IS GRADE SPAN ASSOCIATED WITH THE LEVEL OF PROBLEM BEHAVIOR AMONG EIGHTH GRADERS? AN EXPLORATORY INVESTIGATION
Rasmussen, Gina Ann
In spite of two waves of grade reorganization in American schoolsthe Junior High and Middle School movementsand the increase of problem behavior in schools, little empirical evidence exists pertaining to the effects of grade spanthe range of grades making up schoolson adolescent problem behavior. Utilizing a nationally representative sample that estimates the amount of problem behavior in and around schools, the present study employs a series of multiple regression analyses to examine the influence of grade span, and several control variables, on eighth-grade student problem behavior. Focusing on social learning theory, it is hypothesized that eighth graders who attend schools with older adolescents have more problem behavior than those who do not. Positive peer association is hypothesized to mediate the effect. Results revealed no effects between grade span and problem behavior. However, due to data limitations further research is recommended. Reasons for no effects are discussed.