Supporting successful student transition from elementary school to high school

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Matheson, Stephanie R.
Transitioning to high school from elementary school can be a challenging process for students. As students have become accustomed to a specific building, group of teachers and sets of routines and procedures, the new changes can be hard on a young person who is already experiencing vast changes physically, emotionally and socially. Students need to feel confident that they have within themselves the skills necessary to be successful. They also need to feel that the new adults they will be surrounded with are there to support and guide them to be successful. While there is much research regarding elementary to high school transition, the absence of student voice emerged throughout the available data. The current researcher wanted to discover student experiences with transitioning from their elementary school to the high school, what is currently being offered by schools to support a positive transition, and what more could be done from the point of view of students. The aim of this research was to gather information regarding school transition from the perspective of the students who are experiencing the transition first hand. Using a mixed-methods approach, including both quantitative and qualitative research methods, 19 surveys and 3 student interviews provided the data. Through the survey, Likert responses were calculated and organized into tables and analyzed. Open-ended questions were also organized in tables and analyzed. Interviews were transcribed and coded for themes and patterns. The results of the data indicated that students do feel a sense of belonging in their new school environment and enjoy the choice and freedom that high school brings. Additionally, while students express some nervousness over school transition, the overall feeling is one of excitement for the new opportunities and people that are introduced to them.
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