This article in the New York Times debates the pros and cons of 8th-grade graduation ceremonies. In recent years, that benchmark has become more extravagant, says the article, which could send the wrong message to students by treating middle school graduation as an accomplishment and not an expectation. A blowout 8th-grade graduation could take away from the experience of high school graduation and make students think that finishing middle school is a sufficient level of education, some educators contend. But graduating from middle school is an accomplishment for some kids, opponents say, and recognizing that can be a strong motivator for some students.
Like most things, I have a feeling that the solution probably lies on some middle ground. I think it’s important to recognize students’ accomplishments and congratulate them on milestones that they’ve reached--and graduating from middle school definitely qualifies--but maybe graduation dinners and dances akin to prom might be going overboard. However, I don’t really think that a big middle school graduation ceremony is going to make or break a student’s educational trajectory, either.
What do you think? How is 8th-grade graduation celebrated in your districtl?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.