High student mobility can hamstring academic achievement, according to the Cambridge, Mass.-based Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy.
Researchers studied students in 11 case study schools in six Massachusetts districts located in former industrial mill towns, known for having high concentrations of diverse and foreign-born students. Nearly one in three students in these districts change schools at least once a year, accounting for 35,000 students, or 35 percent of mobile students statewide in 2008-09.
A majority of teachers reported that highly mobile students required individualized attention during and sometimes after class, and that introducing new students mid-year disrupts class routine and causes behavior problems.
The report recommends improving initial enrollment, assessment, and placement processes for mobile students, and developing a system for schools and districts with high student turnover to share best practices for professional development.
A version of this article appeared in the September 28, 2011 edition of Education Week as Student Mobility