Split grade classes
Q: What is the impact of split grades on student achievement?
The limited research that has been done on split grades has shown very little difference in academic achievement between students in split grades vs. those in straight grades. There are pros and cons of split grades, and while some parents and staff really like them, others are concerned about whether the curriculum can be covered properly.
When my son was put in a split grade, his teacher was able to alleviate my concerns by explaining some of the advantages to having a split grade. One of the biggest is that the teacher starts the year already familiar with half of her students. Half the class is already familiar with the classroom routine, expectations and teaching style. The teacher has the advantage of already knowing where half the class is vis-à-vis their abilities, strengths, weaknesses, behavioural issues, etc. My son’s teacher told me that in a regular class, it can sometimes take up to six weeks to get into actual instruction, because those first weeks are spent assessing and organizing students, reviewing material and getting children into a routine. In a split class, she estimates that she can start teaching at least three weeks earlier.
The biggest problems with split grades occur when they are not structured properly. The idea is that the instruction is to be spread over two years, so kids who are in a split grade should remain in that class for both of the years. The problem happens when students don’t stay in the same class over those two years. If they change classes or schools, they may miss out on some material. It has also become increasingly difficult for teachers to manage split grades with the new, tougher curriculum.
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Does your school have a lot of split grade classes this year? Is this a concern for you?View the full discussion.
Instead of having 8 straight grade classes and 2 split grade classes for grades 1 – 6 next year at our school, the principal is projecting 8 split classes and 2 straight grade classes.
At our school there are 43 kids projected for grade 1 and 44 kids for grade 2. Because of the rigidity of the Ministry of Education rule that there be a maximum class size of 20 students, the school cannot have classes of 21 and 22 for grade 1, and 22 and 22 for grade 2, which many of us feel would be preferable for both teachers and students alike.
Is this happening in many other schools?