Primary to secondary school transitions: systematic literature review

Impact of transitions and the factors that support or hinder a successful transition from primary to secondary school.


(Introduction and Methodology)

Alexander, R. (Ed). (2010). Children their World, their Education. Final report and recommendations of the Cambridge Primary Review. New York: Routledge.

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Coffey, A., Berlach, R. G., & O'Neill, M. (2013). Transitioning year 7 primary students to secondary settings in Western Australian catholic schools: How successful was the move? RMLE Online: Research in Middle Level Education, 36(10), 1-15.

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Galton, M. (2010). Moving to Secondary School: What do pupils in England say about the experience?'. In D. Jindal-Snape (Ed.), Educational Transitions: Moving Stories from around the world, pp. 107-124. New York: Routledge.

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Jindal-Snape, D. (2016). The A – Z of Transitions. London, Palgrave Macmillan.

Jindal-Snape, D., Douglas, W., Topping, K., Kerr, C. and Smith, E. (2005).

Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Primary-Secondary Transition.

International Journal of Special Education, 21, 18-31.

Jindal-Snape, D., & Miller, D.J. (2008). A challenge of living? Understanding the psycho-social processes of the child during primary-secondary transition through resilience and self-esteem theories. Educational Psychology Review, 20, 217-236.

Maras, P. & Aveling, E. (2006) Students with special educational needs:

transitions from primary to secondary school. British Journal of Special Education. 33, 196 – 203.

Topping, K. (2011). Primary-secondary transition: Differences between teachers' and children's perceptions. Improving Schools, 14(3), 268-285.

References (Studies reviewed)

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3. Burchinal, M.R., Roberts, J.E., Zeisel, S.A. & Rowley, S.J. (2008). Social risk and protective factors for African American children's academic achievement and adjustment during the transition to middle school. Developmental Psychology. 44(1), 286-292.

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8. Vasquez-Salgado, Y., & Chavira, G. (2014). The transition from middle school to high school as a developmental process among Latino youth. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 36(1), 79-94. doi:10.1177/0739986313513718

9. West, P., Sweeting, H., & Young, R. (2010). Transition matters: Pupils' experiences of the primary-secondary school transition in the West of Scotland and consequences for well-being and attainment. Research Papers in Education, 25(1), 21-50.

10. Deieso, D., & Fraser, B. J. (2018). Learning environment, attitudes and anxiety across the transition from primary to secondary school mathematics. Learning Environments Research, doi:10.1007/s10984-018-9261-5

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14. Fortuna, R. (2014). The social and emotional functioning of students with an autistic spectrum disorder during the transition between primary and secondary schools. Support for Learning, 29(2), 177-191.

15. Poorthuis, A. M. G., Thomaes, S., Aken, M. A. G., Denissen, J. J. A., & de Castro, B. O. (2014). Dashed hopes, dashed selves? A sociometer perspective on self‐esteem change across the transition to secondary school. Social Development, 23(4), 770-783.

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20. Vaz, S., Falkmer, M., Parsons, R., Passmore, A.E., Parkin, T., et al. (2014a). School Belongingness and Mental Health Functioning across the Primary-Secondary Transition in a Mainstream Sample: Multi-Group Cross-Lagged Analyses. PLoS ONE 9(6): e99576.

21. Waters, S. K., Lester, L., Wenden, E., & Cross, D. (2012). A theoretically grounded exploration of the social and emotional outcomes of transition to secondary school. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 22(2), 190-25. doi:{10.1017/jgc.2012.26

22. Hannah, E. F., & Topping, K. J. (2012). Anxiety levels in students with autism spectrum disorder making the transition from primary to secondary school. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 47(2), 198-209.

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24. Lofgran, B. B., Smith, L. K., & Whiting, E. F. (2015). Science self-efficacy and school transitions: Elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school. School Science and Mathematics, 115(7), 366-376. doi:10.1111/ssm.12139

25. Langenkamp, A. G. (2009). Following different pathways: Social integration, achievement, and the transition to high school. American Journal of Education, 116(1), 69-97. doi:10.1086/605101

26. Langenkamp, A. G. (2010). Academic vulnerability and resilience during the transition to high school: The role of social relationships and district context. Sociology of Education, 83(1), 1-19. doi:10.1177/0038040709356563

27. Symonds, J., & Hargreaves, L. (2016). Emotional and motivational engagement at school transition: A qualitative stage-environment fit study. Journal of Early Adolescence, 36(1), 54-85. doi:10.1177/0272431614556348

28. Booth, M.Z. & Gerard, J.M. (2014). Adolescents' Stage-Environment Fit in Middle and High School: The Relationship Between Students' Perceptions of Their Schools and Themselves. Youth Soc., 46(6), 735–755.

29. Bru, E., Stornes, T., Munthe, E., & Thuen, E. (2010). Students' perceptions of teacher support across the transition from primary to secondary school. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 54(6), 519-533. doi:10.1080/00313831.2010.522842

30. Makin, Hill, & Pellicano. (2017). The primary-to-secondary school transition for children on the autism spectrum: A multi-informant mixed-methods study. Autism & Developmental Language Impairments. 2: 1–18.

31. Dillon, G. V., & Underwood, J. D. M. (2012). Parental perspectives of students with autism spectrum disorders transitioning from primary to secondary school in the United Kingdom. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 27(2), 111-121. doi:10.1177/1088357612441827

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37. Dismore, H., & Bailey, R. (2010). 'It's been a bit of a rocky start': Attitudes toward physical education following transition. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 15(2), 175-191. doi:10.1080/17408980902813935

38. Keay, A., Lang, J., & Frederickson, N. (2015). Comprehensive support for peer relationships at secondary transition. Educational Psychology in Practice, 31(3), 279-292. doi:10.1080/02667363.2015.1052046

39. Davis, J. M., Ravenscroft, J., & Bizas, N. (2015). Transition, inclusion and partnership: Child-, parent- and professional-led approaches in a European research project. Child Care in Practice, 21(1), 33-49. doi:10.1080/13575279.2014.976543

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41. Rice, F., Frederickson, N., & Seymour, J. (2011). Assessing pupil concerns about transition to secondary school. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 81(2), 244-263. doi:10.1348/000709910X519333

42. Tobbell, J., & O'Donnell, V. L. (2013). The formation of interpersonal and learning relationships in the transition from primary to secondary school: Students, teachers and school context. International Journal of Educational Research, 59, 11-23. doi:10.1016/j.ijer.2013.02.003

43. Marshall, N. A., & Hargreaves, D. J. (2008). Teachers' views of the primary-secondary transition in music education in England. Music Education Research}, 10(1), 63-74. doi:10.1080/14613800701871389

44. Rainer, P., & Cropley, B. (2015). Bridging the gap – but mind you don't fall. Primary physical education teachers' perceptions of the transition process to secondary school. Education 3-13, 43(5), 445-461. doi:10.1080/03004279.2013.819026

45. Mudaly, V., & Sukhdeo, S. (2015). Mathematics learning in the midst of school transition from primary to secondary school. International Journal of Educational Sciences, 11(3), 244-252.

46. Cueto, S., Guerrero, G., Sugimaru, C., & Zevallos, A. M. (2010). Sense of belonging and transition to high schools in Peru. International Journal of Educational Development, 30(3), 277-287. doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2009.02.002

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48. Mackenzie, E., McMaugh, A., & O'Sullivan, K. (2012). Perceptions of primary to secondary school transitions: Challenge or threat? Issues in Educational Research, 22(3), 298-314.

49. Lightfoot, L. & Bond, C. (2013). An exploration of primary to secondary school transition planning for children with Down's syndrome. Educational Psychology in Practice, 29(2), 163-179. doi:10.1080/02667363.2013.800024

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61. Duineveld, J. J., Parker, P. D., Ryan, R. M., Ciarrochi, J., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2017). The link between perceived maternal and paternal autonomy support and adolescent well-being across three major educational transitions. Developmental Psychology, 53(10), 1978-1994. doi:10.1037/dev0000364; 10.1037/dev0000364.supp (Supplemental)

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63. Kingdon, D., Serbin, L. A., & Stack, D. M. (2017). Understanding the gender gap in school performance among low-income children: A developmental trajectory analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 41(2), 265-274. doi:10.1177/0165025416631836

64. Longobardi, C., Prino, L. E., Marengo, D., & Settanni, M. (2016). Student-teacher relationships as a protective factor for school adjustment during the transition from middle to high school. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1-9.

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66. Lester, L., Waters, S., & Cross, D. (2013). The relationship between school connectedness and mental health during the transition to secondary school: A path analysis. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 23(2), 157-171. doi:10.1017/jgc.2013.20

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68. Munthe, E., & Thuen, E. (2009). Lower secondary school teachers' judgements of pupils' problems. Teachers and Teaching, 15(5), 563-578. doi:10.1080/13540600903139571

69. Felmlee, D., McMillan, C., Inara Rodis, P., & Osgood, D. W. (2018). Falling behind: Lingering costs of the high school transition for youth friendships and grades. Sociology of Education, 91(2), 159-182.

70. Lubbers, J. H., Repetto, J. B., & McGorray, S. P. (2008). Perceptions of transition barriers, practices, and solutions in Florida. Remedial and Special Education, 29(5), 280-292. doi:10.1177/0741932507313016

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