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Middle school or junior high school serves as a "bridge" between elementary school and high school. The terms can be used in different ways in different countries, sometimes interchangeably. In Chinese language, especially Chinamarker, Taiwanmarker and Hong Kongmarker, middle school is the synonym to secondary school.

Thus in some governmental and institutional contexts, "middle school" may be used as no more than an alternative name to "junior high school", or it might imply a pedagogical shift away from primary and secondary school practices. The concept of the name junior high dates back to 1909 with the founding of Indianola Junior High Schoolmarker in Columbus, Ohiomarker. The concept of the name "middle school" dates back to 1950 from Bay City, Michiganmarker.



In Egyptmarker Middle School is the school preceded by High school, It's called preparatory stage and consists of three stages first preparatory in which students are supposed to have more subjects than primary stage with different branches. In Second Prep. They are taught Science, Geography, History of Egypt starting by the Pharonic history, passing by the Coptic , Islamic and finally the modern history, Also they study three different languages, 1 is obligatory and 2 are chosen as first and second languages , Arabic is obligatory while students choose from English, French , German, Spanish, and Italian their first and second languages. They study also Mathematics, with different sections. Egyptian Middle School (PREP STAGE) lasts for three years.Students are given an overview about fields of studies they desire to study in the future.


In Algeriamarker, a middle school includes grades 6 through 9.



In Afghanistanmarker, education often does not last until middle school. Under the Taliban, girls were not allowed to attend school. Now, both boys and girls are allowed to attend school.


In Iranmarker, middle school is considered as a 3 years period, grades 6,7 & 8. It is called guidance school (راهنمایی: Persian). This term mainly refers to the fact that students get enough information in this period and then can choose what to focus in high school i.e. math, natural science, social science and etc.


In Lebanonmarker, middle school is considered as a 3 years period, grades 7,8 & 9. It is called middle school


In Indiamarker, There is no specific school period called middle school. Grades 1-8 are considered elementary or primary. Grades 6-8 are considered Upper primary, grades 9-10 are called high school or secondary school. State education boards conduct exams for 8th grade. Those who did not make the mark will not be able to advance. National educational board conducts exams from 10 th and above, Again, Those who did not succeed in obtaining minimum marks will not advance. the high school equivalent of many other countries is called Inter-college(short for Intermediate college) in India. Many of the students determine the discipline during this time. Most graduate out of high school by 16 or 17. Students then take different kinds of entrance exams to enter in to different colleges.National board consists of grades 11-12 which are equivalent of Intermediate-college in state education. Some of the state education boards also follow this, however, it differs from one state to another. Most schools in India, especially ones which are in rural areas skip Kindergarten altogether.

People's Republic of China

In the People's Republic of Chinamarker, junior middle schools (chuzhong or 初中) refer to the years of 13-15. It covers the last 3 years of the 9-year compulsory education. The 9-year compulsory education claims to be generally free of charge but in fact, at the school level, almost all schools may occasionally charge students books fee and some other fees. At the end of the last year, students take exams to enter high school (gaozhong or 高中, high school students who prepare for the entrance of college are "college-bound"). Still, some others wishing to continue their training in a "hands-on" fashion may enter technical high school (中学专科/中专) or vocational school (职业学校).


In Japanmarker, junior high schools, which cover years seven through nine, are called CHŪGAKKŌ (中学校, literally, middle school). They are referred to as "junior high schools" in most conversations in English and are referred to by MEXTmarker as "lower secondary schools". (See Secondary education in Japan.)

South Korea

In the Republic of Koreamarker, a middle school is called joong-hakyo (중학교, 中學校, also literally meaning "middle school") which includes grades 7 through 9.


In Indonesiamarker, children go to school at the age of three, starting from pre-school and kindergarten. At the age of six, they start Sekolah Dasar (grade school). They spend six years before continuing on to Sekolah Menengah Pertama (junior high school) for three years. After junior high school, they go to Sekolah Menengah Atas (senior high school) for three years, upon which they would be concentrated in either the science stream or the social science stream or language stream. Although compulsory education ends at junior high, most would pursue higher education in senior high, or even further at the collegiate level. There are around 22,000 middle schools in Indonesiamarker with a balanced ownership between public and private sector.


Taiwanesemarker junior high schools (3-year from 7th to 9th grade) were originally called chuzhong (初級中學, 初中; "primary middle school"). However, in August 1968, they were renamed guozhong (國民中學, 國中; "citizen middle school") when they became free of charge and compulsory. Private middle school nowadays are still called chuzhong. Taiwanese junior high schools are attended normally by those older than twelve. Accompanied with the switch from junior high to middle school was the cancellation of entrance examination needed to enter middle school.


In Malaysiamarker, pre-schools (Kindergarten) are meant for children from 5–6 years old. 7-12 year old kids attend Sekolah Rendah (Primary School / Elementary School) from Standard 1 to Standard 6. There are three types of Sekolah Rendah according to the child's spoken language, Sekolah Kebangsaan (Malay), Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina or better known as SJKC, (Chinese) and Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT), (Tamil). 13-17 year old students study in Sekolah Menengah (secondary school / high school) and it is regarded as Form 1 to Form 5.

However, Form 1 to 3 students are called Pelajar Menengah Rendah (lower secondary students) and Form 4 to 5 are noted as Pelajar Menengah Tinggi (upper secondary students).

There are three major exams,

Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (Standard 6) -5 Subjects,

Penilaian Menengah Rendah (Form 3) -7 subjects for non-Muslim students and 8 subjects for Muslim students, and

Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (Form 5) -subjects varying, according to the elective and extra subjects chosen by the students.



Most regions of Australia do not have middle schools, as students go directly from primary school to secondary school.

In 1996 and 1997, a national conference met to develop what became known as the National Middle Schooling Project, which aimed to develop a common Australian view of
  • early adolescent needs
  • guiding principles for educators
  • appropriate strategies to foster positive adolescent learning.
The first middle school established in Australia was The Armidale Schoolmarker, in Armidale (approximately 570 km north of Sydneymarker, 470 km south of Brisbanemarker and approximately 170 km inland from the coast). Schools have since followed this trend, such as The King's Schoolmarker.

, the Northern Territorymarker has introduced a three tier system featuring Middle Schools for years 7-9 (approx ages 12–15) and high school year 10-12. (approx ages 15–18)

Many schools across Queensland have introduced a Middle School tier within their schools. The middle schools cover the grades/years 5 to 8.

Currently in Brisbanemarker, Queenslandmarker, students do not go to middle school. Primary School covers preschool to year 7 (ages 5–12), and high school covers years 8 to 12 (ages 13–17.)

New Zealand

In New Zealandmarker intermediate schools cover years 7 and 8 (formerly known as form 1 and 2, with children aged 11–12) in areas where the local primary schools teach year 1 to year 6 students. Many primary schools however, do teach year 7 and 8. These primary schools may have a relationship with a nearby intermediate school to teach manual training classes, such as woodwork. Highschool then runs from year 9 to year 13Recently, however, Junior High Schools covering years 7-10 (the four years between primary and NCEA, the national secondary qualification) have been established. The first was Albany Junior High School in Albanymarker, Auckland.


Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia

In the countries of former Yugoslavia, srednja škola/šola (literally translated as Middle School) refers to age between 14 and half - 15 and 18, and lasts 2–4 years since elementary school (which lasts 8 or 9 years).The final four years of elementary school are actually what would be called junior high school in USA. Students have up to 12-13 different subjects in each school year (most of them only two 45-minute class periods per week). For example, 8th grade students do not have one subject called Science but three separate subjects called Chemistry, Physics and Biology.


In Francemarker, the equivalent period to middle school is collège, which lasts four years from the Sixième (sixth, the equivalent of the Canadian and American Grade 6) to the Troisième (third, the equivalent of the Canadian and American Grade 9), accommodating pupils aged between 11 and 15. Upon completion of the latter, students are awarded a Brevet des collèges if they obtain a certain amount of points on a series of tests in various subjects. They can then enter high school, which lasts three years.


There are four middle schools in Gibraltar, following the English model of middle-deemed-primary schools accommodating pupils aged between 8 and 12 (National Curriculum Years 4 to 7). The schools were opened in 1972 when the government introduced comprehensive education in the country.


Middle school in Polandmarker, called gimnazjum, was first introduced in 1932. The education was intended for pupils of at least 12 years of age and lasted 4 years. Middle schools were part of the educational system until the reform of 1948, except during World War II (1939-1945).

The middle schools were reinstated in Poland in 1999 now lasting 3 years after 6 years of primary school. Pupils entering gimnazjum are usually 13 years old. Middle school is compulsory for all students, and it's also the final stage of mandatory education. In the final year students take a standardized test to evaluate their academic skills. Higher scorers in the test are allowed first pick of school if they want to continue their education, which is encouraged.


In Turkeymarker,middle school called "Orta Okul" and it's a part of elementary school.Also,students don't have to pass an exam to be a middle schooler after the elementary school.Middle schoolers are often at age between 11 and 14.It includes 6th,7th and 8th grade.After 3 years,they have an exam and go to high school according to their success.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdommarker, some Englishmarker Local Education Authorities introduced Middle Schools in the 1960s and 1970s. The notion of Middle Schools was mooted by the Plowden Report of 1967 which proposed a change to a three-tier model including First schools for children aged between 5 and 8, Middle Schools for 8–12 year-olds, and then Upper or High Schools for 12–16 year-olds. Some authorities introduced Middle Schools for ideological reasons, in line with the report, while others did so for more pragmatic reasons relating to the raising of the school leaving age in compulsory education to 16, or to introduce a comprehensive system.

Different authorities introduced different age-range schools, although in the main, three models were used:
  • 5–8 First Schools, followed by 8–12 Middle Schools, as suggested by Plowden
  • 5–9 First Schools, followed by 9–13 Middle Schools
  • 5–10 First Schools followed by 10–13 Middle Schools, or Intermediate Schools

In addition, some schools were provided as combined schools catering for pupils in the 5–12 age range as a combined first and middle school.

Around 2000 middle and combined schools were in place in the early 1980s. However, that number began to fall in the later 1980s with the introduction of the National Curriculum. The new curriculum's splits in Key Stages at age 11 encouraged the majority of Local Education Authorities to return to a two-tier system of Primary and Secondary schools.

Under current legislation, all middle schools must be deemed either primary or secondary. Thus, schools which accept pupils up to age 12 are entitled middle-deemed-primary, while those accepting pupils aged 13 or over are entitled middle-deemed-secondary. For statistical purposes, such schools are often included under primary and secondary categories "as deemed". Notably, most schools also follow teaching patterns in line with their deemed status, with most deemed-primary schools offering a primary-style curriculum taught by one class teacher, and most deemed-secondary schools adopting a more specialist-centred approach.

Some Middle Schools still exist in various areas of England. The are supported by the National Middle Schools' Forum. A list of middle schools in England is available.

In Scotlandmarker a similar system was trialled in Grangemouthmarker, Falkirkmarker between 1975 and 1987.(See Grangemouth middle schools article) The label of junior high school is used for some through schools in Orkney and Shetland which cater for pupils from 5 up to the age of 14, at which point they transfer to a nearby secondary school.

North America

The definition of "middle school" is muddied somewhat because, in North American contexts, "secondary education" quite frequently means post-compulsory (high school level) education, encompassing such diverse institutions as "English as a second language" schooling, trade schools and certificate programs, as well as other intermediate options such as junior colleges, four-year colleges and full universities.

Canada and the United States

As noted above, the first junior high school was established in 1909. Advocated by groups such as the National Middle School Association, the middle school concept is a relatively new model for the middle-level grades, contrasted with the more traditional junior high concept. North American children at this level are educated either at junior high schools or at middle schools, depending on the philosophy and practice of the particular school.

Conceptual distinctions

Junior high schools were created for the purpose of "bridging the gap between the elementary and the high school," a concept credited to Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard Universitymarker. The faculty is organized into academic departments that operate more or less independently of one another. The middle school movement in the United States saw this model as inadequately addressing the intended purpose of transition by maintaining an emphasis on the high school model, as reflected in the "junior high" designation.

The middle school concept often involves a group of two to eight teachers from different disciplines working as a team with the same group of students of the same grade level, with each teacher teaching a different subject. This format facilitates interdisciplinary units, where part or all of the entire team teaches on the same general topic from the perspective of different disciplines. The middle school philosophy also advocates assigning students in each team to a homeroom. By having homeroom daily for various discussions and activities, middle schools try to foster a sense of belonging in students to ease social and emotional difficulties during adolescence.

Middle school in North America carries with it associations of personal and emotional difficulty. Simpsons creator Matt Groening titles the middle school section of his book "School is Hell", "Middle school: the deepest pit in hell." Physical and hormonal changes that accompany adolescence are exacerbated by newfound self-consciousness, social pressures, and the desire for conformity and identity.


Middle school (sometimes abbreviated MS) is often used instead of junior high school when demographic factors increase the number of younger students. Whereas junior highs tend to only include grades 7 and 8, middle schools are usually grades 6, 7, and 8 (i.e. around ages 11–14), varying from area to area and also according to population vs. building capacity. Another common model includes grades 5–8. Alberta junior high schools (the term "middle school" is not commonly used) have included only grades 7 to 9 for at least fifty years, with the first year of high school traditionally being grade 10.

The middle school format has now replaced the junior high format by a ratio of about ten to one in the U.S. In Canada, the junior high concept is primarily seen in Western Canada, while middle schools to U.S.-standards are generally only seen in Ontariomarker and parts of Atlantic Canadamarker, where they are sometimes called senior elementary schools. Many people also call middle school "junior high school". Middle school does not exist at all in Quebecmarker, where primary school comprises grades 1 to 6, secondary school comprises grades 7 to 11, and those latter are named "secondary 1" through "secondary 5".

In some Georgia schools around metro Atlanta, "intermediate school" refers to the latter half of elementary school. This usually includes grades 4-6, while the earlier grades are called "primary school". These are essentially elementary schools that have been functionally split, although they continue to use the same building and have the same name.


In Mexicomarker, the middle school system is called "secundaria" ("secondary") and comprises grades 7–9 and is completed after primary (1–6) and before preparatory (10–12).

Professional organizations

The National Middle School Association (NMSA) was founded in 1973. It now claims over 30,000 members representing principals, teachers, central office personnel, professors, college students, parents, community leaders, and educational consultants across the United States, Canada, and 46 other countries.An equivalent organisation operates in the UK under the name of The National Middle Schools' Forum.


  1. CEEP. Popular Topics. Middle School, U of I.
  2. Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China,, English version, , Chinese version,
  3. Middle school statistics between 2004-2005
  5. "Junior high plan outlined", The Dallas Morning News, September 22, 1929, section 1, page 9.
  9. [1] Definition of junior high school, accessed June 12, 2007. Archived 2009-10-31.

Further reading

  • Arnold, J. "Needed: A Realistic Perspective of the Early Adolescent Learner." CLEARINGHOUSE 54:4 (1980).
  • Atwell, Nancie. "In the Middle: New Understanding About Writing, Reading, and Learning." Boynton/Cook Pub (1987).
  • Beane, J. "Dance to the Music of Time: The Future of Middle Level Education." THE EARLY ADOLESCENT MAGAZINE 2 (September 1987):18–26.
  • Beane, J. A MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM: FROM RHETORIC TO REALITY. Columbus, Ohio: National Middle School Association, 1990a.
  • Cross Keys Middle School. A PLACE OF OUR OWN. Florissant, Missouri: Florissant Public Schools, 1990.
  • Jennings, W., and Nathan, J. "Startling/Disturbing Research on School Program Effectiveness." PHI DELTA KAPPAN 59 (1977): 568–572.
  • Fenwick, J. (Primary Author) Taking Center Stage: A Commitment to Standards-Based Education for California's Middle Grades Students. Sacramento: California Department of Education, 2001
  • "Why Middle Level Schools Are KEY to Young Adolescent Success" Westerville, OH: NMSA, 2003. [32579]

External links

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