Educate For A Change believes that all students should be grouped for instruction according to their readiness set. Readiness for a course of instruction is indicated by students demonstrating that they have successfully acquired the pre-requisite proficiencies. This must be demonstrated by student records, (Proficiency Profiles), or by successfully completing an entrance examination.
In this new paradigm, the concept of failure has absolutely no place in our vocabulary. Benchmark standards are designated as “passed,” or “in progress.” Students are allowed as much time as they need to firmly acquire and consistently demonstrate required proficiencies in each course of study. This may require continued enrollment in the course of study for more than one defined scheduling period.
A student’s progress in one academic field must not be dependent on progress in any other field. A student may be progressing at an average rate in one field of study, while experiencing accelerated growth in another. That same student might find themselves progressing at a rate that is behind the average in yet another field of study. A student’s achievement profile across a number of academic disciplines will never be static. It will significantly change as the student matures, as life-situations change, or as achievements in one field facilitate achievement in another.
When students are enrolled in courses for which they are fully prepared they will generally perceive their assignments as “do-able” and their goals as attainable.
When students perceive that all other students are given the time and support they need to truly achieve their goals, a sense of self-confidence and confidence in the system will result in increased motivation and performance.
Not only will students who require more time have their needs met, but those who progress at an accelerated rate will also be accommodated. Thus our priority is no longer one of providing more time and support, but it becomes the providing of the appropriate amount of time and support, no more and no less.
Because students will pass benchmark standards at different rates, and will be placed in each course of instruction according to pre-requisite achievements, it will be at times necessary to create multi-aged classrooms.
A maximum of a three year age spread in any classroom should be established as the rule. Though the students may be of different ages, all of the students will have one thing in common: They will all be, at that point in time, ready to receive the course of instruction with reasonable expectations of success.
In today’s classrooms, where students are placed with peers of the same age but with such a diversity of achievements, aptitudes, and attitudes, there is a keen sense and clear perception among students of who the successful and unsuccessful kids are.
What a tragedy it is when students make a determination that they will never be able to compete with their more able peers. What this does to self-image, self-worth, and motivation is devastating, and nothing short of a tragedy.
When multi-aged grouping and appropriate placement become commonplace, students will accept the truth of their diversity without embarrassment or shame, and their focus will become the advancement of their learning instead of being preoccupied with rationalizing their predicament.
From the vantage point of our traditional system, this system might appear to create a scheduling nightmare, but we believe that the opposite will occur. The readiness profiles throughout the student body will determine the courses of study to be scheduled. The three year spread in each classroom provides more opportunity for the students to find a class that fits in their schedule. The system allows for more flexibility in scheduling, not less.
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