The Story of the 8 Year Study


In 2000, McMEL collaborated with the Association for Middle Level Education (then, the National Middle School Association) to republish The Story of the Eight Year Study.

The Eight Year Study, considered by many educational researchers to be one of the best program evaluation studies ever conducted, followed the students from more than 30 experimental high schools during the 1930's. Although the students from the experimental schools only did as well or slightly better on standardized test scores than students from their traditional counterparts, the students from the experimental schools showed many improvements in other areas.

The traditional separate subject approach appeared to be the least effective for preparing students, even for things that we'd always assumed it was best for.

The most effective schools used an approach which was very different, using content from the disciplines of knowledge, but instead of organizing it by subjects, organizing it around themes of significance to their students. This approach was called Core Curriculum (this term now has a different connotation) and is now often referred to as Integrative Curriculum.

The study isn't well remembered, since it was published in 1942 and the American mind was focused on other matters. It continues to be of importance, however, to educators interested in Integrative Curriculum, other forms of curriculum integration, as well as other areas. The study was published in five volumes and educational scholars sometimes find it difficult to find copies.

The National Middle School Association had explored republishing at least the first volume (The Story of the Eight Year Study), but decided that the project was cost prohibitive (and instead published a wonderful companion book to the study). A more affordable solution to making the study available to educators and educational scholars is to republish the study on the Internet.

That is the goal of this project: to republish Aikin's The Story of the Eight Year Study on the Internet.