Placement by Age versus Placement by Academic Ability
Some educators would argue that students should be placed in grade levels based on their age. Others believe age is not as important a factor as a student’s academic ability. Placing students in grade levels based on their academic ability can be both beneficial and harmful to a child’s educational development. When students with similar academic abilities are grouped together student achievement and social participation is increased. When students are grouped together based on age alone teachers are required to vary the pace information is delivered. This may reduce the progression of more advanced learners. One benefit of being grouped with children who share the same academic ability is increased student achievement. When students who share the same academic abilities are grouped together their interest in the classroom is maintained, where as if grouped with slower learners, their interest is languished (Westchester Institute, 2007). Students may lose focus when the teacher is required to spend more time on a topic they have mastered while others have struggled to understand. Placed in a classroom with students with similar academic abilities the teacher is not required to spend long periods of time on one subject. This allows the teacher to introduce more information over a shorter period of time. Another benefit to placing children in classrooms based on their academic ability is the increase in social participation. With varies ages throughout the classroom younger students are able to use the older students as mentors. The enthusiasm the older children express towards learning will likely be duplicated in the younger children. According to Kinsey (2003), placement based on academic ability rather than age also increases leadership skills, self-esteem and decreases disciplinary issues throughout the classroom. Kinsey (2003) also reports that students of multiage classrooms demonstrate more...
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