The transition from elementary school into middle school coincides with the onset of adolescent physical, cognitive, and psychological development (Patrick & Drake, 2009). Students and their social worlds are changing rapidly, and these changes are related to academic achievement in important ways. Physically, adolescents are going through puberty; their bodies are growing and changing rapidly. They are growing taller, weighing more than they did in the past, and developing adult sexual characteristics. Cognitively, adolescents are developing the ability to think about more complex topics; they are now able to entertain abstract possibilities, and engage in more cognitively complex academic work at school. Socially, adolescents are becoming more involved with their peers, more self-conscious, and more interested in dating and sexuality. Although in the past, many researchers attributed the declines in achievement and motivation speci cally to the physiological changes associated with puberty, research conducted in recent years has demonstrated that these negative shifts in academic behaviors are not attributable to pubertal development (Anderman, 2012, for a review). Rather, these shifts often
instructional practices of middle schools.