A Principal's Guide. Corwin Press, June 10, 2009. ISBN 1412966175, 9781412966177.


  1. commonly referred as "Zhong Kao" (Simplified Chinese:中考)
  2. Amaidi Indian Education System. URL accessed on 5 May 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Amaidi
  4. Ministry of Education Science & Technology Education System. URL accessed on 5 May 2012.
  5. Sekolah Menengah Pertama
  6. Middle school statistics between 2004–2005
  7. chuzhong (初級中學, 初中
  8. guozhong (國民中學, 國中
  9. Government Information Office Taiwan's Educational Development and Present Situation. URL accessed on 5 May 2012.
  10. Sekolah Rendah
  11. Pelajar Menengah Rendah
  12. Pelajar Menengah Tinggi
  14. (200). About Middle Years. Middle Years – N8orthern Territory of Australia. Northern Territory Government. URL accessed on 2008-02-01.
  18. Schools Gibraltar | Colleges Gibraltar. URL accessed on 2009-01-09.
  19. 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. URL accessed on 2008-02-01.
  20. 20.0 20.1 includeonly>"Middle schools decline due to haphazard development", Times Educational Supplement, 1981-11-13, p. 9.
  21. Andrew, Herbert, Department of Education and Science Main forms of comprehensive organisation. Circular 10/65: The Organisation of Secondary Education. HMSO. URL accessed on 2009-04-18.
  22. includeonly>British Broadcasting Corporation. "Education: End of the Middle Way?", BBC News website, BBC News, 1998-06-28. Retrieved on 2008-02-01.
  23. UK Middle Schools. URL accessed on 2012-11-12.
  24. (2002). The Education (Middle School) (England) Regulations 2002. Statutory Instrument 2002 No. 1983. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. URL accessed on 2008-02-01.
  25. Meldrum, James (1976). Three-tier Education in Grangemouth.
  26. Definition of junior high school, accessed June 12, 2007. Archived 2009-10-31.
  27. Digest of Education Statistics, 2001. (PDF) URL accessed on 2010-04-14.
  28. "The major difference between a middle school and a junior high lies in the philosophy. The middle school philosophy focuses on the student where the junior high focus is more on the content. Definition of junior high school".. Retrieved on July 24, 2007.  archived, 2009-10-31.
  29. USD, Concordia, Kansas retrieved 28 October 2010
  30. [1] retrieved 17 June 2011
  31., retrieved 21 April 2013
  32. 32.0 32.1 Wiles, p. 3.
  33. "Junior high plan outlined", The Dallas Morning News, September 22, 1929, section 1, page 9.
  34. "Ensino Fundamental II"
  35. "Liceo"; private schools are called "Colegio"
  36. AMLE. AMLE. URL accessed on 2012-11-16.

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).
  • includeonly>Backes, Laura Backes. "The Difference Between Middle School and Young Adult".
  • 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. [2]

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