Skip Navigation

What Works Clearinghouse

Report Summary


Accelerated middle schools were found to have potentially positive effects on staying in school and positive effects on progressing in school.

Program Description

Accelerated middle schools are self-contained academic programs designed to help middle school students who are behind grade level catch up with their age peers. If these students begin high school with other students their age, the hope is that they will be more likely to stay in school and graduate. The programs serve students who are one to two years behind grade level and give them the opportunity to cover an additional year of curriculum during their one to two years in the program. Accelerated middle schools can be structured as separate schools or as schools within a traditional middle school.


One study of accelerated middle schools met the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards, and two studies met them with reservations. The three randomized controlled trials included more than 800 students in school districts in Georgia, Michigan, and New Jersey. Based on the three, the WWC considers the extent of evidence for accelerated middle schools to be medium to large for the staying in school and progressing in school domains. The studies did not examine relevant outcomes in the completing school domain.

This intervention report was prepared for the WWC by Mathematica Policy Research under contract ED-07-CO-0062.