In the United States, middle school is a school between elementary school (grades 1-4, 1-5 or 1-6) and high school (grades 9-12 or 10-12). Depending on location, middle school contains grades 6-8, 7-8, or 7-9. Middle school is also sometimes called junior high school or just junior high.
The school day is often very different in elementary, middle, and high schools. Unlike elementary schools, where students often stay with one or two teachers for most of the school day, middle school is usually the first time in which students change teachers after each class of usually about one hour. Students often study 6 to 8 subjects. They will be taught by a different teacher for each subject. This is also the first year they must dress out, or change clothes for P.E. (physical education)
The change from a one teacher-all subjects way of teaching helps create more independence for the pupil. They no longer have the guidance of just one main teacher. Also, students will often have more of a choice in what classes they take. This is mainly in dealing with subjects which are taken in addition the basic subjects such as mathematics, English, history and general science.
In general, middle school acts as a transition between the elementary school structure where most people are all treated the same and the high school structure were most people are treated as individuals. However, some critics see middle schools as having gone "soft," overemphasizing self-esteem building at the expense of academic rigor.
- Teachers, Schools, and Society A Brief Introduction to Education (2nd edition) Sadker, Miller David and Zittleman, R. Karen (2008), page 112. Retrieved 2010-03-5.