Why We Need to Embrace a Multi-Age, Multi-Grade Approach to Education

At the end of each year, K-8 students are either retained or promoted (many socially promoted) to the next grade. If a 5th-grade student fails math but is an A student in Reading, Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science, they are made to repeat the 5th-grade all over again and retake all of these subjects. In some instances, that same 5th-grade student could fail half of their classes and still be socially promoted to the next grade by the principal, for fear of overpopulating the incoming 5th-grade class.

Why on earth, do we continue to use a pass-fail approach that is punitive in nature, and does nothing but punish our children? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We need to institute a multi-grade, multi-age educational system that allows students to move between grade levels when they are ready, not restricting grade-level transitions to the fall of each year.

For instance, in theory, the student that was retained in the 5th grade because he failed math would not be required to repeat the same grade. They could be educated in a multi-grade, multi-age classroom, and be instructed on a 5th-grade level for math, and a 6th-grade level for the rest of their school subjects. I know that this sounds complicated, and I won’t lie to you, it requires the teacher to do a ton of work. However, with planning, and the right supports, all of this is mitigated, and things operated quite smoothly.

I don’t want to go into any more details, but I am working on a book project on this very subject. I will let you know when it publishes.

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