The Benefits of Mixed-Grade Classrooms

Education / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
This paper describes the benefits of mixed-grade classrooms and questions the established norm of single-grade classrooms.

This paper examines the research on the effectiveness of teaching in mixed-grade classrooms as compared to single-grade classrooms, with a particular emphasis on academic achievement and an even more specific math performance. The paper investigates the historical and cultural forces that shaped the one-age/one-grade classroom as a way of identifying the underlying pedagogical assumptions about the primacy of single-age teaching in he 21st century.
“We are now so accustomed to the idea that students should be segregated from each other along narrow age bands that must of us do not question the efficacy and the rightness of doing so. But, of course, the idea that children should be placed into grades defined by age and separated from their peers is a recent trend in education as we well know. The practice is based as much in historical and social beliefs and circumstances as it is in sound pedagogy, and recently some schools have begun to ask whether single-grade classrooms are in fact the most effective atmosphere in which to teach elementary-age students. This paper examines the research on the effectiveness of teaching in mixed-grade classrooms to that of teaching in single-grade classrooms with a particular emphasis on academic achievement and an even more specific focus on how well students in both kinds of classrooms perform in math. Before looking at how these two types of classroom environments serve their students in the 21st century, it will be useful to examine the historical and cultural forces that shaped the one-age/one-grade classroom to begin with as a way of identifying the underlying pedagogical assumptions about the primacy of single-age teaching.”


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