School Reform: Grade Level Elimination Essay

1031 words - 4 pages

In modern times, it comes as no surprise that there are a plethora of issues and negative occurrences throughout the traditional educational system. Schooling is not a choice, but a mandatory duty that each and every child must fulfill almost daily. Depending on grade level and work load, the average student spends nearly 8 hours per day either learning in school or completing assignments from that day (U.S. Bureau). This indicates that a majority of a secondary education student’s time is consumed by school and school related work. Because this is an obligatory role, it is imperative that these students are not being forced to do such work, but instead are interested and engaged so that they may enjoy this work. Although there is a multitude of reasons that a student may do poorly in school, a substantial cause is the flaws with the grade level system that most schools implicate. The elimination of grade level systems is not entirely unheard of or practiced, but it has not been extricated enough to show the advantages of alternative schooling systems.

One of the practical and advantageous counters to the grade level system is the non-traditional standards-based curriculum. This reform disbands grade levels in its entirety (i.e. 3rd grade reading or 7th grade math), but keeps a level corresponding to the difficulty of each course. These 10 different levels are measured by the student when he or she chooses proficiency out of the following four categories: “I need help”,”I think I can”,”I know I can”, and “I can teach it” (Carpenter). This would allow students to progress not only when they are viewed as competent by teachers and administrators, but also when the student himself believes that he is competent. A student would ideally master skills at a personalized pace yielding the most proficiency along with a thorough understanding and comprehension if the standards-based curriculum was enacted at every school. A student of 12 years old with extreme difficulty in reading could attend classes with others, perhaps younger, with the same reading ability versus a 12 year old stuck in a class of age related peers who excel beyond the students abilities.

Furthermore, this curriculum offers a vast array of benefits to both students and teachers alike. Most students, if not all, struggle in at least one subject. This student may prove to be competent in reading, writing, and math, but struggles in science. By advancing in the stronger subjects and targeting the weaker subjects, a student is not faced with work he or she cannot handle. This eliminates problems such as confidence issues. When surrounded by peers who are considered more advanced, a student feels that he or she is not as intelligent, thus discouraging motivation to learn and succeed. An outlook such as this can not only hinder the learning ability, but all together eliminate any incentive to try. However, if a student were to be surrounded by peers who demonstrated a similar struggle,...

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