Study: There is less bullying in schools with larger grade spans

By Andrew Pillow

Bullying is always a major concern in schools, and with the advent of social media and electronic devices, cyberbullying is on the rise. School leaders and parents have been looking for ways to circumvent this trend for a while. A new study may have found a solution… larger grade spans.

A study out of Syracuse and New York Universities has concluded larger grade span schools have less bullying problems. The study, Do Top Dogs Rule in Middle School? Evidence on Bullying, Safety, and Belonging, equated to the phenomenon to the “top dog” effect.

Education News sums up the study and the effect of being in a school with a larger grade span.

“The authors state that as students move through grade levels, they take on more of a leadership role and are less likely to be bullied by other students within the school.
The study suggests that students remain within the same school building for longer periods of time so that children obtain the “top dog” status and do not drop to “bottom dog” until they are more developmentally capable of handling being the youngest in the school, writes Philissa Cramer for Chalkbeat.”

This study comes at a time when Indianapolis is moving towards a more traditional grade span model.

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Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.