Parents often are concerned that their children are put in a split grade (one classroom with two or more grade levels represented.) I often get strange looks when I say to them that split grades should not be a concern and that, when I taught reguarily in a classeroom I used to insist on teaching splits!!
The truth is that, in the modern classroom, splits are more common than not. Further it is also true that this is not a bad thing. As we move to a more individualized instructional model, the idea of a "straight grade level" classroom may vanish altogether.
Here are some excepts from a article that summarizes some of the important points to consider:
Split grade classes are often viewed negatively. Why?
Because the educational system often justifies their creation as an administrative decision based on things such as:
• Declines and swings in the student population.
• Budgetary constraints.
• Lack of human resources.
• Split grade classrooms meet administrative and educational requirements, and in some cases, strictly the educational requirements.
• Children have different needs and their educational requirements are not the same. This is a challenge that every teacher must face, even in a traditional class.
• Children of various ages with various requirements, participate in the same activities. They have fun and they acquire knowledge and new skills, according to their individual level of development.
• A heterogeneous group is an excellent source for education and exchanges, either at school, work or in the community.
What research and experience have revealed:
• Split grade classrooms do not have any negative effect on the students' educational achievements or psychological well being (Veenman, 1995).
• Working in a diverse environment contributes to children's enrichment.
• The number and quality of interactions between students facilitate their education.
• Students actively participate in their education with other students and help each other out.