“Eighth grade-itis” falls pretty close to senioritis. Eighth graders think they are the kings of the middle school. Many want to do the least amount of academic work until they reach high school. Ann S. Robertson reports in the article “If an Adolescent Begins to Fail in School, What Can Parents and Teachers Do?” in the ERIC Digest [October 1997] that research suggests that academic issues are more likely to happen in transition years, like when moving from middle school to high school.
Eight Graders Begin to Change
“Eighth grade is when many students start to see that they can make up their own minds about friends and areas of interest. For the child, this is a natural process, but we as caring adult and parents start to feel uncomfortable with someone who changes from say an interest in organized sports to a passion for skateboarding or starting some sort of band (the sex and alcohol part is sometimes tied into this shift). It is our job to say that, yes, this okay and be truly supportive as long as their values and the goodness in their souls is not compromised,” said Myles Kiphen, Logan Hocking Middle School Principal [email interiew, July 31, 2016].
However, some students do not worry about the consequences of poor academic reports because their middle school grades do not count towards high school graduation. Or, they behave poorly. What they don’t understand is that what they do in eighth grade has a huge impact on their high school careers.
High School Fall Sport Eligibility Rules
Failing classes at the middle school can lead to not playing sports at the high school. Many schools use the last nine week’s grades for eligibility for fall sports. So, incoming freshmen generally have to have a 2.0 GPA to participate in fall sports, such as football, soccer, tennis, cross country, cheerleading or volleyball.
High School Class Placement
Grades from eighth grade are used to place students in tracked classes, such as honors, advanced or even general classes. Poor middle school grades will result in students being placed in the at-risk or remedial classes, which are not for college bound students. In order to get into desired colleges, students need to take college preparatory course work.
Abusing Alcohol and Becoming Sexually Active
In addition, some eighth graders become sexually active or begin to experiment with alcohol. Parents – the Antidrug reports that this risky behavior many times starts in middle school. “One out of every two 8th graders have tried alcohol.”
In addition, the website reports that people who starting drinking before the age of 15 were four times more likely to be dependent on it at some point in their lives. Also, they were more likely to try illegal drugs. In addition, alcohol abuse can lead to sexual activity without protection, which can lead to many other consequences.
Attending a Different School Due to Poor Behavior
Some eighth grader’s behavior becomes so unruly that extreme measures must be taken. Many high schools have separate school buildings for students who cannot behave, generally called alternative schools. They will not get to be with the general school population where most of their friends will be.
Many eighth graders do their homework, study and stay out of trouble to start strong their freshmen year of high school. However, mistakes in middle school can lead to a variety of consequences. The best advice is to do the best job in middle school so that the freshman year will start great.