Grade Advancement is Overrated

Discussion in 'Education' started by Hobbit, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    Ok, right now, everybody spends exactly 13 years in school, unless they're stupid and live in a district that allows you to fail a grade. You start in Kindergarten and work your way up to and through high school one year at a time, and until high school, everyone advances at the same rate, learning addition and subtraction in the first grade, cursive in either the third or fouth, etc., etc. This system sucks donkey balls. It's estimated that while certain brain developments are required for deeper language learning, meaning English can stay where it is, many children are capable of learning multivariable calculus before puberty and it is, in fact, easier for children to learn foreign languages the younger they are. So, if these 'genius children' are capable of this, why don't we hear about them? Well, chances are, you do, but in a bad way. These kids account for over half the kids with disciplinary problems in elementary school, since they've already passed what's being taught and are incredibly bored with it, but have to wait for the slower kids to catch up. The whole system is retarded, which is why I propose we change it to the following, which I wish we'd had when I was a kid.

    All kids go through Kindergarten to learn writing basics and fun little things like tying your shoes. At the end of the year, they're given a placement test, and all children are placed in a class that fits their placement level. They take another test at the end of every year. A class would consist of all those of the same achievement level, regardless of age. Strangely enough, mixed classes like this behave better, for reasons I am unsure of. Those who advance quickly will learn highly advanced math and possibly multiple foreign languages, and to accomadate those who advance differently in each subject, they'll have a seperate class for each, meaning some children may be in remedial English and advanced physics at the same time. Once they have placed well enough in their poorest subject on the test, they may advance to high school, or, if the parents think they're a little young, they may stay at the elementary level a little longer, provided they haven't "capped out" any one subject (but they could then opt to take that subject at high school while everything else is at the elementary). Once in high school, you choose a vocational or college prep track, with requirements for graduation as they are now.

    Now, this system may sound a bit crazy, but that's because the grade advancement system has been the only one for decades. However, if this system was adopted, children could truly advance as fast as they could in any subject. It wouldn't be uncommon for 12 year olds to be doing triple integration, and stories of 16 year olds going to college wouldn't be so rare and exotic.

    Final credit, however, must be given to my mom, who came up with most of this while we were talking one day.
     
  2. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    I have actually heard of this. I think it's a great idea.
     
  3. liberalogic
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    liberalogic Member

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    There's a reason why age and grade level have been proportional so long...because children need to adapt to the world and mature...Most 12-16 year olds, no matter how smart, might not fit in in college. You're forgetting the social context of this as well...you can't thrust immature kids into things they're not ready for...and true some pre-pubescent kids can do calculus, but I worked with kids at a learning center for over two years (and it was one where kids were both working at and above grade level) and I never saw a 12 year old doing calculus...there are very few that can.
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Nonsense, if there are other kids being promoted they will be fine. Works for gifted, works for special ed. Only kids that are held back are the 'average' and it's just wrong.
     
  5. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    So, you think that the system Hobbit has proposed will work against the "average" achiever?
     
  6. liberalogic
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    liberalogic Member

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    You really think an advanced 12 year old is ready for college life? Even if they are being promoted with some of their peers, how many 12 year olds are ready for college? I'd venture to say a select few. Quite frankly, for those who support the forms of morality that most conservatives favor, it would be wrong to thrust someone at such a young age into this environment.
     
  7. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    I probably wouldn't put my kids in college until they were at least 16. But, what would be wrong with, say, allowing kids to observe in career fields during that 4-year stretch? I know, at age 17 when I started college, I had absolutely no idea what career I wanted to pursue. It would have been nice to have had that time to check out the actual job experience.
     
  8. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    I agree that we may need to rethink the usual process for schooling, but I tend to focus on it from the other side. There are certain kids who are never going to handle college, are never going to enjoy literature or algebra, etc. I believe those kids should be removed from the regular public school by 7th grade and sent to a trade school, where the focus is on learning a non-academic trade for their future livelihood.

    Regardless of NCLB and what some people want to believe, academia isn't for everyone. Instead of torturing those kids who will never really get it with endless tests and standardized exams, and dumbing down the rest of the class in the process, let them start early learning a trade which will support them the rest of their lives. 7th grade makes sense to me as a cut-off. It lets them have several years in a traditional school to learn the basics of Math, English, History, etc., but lets them switch over before it gets too tough, and before their frustration with school makes them a disruption for everyone.
     
  9. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    No, quite the contrary. I think the 'gifted/high achievers' should be segregated. Same with the low achievers/inclusion(for the most part).

    The great 'middle' should be grouped and differentiated. The 'gifted' leave the middle feeling lost, while the lower achieving take all the teacher's time.
     
  10. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Whoa, here we part ways. There are so many 'gifted' but unidentified kids in middle school, (6th-9th), that for a host of reasons may be 'underachieving.' I'm against putting them in 'gifted' when they do not do the minimums expected in a regular classroom, but think they need the time and attention that may well turn them into the adults they are capable of being-including lawyers, :laugh: and doctors and perhaps even accountants. The right teachers/mentors/coaches can make a HUGE difference in the life of a 9th-12th grader. Unlike the Euros, I would not write them off, by handing them off to shop/auto/business courses.
     

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