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Mixed-age grouping in nongraded primary classes Pasemko, Judy Guthrie 1992

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MIXED-AGE GROUPING IN NONGRADEDPRIMARY CLASSESBYJUDY GUTHRIE PASEMKOB.G.S., Simon Fraser University, 1987A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESCentre For the Study of Curriculum and Instruction(Early Childhood Education)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIANovember 1992© Judy Guthrie PasemkoIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.of 0,1)( i 0,U u^6 k1^nsfiruchoiDepartmentThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate /6)  DE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTThis study sought to examine the pedagogical successes and problemsin implementation of primary mixed-age classes. A survey of 44 primaryteachers and 41 parents was conducted in two school districts. The resultsrevealed that involvement of the majority of the staff and the setting of goalsfacilitated implementation. Teachers and parents reported many more benefitsthan concerns for children in mixed-age classes. While the teachers generallyunderstood the philosophy supporting mixed-age grouping, two areas less wellunderstood were peer tutoring and the benefits of mixed-aged grouping forolder children. Math was identified as the curriculum area most difficult toimplement in mixed-age classes. The study identified a need for a deeperunderstanding of child development theory and how it relates to teachingpractise. Teachers identified collaboration with colleagues and schoolvisitations as the most popular ways for learning about mixed-age. Theresponses of teachers and parents were similar, both identified social andcognitive benefits for the children enrolled in mixed-age classes.iiTABLE OF CONTENTSPage ABSTRACT ^  iiTABLE OF CONTENTS ^  iiiLIST OF TABLES  vACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ^  ixCHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION ^  11.1^Purpose of the Study  11.2 Background ^  1CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ^  72.1^Practical Bases For Mixed-Age Grouping   7CHAPTER THREE: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ^  143.1^Theoretical and Research Bases For Mixed-age Grouping^143.2 Research On Mixed-age Grouping  203.2.1 Social Effects of Mixed-age Grouping ^ 203.2.2 Cognitive Effects of Mixed-age Grouping  303.3 Summary ^  353.3.1 Social Benefits of Mixed-age Grouping ^ 363.3.2 Cognitive Benefits of Mixed-age Grouping  36CHAPTER FOUR: METHOD AND PROCEDURE ^  384.1^Design ^  384.2 Sample  394.2.1 Teacher Sample ^  394.2.2 Parent Sample  404.3 Procedures ^  414.4 Analysis of the Data ^  41CHAPTER FIVE: RESULTS  435.1^Teacher Questionnaire Results ^  435.1.1 Teachers' Background, Training, and Education^435.1.2 Data On School Restructuring To Mixed-age ^ 445.1.3 Teachers' Conceptual Understanding of Mixed-AgeGrouping ^  455.1.4 Benefits And Concerns For Children In Mixed-ageClasses  47iii5.1.5 Concerns About Teaching Practise ^ 485.1.6 Teacher Training and Educational Needs for Teaching Mixed-age Classes ^  495.2 Parent Survey Results  505.2.1 Background Information  505.2.2 Benefits for Children in Mixed-age Classes ^ 515.2.3 Concerns for Children in Mixed-age Classes  51CHAPTER SIX: DISCUSSION ^  536.1 Teachers' Background, Training and Education ^ 536.1.1 School Restructuring to Mixed-age Grouping ^ 546.1.2 Teachers' Conceptual Understanding of Mixed-ageGrouping ^  556.1.3 Benefits and Concerns for Children in Mixed-age Classes  576.1.4 Concerns About Teaching Practises ^ 596.1.5 Teacher Training and Education Needs for TeachingMixed-age Classes ^  616.2 Parents' Background Information ^  626.2.1 Parent Perceived Benefits for Children in Mixed-ageClasses ^  626.2.2 Parent Concerns for Children in Mixed-age Classes . 63CHAPTER SEVEN: CONCLUSIONS ^  657.1^Implications for Practise  657.1.1 Implications for Research ^  68REFERENCES ^  70APPENDIX A: TEACHER SURVEY AND COVERING LETTER ^ 74APPENDIX B: PARENT SURVEY AND COVERING LETTER ^ 81APPENDIX C: TABLES FOR TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRE ^ 85APPENDIX D: TABLES FOR PARENT QUESTIONNAIRE ^ 109APPENDIX E: ANECDOTAL COMMENTS FROM TEACHERQUESTIONNAIRE ^  117APPENDIX F: ANECDOTAL COMMENTS FROM PARENTQUESTIONNAIRE ^  147ivLIST OF TABLESPageTable C-1^Implementation Goals For Restructuring to Mixed-ageClasses ^  85Table C-2 Staff Involvement In Implementation of Mixed-ageClasses ^  85Table C-3 Teachers' Opinions On the Move to Mixed-age Classes . . . 86Table C-4 Benefits of Teaching Children More Than One Year ^ 87Table C-5 Teachers' Preferences for Age Span in Mixed-age Classes ^ 88Table C-6 Problems Identified by Teachers Enrolling Mixed-ageClasses ^  89Table C-7 Problems Identified by Teachers Not Enrolling Mixed-ageClasses ^  90Table C-8 Children's Work/Play Preferences in Mixed-age Classes . . ^ 91Table C-9 Areas of Concern for Teaching Mixed-age Classes ^ 92^Table C-10 Curriculum Concerns for Teaching Mixed-age Classes   93Table C-11 Reasons For Teaching Mixed-age Classes ^ 94Table C-12 Experiences that Influence the Quality of Teaching inMixed-age Classes ^  95Table C-13 District or School Initiatives That Facilitate Change to Mixed-ageGrouping ^  96Table C-14 Institutions Where Teachers Received Their Training ^ 97Table C-15 Teachers Enrolling Mixed-age Classes ^  97Table C-16 When Teachers Degrees Were Completed  98Table C-17 Teachers' Average Years of Experience ^ 98Table C-18 Time Line for Implementation of Goals for Mixed-ageClasses ^  99Table C-19Table C-20Table C-21Table C-22Table C-23Table C-24Table C-25Restructuring to Mixed-age Classes Included: ^ 99Considerations for Mixed-age Class Structure^. . . . 100Groups Benefiting From Mixed-age Classes ^ 100Groups Disadvantaged by Mixed-age Classes ^ 101Benefits for Children in Mixed-age Classes ^ 102How Mixed-age Grouping Facilitates Cooperative Learning 103How Mixed-age Grouping Facilitates Peer Tutoring ^ 103Table C-26 Teachers' Perceptions of Competitiveness In Mixed-ageClasses ^  104Table C-27 Responses to Discipline by Teachers Enrolling a Mixed-ageClass ^  104Table C-28 Responses to Discipline by Teachers Not Enrolling aMixed-age Class ^  105Table C-29 The Importance of Teacher Education Programs asPreparations for Mixed-age Classes ^  105Table C-30 Advantages of Keeping Students for More than One Year 106Table C-31 Where Teachers Learned about Mixed-age Classes ^ 106Table C-32 Ideal Qualities for Teachers of Mixed-age Classes ^ 107Table C-33 Survey Demographic Information ^  108Table D-1^Groups Benefiting from Mixed-age Classes ^ 109Table D-2 Curriculum and Educational Areas Children Benefit from inMixed-age Classes ^  109Table D-3 Curriculum and Educational Areas Children May BeDisadvantaged by in Mixed-age Grouping ^ 111Table D-4 Groups Disadvantaged by Mixed-age Classes ^ 112Table D-5 Number of Years Children Enrolled in Mixed-age Classes^112viTable D-6 Parent Preferences for Mixed-age Configurations ^ 113Table D-7 Perceptions of Older Children as Role Models in Mixed-ageClasses ^  114Table D-8 Children Staying With the Same Teacher for More than OneYear ^  114Table D-9 Benefits for Children in Mixed-age Classes ^ 115Table D-10 Concerns for Children in Mixed-age Classes ^ 115Table D-11 Who Helped Parents Understand Mixed-age Philosophy ^ 116Table D-12 Parents' Choices for Future Enrollment in Mixed-ageClasses ^  116viiACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThe pursuit of this degree was a journey of many discoveries. Specialappreciation is extended to my advisor, Dr. Hillel Goelman, for finding a balancein giving me the freedom to make my own definitions, while offering directionand providing his expertise when it was needed.Thank you to Dr. Marilyn Chapman for her interest and words ofencouragement, and to Dr. Glen Dixon for his time and interest.Thanks also to my friends Janet Bakuska and Linda Kerr for the manydrafts they read and responded to.I acknowledge and am grateful to the teachers who participated in thisstudy at one of the busiest times of the school year.A special thank you to my good friend Tera Lee and my sons, Dean andDell, for the constancy of their support and encouragement.viiiCHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION1.1 Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of this study is to determine teachers' and parents'perceptions of pedagogical successes and problems in implementing primarymixed-age classes. This study attempts to access information that will identify:(a) the successes, the problems and the needs that Primary School staffsexperience when restructuring to primary mixed-age classes, (b) the advantagesand disadvantages of teaching primary mixed-age classes, (c) the benefits andconcerns for children enrolled in mixed-age classes, and (d) parents'understandings of mixed-age grouping.1.2 BackgroundThe British Columbia Report on the Royal Commission on Education, ALegacy for Learners (1989), proposed major changes to education and curriculain British Columbia. Subsequent directions as outlined by the positionstatements in the Primary Program Foundation Document (1990) have lededucators to rethink old paradigms. Previous concepts of a homogeneouslyaged, graded organization has been replaced with the adoption of a continuousprogress nongraded organization. Fundamental changes in classroom structuresare evidenced in the move to mixed-age classes. As educators beginimplementing the concepts of continuous progress and nongradedness there isan increasing movement towards mixed-age organizations.1The British Columbia Ministry of Education (1990a) identifies mixed-agegroupings as developmentally appropriate early childhood settings whichsupport the philosophy of a continuous progress nongraded model of education.The Ministry describes mixed-age settings as those which enroll children whohave spent a differing number of years in the primary program and haveparticipated in classes labelled as "dual-year" and "multi-year". The first tofourth year designations correspond to what was formerly Kindergarten toGrade Three. Dual-year classes include arrangements of children in first andsecond year, second and third year, or third and fourth year of the primaryprogram. Multi-year classes include children in first, second, and third year;second, third, and fourth year; and first, second, third, and fourth year of theprimary program.Mixed-age grouping, also known as multi-age, multi-grade, multi-year,and family grouping is defined by L. G. Katz (personal communication, August13, 1992) as "classes in which the age range is greater than one year andwhich are expressly intended to maximize the educative potential of theheterogeneity therein rather than to solve administrative problems." Katz'sdefinition distinguishes mixed-age classes from split classes which traditionallyhave been formed for administrative purposes having to do with numbers ofchildren, not from philosophy.The terms, "multi-age", "nongraded", and "continuous progress" areoften used synonymously and it must be clarified that they are not the same.A mixed-age class as defined by Katz is a physical arrangement of children of2different ages grouped together with the philosophical belief that there arebenefits from such configurations. Nongraded, on the other hand, is anorganization based on the underlying belief that learning should be continuousand based on the needs of the learners. "A nongraded organization implies thatlearning begins where the child is and moves forward as the child is able" (B.C.Ministry of Education, 1990b, p.24). Lastly, continuous progress is defined bythe British Columbia Primary Teacher's Association (1989) as occurring "whena learner progresses according to his/her academic, social, emotional, physicaland aesthetic development regardless of age or number of years in school"(B.C. Ministry of Education, 1990, p.24).Mixed-age classes are not a new idea since such classes have existed ina few schools in British Columbia for over 20 years. However, for the majorityof teachers in B.C., mixed-age grouping has meant "split-grade" classes. Thereis a major difference between split-grade classes and mixed-age classes.In British Columbia split-grade classes enrolled children in different gradesand separate bodies of curriculum were taught to each grade enrolled in theclass. Teachers had to deal with two or three separate curricula. Childrenwere taught from a curriculum appropriate for the grade in which they wereenrolled, which was not necessarily appropriate for their individual learningneeds. While children were exposed to the next grade's material, this occurredincidentally and only rarely were children allowed to work on the curriculum forthe next grade.3Split-grade classes were unpopular with teachers because they felt thatthey had to perform a juggling act between the different curricula and thedifferent ability levels within each grade. Parents disliked split-grade classesbecause they felt their children did not receive the instructional time they wouldhave received in a straight grade.Mixed-age classes based on a continuous progress nongraded model donot deal with separate bodies (grades) of curricula, but offer an integratedcurriculum. The integrated curriculum of the Primary Program is notcontent-bound as was the previous graded system. An integrated curriculumlinks traditional subject areas and offers children learning in a holisticmeaningful manner. The important thrust of integrated learning for youngchildren is that the curriculum not only crosses content areas, but that alllearning is integrated within the context of each child's experience and as suchconnects children's lives to their learning experiences in school settings.There is a fundamental shift in the philosophy and pedagogy supportingBritish Columbia's move from a graded to a nongraded model of education.The graded system was based on a predetermined body of curriculum that allchildren of a specific age were expected to learn in ten month segments oftime. If children did not succeed in completing the content in the prescribedtime they failed and had to repeat the grade, starting the next year, not fromwhere they might be in a continuum of learning, but from the beginning of thegrade.4Nongraded, on the other hand, does not have a predetermined body ofcurriculum that children must learn in a specified length of time, but rather, acurriculum that acknowledges that learning happens over a continuum of timeand encompasses development that is appropriate for "the age span of thechildren within the group and is implemented with attention to the differentneeds, interests, and developmental levels of individual children" (Bredekamp,1987, p. 3). A nongraded curriculum recognizes the developmental differencesbetween children as well as developmental differences within individualchildren. It offers curricula appropriate to the developmental needs of the agespan across a group of children as well as needs of individual children withinthe group and as such in nongraded models children do not fail, learning isindividual and continuous.Mixed-age grouping has been identified as a potentially successfulorganization for supporting the tenets of a nongraded continuous progressphilosophy and in British Columbia pilot programs in mixed-age grouping beganin the 1989/90 school year, followed by an increasing number of classes andin some cases entire schools adopting mixed-age organizations each year since.While it is a relatively simple matter to rearrange children so that eachclassroom has a mix of ages, there are other complex considerations that needto be understood from such a restructuring. One consideration is the teachers'and parents' understandings of the philosophy supporting mixed-age andanother is how the restructuring will take place. The focus of this study5attempts to gain an understanding of the pedagogical successes and problemsin restructuring to mixed-age classes.6CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATUREAs British Columbia's educators move towards implementation ofmixed-age groupings there is a widening interest in the literature on mixed-agegrouping. A review of the literature on mixed-age grouping in early childhoodeducation settings will determine if the findings of well designed researchsupport the educational theory and the judgements of the teachers andobservers of mixed-age groupings. The literature reviewed in this paper will beaddressed in Chapter Two and Three. Chapter Two reviews the literature onthe practical bases for mixed-age grouping. Chapter Three reviews theliterature on theoretical and research bases of mixed-age grouping.2.1 Practical Bases For Mixed -Age GroupingThe body of literature written by educators with practical experience inmixed-age classrooms is very small. The teachers and observers of mixed-ageclasses who have recorded their experiences offer positive and satisfyingresults for both teachers and children. Of the educators who have turned toa mixed-age model, many have done so in order to allow for children'sindividual differences.As part of the Council For Cultural Cooperation, the Fajan School inSweden is one of twelve schools in twelve different countries adoptingmixed-age grouping. Papadopoulous (1988) reports that Fajan's is a singlestream elementary school with an integrated nursery and daycare. The 2207pupils in the school range from nine months to twelve years. The school hasno grading according to age or ability. However, each unit is color coded andincludes a nursery department, a junior class, and an intermediate class. Thepolicy is to create close contact between nursery and primary children and tomaintain the same groups of nursery children on their admittance to primaryschool which is organized into mixed-age classes consisting of three grades.Each year ten children move on, making room for ten younger children.Papadopoulous reports that the school is created so that people, notregulations, are at the core and where the needs and development of thechildren are of paramount importance. The result he reports are enthusiastic,happy responsible children.Papadopoulous reports that in the cognitive domain, in the areas of math,science, and socials curriculum, children are encouraged to plan and implementtheir own learning. While the children are allowed to proceed at their ownpace, there is a need to strengthen and structure activities for certain thingschildren should learn at proper stages of development. He states that this doesnot mean moving back to rote memorization, but that adequate guidance needsto be given by teachers and that certain structured activities are necessarywhen pursuing objectives in the cognitive domain. Papadopoulous implies thatteachers working in an ungraded system need to have an understanding of childdevelopment as well as the developmental stages in learning. He does notdiscuss his implication that there are optimum stages of development forspecific learning objectives.8Cushman's (1990) article describes three different mixed-age classes shehas observed. At the center of each program is a philosophy based on thedevelopmental learning theories of Piaget and Bruner. Classrooms incorporatingthe ideas of Piaget and Bruner would include hands on experiences wherechildren are encouraged to interact and learn from each other. Piaget (1974)believed children needed concrete materials and actual experience toreconstruct or rediscover that which needed to be learned. Bruner believed thatlearning takes place in social contexts and social interaction is necessary forchildren to learn.Cushman described classrooms in which children were allowed todevelop at their own rate of learning, always moving from the concrete to theabstract. She states that a mixed-age model expects diversity rather thanuniformity among children and thus alleviated many of the problems associatedwith graded classes, especially the policy of retention and an early sense offailure that many children have been made to experience. Children in theseclasses were allowed to progress at their own pace. She also observed theeffectiveness of cooperative learning and peer tutoring. Children's social skillsgrew in the mixed age classes as students developed attitudes of responsibilityand tolerance for the differences found in their classmates. Cushman alsoreported that deep personal bonds form between teacher and student in classesthat stayed together for more than one year and that the bonding helpeddiminish academic and discipline problems.9Connell (1987) turned to family grouping in reaction against a gradedsystem of education that expected uniform progress for all children. She wasdissatisfied with a system that assumes that if children do not progresssatisfactorily, it is the children who have failed rather than the system that hasfailed to meet children's needs. The mixed-age classes she and her colleaguestaught were designed to group children in a fashion more consistent with aphilosophy that works towards enhancing each child's self-image. Thecurriculum was developed around the needs of the children. Connell (1987)reports that with these two changes the end-of-year achievement scores wentfrom one of the lowest of twenty-four schools to the highest. Connell does notdescribe how children's self images were enhanced, or how the curriculum metthe children's needs, or what effect mixed-age grouping played in her design.She does describe the atmoshpere of the classes as one of cooperation notcompetition.In dealing with the problem of how to integrate four year olds intoexisting school programs that would offer the highest quality educationalexperience, Doud and Finkelstein (1985) looked at a laboratory school thatoffered a mixed-age program which grouped four and five year olds. Theprogram was built on the philosophical belief that the greater the differencesamong children, the richer the learning experience. The advantages they foundwith mixed-age grouping include, children are unique individuals rather than"four year olds" or "kindergarteners"; a wider range of individual differences inmental, social, physical, and emotional development is provided for; an10opportunity for immature five year olds to interact with mature four year olds;no stigma of retention; facilitates children who are ready to progress and allowsteachers to work with the same children for two years, which also allows theteacher more time to identify children's learning styles and needs and to planaccordingly. They explain that addressing diversity and individual needs"should not be confused with attempting to plan an individualized program foreach child, but rather to get to know the children well enough as individuals tobe able to provide learning experiences geared to their particular levels ofdevelopment" (p. 19). Doud and Finkelstein's explanation of how mixed-agegrouping addresses diversity and individual needs should alleviate theeducational concern that in order to meet individual needs a teacher mustdesign twenty plus "individual" programs.Oberlender (1989) attributes the success of her mixed-age program forfive to eight year olds to a developmentally appropriate environment for youngchildren without rejection or separation from their peers. Children progress attheir own pace in a program designed to their needs and achievement. Theprogram includes hands-on experiences, cooperative learning, peer tutoring andan integrated approach to learning.Forester and Reinhard (1989), in recognizing the broad range ofexperience and developmental stages of children on entry to school, supportmixed-age grouping because it fosters continuous progress, which allowschildren the opportunity to move ahead in areas of strength, while taking extratime for difficult topics. They believe that the mix of ages and levels of11learning within the classroom becomes the stimulus for greater independenceof learning, for peer modelling and for good social integration of children ofdifferent ages. They stress that a spirit of cooperation is essential and thatestablishing a positive climate for learning is crucial to making family groupingsuccessful. Some of the benefits Forester and Reinhard identify are: teachingthe child, not the curriculum; encouraging the integration of curriculum; childreninitiating much of their own learning; providing a natural environment forcooperation and peer tutoring; developing consideration of children for eachother; facilitating emergence of skills "naturally" and in the children'stime-frame.From Buston's (1978) experience family grouping does not offer a moreefficient delineation of intellectual progress, but it does allow for workingtogether for longer periods of time without the constraints of uniform growthand lock step curriculum. It allows children to progress at their own pace.Teachers are not the only authority in the classroom; children are encouragedto learn from each other. The desire to learn comes from the childreninstigating much of their own learning in an atmosphere where they experienceself-worth as individuals and build personal status by being responsible leaders.Firlik (1976) describes his experience in England with a class of eight toeleven year olds. He found that mixed-age grouping forced him to consider thechildren's mental and social development rather than their chronological ages,it also helped him break away from grade expectations. He found it motivatedthe children to be more responsible for their own learning and to be more12responsive to others. It initiated a more cooperative environment by promotingfriendships between children of different ages, abilities, aptitudes, andinterests. A further advantage was that a child's position in the class changedfrom year to year. As an older group moved on and was replaced by a youngergroup a child's status of smallest or youngest changed each year.A recurring theme in the literature on mixed-age grouping is the need foran organization and a curriculum that allows children's learning to progress attheir own pace without fear of failure. These educators have found mixed-agegrouping to be supportive of the need to teach children, not the curriculum and,in so doing, cite many examples of the social benefits of a continuous progressmixed-age model of educating young children.13CHAPTER THREE: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE3.1 Theoretical and Research Bases For Mixed-age GroupingThere is a small but growing body of literature that suggests childrenbenefit cognitively and socially from mixed-age learning. Several books andarticles describe the theoretical advantages of mixed-age grouping.Goodlad & Anderson (1987), and Cuban (1989) express their belief thatmixed-age classes support a nongraded educational philosophy. Goodlad andAnderson (1987) state that the most important reason for reorganizing to anongraded structure is the failure of the traditional "graded" system. Theauthors state that the realities of child development defy conventional gradedstructures and in the average first grade there can be as much as a four yearspread in mental age. As well as developmental differences between children,there are developmental differences within children. Progress in all areas of achild's development is not even; children can have differences between readingattainment and arithmetic attainment, between physical development andemotional development.However, in a traditional structure, "the work of a grade, a year ofprogress, and a chronological year in a child's life are seen as roughlycomparable for school purposes" (Goodlad & Anderson, p.2). Promotion andretention policies measure a year's progress and failure is the consequence formany children who do not develop along the rigid structures set up by gradedpolicies. The inadequacies of promotion and retention policies to achieve14academic progress compounded by the emotional difficulties suffered by youngchildren subjected to school failure are well documented (Charlesworth, 1989;Doyle, 1989; Goodlad & Anderson 1987; Smith & Shephard, 1987). It is inreaction against the failure of the graded system to meet the needs of childrenthat these theorists are looking to a nongraded philosophy and finding that amixed-age organization shows potential to best support this restructuring.Elkind (1987) believes that the rigid age structures that dominate schoolsare based on physical time, whereas children grow on biological andpsychological time. He describes biological and psychological times as variableand physical time as uniform. Children's growth within physical time isuneven, therefore age grouping based on physical time denies children'sbiological and psychological growth because it expects uniform performance.It is the uniformity and impulse to standardize student achievement and studentbehavior in graded schools that Cuban (1989) finds so damaging to manystudents, especially at-risk socially disadvantaged children. "The implicit theoryunderlying the graded school is that educational quality comes throughuniformity" (p.782). Cuban and Elkind see mixed-age groupings as being ableto accommodate the developmental differences found in children. Elkind seesmixed-age grouping as flexible enough to accommodate children at differentlevels of maturity as well as children with differing levels of intelligence?Thus far, the educational theory supporting mixed-age grouping pointsout that it is not mixed-age grouping alone (the physical arrangement ofchildren of mixed ages grouped together) that the theorists espouse, but15mixed-age grouping as a vehicle to support developmentally appropriateeducational practice as embodied in a continuous progress nongradedphilosophy. Goodlad and Anderson (1987) describe the most desirableclassroom organization as one in which both the nongraded concept and themixed-age grouping concept are central.While it is difficult to disagree with theorists who identify a need fordevelopmentally appropriate curriculum and who offer an organization thatallows for a curriculum based on the needs children, the theorists assume thatall educators have a common understanding on just what a developmentallyappropriate curriculum is. In reality not all primary teachers in British Columbiahave backgrounds in child development that includes the ages of five througheight. Nor do they have training in how this development relates to children'slearning. As Cuban (1989) says, "abolishing grades and changing nothing elsewould be simple simple-minded folly" (p.799) and the same must be said forthe move to mixed-age grouping. Teaching a nongraded class with mixed-agegrouping requires more than just having children of different ages in aclassroom. It requires a fundamental understanding of how this organizationis advantageous to children's development and learning.Elkind (1987) believes another advantage of mixed-age grouping is thatchildren will benefit by first being the youngest and then the oldest in thegroup. The British model of mixed-age grouping known as family or verticalgrouping involves children of mixed-ages staying with a teacher for more thanone year (Stanton, 1973). It is widely believed that staying with the same16teacher for more than one year offers primary children stable and secureattachments and provides teachers with enough time to make informedassessments of individual children's learning styles and educational needs. Thetime children stay in a family grouping varies with different models. In Britain,children normally stay with the same teacher for their "infant" (five to sevenyear old) schooling years (Ridgeway, 1979).British Columbia is moving towards a model of mixed-age groupingwhere the oldest children in the class move on at the end of each year to makeroom for a new group of younger children. In this model children stay with ateacher for two years but the teacher never has the same class for more thanone year. Staying with a teacher for more than one year (for the majority ofchildren) is very positive socially and academically and is supported throughoutthe literature by practitioners of mixed-age grouping (Cushman, 1990; Forester& Reinhard, 1989; Elkind, 1987; Doud & Finkelstein, 1985; Ridgeway, 1979;Firlik, 1976: Stanton, 1973; Wolfson, 1967).Several theorists believe that mixed-age grouping holds social andcognitive benefits for young children. Cooperative learning and peer tutoringare theoretical underpinnings believed to support social and cognitive growthin mixed-age grouping. Elkind (1987) believes that mixed-age groupingencourages cooperation and states that there is growing recognition thatcooperation is more conducive to academic learning than competition. Elkind'sbelief is supported by Pratt (in Goodland & Anderson, 1987) whose studyfound that same-age groups create increased competition and aggression while17mixed-age groups promote harmony and nurturance. Katz, Evangelou, andHartman (1989) explain that while cooperative learning is not directlyconcerned with age, it is related to the exploitation of differences betweenparticipants and as such is a rationale for their recommendation of mixed-agegrouping.As well as cooperative learning, theorists identify mixed-age grouping asideal for peer tutoring. Peer tutoring is described by Cohen (1986) as a"one-to-one teaching process in which the tutor is of the same generalacademic status as the tutee" and where the main goals are academic gains forthe tutee and gains in self esteem, helping and cooperative skills for the tutors.Cohen suggests that cross-age tutoring is likely to eliminate the competitionthat hinders same-age peer tutoring. Mixed-age grouping presents an idealsituation for peer tutoring since it provides an environment rich in diversitywhere children of differing ages, interests, and abilities can work together.Roopnarine and Johnson's (1987) support for mixed-age peer tutoringis grounded in evidence that suggests the greatest gains in learning during peertutoring occur when there is more of an age discrepancy between tutor andtutee than when peers are close in age. In tutoring situations, children preferto teach younger children, but prefer to be taught by children older thanthemselves (Lougee, Grueneich, & Hartup, 1977). Learning is further facilitatedby mixed-age peer tutoring because the distance between the tutors' andtutees' understanding is smaller than the distance between the understandingsof students and teacher (Katz, Evangelou & Hartman, 1989). Peers are18identified as being more capable than adults in presenting subject matter interms that a tutee can understand because the tutor is closer to the tutee'scognitive framework and uses the same peer language (Cohen, 1986).Further theoretical support of mixed-age grouping is provided by Katz etal (1989). The authors suggest the effect of mixed-age grouping on cognitionarises from Brown and Palincsar's (1986) theory of cognitive conflict andVygotsky's (1987) zone of proximal development. Cognitive conflict is notsimply a less developed learner imitating a more developed learner, but arisesout of the interaction of children with different levels of cognitive maturity.This interaction leads to the internalizing of new understandings. In amixed-age setting, cognitive conflict stimulates growth by requiring children inearlier stages of development to assimilate and accommodate new informationrepresented by the difference in understanding between themselves and moredeveloped children (Katz, et al).Similar to the theory of cognitive conflict is Vygotsky's (1987) zone ofproximal development. "It is the distance between the actual developmentlevel as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potentialdevelopment as determined through problem solving under adult guidance orin collaboration with more capable peers" (Vygotsky, p.86). In mixed-agegroupings the age range provides an environment of more "capable peers".As support for mixed-age grouping Katz (1988) discusses the changingfamily structures that have led to children spending more time in child carecenters and preschools where homogeneous age placements are replacing the19natural mixed age setting of families. In family groups children are typicallyprovided opportunities to observe, emulate and initiate a wide range ofcompetencies (Evangelou, 1989). In age-segregated schools and daycaresettings children have little access to children of other ages. Based on a reviewof the research and the "accumulated experience of many early childhoodeducators," Katz, Evangelou, and Hartman (1989) advocate mixed-agegrouping in schools and child care centers on the basis that mixed-age groupingoffers social and cognitive benefits to children.The mixed-age theorists present compelling arguments in support of aneducational organization that facilitates a nongraded continuous progress modelof developmentally appropriate early childhood education. A model that has thecharacteristics of family and offers social and cognitive benefits carries manypositive potentials.3.2 Research On Mixed-age GroupingThe research on mixed-age grouping reviewed in this paper has beenconducted during the past fifteen years and will be classified in two generalcategories: a) social effects of mixed-age grouping, and b) cognitive effects ofmixed-age grouping.3.2.1 Social Effects of Mixed-age GroupingResearchers attempt to identify social interactions that are influenced byage relations. According to Katz, Evangelou, and Hartman (1989), children'ssocial perceptions play a significant role in developing social competence and20are essential to a young child's knowledge of the function and purpose of thegroup and the roles individuals hold within them. Several researchers haveexamined how children of mixed ages perceive one another and how they adapttheir behavior and expectations accordingly.The purpose of French's (1984) study was to investigate children'sperception of the social roles of older, younger, and same-age peers.Participants in this study included forty-three first graders (22 male and 21female) with ages ranging from 5.10 to 7.6, and fifty-two third graders (26male and 26 female) with ages ranging from 7.11 to 9.5. All were from amiddle-class rural suburban area. The children were asked to assign role labelsto photographs of same-age, younger, and older peers. Three questions wereasked for each of eight roles: friendship, leadership, giving help, receiving help,giving sympathy, receiving sympathy, providing instruction, and receivinginstruction. All the questions began with the stem, "Which child would youmost like to...", and were completed with items such as "...be friends with?"(p.1430).Analysis was made using planned comparisons within the Friedmanmodel. Analysis indicated that leadership and helping roles are associated witholder children; that children prefer to give sympathy to younger children; thatchildren prefer to instruct age mates or younger children, but they prefer to beinstructed by children older than themselves, and finally, that children preferredto establish friendships with children of their own age rather than with eitheryounger or older children. The results indicate that children do have21expectations of behavioral roles associated with those who are younger, older,and the same age as themselves. That children prefer to be instructed by olderchildren, but prefer to instruct younger children supports the theorists' positionson the use of peer tutoring and cooperative learning in mixed-age classrooms.The findings also indicate that a mixed-age classroom could provide the contextfor the development of the prosocial behaviors of sympathy, helping, andleadership skills for the older members of a mixed-age group.Another study examining children's perceptions of age is Graziano's(1978) study. The purpose of the study was to determine if young children usedifferent standards of fair play in dealing with older children than in dealing withage-mates. Ninety-six children from a suburban parochial school participatedin the study. There were twenty-four first-grade boys and twenty-fourfirst-grade girls, twenty-four third-grade girls and twenty-four third-grade boys.The subjects were presented with two groups of snapshots. First, they wereshown snapshots of two same-sex children with four group compositions foreach sex: (1) two same-age, same-size players; (2) two same-age,different-size; (3) two different-age, same size; (4) two different-age,different-size players; then they were shown snapshots of towers of blocksdepicting three relationships between two different colored, different sizevertical stacks of wooden blocks. The children were first shown a photographof two children and then photographs of different size towers purportedly builtby the children in the photos. Within each player condition, the subjects hadto allocate ten chips between two players (children in photos). Results were22computed using a correlation between the number of chips subjects allocatedto a player and the number of blocks on that player's tower. There was nosignificant main effect for either grade or age. However, there was asignificant main effect for size. The mean correlation between chips allocatedand blocks on the tower was significantly lower when one of the players waslarger than when they were the same size, suggesting that task performanceis more important in determining reward when both players are the same sizethan when they differ in size. Further analysis indicated this interaction wassignificantly lower for first graders in the mixed-age, different size condition.Thus, first graders and third graders differ when dealing with different-age,different-size children. In summary, although younger children are able torespond to subtle task performance differences when dealing with same-agepeers, the relative weighting of task performance was decreased by thepresence of other cues when young children deal with older, larger children.This study pointed out that children forfeit fair play standards whendealing with older, larger children. Graziano proposes that this finding is arelation between fair-play norms and power, and suggests that young children's"experiences with the relatively straightforward contingency between power,age, size, and deservingness may provide the simpler training ground for morecomplex models of deservingness" (p.530). The findings of this study suggestan important dynamic to be aware of in a mixed-age situation where dominancecould be affected by age and size.23Children's play is another area explored in the study of mixed-agegrouping. Researchers interested in the social benefits of mixed ages groupinghave used play to investigate the influence mixed-aging has on children'sinteractions. Lougee, Grueneich, and Hartup (1977) studied mixed-ageinteractions to see if children make behavioral accomodations in accordance toage mixture in a play situation. Social activity in same-age and mixed-agedyads was contrasted and it was expected that mixed-age dyads would showa mix of older and younger modes of social interaction as compared withsame-age dyads. The sample consisted of fifty-four children enrolled in theLaboratory Nursery School of the University of Minnesota. Same-age youngerdyads were made up of children ranging between 3.2 and 4.1 years; same-ageolder dyads were made up of children between 4.5 and 5.3 years; andmixed-age dyads were made up of children between 3.4 and 5.4. Anexperimenter introduced the children and then left them alone to play for tento fifteen minutes on each of two days. The interactions were videotaped andsubjected to several types of observational analysis. There were three stagesof coding for the videotapes, with the first coding related to the amount ofsocial interaction and according to two main categories: positive socialinteraction and negative social interaction. A second stage of coding focusedon the nature of the verbal interaction between the children. In the third roundof coding a 15-second time sampling was used to examine the children'sattention to the task. Scores from each of the three codings were analyzedseparately.24The expected results of the study were not realized. The mixed-agedyads did not show a mix of older and younger modes of interaction ascompared to same-age dyads. While the mean length of utterance was similarfor same-age and mixed-age groups, social interaction and verbalcommunication was least frequent in the younger same-age dyads, increasedin the mixed-age group and was most frequent in the older same age dyads.The artificial setting and the choice of play material, the sand table and thebuilding blocks, used in this study are possible reasons why the anticipatedresults of the study were not met. This play material does not lend itself to thekind of social interplay that would show younger and older modes ofinteractions or lend itself to a need for a great deal of verbal communication.Further exploration of mixed-age grouping has led researchers to explorethe social dynamics of peer tutoring and cooperative learning. Theoristssupporting mixed-age grouping identify that peer tutoring and cooperativelearning require children to possess certain degrees of prosocial skills such ashelp-giving, sharing, and turn-taking in order to facilitate social interactions inthese situations. Researchers have attempted to validate these assertions.Ludeke & Hartup (1983) conducted a study to describe theself-determined teaching behaviors of children in a peer tutoring situation.Eighty white female students participated: thirty-two were eleven years old;thirth-two were nine years old, and sixteen were seven years old. All wereenrolled in two metropolitan elementary schools that subscribed to an "open"educational philosophy. There were five sets of tutor/tutee dyads with eight25dyads in each set: eleven year old tutors with eleven, nine, and seven year oldtutees; nine year old tutors with nine and seven year old tutees. A board gameinvolving a task with clear cut rules such as turn taking, use of spinner, etc.,but not requiring "correct" or "incorrect" responses was the material to betaught. The tutor was taught the game using a script to standardize teachingacross tutors. Each tutoring session lasted ten minutes, after which the tuteewas asked the same seven questions concerning the game rules that had beenasked of the tutors. The sessions were videotaped. Eleven categories ofteaching behaviors and five categories of tutee behavior were coded.Two sets of analyses were conducted on tutor behaviors. First was ananalysis of teaching behavior among tutors whose tutees were either the sameage as themselves or were two years younger than themselves and the secondanalysis was carried out for eleven year old tutors with tutees who differed inage by infant, two, and four years. Significant group differences were foundin three of the eleven teaching behaviors. Rule redundancy was used morefrequently with younger tutees than with same-age tutees and questions aimedat assessing the accomplishments to the tutee were used more frequently withyounger tutees. Other differences that reached significance in these analyseswere strategic advice, direct assistance, and praise. These teaching behaviorsoccurred most often with the tutees who were four years younger and usagedecreased as the age of the tutee moved closer to the age of the tutor;occurring least frequently with same-age mates. Ludeke and Hartup (1983)hypothesize that elementary school children have an implicit "theory of26teaching" that assumes that younger children require more repetition whenbeing taught a new concept and that young children require more supportiveand corrective feedback. The results of Ludeke and Hartup's study parallel theknowledge that classroom teachers have understood since the days of the oneroom school house; older children are excellent natural teachers in mixed-agesetting. The dyad situations used in a laboratory setting in this study simulateactual classroom practise thus allowing for generalization to classroomconditions.French, Wass, Stright and Baker (1986) offer another look at prosocialdevelopment by studying leadership asymmetries in mixed-age groups.Symmetrical behavior occurs between individuals that are equal in power andstatus while asymetrical behavior occurs between individuals that are unequalin power and status. This study was a replication of a pilot study in which twoof the researchers were involved. The sample was 285 second, fourth, andsixth grade children assigned to same-sex groups consisting of same-age triadsof seven, nine, or eleven year olds or mixed-age triads of one nine year old andtwo seven years olds or one eleven year old and two nine year olds. Same-ageand mixed-age triads were presented a task on which verbal consensus wasused to demonstrate decision making and leadership. The children individuallyrank ordered eight pictures and were then brought together to arrive at aconsensus ranking. Their discussions were videotaped and coded to assess thecontributions made to the task. The results indicated that with the seven yearolds in the group the nine year olds gave more organizing statements and27engaged in behaviors that promoted group effectiveness. This wasdemonstrated by increased organizing behaviors and opinion solicitations usedby the nine year olds as compare to their behaviors in same-age group. As inthe pilot study, the findings indicate that older children in mixed-age situationsexhibit more organizational behavior, less opinion giving, and more opinionseeking than both younger or same-age counterparts. Ludeke and Hartupsuggest that mixed-age groups may provide experience for the practice andaquisition of leadership behavior.Leadership in social and cognitive domains in same-age classes hashistorically been in the hands of of a few high functioning children. Mixed-ageadvocates believe that situations offering all of the older children in a classroomsomeone younger and less mature than themselves affords all older children,not only the high functioning ones, the opportunity to be leaders. In this sense,mixed-age grouping may provide therapeutic and remedial benefits for at-riskchildren (Katz, et al. 1989).The therapeutic effects of mixed-age interaction was evidenced inFurman, Rahe, and Hartup's (1979) study. The object of the study was toextend the knowledge concerning the contributions of same-age and mixed-ageinteractions to the growth of social competencies of young children.Twenty-four socially isolated children, ranging in age between 48 and 68months were randomly assigned to younger partners, same-age partners, anda no-treatment group. The design of the study employed pretreatmentobservations, treatment sessions, and posttreatment observations. During the28pretreatment phase observers recorded the presence or absence of socialinteraction as well as coding each isolate's actions using the categories ofreinforcement, punishment, and neutral acts. During the treatment each isolatewas paired with two partners, each partner participated with the isolate childin five play sessions. Posttreatment observations occurred in the children'sday-care classes where all the children were observed. The observers did notknow the identities of the isolates. Statistical analyses were conducted in threestages. The researchers found that the pairing of isolates with youngerpartners led to the greatest increase in the older child's sociablitity, pairing withage-mates led to an intermediate increase, and the no-therapy participantsexhibited no increase. The researchers cite that improvement in socialinteraction was so marked that posttreatment interaction was almost twice asfrequent as pretreatment and essentially the same as social interaction ofnonisolate children. The results indicate that the play sessions provided theisolates with the opportunity to direct social activity, something that had notoccurred in the classroom. Given that behaviors may become more entrenchedwith time and therefore more resistant to change (Katz, 1991), it would be ofinterest to replicate this study with primary school children.The research into the social effects of mixed age grouping parallelsfindings of theorists and teachers. Researchers have found support forcooperative learning and peer tutoring in classes that have older, more capablechildren, working with younger children. They found that mixed-age groupinghad therapeutic effects for socially immature children. While the body of29research is small, and in some instances cannot be generalized across agegroups or differing populations, it covers a range of social behaviors influencedby mixed-age grouping.3.2.2 Cognitive Effects of Mixed-age GroupingEarly research into the cognitive benefits of mixed-age grouping usedstandardized achievement tests to compare children in mixed-age classes withthe children in traditional same-age classes. The results showed that there wascomparable achievement in both organizations (Schrankler, 1976; Milburn,1981; Way, 1981), concluding that mixed-age classes offer no greater benefitsfor the cognitive domain than a traditional organization. In light of theseresults, researchers are exploring the cognitive benefits of mixed-age groupingsby looking at how mixed-age may facilitate learning, as opposed to howmixed-age grouping facilitates achievement on standardized testing.Many of the studies exploring the cognitive effects of mixed-agegrouping have used children's play as a form of social interaction that indicatesa cognitive progression. According to Parten (1932) the sequence of socialbehavior during early childhood goes from less interactive to more interactivebehaviour. As children mature both socially and cognitively they becomeinvolved in a more socially interactive modes of play.Mounts and Roopnarine's (1987) study compared the social-cognitiveplay patterns of three and four olds in mixed-age and same-age groups. For thestudy 108 middle income children were observed in six classrooms, two threeyear old classes, two four year old classes, and two mixed-age classes of three30and four year olds. Each child was observed during indoor free play periods forten five-minute sessions during a two month period. The method of recordingplay and the operational definitions of the play categories are described inRubin, Maioni, and Hornung (1976). The results suggest that the agecomposition does affect the social-cognitive play initiations of young children.Three year olds in the same-age classrooms were more likely to engage inparallel-manipulative play than three year olds in mixed-age classrooms. Bycontrast, the three year olds in the mixed-age classrooms were more likely toengage in parallel-constructive, interactive-constructive, andsolitary-constructive play than the three year olds in same-age classrooms. Ittherefore appears that three year olds in mixed-age settings showed tendenciesto "more mature" forms of play than three year olds in the same-age classes.The study found a lack of developmental differences between the three andfour year olds in same age classes and those in the mixed-age classrooms,suggesting that in the mixed-age class the three year olds became more like thefour year olds. It is hypothesized that the three year olds could have beenmaking accommodative shifts in accordance with the developmental status oftheir more "mature" older peers. It was found that in the mixed-age classroomsthe children initiated play interactions at random across age and sex. Thefindings that younger children in mixed age groups participate in more matureforms of play is supported by an earlier study by Goldman (1981). However,unlike Mounts and Roopnarine, Goldman's study found that sex and not ageinfluences children's choice of playmates.31In her study, Goldman (1981) examined preschool children's participationin group play activities. Social participation of 116 children was observed inthree classes of three year olds, three classes of four year olds, and threemixed-age classes. All were intact classes in the same homogeneous middleclass neighbourhood. The classes fit Weikart's (1972) description ofchild-centered nursery classes. Using point-time sampling procedures (Altman,1974) each class was observed on ten different days for a minimum of thirtyminutes per day over a four month period. Observations were made during freetime. Data was collected using Parten's (1932) categories of social play withguidelines for behavioral observations patterned after the work of Jones (1972)and McGrew (1972). Goldman's results indicated that sex, rather than age,was the dominant factor influencing children's choice of playmates within themixed-age groups. Results further indicated that the age composition ofpreschool classes does influence the pattern of social participation. The threeyear olds in the mixed-age classes spent less time in parallel play than theircounter parts in same-age classes. The four year olds in the mixed-age classesalso spent less time in parallel play as well as spending less time in teacherdirected activites, but more time in solitary play. This latter finding is importantin that if offers indications that in mixed-age classes the older children had lessneed for teacher directed activities, suggesting that these children became moreindependent than their counterparts in same-age classes.Results indicating that children can make accommodative shifts thatenable them to participate in more mature forms of play, to spend an increased32amount of time in this form of play, as well as becoming more independent intheir need of teacher direction, indicates that mixed-age grouping has thepotential to offer cognitive benefits to young children. Both Mounts andRoopnarine (1987) and Goldman (1981) conducted their studies in classroomsnot laboratory settings. Both studies involved preschool children and careneeds to be taken in generalizing these findings to older primary children.The goal of Azmitia's (1988) study was to identify features ofcollaboration that mediate cognitive growth. The mediators of cognitive growthexamined in this study were: expertise, task engagement, strategies, conflictof ideas, guidance by an expert, and observational learning. One hundred andthirty-two five year olds from middle class preschools were tested to determine40 experts and 40 novices. The children were assigned randomly to workalone, or to same ability (expert and novice) dyads, or to mixed ability dyads.The copying of a complex Lego model was used as a cognitive test and waschosen because it required children to represent spatial relations mentally, animportant component of intelligence (Liben, Patterson, & Newcombe, 1981);secondly it entailed the use of problem solving, and finally; construction tasksare conducive to interactive benefits (Morrison & Kuhn, 1983, in Azmitia,1988). Two Lego models were used, one for the pretest and posttest and theother for the interactive sessions. The children participated in four fifteenminute sessions with two or three days in between. Individual children wereprestested to determine their classification as either an "expert" or "novice"and were then included in the dyad conditions involving two interactive33sessions of copying the Lego model. The two interactive sessions were codedfor building accuracy by assigning a score between 0 (placement/removalincorrect in all three dimensions, color, size, and location) and 3 (placementcorrect in all three dimensions\removal). The children were individuallyposttested using the Lego building task as well as the block design subtest ofthe WPPSI. All the sessions were videotaped. The results were organized intotwo sections: first, the results for task performance, expertise, andgeneralization; and second, results concerning mediators. For the first sectionthe results (significant to p < .05) indicated that mixed-ability dyads built moreaccurately due to the improvement of the novices; novices that worked withan expert improved significantly and these difference were maintained duringthe posttest when children worked alone and on a different model. Azmitia'sresults for generalization included the block design subtest of the WPPSI.Based on results from the WPPSI score the novices from the mixed-abilitydyads scored higher than the novices from other conditions; however Azmitiadoes not mention the WPPSI as being used as a pretest measure, making useof these results in the posttest somewhat questionable. Results from themediators of cognitive growth indicated that high-ability children spent moretime on the task than low ability children; experts looked at the model beingcopied more frequently than novices, but compared to other conditions, thenovices in mixed ability conditions looked at the model more often than novicesin other conditions. Same ability dyads engaged in more task-relatedconversation than mixed-ability dyads which may be explained by the finding34that experts gave more correct explanation and demonstrations than novices.Azmitia's results are consistent with the hypothesis that collaboration can bemore beneficial to learning than independent work. In this study, learning wasmaximized when children worked with an expert partner. Azmitia states thispattern supports Vygotsky's theory of the zone of proximal development. Herresults indicate important mediators of cognitive growth that are facilitated byhaving an older more expert learner to work with. For mixed-age advocates,the relationship between expert and novice can be extrapolated to therelationship between the older more mature (expert) learner and the youngerless able learner (novice) in a mixed-age learning situation.The studies exploring the cognitive benefits of mixed-age groupingindicate that younger children engage in more sophisticated play and showmore independence by relying less on teacher directed activities when they aregrouped with older children. Younger children showed growth in cognitivedevelopment when working collaboratively with older more expert children.These studies show that mixed-age groupings have the potential to facilitatelearning and offer positive cognitive effects for young children.3.3 SummaryWhile the body of literature on mixed-age grouping is small and caremust be taken not to generalize results across age groups and differentpopulations, a comparative look at the practical, and the theoretical and35research based literature reveals that many of the assertions of the theoristsand teachers of mixed-age grouping are supported by the research.3.3.1 Social Benefits of Mixed-age GroupingResearch findings on the social benefits of mixed-age grouping indicatethat younger children show more independence in mixed-age classes. Researchalso indicates that children have social perceptions of roles as they relate to ageand they are able to make behavioral accomodations in regard to theseunderstandings. The behavioral accommodations young children are capableof make them tolerant of the differences in their classmates in mixed-ageclasses. Leadership opportunities build self esteem and mixed-age classesprovide opportunities for older children, even those considered "at risk" to takeon leadership roles as they work with children younger than themselves.Mixed-age groupings thus provide environments that facilitate prosocialbehaviors by providing practise in social competencies.The success of peer tutoring and cooperative learning in mixed-ageclasses is supported by research that points out that children have "inherent"teaching skills and while they prefer to be taught by older children, they preferteaching younger children. There were mixed results on the initiations of socialinteractions between mixed-age children an it was found that friendshippatterns occur with same-age peers more often than mixed-age peers.3.3.2 Cognitive Benefits of Mixed-age GroupingThe research on the cognitive benefits of mixed-age grouping supportsthe theory that children emulate and accommodate to more mature members36of the group. The presence of older more mature learners act as mediators ofcognitive growth, supporting the concept of learning as outlined by Vygotsky'szone of proximal development.The concept of the zone of proximal development offers a vast field forneeded research. Vygotsky (1978) believes that each curriculum area has itsown specific relation to children's development and the relation varies aschildren go through stages of development. He states that there is not oneformula to be used for an examination of formal learning, but that extensiveresearch based on the concept of the zone of proximal development isnecessary. Vygotsky's theory offers significant possibilities for research inmixed-age classes "The value of theory will be to direct research to thosebehaviors for which age relations are truly significant rather than simplypresent", (Lougee, 1979, p.39).Theorists and practioners espouse a continuous progress nongradedphilosophy with a developmentally appropriate curriculum, using mixed-agegrouping as the best organization to achieve this model. There is a need toexplore mixed-age grouping and how this organization supports the philosophyof nongradedness. The present move to nongraded mixed-age classrooms inBritish Columbia's schools offers researchers unlimited possibilities for researchin this area.37CHAPTER FOUR: METHOD AND PROCEDURE4.1 DesignA survey was conducted in order to determine the teachers' and parents'perceptions of pedagogical successes and problems in implementing primarymixed-age classes. The Teacher Questionnaire (see Appendix A) was designedto elicit information in five areas: (a) teachers' background training andeducation; (b) information on school restructuring to mixed-age classes;(c) teachers' conceptual understandings about mixed-age classes; (d) teacher'sdiscussions of benefits and concerns for children in mixed-age classes;(e) concerns about teaching practises in mixed-age classes; and (f) training andeducation needs for teaching in mixed-age classes.The Parent Questionnaire (see Appendix B) was designed to elicit threeareas of information: (a) background information, (b) parents' conceptualunderstanding about mixed-age classes, and (c) parents' perceptions of benefitsand concerns for children in mixed-age classes. Parents' understanding ofschool initiatives contributes to their acceptance or the rejection of thoseinitiatives. Children are affected not only by school initiatives, but also by theirparent perceptions of the initiatives. The Primary Program (1990b)acknowledges the importance of a partnership between parents and schools.Partnerships with parents help to extend the concept of integration by buildingconnections between a child's life and learning at home and life and learningin school. By including parents, this study recognizes the added perspective38that parents' perceptions will give to the an overall understanding of theimplementation of mixed-age classes.The survey was conducted in two British Columbia School Districts.Permission was given by both Superintendents to conduct the survey in theirrespective districts. Agreement in principle to participate in this study wasobtained from the administration and the teachers of the seven schoolsinvolved and a proposal was then approved by the University of BritishColumbia Behavioral Sciences Screening Committee For Research and OtherStudies Involving Human Subjects.4.2 Sample4.2.1 Teacher Sample The sample consisted of 64 primary teachers from two school districts,32 from District A and 32 from District B. District A was chosen since theimplementation of mixed-age grouping was in its initial stages. One school hadsmall numbers of teachers teaching mixed-age classes for their second year andthe remaining schools had just begun enrolling mixed-ages that year. DistrictA is a small district, employing 88 teachers for a student population of 1,565.District B was chosen for comparison purposes. In a number of schools mixed-age grouping had been in place for at least two years. Also, District B is a largeschool district employing 878 teachers for a student population of 14,984.Both school districts are in the lower mainland of B.C., are not neighbouringdistricts, and are within 50 miles of one another.39All of the primary teachers in District A were included in the survey. Theteachers taught in four different schools in the district: (a) a school with 357students from Year 1 to Intermediate 1 (grade 4) with fourteen primary classes,(b) a school with 205 students from Year 1 to Intermediate 4 (grade 7) with sixprimary classes, (c) a school with 73 students from Year 1 to Intermediate 4(grade 7) with 4 primary classes, and (d) a school with 69 students from Year1 to Year 3 with four primary classes.The schools from District B included in the survey were identified by alocal administrator as schools in which mixed-age grouping had been in practisefor a minimum of two years. The teachers selected from District B taught inthree schools: (a) a school with 641 students from Year 1 to Intermediate 4(grade 7) with thirteen primary classes; (b) a school with 192 students fromYear 1 to Year 4 with 7.5 primary classes; and (c) a school with 277 studentsfrom Year 1 to Year 3 with ten primary classes.4.2.2 Parent Sample Parents from two primary mixed-age classes in each of the districts wereincluded in the survey. In District A the largest school was selected and thetwo classes included in the parent survey were randomly chosen from all theclasses doing mixed-age grouping in that school. In District B the school forthe parent survey was randomly selected from the three participating schoolsand the classes included were randomly selected from mixed-age classes withinthat school. A total of 93 Parent Questionnaires were distributed, 4440questionnaires to District A and 49 in District B. The Parent Questionnaireswere sent home with the children and returned in the same manner.4.3 ProceduresThe researcher was invited to meetings of Primary teachers to introduceherself. A very brief description of the study was given and an invitation toparticipate was extended. These meetings took place approximately a monthprior to the distribution of the questionnaires. Parents' participation wasrequested through letters from the school administration introducing theresearcher and the study. The letters were attached to the questionnaires.The Teacher and Parent Questionnaires were distributed by theresearcher to both districts on the same day in June 1992. There were thirty-two Teacher Questionnaires distributed in each district, one for each enrollingprimary teacher and others were given to learning assistance and/or P.E.specialists. The parent questionnaires were sent home with the children andreturned in the same manner. In one case in District A where the school isforty-five miles away arrangements were made to return the TeacherQuestionnaires by interschool mail; the remainder of the questionnaires (in bothdistricts) were picked up by the researcher ten days later.4.4 Analysis of the DataThe data from each question on both the Teacher and the ParentQuestionnaires were sorted, collated and presented in tabular form (see41Appendix C and D) for comparison of relationships between variables. The datawere then organized into larger categories of meaning for the purpose ofdiscussion. Within districts, all teachers' data were collapsed across allschools.42CHAPTER FIVE: RESULTSThe purpose of this study was to access information on mixed-agegrouping from both teachers and parents. In order to obtain this informationtwo separate questionnaires were given to the respective groups. Theparticipant groups in the study included groups of teachers and parents fromDistrict A and District B.In this chapter the data and results from the teacher and the parentquestionnaires will be presented separately.5.1 Teacher Questionnaire Results5.1.1 Teachers' Background, Training, and EducationThe majority of teachers (N =28 of 44) participating in this studyreceived their teaching degrees between 1970 and 1989, while relatively few(N =9/44) had not completed degrees. Teachers from District A received theirdegrees from the University of British Columbia (UBC) (N = 12/24), and fromSimon Fraser University (SFU) (N = 6/24). Teachers from District B receivedtheir degrees from UBC (N = 8/20) and from SFU (N = 9\20). Combined resultsfrom District A and B indicate that eleven of twenty teachers from UBC areteaching mixed-age classes and twelve of fifteen teachers from SFU areteaching mixed-age classes. In this study over half of the teachers (N = 29/44)taught mixed-age grouping. The average years of experience for teachers43teaching mixed-age classes is 14.6 years. The average years of experience forteachers not teaching mixed-age classes is 14.2 years.5.1.2 Data On School Restructuring To Mixed-age GroupingTeachers were asked to respond to questions pertaining to therestructuring of their school organization and staffing in the change over tomixed-age grouping. A comparison of the responses between the two districtsas to whether there had been school-wide implementation goals and plans forrestructuring their schools to a mixed-age organization revealed a discrepancyin their responses. There were more "yes" answers given by District A andmore "no" responses from District B as shown in Table C-1.* Insert Table C-1 About here *Anecdotal comments (see Appendix E-1) listing specific goals indicatethat teachers in District A had no clear goals for implementation and whileteachers in District B responded that they did have goals, they made commentssuch as, "I don't remember any specific goals, but ... after a year of meetings,studying the program...it is just generally accepted that we divide groups ...into two age levels." This would indicate that the goals were not wellarticulated. Neither district could identify time lines for mixed-age goalimplementation.44In District B a majority of teachers (N = 14/20) reported that "all to most"staff were involved in restructuring to mixed-age grouping whereas District Ateacher (N = 12/23) responses indicate "some" staff were involved (seeAppendix C-19). Teachers were asked how implementation to mixed-agegrouping had affected their staffs. Table C-2 indicates that the staffs in DistrictB reported feeling more involved in the implementation of mixed-age groupingin their schools than the staffs of District A.* Insert Table C-2 about here *District A's responses included the following descriptors, "resentment,hostility"; "divided the staff"; "caused conflict"; and "caused a great riftbetween the staff"; while the descriptors from District A include, "morecollaborative", "mutual respect", "united us", "cooperative", and "positiveinfluence".5.1.3 Teachers' Conceptual Understanding of Mixed-Age GroupingThe respondents were asked a series of questions to determine thephilosophical underpinnings of mixing age grouping as identified in theliterature. Teachers gave a variety of opinions when asked why there was amove to mixed-age grouping. The three most popular responses were: a) Year2000/Primary Prog (N =9/44); b) continuous progress (N =8/44); and c) helpsin the move away from a curriculum driven program (N = 4/44). These results45were obtained by a compilation of the anecdotal responses from thequestionnaire. All of the anecdotal comments were sorted and similarresponses were grouped together and entered in Table C-3. For a detailed listof the comments see Appendix E-3.To determine more specific conceptual understandings the respondentswere asked to identify which group (older, younger, both groups or neithergroup) either benefitted or was disadvantaged by mixed-age grouping and tosupport their responses. The majority of teachers (N = 28/44) from bothdistricts agreed that both groups benefited from mixed-age grouping and thatneither group was disadvantaged by this configuration(N = 29/44). Anecdotalstatements (see Appendix E-4) from District A were generally positive,however, the responses did not identify specific statements from the literature.District B on the other hand also had a wide variety of responses, but theiranswers were more in line with the philosophy outlined in the literature.While teachers from both districts (N = 31/44) reported that mixed-agegrouping facilitates cooperative learning, fewer teachers (N = 23/44) reportedthat mixed-age grouping supports peer tutoring. Anecdotal commentsconcerning cooperative learning and peer tutoring will be expanded upon in thenext chapter. There was also agreement amongst the teachers (N = 25/44)from both districts that mixed-age classes were less competitive than same-ageclasses. Finally, both groups of teachers (N = 37/44) agreed that keeping anumber of students for more than one year had advantages. Table C-4 outlines46the most commonly cited responses supporting the idea of keeping childrenwith a teacher for more than one year.* Insert Table C-4 about here *5.1.4 Benefits And Concerns For Children In Mixed-age Classes The survey included both teachers enrolling mixed-age classes andteachers enrolling single-age classes. In the case of teachers enrollingmixed-age classes their practical experiences teaching mixed-age were drawnon to identify the benefits and concerns they have for children in their classes.In the cases of teachers not teaching mixed-age it was important to identifywhat they perceived to be the benefits and concerns for children in mixed-ageclasses as a means to understanding their reticence to teach mixed-age classes.Teachers identified (see Appendix C-5) that the optimum age span inmixed-age classes included any of the dual-age configurations (classes enrollingonly two age groups), whereas multi-age configurations (classes enrolling threeto four age groups) were a less preferred choice.Teachers enrolling mixed-age classes reported few problems for childrenin their classes (see Appendix C-6). Teachers not teaching mixed-age classesforesaw problems for children enrolled in mixed-age classes (see Appendix C-7)that were not reported by the teachers enrolling mixed-age classes. Problemsfor children in mixed-age classes will be discussed more thoroughly in the next47chapter. Both teachers enrolling mixed-age and those not enrolling mixed-age(N = 25/44) identified that discipline problems would be the same as in anyclass. Lastly, teacher's perceptions of children's socialization preferencesindicate that most children choose a balance of same-age and mixed-agesocializing in a mixed-age class (see Appendix C-8).Teachers reported that continuous progress (N = 16/43), having older rolemodels (N =14/43) and learning from each other (N =7/43) and a familyatmosphere (N = 7/43) were the most important benefits of a mixed-ageclassroom.5.1.5 Concerns About Teaching PractiseTeachers were asked to rank order areas of knowledge pertaining to theirteaching practise with which they were most concerned. The information isshown in Table C-9.* Insert Table C-9 about here *Approximately half of the teachers (N = 23\44) reported that math was aspecific curriculum concern that they found the most difficult to teach in amixed-age class (see Appendix C-10).485.1.6 Teacher Training and Educational Needs for Teaching Mixed-ageClasses Data were collected on the types of training and education that wouldbe helpful for teachers implementing mixed-age groupings. When asked wherethey learned about mixed-age grouping most teachers (N = 32/44) identified"practical experience", the Primary Program Document (N = 28/44), andprofessional reading (N = 23/44) as the source of learning about mixed-agegrouping.Just over half of the teachers (N = 23/44) reported that their teachereducation programs had not prepared them at all for teaching a mixed-ageclasses. When asked to rank order the reasons that led them to considerteaching a mixed-age class the teachers chose items shown in Table C-11.* Insert Table C-11 about here *Teachers were asked to rank order the ideal training experiences thatthey believed may influence the quality of teaching in a primary mixed-ageclass. Table C-12 outlines their responses.* Insert Table C-12 about here *Teachers were asked to identify the qualities and background theythought a teacher enrolling a mixed-age class should possess. The three most49popular choices were: first, a knowledge of child development; second, theyshould possess flexibility; and third, they should have patience. Finally,teachers identified district or school based initiatives, shown in Table C-13, thatthey believed would help teachers in the change to mixed-age grouping.* Insert Table C-13 about here *5.2 Parent Survey Results5.2.1 Background Information Parents were asked to identify the number of years their children hadbeen enrolled in mixed-age classes. Nine of nineteen District A parentsreported their children had been in the mixed-age program for one year, eightparents reported two years and two parents reported three years. In DistrictB, seventeen of twenty-two parents reported their children had been in themixed-age program for one year, four reported two years and one reportedthree years. Nineteen of forty-one parents felt that no one had helped them tounderstand the reasons for the change to mixed-age grouping, fifteen indicatedthe teacher had helped, nine indicated the principal, six indicated district staff,and four reported "other" to the question of help in understanding mixed-agegrouping. The choices for this question were not mutually exclusive.505.2.2 Benefits for Children in Mixed-age Classes Parents had mixed responses about the age group they thoughtbenefitted from mixed-age grouping as indicated in Table D-1.*Insert Table D-1 about here *Parents reported that the three curriculum/educational areas they felttheir children benefited from in a mixed-age class were: social/emotionalgrowth, language arts and math (see Appendix D-2). Parents (N = 30/41)perceived that older children were good role models in mixed-age classes. Theysaw role modelling, working with peers and social/emotional development asthe most important benefits for their children in these classes. Parents(N =31/41) agreed that children remaining with the same teacher for more thanone year was an advantage.5.2.3 Concerns for Children in Mixed-age Classes Parents had mixed comments in regard to the group of children theybelieved were disadvantaged by mixed-age grouping. While 17 of 41 parentsreported that neither group was disadvantaged by mixed-age classes theremaining reports were more varied. Four parents from District A and nineparents from District B reported older children, one parent from District A andfour parents from District B reported younger children and finally one parent51from District A and four parents from District B believed both groups weredisadvantaged.In curriculum and educational areas, parents from both districts wereconcerned about math, social/emotional development, and physicaldevelopment in mixed-age classes (see Appendix D-3). Parents' concernsabout mixed-age classes are summarized in Table D-4.* Insert Table D-4 about here *Finally parents were asked whether they would they choose to have theirchildren continue in mixed-age classes. Twelve of 19 District A parentsresponded yes, four responded no, and three gave no response. Eight of 22District B parents responded yes, eight responded no, and six gave noresponse.52CHAPTER SIX: DISCUSSION6.1 Teachers' Background, Training and EducationThe study included teachers who were teaching mixed-age classes aswell as those who were teaching same-age classes. The majority of theteachers involved in this study received their teaching degrees between 1970and 1989. When teachers received their training had little relationship as towhether they were teaching mixed-age or same-age classes. The averagenumber of years of teaching experience for both groups was just over 14 years,refuting the popular assumption that only the more recently trained andeducated teachers are open to new ideas and change. Although the yearteachers received their training had no relationship as to whether or not theywere teaching mixed-age classes, the results indicate that where teachersreceived their training may have made a difference. Proportionately moreteachers who attended Simon Fraser University than those who attended UBCwere teaching mixed-age classes. The results suggest that the length ofpractical experience offered in Simon Fraser's PDP teacher training programmay have had some influence in teachers' decisions to try mixed-age grouping.Practical experience was reported as an important means for teachers to learnabout mixed-age grouping. Five teachers from SFU identified that their teachertraining program had prepared them for mixed-age grouping. Their statementsinclude: "I found Simon Fraser University's P.D.P Program to be excellent! Thepractical experience was perfect", "Experience in the classroom and lots of53chances to work with and observe children is vital", "close match", and "Itprovided a good basis." While Simon Fraser's practica may not have directlytaught the teachers about mixed-age grouping, by its very length, it affordedstudent-teachers the opportunity to work with colleagues and children overextended periods. The length of the practical experience was a major differencein the the teacher training programs at both universities at the time the teachersparticipating in this study took their training and may have influenced thedifferences found in this study. The difference in the length of practicalexperience at SFU and UBC no longer exists.6.1.1 School Restructuring to Mixed-age Grouping The majority of teachers in District A reported that they had set no goalsfor the implementation of mixed-age grouping and that only some staff wereinvolved. Two comments from District A identify the attitude to restructuringthat appears to have been taken; "usually any one who wants to may teach it,not everyone is pushed into it," and "this structure is encouraged but notforced." When asked how the implementation had affected the staff, DistrictA's responses included "divided the staff", "a lot of stress", "caused conflict",and "caused some animosity".On the other hand, District B reported that "all to most" staff had beeninvolved in the implementation, and their comments identify that two schoolshad goals for restructuring; "I don't remember any specific goals, but ... aftera year of meetings, studying the program ... it is generally accepted that wedivide groups ... into two age levels," and "We decided as a staff two yearsago to implement dual-age classes." Comments from District B on how54implementation had affected their staff "united us", "more collaborative","positive influence", attest to a shared sense of purpose and success in theirrestructuring. In District A, where there were no goals and only some of thestaff involved, implementation was reported to have caused conflict and dividedstaffs. Such a high degree of strife could affect the success of implementation.6.1.2 Teachers' Conceptual Understanding of Mixed-age GroupingThe majority of the responses to why there had been a move tomixed-age grouping were generally positive, but did not identify theories whichspecifically support mixed-age grouping. However, ten respondents did reportthat mixed-age grouping facilitated continuous progress. Nine respondentsreported that the move to mixed-age grouping was because of the Year2000/Primary Program. Mixed-age grouping is not mentioned in the PrimaryFoundation Document (1990) and is mentioned only briefly in the PrimaryResource Document (1990) in which mixed-age grouping is suggested as onepossible organization to support a nongraded curriculum. It was difficult toassess whether the teachers' responses were because they understood howthe tenets of the Year 2000/Primary Program were facilitated by mixed-agegrouping or because they felt mixed-age grouping was endorsed by the PrimaryProgram. Responses which indicate that teachers were not aware of the theorysupporting mixed-age grouping were: "to provide experiences of different ageand social groups", "it's more natural", "progressive thinking" and "evendistribution of behavior problems."55The majority of responses from District A reported that both younger andolder groups benefit from mixed-age grouping. However, support for thisposition did not identify the social and cognitive benefits cited in the literature.The responses include, "each has an important role", "older students can helpyounger", and "both learn from each other". On the other hand, District Bresponses offer more specific reasons for their beliefs that both age groupsbenefit from mixed-age grouping. District B's responses correspond to thefindings related to the social and cognitive benefits outlined in the literature onmixed-age groupings. District B tended to agree with the statement that mixed-age classes benefit both younger and older children because the "differing rolesraise self esteem, children learn at differing rates, older learn by teaching,younger have role models and mixed-age fosters a cooperative, caringenvironment". Two of the respondents reported that if the mixed-age modeladopted keeps children with the same teacher for two years, then each childhas the opportunity to experience both positions.Teachers from both districts reported that mixed-age grouping facilitatescooperative learning and both districts appeared to have a good understandingof this teaching strategy and how mixed-age grouping facilitates its use. Whilecooperative learning is not directly related to age, the teachers' responsescorresponded to Katz, Evangelou, and Hartman's (1989) suggestion thatcooperative learning is related to the exploitation of differences betweenparticipants and as such mixed-age classes by their nature are made up of richdiversity and those differences and the leadership potential of the older group56facilitates cooperative learning. One teacher reported that "cooperative learningrequires different roles to be taken and some ages can take on leadership rolesor learn to subside and allow others the opportunity".While teachers in both districts understand how mixed-age groupingfacilitates cooperative learning, there is less understanding of how mixed-agegrouping facilitates peer tutoring. Twenty-three of forty-four teachers reportedthat mixed-age facilitates peer tutoring. Of the twenty-three, very fewanecdotal responses beyond, "older students can help younger students",indicate an understanding of how mixed-age supports this teaching strategy.From the responses there is no sense of how peer tutoring benefits the olderchild.Five responses from District B, (i.e. "it becomes a necessity with somany levels", "need older to help", "natural solution to time constraints", "it'sdifficult to give all the children the one to one they need, so there's lots ofopportunity for peer tutoring", and "teacher might be engaged in teachinganother group and not available") describe a disturbing picture of the possibilityand potential of peer tutoring being used, not for the benefits it offers learners,but to relieve pressures teachers are feeling in their classrooms. This result willbe compared with some concerns of parents later in this paper.6.1 .3 Benefits and Concerns for Children in Mixed-age Classes Teachers from both districts reported that mixed-age classes were lesscompetitive than same age classes. There was overwhelming agreement onthe advantages of keeping children for more than one year. A positive aspect57of having children for more than one year was that there was no time wastedat the beginning of each year establishing relationships. Children's strengthsand weaknesses were already familiar to the teacher, thus facilitating eachchild's continuing progress. Having already established relationships with thechildren and their parents, and having those children know the teacher'sexpectations helped create a caring environment where children felt free to takethe risks necessary for learning to happen.The teachers in this study identified very few concerns for students thatwere attributed directly to mixed-age grouping. It was reported that disciplinein a mixed-age class was not a concern as it would not differ significantly fromthat of a same-age class. There was a concern that mixed-age classes enrollingthree or more ages was too great a span for both the teacher and the children.The majority of the teachers reported a preference for a mixed-age organizationthat included only two ages. Parents' lack of knowledge about mixed-agegrouping caused concerns for teachers. One teacher summed it up, "I believe[parents] would be more supportive if more PR had been done before thechange...."Teachers in mixed-age classes reported few problems or concerns for thechildren in their classes. Teachers who were not teaching mixed-age classeshad concerns about: (a) meeting the individual needs of children in a mixed-ageclass, (b) how they might ensure that neither group of children felt threatenedor inadequate, and (c) challenging the more capable students. These teachersexpressed concerns for children in their care.58Teachers reported a wide variety of benefits for children in mixed-ageclasses. Continuous progress was identified as the most important benefit.Teachers working in mixed-age classes understood the benefits this settinghad for implementing a continuous progress program. One teacher summed upthe benefits of mixed-age: "...[children] are allowed to learn at their own pace.Teachers are learning not to stereotype children because they aren't expectingthem to all be the same now." Other benefits reported were children learningfrom each other and the family atmosphere of mixed-age groupings.The importance of older role models and the help they provide foryounger students is well understood by the teachers and has been reportedmany times throughout the study. Teachers reported that the socializationpatterns of the children showed a balance, when given a choice the childrenmixed well between age groups. Children chose same-age play and workmatesas often as they chose someone of a differing age. Several teachers identifiedgender as being the determining factor in choice of work and playmates moreoften than age.6.1 .4 Concerns About Teaching PractisesTeachers reported that knowledge about the characteristics of learnerswas of most concern to them in their teaching practise. With the removal ofgrades as terms of reference and the adoption of mixed-age classrooms theteachers in this study have identified the need for a new way of understandingthe characteristics of the children they are working with.59Other concerns were methods/practise, followed by curriculum andfinally content/subject. The ranking of the responses (see Appendix C-9)shows a general concern in all of these areas of teaching practice. While thequestion did ask about concerns in a mixed-age class, it is possible that theresponses included concerns not limited to mixed-age, but to the PrimaryProgram in general, especially in light of the major paradigm shift teachers havefaced with the adoption of the Primary Program.Math was identified as a concern specific to mixed-age classes.Teachers reported math as the curriculum that they found most difficult tointegrate into a continuous progress mixed-age classroom. Math is difficult forteachers as they adopt an integrated and interdisciplinary style of teaching andlearning in mixed-age classrooms. Several teachers reported that they taughtmath separately, which suggests that they determine that math is disconnectedfrom other areas of study. Compounding the problem is the belief that math(as identified by one respondent) must be learned in a specific sequence. In anongraded mixed-age classroom teachers were faced with children at differingstages of development in their mathematics learning and they experienceddifficulty determining where the children were at in a continuum of learning thatwas identified as hierarchical in nature and thus taught math separately to eachage group and did not integrate it into other areas of learning. One respondentdescribed it, "I find [math] the most difficult to arrange (set up) in mixed-agegrouping. I teach math separately".606.1 .5 Teacher Training and Education Needs for Teaching Mixed-ageClasses Several themes ran through teachers' reflections on their needs forteaching mixed-age classes. "Trying something new" was foremost inteachers' decisions to teach mixed-age grouping. Networking with colleagueswas also identified as a reason that led teachers to decide to teach mixed-ageclasses and it was identified as one of the district or school based initiativesthat would facilitate implementation of mixed-age grouping. When faced withinnovation and change, teachers identify a need for sharing and talking abouttheir teaching practises.Closely related to networking with colleagues are school visitations.Teachers place a high priority on the need for visiting schools that enrollmixed-age classrooms. Observing mixed-age classes while they are in session,followed with on-the-spot discussion with the practicing teachers offersobserving teachers a first hand look at how the concept of mixed-age isimplemented. Also, visiting classrooms often serves to validate teachers.When teachers recognize elements of their own practices in the classroomsthey visit they gain confidence in their own teaching.Knowledge of child development is identified as an important componentof training necessary for teachers in mixed-age classes. With the shift from agraded curriculum to a more developmentally appropriate curriculum, teachershave identified a need for a deeper understanding of child development theoryand how this development relates to their teaching practice.61While teachers reported that their education programs had not preparedthem for teaching mixed-age classes, it must be pointed out that, while not anew idea, implementation of nongraded mixed-age classes is a recentinnovation in British Columbia and the majority of the teachers in the surveycompleted their training before implementation began. Universities in BritishColumbia are beginning to offer Education courses which cover the tenets ofthe Primary Program, including continuous progress and mixed-age groupings.6.2 Parents' Background InformationThe parents in the study reported that they had not been well informedabout the rationale for mixed-age classes, but when they had receivedinformation it was first from teachers, second, from principals, and last, fromother district staff. The parents in District A reported that the majority of theirchildren had been in a mixed-age class between one and two years and inDistrict B parents reported the majority of their children had been in theprogram only one year.6.2.1 Parent Perceived Benefits for Children in Mixed-age ClassesParents in both districts had mixed responses about the age group theythought benefited from mixed-age grouping. Just less than half of the parentsthought both groups of children benefited from mixed-age classes, followedclosely by those parents who believe that the younger group benefits more.From the responses to several questions the parents report that the olderchildren benefit from teaching younger children and that the younger children62benefit because they have an opportunity to "learn from" and to be "challengedby" the older children.Parents reported that role modelling and working with peers was apositive experience for their children's social and emotional development andwere the most important benefits of a mixed-age class. They were verysupportive of their children staying with a teacher for more than one year. Theresponse matched those of teachers, in that they saw less time wasted inSeptember and they appreciated the importance of the rapport that had beenestablished between teachers and students and the importance this had fortheir children's social/emotional and cognitive development.6.2.2 Parent Concerns for Children in Mixed-age ClassesJust less than half of the parents of both districts reported that neithergroup of children was disadvantaged by mixed-age grouping. Interestingly, theparents as well as the teachers were most concerned with the math curriculumin a mixed-age class. Parents also reported a concern for the social andemotional development of their children. While the results did not indicate thatparents have major concerns for their children in mixed-age classes, theyexpressed concern about teachers' abilities in teaching what they perceived tobe a broad range of learning needs and they were concerned about teacherscommitment to the program. Parents expressed a concern that older childrenmay not be challenged enough, they understood the benefits for youngerchildren, but were less sure of the benefits for older. They thought the older63children "may be held back academically". Other concerns were that there maybe unrealistic expectations for younger children.Finally, when asked if they would have their children continue inmixed-age classes the majority of District A parent were in favor of theirchildren continuing, while the parents in District B were evenly split betweenthose in favor of their children continuing and those who said they did not wishthem to continue in a mixed-age class. The majority of District B children hadonly been in mixed-age classes for one year and many of the respondents whodid not wish their children to continue in mixed age had children that wouldbecome the oldest children the following year. These parents reported that"the older children may not have the same opportunity as the younger forworking ahead" and, as one parent declared "I believe children should beequipped with the learning skills before being asked to become part of theteaching staff". These parents did not understand the benefits of being theoldest in a mixed-age group and a few had major concerns about their childrenbeing used as teachers.64CHAPTER SEVEN: CONCLUSIONSThe response to mixed-age grouping by the teachers and parents in thisstudy paralleled the findings in the literature. Both teachers and parentsreported social and cognitive benefits for the children enrolled in mixed-ageclasses. The results indicate that mixed-age grouping is a successfulorganization for supporting a nongraded continuous progress philosophy andidentified areas that could have implications for future implementation andpractice of mixed-age grouping .7.1 Implications for PractiseWhile the parents and teachers generally felt positive and reportedbenefits for the children in mixed-age classes, with improved understanding,there are several areas that would enhance and facilitate the implementationand practise of future and existing mixed-age classes.The results indicated that when staffs undertake educational change orinnovations the setting of goals and the involvement of a majority of staffmembers is important for creating a shared sense of purpose and having apositive influence on staff relations. The success of any change is contingenton the attitude of the participants and a positive attitude by staffs wouldfacilitate the change to mixed-age grouping.Inservice plays a key role in the successful implementation of neweducational programs. The study identified several important aspects of65mixed-age grouping that would be facilitated by appropriate inservice. It isimportant that teachers and parents understand the philosophy supportingmixed-age grouping. The results of the study indicated that there is a need formore inservice on all aspects of the philosophy supporting mixed-age groupingas there are a proportion of teachers and parents that do not understand thebenefits of mixed-age grouping. The study also identified several specific areasthat were not well understood by a majority of the teachers. The use of peertutoring in mixed-age classes and the value that this teaching experienceprovides children when it is used appropriately and the benefits for olderchildren in mixed-age classes are two areas that were not well understood.Inservice for parents is important. In times of educational change it isimperative that parents are kept well informed of the changes affecting theirchildren. Parents' lack of knowledge about mixed-age grouping caused anxiety,concerns, and created added stress for teachers in this study. In the future itis important that parent education regarding mixed-age be well understoodbefore implementation and that it remains a continuing focus over several yearsas new parents enter the educational system each year.Implications for the future training and ongoing professional developmentof primary teachers were identified by the concerns teachers had for theirteaching practice in a mixed-age class. The mathematics curriculum was thearea that stood out as being most problematic for teachers in a mixed-ageclassroom. There was also an expressed need for a deeper understanding ofchild development and learning in primary-age children. These identified needs66of practising teachers should be seriously considered in the training of studentteachers.The method of personal development preferred by teachers was clearlyidentified by the study. Teachers expressed a strong need for collaborationwith colleagues. Administrators considering implementation of mixed-agegrouping would do well to recognize this need and consider various methodsfor providing teachers with time for collaboration. The method of professionaldevelopment preferred by teachers was school visitations. Teachers found thatvisiting classrooms was a valuable way for them to learn about mixed-agegrouping. Administrators need to look at creative ways that teachers within aschool could spend time in each others' classrooms, as well as providing forout of school and out of district visits that allow teachers to visit exemplarysites of mixed-age classes.Finally it should be recognized that the need to "try something new" wasthe most popular reason reported by the teachers as their reason for teachingmixed-age classes. While change has been identified as a difficult process, itappears that for a good portion of the teachers in this study, change waswelcomed. The second reason for trying mixed-age grouping was "personalphilosophy". The combination of personal philosophy with the desire to trysomething new identified that those teachers that moved to mixed-agegrouping had a basic understanding of the philosophy supporting the changesin teaching practise that they embarked on in their move to mixed-age classes.It is important to reiterate that for success with the implementation of67mixed-age grouping it is crucial that the teachers involved have a goodunderstanding of the philosophy supporting this organization and howmixed-age grouping benefits the children.7.1.1 Implications for Research The body of research on mixed-age grouping is small, offeringresearchers many avenues of exploration. There is a need to determine whyteachers experienced problems implementing a continuous progress model ofmathematics instruction for primary children and what is needed for the futuretraining and inservice of teachers. There is also the need to explore a "wholelanguage" style of mathematics instruction, where math is not divorced from,but integrated into the content structures of primary classrooms. Furtherresearch and design of the mathematics curriculum appears to be needed todetermine what is sequential in mathematics, what must be built upon, anddistinguish it from other areas that do not rely on hierarchical types of learningand instruction.Taking into account Vygotsky's "zone of proximal development" thereis a need to explore how mixed-age grouping provides cognitive benefits byfacilitating childrens' learning, at differing stages of their development, and indiffering situations found within classroom settings. This research would adddepth to the understanding of child development as it relates to learning inprimary-age children.In conclusion, by using a survey design, this study was able to accessimportant information on a number of issues related to mixed-age grouping.68The questionnaire format provided the respondents with a means to express(anonymously) their beliefs and opinions. The ensurance of anonymity for therespondents and the use of open-ended questions were positive attributes ofthis design. While the questions focused and directed the study, the use ofopen-ended questions allowed for an in-depth collection of information.This study was conducted on a small sampling. A broader examinationof the topic of mixed-age grouping could be gained by conducting the study ona larger group and by expanding the sampling to include principals, vice-principals and students. 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(1988). Early childhood education: What research tells us. PhiDelta Kappa. Fastback, Bloomington, In.Katz, L.G., Evangelou, D. & Hartman, J.A. (1989). The case for mixed-agegrouping in early childhood education programs. ED 308 991.Katz, L.G. & McClellan, D.E. (1991). The teacher's role in the social development of young children. Clearinghouse on Elementary and EarlyChildhood Education, IL.Lougee, M.D., Grueneich, R. & Hartup, W.W. (1977). Social interacation insame-and mixed-age dyads of preschool children. Child Development,1353-1361.Lougee, M. (1979). Age relations and young children's social interactions.Journal of Research and Development in Education, 13(1) 32-41.Ludeke, R.J. & Hartup, W.W. (1983). Teaching behavior of 9- and 11-year-oldgirls in mixed-age and same-age dyads. Journal of EducationalPsychology, 75(6), 908-914.Milburn, D. (1981). A study of multi-age or family grouped classrooms. PhiDelta Kappan, 513-514.Mounts, N.S. & Roopnarine, J.L. (1987). Social-cognitive play patterns insame-age and mixed-age preschool classrooms. American EducationalResearch Journal, 24(3), 463-476.72Oberlander, T.M. (1989). A nongraded, multi-aged program that works.Principal, 29-30.Parten, M.B. (1932). Social participation among preschool children. Journalof Abnormal and Social Psychology,  27, 243-269.Papadopoulos, A. (1988). The contact school plan visit to the Swedish contact school (Fajanskolan, Falkenberg). ED 292 569.Piaget, J. (1973). To understand is to invent the future of education.  NY:Penguin Books.Roopnarine, J. & Johnson, J.E. (1987). Approaches to early childhoodeducation. Columbus: Merrill.Ridgeway, L. (1979). Teaching them all together in the family way. ChildEducation, 9.Schrankler, W.J. (1976).^Family groupings and the affective domain.Elementary School Journal, 76, 432-439.Stanton, H. (1973). Vertical grouping. Teacher, 10Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higherpsychological processes.  Cambridge: Harvard University.Way, J.W. (1981). Achievement and self-concept in multiage classrooms. Educational Research Quarterly, 6(2), 69-75.Wolfson, B.J. (1967). The promise of multiage grouping for individualizedinstruction. Elementary School Journal,  354-362.73APPENDIX A: TEACHER SURVEY AND COVERING LETTERTEACHER SURVEY OF PRIMARY MIXED-AGE CLASSESBackground Information1. What year did you complete your teacher training?2. What year did you complete your university degree?3. How long have you taught at the following levels?Preschool ^Primary^Year 1 (K)^Intermediate Other^4. Are you teaching a nongrade primary mixed-age class? If yes, howmany years^YES^NO5.^In your school are there implementation goals and plans for restructuringto a nongraded mixed-age organization? YES^NOIf yes list THREE of them.2.3.6.^Is there a time-line for restructuring to nongraded primary mixed-agegrouping included in the implementation plans? If yes, what is the timeline?^ YES^NO7.^To what extent was the staff involved in the implementation plans forthe change to nongraded mixed-age grouping?a great deal^somewhat^a littlenot at all748. The restructuring to a nongraded primary mixed-age organization in yourschool has included...all staffno staff most staff^some staff9. How has implementation of nongraded mixed-age grouping affected yourstaff?10. How are the students selected when setting up mixed-age primaryclasses?11. In your opinion what are the reasons for the move to mixed-agegrouping?12. List THREE SCHOOL or DISTRICT based initiatives that would helpteachers in the change to primary mixed-age grouping.1.^2.3.Advantages/Disadvantages of Primary Mixed-age Grouoinq13. What group of children do you feel benefit most from mixed-agegrouping?older children^younger childrenboth groups neither groupWhy?7514. What group of children do you feel are at a disadvantage in a mixed-agegroup?older children^younger childrenboth groups_ neither groupWhy? 15. What is the optimum age span for mixed-age classes?Dual Year^ Multi-yearYear 1-2 Year 1-2-3_Year 2-3 Year 2-3-4_Year 3-4^ Year 1-2-3-416. List the 3 MOST IMPORTANT benefits for children in primary mixed-ageclasses.1.^2.3.17. List the 3 MOST SERIOUS problems for children in primary mixed-agegrouping.1.^2.3.18. To what extent does mixed-age grouping facilitate cooperative learningin a primary classroom?a great deal^somewhat^a littlenot at allWhy?7619. To what extent does mixed-age grouping facilitate peer tutoring in aprimary classroom.a great deal^somewhat^a littlenot at allWhy?^20. Are the children in a primary mixed-age class more or less competitivewith each other than in a same-age class?more^less^same^not certain21. Discuss discipline in regard to primary mixed-age grouping.22. How would you best describe children's socialization PREFERENCES inyour primary mixed-age class?a) the children prefer to play/work mostly in mixed-age groupsb) the children prefer to play/work mostly in same-age groupsc) there is a balance of same-age and mixed age socializingd) other23. Some people believe that keeping a number of students for more thanone year has advantages.Discuss whether you agree or disagree with this statement, and why.24. Where did you learn about mixed-age grouping?Primary Program Documents^InserviceProfessional ReadingProfessional DevelopmentPractical ExperienceOther7725. Please rank in order of importance (from 1 = most important to 8 = leastimportant) the reasons that led you to consider teaching a primarymixed-age class._ school policy_ district policy_ learning new teaching strategies_ networking with colleaguesfrustration with traditional graded model__ university course work_ personal Philosophyan interest in trying something new^other^26. Please rank in order of importance (from 1 = most important to 5 = leastimportant) the areas of knowledge with which you are most concernedin regard to teaching children in a primary mixed-age grouping._ Content/subject matter_ Methods/practice_ CurriculumCharacteristics of learners_ Other^27. List THREE CURRICULUM areas of most concern in teaching a primarymixed-age group.28. Listed below are a number of training experiences that may influence thequality of teaching in a primary mixed-age class. Please rank in order ofimportance (from 1 = most important to 6 = least important) the idealtraining experience for teachers of primary mixed-age classes._ Professional Development_ Pre-service Practicum_ In-service experience_ Specialized Primary Education_ Child Development KnowledgeLiberal Arts Education__ otherComments^7829. To what extent did your teacher education program prepare you forprimary mixed-age classrooms?^30. Please indicate where you received your teacher training.UBC^SFU^UVicOther31.^Ideally, what qualities and background do you think a teacher teachingin a primary mixed-age class should possess?79THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIACentre for the Study ofCurriculum and InstructionFaculty of EducationVancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z4Tel: (604) 822-6502Fax:(604) 822-8234Dear TeacherRE: TEACHER SURVEY OF PRIMARY MIXED-AGE CLASSESAs part of my requirements of my Master of Arts in Early Childhood EducationI am conducting this survey on mixed-age grouping. The purpose of the projectis to gather information that will improve understanding of mixed-age groupingand facilitate the continued implementation of mixed-age classes. To succeedin this task it is vital to obtain you views on mixed-age grouping. I ask that youtake a few minutes to fill out the enclosed questionnaire.Be assured that your responses to the questionnaire are confidential. Thequestionnaire contains no identifiable personal information and the identity ofthe school districts will not be named in the write up of the survey results.Your participation in this study is voluntary and you may refuse to answer anyquestions you consider sensitive in nature. If the questionnaire is returned itwill be assumed that consent has been given to use the information for mystudy.I am doing this study under the supervision of Dr. Hillel Goelman and Dr.Marilyn Chapman of the Faculty of Education at UBC. If you have anyquestions, please contact Dr. Goelman at 822-6502 or myself at 869-9904.Thank you for your time and cooperation in participating in this survey.Sincerely,Judy Guthrie80APPENDIX B: PARENT SURVEY AND COVERING LETTERPARENT SURVEY OF PRIMARY MIXED-AGE CLASSES1.^How many years has your child been enrolled in a mixed-ageclassroom?2. What age group in mixed-year classes do you feel benefits most fromthis organization?older children^ younger childrenboth groups of children^neither groupWhy?^3. Which group do you feel might be at a disadvantage in a primarymixed-age class.older children^ younger childrenboth groups of children^neither groupWhy?^4. Which of the following classroom organizations would you prefer foryour child.year 1-2 (former K/gr.1)year 1-2-3 (former gr.K/1/2)" 2-3 (former gr.1/2)" 2-3-4 (former gr.1/2/3)" 3-4 (former gr.2/3)" 1-2-3-4 (former gr.K/1/2/3)5. What curriculum\educational areas do you feel your child would benefitfrom most in a mixed age class?Language Arts^Physical DevelopmentSocials/Science MathFine ArtsSocial/Emotional DevelopmentOther^816. What curriculum\educational area do you feel your child may havedifficulties with in a mixed age class?Language Arts^Physical DevelopmentSocials/Science MathFine ArtsSocial/Emotional DevelopmentOther^7. Do you feel the older children are good role models in a mixed-age class?YES NOComments^8. Some teachers believe that keeping students for more than one year hasadvantages. Do you agree or disagree with this statement.AGREE^DISAGREEComments9. In your opinion what are the THREE MOST IMPORTANT BENEFITS foryour child in mixed-age classes.1.^2.3.10. Do you have any concerns for your child in a mixed-age class?11. Who helped you to understand the reasons for moving to mixed-ageclasses.82District StaffSchool PrincipalYour child's teacherNo oneOther12. If given a choice would you have your child/children continue in aprimary mixed-age class?^YES_ NO_WHY?^83THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIACentre for the Study ofCurriculum and InstructionFaculty of EducationVancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z4Tel: (604) 822-6502Fax:(604) 822-8234Dear Parents,RE: PARENT SURVEY OF MIXED-AGE CLASSESAs part of the requirements of my Master of Arts in Early Childhood EducationI am conducting this survey on mixed-age grouping. The purpose of the projectis to gather information that will improve understanding of mixed-age groupingand help with the continued implementation of mixed-age classes. To succeedin this task it is important to obtain your views on mixed-age grouping. I askthat you take a few minutes to fill our the enclosed questionnaire.Be assured that your responses to the questionnaire are confidential. Thequestionnaire contains no identifiable personal information and the schooldistricts will not be named in the write up or survey results. Your participationin this study is voluntary and you may refuse to answer any questions youconsider sensitive in nature. If the questionnaire is returned it will be assumedthat consent has been given to use the information for my study.I am doing this study under the supervision of Dr. Hillel Goelman and Dr.Marilyn Chapman of the Faculty of Education at UBC. If you have anyquestions, please call Dr. Goelman at 822-6502 or myself at 869-9904. Thankyou for your time and cooperation in participating in this survey.Sincerely,Judy Guthrie84APPENDIX C: TABLES FOR TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRETable C-1Implementation Goals For Restructuring to Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT A^DISTRICT B^COMBINEDN =24 N =20 N = 44yes^6^ 12^ 18no^14 7 21undecided 3^ 1^ 4no response 1 0 1Table C-2Staff Involvement In Implementation of Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT A^DISTRICT B^COMBINEDN = 24 N =20 N = 44great deal 7^ 16^ 13somewhat 6 0 6a little^4^ 0^ 4not at all^4 0 4no response 3 4^ 785Table C-3Teachers' Opinions On the Move to Mixed-age ClassesDIST.AN=24DIST.BN=20COMB.N=442 7 94 6 101 3 42 1 33 0 32 0 2Year 2000/Primary Prog.continuous progresshelps break away fromcurriculum driven programsecure environmentexperience different ageschildren learn from eachotherNote. A compilation of anecdotal comments86Table C-4Benefits of Teaching Children More Than One YearDIST.AN=24DIST.BN=20COMB.N=4410 13 237 9 145 6 132 5 70 2 20 2 2continuous progresschildren know expectationsrapport establishedwaste no time in Sept.parent relation establishedmust look at childrenindividuallyNote. Compilation of anecdotal comments.Table C-5Teachers' Preferences for Age Span in Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT AN =24DISTRICT BN =20COMBINEDN =44Dual YearYear 1/2 12 7 19Year 2/3 10 10 20Year 3/4 10 8 18Multi YearYear 1 /2/3 2 4 6Year 2/3/4 1 4 5Yr. 1/2/3/4 2 1 3Note. Choices were not mutually exclusive.88Table C-6Problems Identified by Teachers Enrolling Mixed-age ClassesDIST.AN =24DIST.BN =20COMB.N =440 3 32 0 20 3 32 0 2not different from same-ageless student/teacher timeindividual needscan't think of anyNote. Compilation of anecdotal comments.Table C-7Problems Identified by Teachers Not Enrolling Mixed-age ClassesDIST.AN =24DIST.BN =20COMB.N =440 40 33 32 2meeting individual needs 4neither group feeling^3threatened/inadequatenot challenging capable 0younger less likely to^0be leadersNote. Compilation of anecdotal comments.90Table C-8Children's Work/Play Preferences in Mixed-age ClassesDIST.A^DIST.B^COMB.N=24^N =20^N =44prefer mixed-age groups^2^2^4prefer same-age groups^0^2^2balance of mixed-age and^14^15^29same-ageother^ 3^3^6no response^ 5^0^5Note. Answers were not mutually exclusive.Table C-9Areas of Concern for Teaching Mixed-age ClassesDIST.A DIST.B COMB.characteristics of 80 64 144learnersmethods/practice 70 50 120curriculum 64 42 106content/subject 66 35 101other 13 14 27Note. The first choice was weighted at 5, the lastTable C-10Curriculum Concerns for Teaching Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT AN =24DISTRICT BN =20COMBINEDN =44math 13 10 23reading 6 3 9language arts 5 0 5science 0 5 5writing 3 0 3none 0 3 3Note. Compilation of anecdotal comments93Table C-11Reasons For Teaching Mixed-age ClassesDIST.AN=24DIST.BN=20COMB.N=44121 97 21889 97 19693 86 17979 79 15856 78 13453 68 12132 42 7460 11 7130 39 69trying something newpersonal philosophylearning new teachingstrategiesnetworking with colleaguesschool policyfrustration with gradedmodeldistrict policyotheruniversity coursesNote. The first choice was weighted at 8, the last choice at 1.94Table C-12Experiences that Influence the Quality of Teaching in Mixed-age ClassesDIST.AN =24DIST.BN =20COMB.N =4498 85 18389 86 17576 92 16889 69 15875 74 14937 38 7529 14 43inserviceknowledge of childdevelopmentpreservice practicumprofessional developmentprimary educationliberal arts educationotherNote. First choice was weighted at 6, last choice at 1.95Table C-13District or School Initiatives That Facilitate Change to Mixed-age GroupingDIST.AN =24DIST.BN =20COMB.N =44visitations^9 8 17networking^8 7 15inservice^8 5 13lower class size^7 3 10resources^6 4 10Helping Teacher^5 4 9Parent education^3 2 5Funding^5 0 5Pro D^0 4 4Leadership^4 0 4time^0 4 4teacher's decision 3 0 3workshops^0supportingphilosophy2 2Note. A compilation of anecdotal comments.96Table C-14Institutions Where Teachers Received Their TrainingDISTRICT A^DISTRICT B^COMBINEDN =24^N =20^N =44UBC^12^8^20SFU 6 8 14U of A^2^0^2Other^3 3 6No response^1^ 1^2Table C-15Teachers Enrolling Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT A^DISTRICT B^COMBINEDN =13 N =16 N =29UBC 6 5 11SFU 3 9 12U of A 2 0 2Other 2 2 497Table C-16When Teachers Degrees Were CompletedDISTRICT AN =24DISTRICT BN =20COMBINEDN =441990-92 2 2 41980-89 8 8 161970-79 7 5 121960-69 1 1 2not complete 5 4 9no response 1 0 1Table C-17Teachers' Average Years of ExperienceDISTRICT AN =24DISTRICT BN =20COMBINEDN =44Teaching M-Ayears ofexperience15 14.2 14.6Not TeachingM-Ayears ofexperience14.5 14 14.2Note. M-A (Mixed-age)98Table C-18Time Line for Implementation of Goals for Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT A^DISTRICT B^COMBINEDN =24^N =20^N =44yes^0^2^2no 21 8 291other^0^5^5no response^3 5 8Table C- 19Restructuring to Mixed -age Classes Included:DISTRICT A^DISTRICT B^COMBINEDall staff^6^7^13most staff^2 7 9some staff^12^3^15no staff^0 0 0no response^3^3^699Table C-20Considerations for Mixed-age Class StructureDIST.AN =24DIST.BN =20COMB.N =44special needs/behavior 11 9 20balance 7 5 12gender 6 6 12friendship 0 7 7compatibility 2 0 2Note. A compilation of anecdotal comments.Table C-21Groups Benefiting From Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT AN =24DISTRICT BN =20COMBINEDN = 44older 1 0 1younger 3 4 7both groups 14 14 28neither 2 2 4no response 4 0 4100Table C-22Groups Disadvantaged by Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT AN =24DISTRICT BN = 20COMBINEDN = 44older 3 1 4younger 0 2 2both groups 5 0 5neither 13 16 29no reponse 3 1 4101Table C-23Benefits for Children in Mixed-age ClassesDIST.AN =24DIST.BN =20COMB.N =448 8 166 8 147 0 77 0 73 3 62 4 64 2 65 0 52 3 55 0 50 3 32 0 2continuous progressolder role modelslearning from each otherfamily atmosphereleadership skillsrange/variety of skillscooperative learning2 yrs. with teacherself esteemlearning by teachingacceptance of differencesbetter social relationsat schoolNote. A compilation of anecdotal comments.102DIST.AN =24DIST.BN =20COMB.N =4413 18 312 1 30 1 15 0 54 0 4great dealsomewhata littlenot at allno responseTable C-24How Mixed-age Grouping Facilitates Cooperative LearningTable C-25How Mixed-age Grouping Facilitates Peer TutoringDIST.AN =24DIST.BN =20COMB.N =4410 13 236 2 81 0 13 0 34 5 9great dealsomewhata littlenot at allno response103Table C-26Teachers' Perceptions of Competitiveness In Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT AN =24DISTRICT BN =20COMBINEDN =44more 1 0 1less 15 10 25same 4 3 7not certain 4 5 9no response 0 2 2Table C-27Responses to Discipline by Teachers Enrolling a Mixed-age ClassDISTRICT AN =13DISTRICT BN =16COMBINEDN =29same^11 10 212nd year students 2 2 4helpeasier, younger^0 2 2emulate olderother^5 4 9Note. A compilation of anecdotal comments.104Table C-28Responses to Discipline by Teachers Not Enrolling a Mixed-age ClassDISTRICT AN = 11DISTRICT BN = 4COMBINEDN =15same^4 0 4other^3 0 3no response 4 0 4Table C-29The Importance of Teacher Education Programs as Preparations for Mixed-ageClassesDISTRICT AN =23DISTRICT BN = 20COMBINEDN = 44not at all 12 11 23very little 3 6 9somewhat 3 2 5other 1 0 1no response 4 1 5105Table C-30Advantages of Keeping Students for More than One YearDIST.A^DIST.B^COMB.24 resp. 20 resp. 44 resp.agree^19^18^37disagree^4 0 4agree/disagree^1 2^3Note. A compilation of anecdotal comments.Table C-31Where Teachers Learned about Mixed-age ClassesDIST.A^DIST.B^COMB.N=24 N=20 N=44Primary Prog. Document 14 14 28professional reading 10 13 23practical experience 16 16 32Inservice 6 5 11Professional Development 10 9 19Other 4 2 6Note. Answers were not mutually exclusive.106Table C-32Ideal Qualities for Teachers of Mixed-age ClassesDIST.AN =24knowledge of child 7developmentflexibility 3patience 5love children 3knowledge of Year 2000 5energy 4enthusiasm for concept 4understand continuous 3progressorganized^0open minded^3experience at all grade^0levelshumor^ 2knowledge of learning^0stylescooperative learning^0love of learning^0DIST.BN=20COMB.N=443 106 94 96 90 50 40 40 33 30 33 30 22 22 22 2Note. A compilation of anecdotal responses.107Table C-33Survey Demographic InformationDIST.A^DIST.B^COMB.student populationteachers in districtteachers participatingin surveyteacher survey returnsparents participating insurveyparent survey returns1,565 14,984 1654988 878 96632 32 6424 20 4443 49 9219 22 41108APPENDIX D: TABLES FOR PARENT QUESTIONNAIRETable D-1Groups Benefiting from Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT AN =19DISTRICT BN =22COMBINEDN =41older 3 1 4younger 5 9 14both 9 9 18neither 2 3 5Note. Choices were not mutually exclusiveTable D-2Curriculum and Educational Areas Children Benefit from in Mixed-age ClassesDIST.AN =19DIST.BN =22COMB.N =41social/emotional growth 15 16 31language arts 13 11 24math 8 11 19socials/science 8 6 14fine arts 6 7 13physical development 6 7 13109other^ 0^0^0Note. Answers were not mutally exclusive.Table D-3Curriculum and Educational Areas Children May Be Disadvantaged by inMixed-age GroupingDIST.AN =19DIST.BN =22COMB.N =41math 5 5 10social/emotional growth 4 6 10physical development 2 7 9language arts 2 6 8socials/science 2 3 5fine arts 1 3 4other (none) 2 0 2Note. Answers were not mutually exclusive.111Table D-4Groups Disadvantaged by Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT A^DISTRICT B^COMBINEDN =19^N =22^N =41older^5^9^14younger^1 1 2both 1^4^5neither^9 8 17no response^3^0^3Table D-5Number of Years Children Enrolled in Mixed-age ClassesDISTRICT A^DISTRICT B^COMBINN =19^N =22^N =411 year^9^17^262 years^8 4 123 years^2^1^3112Table D-6Parent Preferences for Mixed-age ConfigurationsDISTRICT AN =19DISTRICT BN = 22COMBINEDN = 417 3 1010 10 2011 11 222 1 33 0 31 1 2year 1/2year 2/3year 3/4year 1/2/3year 2/3/4yr.1/2/3/4Note. Choices were not mutually exclusive113Table D-7Perceptions of Older Children as Role Models in Mixed-age ClassesDIST.AN=19DIST.BN=22COMB.N = 41yes 15 15 30no 3 3 6no response 1 4 5Table D-8Children Staying With the Same Teacher for More than One YearDIST.AN=19DIST.BN=22COMB.N = 41agree 13 18 31disagree 3 3 6no response 3 1 4114DIST.A^DIST.B^COMB.N =19 N =22 N = 41no concerns^3worries about teachers 4abilities/committmentolder not being^2challenged enoughunrealistic expectations 2for younger7 103 73 52 4Table D-9Benefits for Children in Mixed-age ClassesDIST.A^DIST.B^COMB.N=19 N =22 N=41role modelling/working 24^21^45with peerssocial/emotional devel.^11 12^23Note. A compilation of anecdotal commentsTable D-10Concerns for Children in Mixed-age ClassesNote. A compilations of anecdotal comments115Table D-11Who Helped Parents Understand Mixed-age PhilosophyDIST.A^DIST.B^COMB.N=19 N=22 N = 41no one^ 8^11^19teacher 5 10 15principal^2^7^9district staff^4 2 6other^ 2^2^4Note. Answers were not mutually exclusive.Table D-12Parents' Choices for Future Enrollment in Mixed-age ClassesDIST.A^DIST.B^COMB.N=19 N=22 N = 41yes^ 12^8^20no 4 8 12no response^3^4^7116APPENDIX E: ANECDOTAL COMMENTS FROM TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRE1.^Implementation Goals for Restructuring (5)*1.1^District A Teacher Commentsno responsewe don't all want mixed age!Usually any one who wants to may teach it; not everyone is pushed into it;the teacher has to feel comfortable.- not for a total nongradednessno response- no response- K-1, 1-2, 2-3- This structure is encouraged but not forced.- no responseSome are nongraded but one age: several are nongraded mixed-age;continuous progress is a goal area for next year.no response- no responseno responseno response- no response- no response- no response- we do this naturally because of numbers; next year we hope to instigate aprimary class K-1 with 1.5 teachers.no responseno responseno response- no response- primary 2/3, primary 3/4, intermediate 4/5- all primary except for year 1 as of Sept. 19992* The number in the parenthesis corresponds to the question on the TeacherQuestionnaire.1171.2 District B Teacher Comments- no response- Each primary teacher has a mixed-age grouping (heterogeneous); teacherskeep students for two years; much care and consideration goes into theplacement of students- I don't remember any specific goals but at placement meetings after a yearof meeting, studying the program, 2 years ago and ever since, it is justgenerally accepted that we divide groups into early and late primary with 2age levels in each.- It's already been implemented.- no response- unknown to me- I think the goals and plans are informal and not articulated. We areexperimenting as we go. We all have multi-age classrooms. We decided thatafter we spent a year of observing multi-age classrooms and reading anddiscussing. We meet every month to discuss and plan as a group.- No specific goals that I am aware of. We just do it. We discuss it at PrimaryStaff Meetings.- Go slowly, 2 age levels to start; change school jargon and parents fromgrades to ages, ie "I'm in grade 2 to I'm 7".- this has already been completed: mixed-age groupings have been here for 4years.- we are mostly mixed-age now- those that wished to participate were given opportunity; giving inservice toparents; inservice for teachers as well- We decided as a staff two years ago to implement dual-age classes. Thingscould change as a result of new staffing for the 1992-93 school year._- Do it! A staff decision.- no response- collaboration between classrooms for co-teaching units; purchase ofmore/pooling of resources ie math manipulatives, reading material; exchangedesks for flat tops for flexible room arrangements- no response- no response- multi-age special activities; meeting needs of individual children (not groupsof children)- no response1182.^Affects of Implementation on Staffs (9)2.1 District A Teacher Comments- It has seemed to caused a lot of stress, I feel there is a lack of acceptancefor differing teaching styles.- Because some do and others do not, class organization is skewed forso-called "straight graded" classes.- divided the group, caused conflict.- caused a great rift between the staff- a lot of strife- made division--two philosophies exist and clash- some favor it, others don't- caused resentment and hostility when people who were teaching mixed-agewere given more money than others- It has caused some animosity among those who are enthusiastic aboutchange and those who are not.- Even those not doing mixed-age have taken on the nongraded approach.- It has divided the staff (Us and Them Perception by many). Has added extratension to staff relations.- Three quarter of classes are nongraded mixed-age. These are by choice- Three out of four classes. Where it was by choice very positively, where itwas forced, negatively.- Those who chose to move to mixed-age grouping have enjoyed doing so.- Where there is choice--positive. Where there is no choice--negative.- no response- not at all- We have great deal of staff unity because of this; we all feel as if we are inthis together; our success are shared; it has promoted more staff interactionand appreciation for each others gifts, talents and abilities- no response- N/A, forces multiage/multigrade if one person wants to try it--so far this hasnot been the reason for multiage- Some are in favor and are trying it and some are against it- no response- some like it, others do no, would prefer a one grade level class- some like it; some do not.2.2 District B Teacher Comments- Generally it has had a positive influence. I find I am more aware of what ishappening in more classrooms as there are more of us teaching the same agelevel. Our classes do more activities together and we share more ideas.- teaching styles and strategies had to change. Resources were required.119- We have more to share, there is common interests among late primaryteachers and among early primary teachers. Most teachers still view theirsituation as a split class.- anger/confusion as schoolboard administration insisted we partake in testingon nationwide scale that used "grades"!- Some like it, some don't.- no response- We talk more, about our concerns, about what it is we do differently, aboutwhat we like better.- We have difficulty with intermediate and specialist teachers referring to thechildren by grades (also substitutes). Some seem unwilling to change tousing age levels as a term of reference.- Some are always reluctant to change and resist because they prefer moredefinite guidelines for reporting on kids. Most of us were already teachingwith this philosophy and LOVE that it's mandated now.- More communication between teachers and primary and intermediate.- We came to a consensus as a staff and have worked together to implementit.- unified us / lots of collaboration / sharing sessions / lots of teaming ofclasses, mutual respect for variety of teaching styles- Some staff members are sold on dual-age classes, others would prefer singleage groupings again. I'm sold on dual-age classes.- Most are happy -- others don't see benefits.- united us so that we became a far more collaborative group- sense of sharing -- equipment, facilities, concerns, teaching strategies.- N/A- N/A- more cooperative activities, more collaboration between teachers- no response3.^Reasons for the Move to Mixed-age Grouping (11)3.1 District A Teacher Comments- No class of "straight" grades had a finite ability range anyhow. Themixed-ages show ability (and disability) transcend age.- I sense a pressure that without doing multiage groupings the "year 2000"approach can not happen.- Older students being models for the younger ones.- Some people feel it's better for children--I don't agree.- an attempt to offer a greater range of opportunities and challenges tostudents- More child-centered learning--ties to the philosophy of mixed-age120Year 2000, class sizes, philosophical considerations, educationalconsiderations.to force teachers to view continuous progress seriously (for probably thesame reason dual entry was forced on the provinceTo better facilitate the fact that children develop at different rates and thatthey should be in an environment that encourages those differencesIt is part of the Year 2000 for one. It also creates a better climate forlearners and helpers with a bigger age spread.In our school it was (1) The push from teachers who are sold on thephilosophy. (2) Administration number crunching to fit children into 'X'number of classes. (3) Teachers willing to take a risk- to provide experiences of different age and social groups- to give kids a chance to experience different groups-to have the benefit ofhaving different ages in the classto allow for some change within classes of children which often stay togetherfrom K-12. In a small school settings allows for a change of social groupsand a more even distribution of behavior problems.- to experience different age and social groups- no responsesmall school-arrange classes according to population changes- we have always had mixed ages at this school- Older students can help the younger students, and thus solidify what theyalready know. Younger students have example and knowledge of the olderstudents to draw on.- numbers; social interaction problems separated- children learn from each other and teach each other- class size and structure- In intermediate class size and number of special needs children in the classhave effected the change to mixed-age grouping.Small school, mainly class size numbers3.2 District B Teacher Comments- Year 2000 - Primary Program basically - also mixed-age groups facilitatecooperative learning, peer tutoring etc. and helps to eliminate the stereotypesof "low grade 2's" or "bright grade 2's". Children are allowed to progress attheir own rate.- Fits with the goals of the new Primary Document. Forces teachers toimplement more open-ended teaching strategies- To conform to the philosophy of the Year 2000 curriculum.- Year 2000 Document- Suggested by Primary Document- bandwagon effect, belief that it will benefit most, strong push from a few121- It's more natural. I have a late primary/early intermediate class, those whoneed more time with the primary program can have it before entering theintermediate program. We all help each other.- It is the best for kids! All feel success at their level and acceptance of others.Everyone shines at something.- It's a more natural way to group based on (incomplete response)- Progressive thinking and trends; a belief that it's better for kids.- Every student in our school has unique individual needs. We feel these needscan often be best met in a mixed-age grouping.- continuous progress / Year 200 / modelling / remediation withoutembarrassment- Children learn at their won rate. Mixed-age grouping fits with the philosophyof the Primary Program. I'm all for it!- Older groups models behavior expectations and reading behaviors. Helpsteachers break away from curriculum driven programs.- to allow children to move at a developmentally appropriate level, in a safesecure environment; to allow children to "help each other and learn from eachother"- Interest on behalf of teachers - a sense that if you believe in continuousprogress it should 'work'.- emphasis on individual learning- N/A- teacher preference and children's needs- less emphasis upon artificial expectations > emphasis upon individual learners4.^Which Group Benefits from Mixed -age and Why (13)4.1 District A Teacher Comments - both groups; older children can lead, younger children can learn respect forall ages- both groups; each has an important role that require different skills- both groups; younger ones have someone to look up to, older ones get achance to be "models" and helpers- both groups; because it facilitates individual learning styles and differentrates of development- both groups; It depends - I only have experience with Year 1-2. I feel bothgroups benefit from that structure but I think that other combinations couldhave opposite results.- both groups; In practice these are always mixed ages (mental) and abilities.- both groups; no response- older group; Younger notice more the difference between their abilities andthat of the older children- younger group; the older children set the examples122- neither group; huge span of abilities and too many special needs- no response; Depends on dynamics of each group.- both groups; there appears to be a more cooperative spirit in the classroom- both groups; Benefits for older kids of being leaders and younger of havingpeer support- younger group; interest levels the same- neither group; less teacher time for each group- neither group; no response- both groups; Older students can help younger students, and thus solidifywhat they already know. Younger students have example and knowledge ofthe older students to draw on.- both groups; all children benefit from learning from or helping peers to learn- younger group; Younger children have models to watch and to strive towardsin both work progress and behavior- both groups; the older children learn by teaching and can fill in learning gapswhen with younger children- both groups; both learn from each other, more cooperative and considerate- both groups; Older children re-enforce their skills when they have to help ayounger child. Younger children learn better when taught by their peers.- both groups/neither group; It depends on individual students and teacherperceptions.- younger group; Learn routines with more ease from their older buddies.4.2 District B Teacher Comments- both groups; differing roles raise self-esteem- both groups; Modelling and teaching help reinforce learning of older children.Older children motivate younger ones.- both groups; younger students benefit from modelling, older students benefitfrom helping/working with younger- both groups; Age has nothing to do with it, those who can help those whocan't.- both groups; children learn at different rates. Older develop responsibility,younger have a buddy.- both groups; Fosters a more cooperative, caring environment.- younger group; no response- younger group; peer tutoring, role models of older students- neither group; no response- no response; No basis for proof.- both groups; see that everyone has a range of strengths a and challengesand as a group we can help and be helped as a normal interaction- both groups; both groups are exposed to the whole spectrum and allowed togo as far as they can123- both groups; Mixed-age grouping allows for flexibility. You focus on social,emotional and intellectual growth. Children learn with and from others.- both groups; enrichment / remediation and continuous progress / buddying/ family atmosphere- younger group; (have only worked with these) from P1-P4 they are giventime to see and work in a holistic program- younger group; no response- both groups; age is not most critical factor in Primary- both groups; children learn from each other- both groups; no response- both groups; age not a factor5.^Which Groups are Disadvantaged and Why (14)5.1 District A Teacher Commentsneither group; younger become older in Year 2- neither group; except if one group is always the older or always the youngerneither group; there is much to be learned from being a cooperative groupworker and from being the older and younger members- neither group; many reasons - range too great, numbers of students too high,not independent workers, not enough repetition for some, too much for othersneither group; the older serve as models for the younger; the younger learnfrom their peersneither group; depends on children and class make upolder group; used as teachers too oftenolder group; no one (other than the teacher) to look up toboth groups; There is too great a difference in abilities in a single age letalone several ages and classes are getting more and more problems.both groups; no responseno response; I don't think we can generalize.neither group; there appears to be a more cooperative spirit in the classroomneither group; Benefits for older kids of being leader and younger of havingpeer support.- N/A- both groups; less teacher time for each group- both groups; no response- neither group; no response- older group; Younger-based activities might be boring. Older students don'thave an older model to copy or work ahead with like the younger ones do.- no response; I feel children who come from a low stimulation environmentare at a distinct disadvantage with all Year 2000 activities.neither group; there are so many advantages- no response124- neither group; as long as older children are provided with opportunity to bechallenged- neither group; it depends on individual students and teacher perception- neither group; all learning from each other to best of their ability5.2 District B Teacher Comments- neither group; no response- neither group; no response- neither group; no responseneither group; no response- neither group; Younger children benefit from the mature role models of theolder students and from their knowledge, older children benefit from the extrapractice or reinforcement of skills through peer tutoring.neither group; Again age has nothing to do with it. Some of the younger kidscan do things that older kids can't and vice versa. Learning is a continuum.It's not age relate.neither group; Each group experiences being the younger and the older groupin a two year cycle.- younger group; no responseolder group; sometimes- no response- neither group; All groups of 26-30 children have those who excel and thosewho are challenged. This is very realistic.- neither group; Both groups are exposed to the whole spectrum and allowedto go as far as they can.- neither group; no response- neither group; no responseneither group; no response- younger group; (ie early primary, 6 year olds) It was difficult to find time togive them the very early "stuff" they needed for reading, printing, etc.- neither group; no response- neither group; no response- neither group; no responseneither group; no response6.^Mixed-age and Cooperative Learning (18)6.1 District A Teacher Comments- a great deal; Cooperative learning requires different roles to be taken andsome ages can take on leadership roles or learn to subside and allow othersthe opportunity125- a great deal; no response- a great deal; students have opportunities to take on leadership roles as wellas be group members. Removes the element of competition to a large extent.- a great deal; It establishes the spirit of cooperation, the understanding ofsharing knowledge and experiences which establishes a common ground witha view toward a common goal.- a great deal; The age span lends itself to producing leaders, organizers.- a great deal; no response- no response; Dependent on class make-up, leaders and listeners needed. Ifeel same as single aged class.- not at all; no response- not at all; Cooperative learning can be done in a single age group or amulti-age group with big buddies or little buddies - it is a teaching style notage related.- not at all; it depends - the teacher has to teach and reinforce to socialstructures and the material has to be appropriate. Mixed-age doesn't makeit easier or harder.- not at all; (no more than any other class) I don't think this facilitatescooperative learning more than a straight age class. I think it depends uponthe training the students get to use cooperative learning. Skills must betaught- a great deal; more of a "buddy" system can be used with mixed-agegroupings- a great deal; because the older ones want to help the younger- a great deal; no response- not at all; no response- no response- a great deal; children are natural teachers- somewhat; All classes can initiate cooperative learning, they don't have tobe mixed-age.- somewhat; older students act as teachers - reimpresses their own learning,interaction with each other is very positive- a great deal; The teacher is forced away from whole class teaching and cansee the benefit of letting the students challenge and encourage each other.- a great deal; In younger grades especially you have some "expert" leaders.- a great deal; In primary classes older children relate well towards youngerchildren, especially doing buddy reading, strategies, center times.- a great deal; Nonreaders can readily be read to by 'older' reading buddy.- somewhat/not at all; may become a new director rather than cooperativemodel1266.2 District B Teacher Comments a great deal; social skills/differences are more accepteda great deal; Some older children are natural teachers and love to work withyounger ones. Younger ones cooperate more with older children becausethey look up to them.a great deal; range of abilities / background knowledgea great deal; We do lots of group work. Cooperative learning is a big part ofmy class.a great deal; Children help each other a lot more.a great deal; We all help and care about each other.a great deal; Children develop a greater appreciation of those who havedifferent abilities, they learn to work "cooperatively".a great deal; Older students are more patient of younger students than oftheir peers- somewhat; Older (more experienced children) working with younger ones- a little; no response- a great deal; facilitate each others learning, group worka great deal; Younger children can use older children as role models, but olderchildren learn to appreciate the great ideas and strengths of younger buddies.a great deal; obvious opportunities for sharingknowledge and receivingassistancea great deal; no responsea great deal; Older ones act as mentors, examples, scribes, but younger onesget to give ideas, display thinking, hear older ideas, work with specific rolesetc.- somewhat; I would use it regardless.- a great deal; Different children see that they have different abilities requiredfor group projects.- a great deal; less children are at same stage of development- a great deal; It forces children to cooperate and help each other.- a great deal; forces children to help each other7.^Mixed-age and Peer Tutoring (19)7.1 District A Teacher Comments- no response- a great deal; "class experts" can be used, buddy reading- a great deal; Students are encouraged to rely on themselves and their peersand the range of ages facilitates this attitude.- a great deal; The older can help the younger and less knowledgeable- a great deal; Older kids generally have greater skills than younger ones- somewhat; The younger children get a lot of help127- somewhat; Older students could help younger students- a little; no response- not at all; Just because you're older doesn't mean you have the desire orability to teach someone younger. It isn't a panacea.- not at all; This is not dependent on age but training and ability.- no response; Dependent on class make-up, leaders and listeners needed. Ifeel same as single age class.- a great deal; Once again, the older students (or those working ahead) enjoytutoring the other students.- a great deal; Some kids have already learned material or just more mastery.- a great deal; no response- not at all; no response- no response- a great deal; no response- a great deal; Older (or more able) students can read etc. to younger- somewhat; no response- a great deal; The younger children will naturally go to the older children forhelp when the teacher is busy, and they will pass on what they have learnedmore readily.- somewhat; The younger members have older peers to look up to and gainexpertise from.- somewhat; Nonreaders really aid readers. Lots of mimicking.- somewhat; May or may not seek assistance just because of age difference.- no response; I don't know.7.2 District B Teacher Comments- a great deal;^It becomes a necessity with so many levels of skilldevelopment.- a great deal; Need older to help- a great deal; With a wide age range there's often a wider range of abilitiesand it's difficult to give all the children the one to one they need, so there'slots of opportunity for peer tutoring.- a great deal; It's just a natural solution to time constraints and provides anopportunity for students to show what they know by teaching.- somewhat; no response- somewhat; Older (more experienced children) working with younger- no response; ? Kids or teachers?- no response- no response; Not sure- no response; ?- a great deal; Those who are capable assist those who are challengedregardless of the nature of the process or task.- a great deal; no response128- a great deal; no response- a great deal; no response- a great deal; Buddy reading / Strategy partners / Scribes in writing, etc.- somewhat; Those who want to have the opportunity, it's not a set program- a great deal; Children with greater skills feel comfortable in sharing them.- a great deal; Older children model peer tutoring as they are more mature.- a great deal; The teacher might be engaged in teaching another group andnot be available.- a great deal; Children feel comfortable sharing8.^Keeping Students More Than One Year (23)8.1 District A Teacher Comments- agree; younger children become the older ones and are more used toclassroom routines and techniques- agree; A teacher is able to get a clearer picture of the child which can helpto see how much a child has truly developed. A rapport has been built in the1st year that can continue. A child's self esteem often grows because of thebond.- agree; because the teacher is more aware of the progress each child hasmade over a longer period of time. Helps the children gain confidencebecause they are familiar with the situation.- agree; You know how far they got last year and can continue from there.You can also build relationships with the home that last longer.- agree; Many of the established rules are passed on by last year's students- agree; You get to know those students well and know what you have taughtthem.- agree; I think it increases the teacher's sense of responsibility towards thechild's learning and growth in all areas. Provides security for some children.You don't waste any time in Sept. "getting to know them". Helps very muchin continuous progress.- agree; You know where the child is at and with difficult children you mayhave worked out workable ways of dealing with the child and could achievefurther progress the next year.- agree/disagree; For part of the class this would be good to build on where weleft off, for students who are behavioraly challenging, one year is enough forboth student and teacher. It lets them have a new start.- agree/disagree; Some children benefit from the continuity or security ofestablished routines and patterns. Others need a change for various reasons,personality, teach (learning) style...- agree/disagree; One gets to know students well and this means a head-startthe 2nd year. Some students become too familiar and become disciplineproblems.129- agree; It is much easier for a child's learning to be continuous if the teacheris already familiar with child and routines are already in place.- agree; Many children need two years to feel you reached them. Alsoprovides kids who know your routine.- agree; It takes some children longer to "get it", leaders show new onesroutine.- agree; Good improvement in skills noted.- no response- agree; You don't have to spend September establishing cooperative rules,discovering learning styles etc. Long range goals can be established."Comfort zones" well established.- agree; totally, I taught some students for 3 grades in ...One can see theirprogress, see what they retain from year to year, and build on their strengths.I feel very positive about this.- disagree; Teacher has a wealth of info and expectations from year to year.- agree; Because they know your routines and strategies and can teach themto the new group.- agree; Because you have group who know your class rules and standards andthey become your "teachers" for the incoming new students.- agree; young children are familiar with the routines at the beginning of the2nd year, builds self confidence and provides for a faster pace of growth anddevelopment.- agree; definitely as child/teacher is comfortable from 1st day of school andteacher knows capabilities from day 1- agree/disagree; for some students having new teachers each year is animportant part of getting all you can from the system while others need thesecurity of the same teacher8.2 District B Teacher Comments- agree; I know the children, their strengths and weaknesses; they know meand my expectations. They "train" the new ones.- agree; know needs and achievements better, efficient programing- agree; After one year with a student you can understand his/her needs andset objectives. A second year gives you more time to meet their needs. Lesstime is wasted "getting to know" the child. The child also feels comfortablefrom the start and knows your expectations in terms of behavior andacademic standards.- agree; Children know the routines and have a rapport established. Theteacher gets to see more growth. Parents know expectations.- agree; familiarity of routines 2nd year- agree; totally, you start off where they left off. Away you go!130agree; Yes!! As mentioned above, 2nd year students set tone for the year,show more responsibility, become the oldest rather than younger. I can counton them so the younger fall into place.- agree/disagree; I think you have to look at every student and decide. Forsome students it is better to change.agree/disagree; It depends on the relationship between child and teacher, ifa child works with a teacher a second year he/she can move ahead morereadily because the child's knowledge, behavior is well known.- agree/disagree; knowing where child is can be helpful, change can push achild to a more challenging area of learning.- agree; September is less uncertain, routines easier to establish, expectationsmore quickly achieved.agree; Great advantages! Students know what to expect so there is noapprehension as a new year begins. You know your students strengths andareas that need improvement and can begin immediately to help studentsgrowth.agree; less time spent on child's part / teacher's part in becoming familiarwith each other / teacher zeros in on needs right away / ** 2 years max- agree; you know the students, where they are and what their needs are, theyknow you too- agree; You know exactly where to start in Sept., which areas needreinforcing / how to motivate certain students / routines are set and olderones set an example.agree; Continuous progress then can really be the norm. You know wherethe child is --what has been covered and have a parent relationshipestablished.- agree; children are familiar with expectations- agree; especially children who are upset by change- agree; children are familiar with expectations- agree/disagree; I have mixed feelings about this. It's nice to see theirprogress but yet I like to have new faces and challenges every year9.^Three Important Benefits For Children (16)9.1 District A Teacher Comments- all children learn they can be leaders; children learn from each other; playground difficulties can be dissipated- It forces the teacher to look at the children, where they are, not just as asingle group of "Grade X" or "Year Y"; Children are exposed to wider rangeof skills, they may not obtain the skills but they can see where they'reheaded!; It tells children it's O.K. to interact with other ages much like theydo in their on neighborhoods, school traditionally segregated ages so childrenthat would play together at home didn't at school.131- role models; socialization skills; range of levels/stages- Helping others (learning through teaching); Being able to work with olderstudents who have better skills; More flexibility- no response- Haven't taught it- I'm only speaking of year 1-2, more time to experienc in centers makes year2 more enjoyable; year 2 good role models for year 1- identification we are all different, we all learn at different rates; friendshipsnot bound by age and grade; children teaching and learning other with, byother children- modeling behavior of older kids for younger ones; children who need moretime may get greater opportunity for practising- no response- pacing according to ability for the slow and high ability student- no response- sharing knowledge; cooperative learning; less competition- ability to use leadership skills; cooperative learning; less competition- more cooperative learning; chance for older students to be "leaders"; lesscompetitiveness- opportunity for peer teaching and learning; opportunity for partner work;opportunity to progress at own pace- good for younger students, provided older can provide a suitable model; olderstudents act as teachers- reimpresses their own learning; interactions with each other is very positive- role modelling; peer appreciation of different strengths regardless of age;learning how to receive a well as how to offer help in school as well as insocial play- can learn from more mature students; possibility of enrichment / slowerpacing; competition- quick learning of routines, rules; better cooperative groups; older childrenvery comfortable with same teacher- develops self esteem; develops self confidence; better social relationshipsin a school- cooperative skills; social skills; educational skills- children learn from each other; children learn by showing someone else;forces the teacher to work- nongraded, children progress at their own pace9.2 District B Teacher Comments- possible for them to review / relearn / rehearse more; possible to learn moresocial skills; learn that people are different and unique132- not all children are expected to complete a set curriculum in a certain amountof time, they're allowed to learn at their own pace; Teacher are learning notto stereotype children because they aren't expecting them to all be the samenow; It creates a more exciting environment for children because their"can-do" is celebrated and they see models all around them.- learning from their peers / teaching peers; more variety in classroom; morestimulation- more of a chance to work at your own level and speed; comfort in workingwith same teacher again; develops a sense of caring helping younger- I think that mixed-age classes are more comfortable to work in - for kidsand teachers; Older kids model for younger kids, they catch on faster.- self esteem; same teacher (familiarity of routines) for 2 years- modelling of other students / challenged; acceptance of others; moreindependent / responsible- peer tutoring; role models; learning to work cooperatively- older help younger; mellower tone- staying with a teacher for two years (comfort); Opportunity for leadership -and a chance to develop a sense of responsibility to help each other; Allowsfor a more life like situation (family atmosphere)- child centered; whole spectrum of primary years addressed; continuousprogress- lots of ways to get reinforcement, yet stretch in other areas; security inhaving teacher 2 years - no time lost in second year; building of self esteemas one works with another and helps others- better opportunities to meet individual needs; cooperative learning- enrichment / remediation and continuous progress; buddying (familyatmosphere)- Collaboration with others who are older and more experienced is less fearfulfor younger child; Acceptance of younger children - older children becomeguides for the younger children - feelings of importance; Development offriendships with older and younger classmates- see everyone as learners; curriculum more open ended; less push foracademic excellence and added concern for emotional growth- older students can act as mentors to younger ones; lowers frustration levelof younger students; raises self esteem in older students- role models; raises self esteem; children teach children- greater range of skills and knowledge; older children can help youngerchildren; older children model cooperative skills- role models; children teaching children; comparisons not possible13310. Three Serious Problems For Children (17)10.1 District A Teacher Comments- their parents fears- parents who are not informed- quieter students may find the situation intimidating at first; perhaps not asmuch teacher/student time- accountability for each student's learning, will some coast?- is all required work getting covered; a lot more work for teacher, thereforeteacher tired- Haven't taught it.- teachers depend on students to learn from each other, but students aren'ttrained in communication skills or peer tutoring; L.D. kids are doomed, theyneed more structure and direct instruction; special needs students aren'tbeing identified or given adequate, appropriate instruction.- meeting individual needs with big class sizes; materials for "processteaching"- dividing the teacher's time for ones who need extra help at all the differinglevels- no response- I taught in a one room school grades 1-7 and never experienced problems ornoted that it created problems for the student.- Students who require extra assistance are being left behind; some studentsneed direct teaching and do not 'discover'; students have the same teacherfor more than one year.- clashes between different groups; less teacher time for each group; possibleacademic regression (in larger classes)- math has to be taught separately- I find I still teach math separately- ?- children with learning difficulties require more structure; need for a quietspace for group teaching; large class size- children need to learn to share; hard to test for skills - lots of subjectivity ina wide span, top students can be left unmotivated; older students may havea hard time "reaching higher"- older students having to help too much; younger children not getting enoughtime for early "game/center" activities; Teachers limiting top end students totheir "grade" while younger students get to work ahead.- feeling inadequate because of greater span; developmentally different stagesaccentuated competition- sometimes too much span- children with personality clashes with the teacher should be moved after 1year or before; children of parents who do not feel comfortable with thephilosophy of the program should not be put in mixed-age grouping134- no response- making sure that younger children don't feel threatened or that older childrenaren't threatened by younger high achiever10.2 District B Teacher Comments- Parents, A.O.'s, and other teachers sometimes still refer to grades and itconfuses children; Teachers need smaller class size to plan for a wider varietyof needs.- younger, emotionally less mature student may try to impress older studentswith inappropriate behavior; youngerstudents feel they are deficient if theycompare their skills to older students (sometimes); some students may neverget enough practice and review of skills they need to progress (fall throughthe cracks)- I like it so I can't think of any.- the challenge is for the teacher - to have suitable materials and assessmentstrategies in place- no response- parents concerned their child will not be challenged and will behaveimmaturely by seeing younger students.- sometimes the older more capable students aren't challenged enough; thevariety of ability levels makes it harder to deal with individual learningdifficulties or learning styles; very mature students don't have the sameinterests as the immature students- in gym hard to program activities all can do, motor skill range too great from3 year to 5 year span, either too easy or too hard- planning activities where everyone succeeds; making sure that individualneeds are met- parent education, I believe they'd be supportive if more PR had been donebefore the change, this is the responsibility of the Provincial Government- time alone with teacher; if age span is more than 2 years it is difficult toalways focus on age appropriate literature etc.; inexperienced teachers havetoo much to handle and may miss needs of certain groups- challenging older students; parental concerns- I don't see any- I see no serious problems for children in a primary mixed-age grouping thatcould not also occur in single age classes.- enough time may not be available in early fall to provide assistance to thosewho are at the farthest range of ability, (but is this much different from amore homogeneous "group"?)- older ones get too caught up in helping young; content not challengingenough for older students; younger ones a are sometimes lost- younger children less likely to become leaders; content not challengingenough for older; older ones getting caught up in helping135- not enough physical space; parts of math hard to teach whole class- children in year 1 need more open ended activities; childen in higher placingrequire more quiet; younger children less likely to become leaders11.^Discipline in Mixed-age Classes (21)11.1 District A Teacher Comments- Discipline was not a problem in my one room school experience. The youngerage student tend to be somewhat intimidated by older students.- Same as any other grouping with behavior problems, special needs and mixedabilities/interests.- I would think - don't let older kids intimidate younger ones.- Good models necessary - learning necessary how to function with internalstructures and boundaries.- I don't notice any difference.- no response- I don't believe the discipline should be anything different from a one agegroup.- Because there is more freedom of movement and more talking it tends to bea referee's job for teachers. On the other hand since it is more child centeredthan teacher lecture, power struggles should be lessened.- Younger children and older children seem to get along better together becausethe competitive aspect of learning is less.- I found it the same as straight grade class.- I think tolerance between the grades would be facilitated.- discipline procedures are easier to put into place at the beginning of the yearwhen you have a group that was with you the previous year, teaching(informing) others of class routines.- works the same- each child is treated the same- Not necessarily harder to discipline depends on individual personalities.- no response- same as single age grouping- discipline as usual, because of the nature of a mixed-age group I believe it iseasier for children to be off task.- Same discipline rules are applied to all age groups. Older children are oftenpaired with younger to facilitate ease of instruction.- no response- Same as single age grouping unless you have a core group from a previousyear who know the class rules and standards.- Discouraged children are always a discipline problem in any type ofclassroom.- much easier if you've had one group the previous year136- N/A - depends on students and motivations as per regular class11.2 District B Teacher Comments- No problem. Older children are good role models.- harder as students with little self control are more likely to be far fromappropriate skill level. Immature ones/younger stand out more. Older showoff more.- I think it's easier as the younger ones try to emulate the older students.- The modelling of older students seems to encourage immature students totow the line.- no response- The same as in same age. There are consequences to your behavior.- Great - older model behavior for younger. Two year students guide first yearas to class expectations.- No different than in a single age group.- no response- Variety of means and ways are used.- No different than any group of 26-30 children. Those multiage classes thathave been built with at least 1/2 of the students already familiar with theteachers program/philosophy may have expectations come sooner.- No different than in a single age class. Why would it be?- No different than in a straight grade. Children are children.- no response- This year I have found that my young ones learn many "older" behaviors quiteearly.- Same as always for me - clear expectations - consistency - fairness- no response- less problems with discipline- Choice is always yours, make the right choice and enjoy it, make the wrongchoice and accept it.- Older children tend to be more responsible because they know the youngerones look to them for examples. The younger ones may ask the older for helpin solving conflicts12. Curriculum Concerns (27)12.1 District A Teacher Comments- P.E., computers, thinking skills- no response- language arts, arithmetic, science- reading, writing, socializing- arithmetic, initial reading acquisition- mathematics137arithmetic, reading- mathematics, reading, writingreading, writing,socials, arithmetic, language arts- L.A. (learning assistance), arithmetic, science- no responsereading, math- math, language arts, socials- mathmath (I find this the most difficult to arrange (set up) in mixed-age grouping.I teach math separately.)life skills, math, spellingWriting is the only concern I have! - how much to expect from eachindividual.language arts, math, social growth- Fine Arts strand of Intellectual Development; Reporting of social/emotionalareas; Augmenting / counselling within social/emotional areasno responsefine arts- reading, math, social sciences- no response12.2^District B Teacher Comments- math, reading- math, nonreaders who need lots of one-on one- math, language (French Immersion) curriculum dictates older student (P4)have one hour of English a day- math, socials, science- I use themes just like I used to.- no response- math- math - there's such a range of abilities. I have trouble meeting the needs ofthe very capable and those who are struggling; P.E. - the wide range ofabilities makes it hard for everyone to be successful in the same ctivity. Itseems many activities area either too easy or too difficult for the class as awhole.- games, fitness, ballskills- math- science (possibly)- I have only one - math because it is so sequential for me at this time.-early reading (Year 2's) / math- no response- I am just as concerned about the curriculum areas when I teach a singleprimary class.138- no response- language arts, math, science- language arts, math, science/social studies- math - regrouping- reading instruction, writing, science13. Teacher Training and Experience (28)13.1 District A Teacher Comments - (23) no response- preservice practicum a long term internship13.2 District B Teacher Comments - (8) no response- I found Simon Fraser University's P.D.P Program to be excellent! Thepractical experience was perfect.- Experience in the classroom and lots of chances to work with and observechildren is vital.- (4) no response- You learn best by trying - reflecting / reorganizing, trying and reflecting again- especially if you work with others and reflect together- Any teacher who is currently involved in "single age" teachings sees a widerange of abilities (social, emotional and intellectual) with the students in theircare. There's no great difference between single and dual age classes. Thebottom line is you take the child from where [he] is to as far as you areable...- (4) no response14. Teacher Education (29)14.1 District A Teacher Comments- Not much, but it did prepare me to be flexible and enquiring- Who remembers!!- It didn't because it was oriented towards teaching children as a "unit" ratherthan individuals.- I had some experience in an open area situation, otherwise very little.- Not at all.- Not really, I have taught split grades, but this is different.- To the same extent it prepared me to teach anyone.- Not at all- It taught me to work with individual abilities regardless of how students aregrouped!139- Not at allCourses in early childhood education and courses in elementary educationwere very much a part of my course work.no responseNot at allzero- not at all- Nothing has benefited me more than the practical experience. My teachereducation program was only a small introduction.noneNot at all! My 6 years experience in rural schools prepared me.- It didn't except for giving training for all primary levels separately.- Not within present context- no response- very well (Stranmillis College, Belfast, N Ireland)not at all- no response14.2 District B Teacher's Comments- Not much because practicum was in a straight grade.- Not at all- Too long ago to remember! Did discuss British Integrated Day etc.- Center approach- Everything was based on grades therefore age was never really a worry.- Not a great deal. I have learned more just from experience in the classroom.- no- It was too long ago to remember.- Early Childhood Education- Not at all. The program wasn't in the works yet- Too long ago! I can't remember.- It really didn't, my own professional reading and experience was the key.- It provided a good basis.- Concern for individual growth, open ended questions / unit studiesNil- My teacher training did not prepare me for "mixed-age classrooms". This isa fairly recent focus.- hardly any- no response- no response- close match14015. Ideal Teacher Qualities and Background (31)15.1 District A Teacher Comments- openess to try methods / keen observational skills / adaptive to changingclientele "true for all teachers"- A teacher who allows children to begin at their own level, someone whocreates an environment where children can risk without fear. Someone whodoesn't want to control children. A Teacher who understandschild development.- Flexibility, sensitivity, energetic, some knowledge of alternate teachingtechniques, some knowledge of child development.- Energy, ability to keep organized on-the-fly; ability to track student progressand adjust teaching styles to benefit the students- the same as any other teacher- Lost of energy!!- the same as any other teacher of primary children- An understanding of developmentally appropriate curriculum and strategies.- Empathy, humor, good communication skills, energy, open minded- a lot of patience and understanding- patience, understanding of the environment the children come from- no response- Good methods courses at college. Plenty of patience.- only that hey love their jobs and children- they should want to do it- The teacher needs to be free from a mind-set which places children in slotsaccording to the traditional graded model (this is difficult to lose) The teacheralso needs to enjoy and to be committed to the philosophy.- patience / accepting of individual differences and rates of learning /knowledge of child development and a desire to learn and work hard.- No family life, No commitments on weekends, Experience in a rural school-Experience with teaching different age groups- great experience of all levels, great energy and enthusiasm for the concept- A true caring attitude towards children, some knowledge of childdevelopment; great discipline, always a cheerful attitude- Have had children of [her] own, specialized in an early primary degreeprogram, be sensitive to the needs of young children- love of children, good listener, patience, a clear idea or understanding ofwhere child is in his/her learning continuity and where he/she needs to beapproximately at the end of that year and at the end of the 1st four years ofprimary- be open to new ideas and adaptable14115.2 District B Teacher Comments - Same as same-age! Patience, love, knowledge of Primary Programphilosophy, whole language- Flexibility, organized, knowledge of learning styles, good verbal skills toexplain program to parents- I think you need to have taught a variety of age groups before attempting amixed-age class. You need good organizational skills and an ability to workcooperatively with colleagues.- should want to do it, lots of energy and enthusiasm- Love of kids and learning, faith that kids can learn- patience, warmth, caring, calm, love of nature, general backgroundknowledge, love of children, willingness to risk/try new things- Patience, empathy, knowledge of different learning styles- Liberal Arts Education/Practicum in multi-age- Ideally, it would be best to have taught all the Primary grades (cooperativelearning, thinking skills) separately first so that you would have a benchmarkof standards and expectations at each level.- Experience at all the grade levels she/he is teaching, flexible spirit- flexibility, / love of children / knowledge of child development / good senseof humor / good P.R. / openness / curriculum knowledge, plus Year 2000knowledge- love of children, respect of differences, knowledge of child development andcurriculum, humor, joy- The same as for any other position, a care and concern for each individualchild, combined with the ability to provide sound educational experiences.- like children, accept individuality as a norm, therefore progress seen asculmination of personal traits within each child- flexibility, sound knowledge of development of primary children / a holisticbelief and attitude- He/she needs to buy into mixed-age classes. It should not be imposedwithout input from teachers and time to plan and implement these plans.- Primary degree with minor in Kindergarten, cooperative learning courses taken- flexibility, patience- knowledge of the 2000 document- flexibility, organization, patience, love of learning, love of children16.^Three School or District Intitiatives (12)16.1 District A Teacher Comments- Inservice, school visitations - I saw it working in Victoria, sharing experiences- small class sizes; support teachers (ie special needs and behavior problems);time and education for parents, administration and co-workers acceptancethat this teaching style is not for everyone142- Does help mean convince? Hearing of supportive teacher-parent-studentexperiences; lower class size; give me way more books/supplies- Lots of manipulatives; alternate math programs - lots of blackline masters toallow lots of levels to be taught at the same time; sharing experiences - goodstrategies how to problem solve the problems that arise- lower class size for mixed-age (I think that's the key); more sharing ofexperiences among teachers of mixed-age; more materials for centers in ALLclassrooms- more inservice; more visitations to schools where implemented (out ofdistrict); visiting colleagues in own school or district who are doing it- some direction from the upper ranks instead of classroom teachers doingeverything- time for planning with other teachers or visiting their classes; money forsetting up classes with special learning centers; district helping teacher ona long-term basis- more Pro D on the subject; coordination of programs at the various schoollevels; more classroom resources- a commitment at district level to the concept; at stated support of the ideaat district level; information to parents (or workshops) to assuage theirfears- Pro D to help teachers understand the philosophy and to learn ways toaccommodate the diversity in their classrooms; visitations to otherclasses/schools; support group for teachers, ie sharing ofinformation/ideas/strategies- more funding for classroom supplies/equipment (ie center material); classroomvisits; Pro D or inservices specific to mixed-age grouping- teachers make decisions; more funding for multi-age; Pro D- teacher make the decision to change; funding from district for books etc.;inservic-teachers making decisions, more funding, specific courses geared tomixed-age grouping- no response- low class size; money for resources/reading materials; teacher trainingsessions- leadership from Administrative Officers - let's do it; substitute time to seehow other classrooms work in the district; we do have Year 2000implementation days (but only 1 per year)- more time available for co-operative planning; more allowance given forteacher compatibility, smaller classes- visiting percieved successful programs (on going); commitment to smallclasses with help when needed; adequate support services - Speech andLanguage/Special Needs Programs- Helping Teacher for 3 year term- Having a Primary Supervisor or Helper is very necessary; having ateacher/librarian at the Resource Center; supervisors that are up to date on allnew programs and or materials143- inservice; encoragement from district administrators; PRIMARY CONSULTANTTO ENCOURAGE TEACHERS as they embark on new programs- more funding for implementation; more support in the first years ofimplementation; smaller class sizes (20 max.)- inservice; helping teacher, observation16.2 District B Teacher Comments - no response- help in establishing individual programs so that we don't just look at ourclasses as a split grade; Help in how to physically set up the classroom andkeep records; Release time to go and observe within the school anotherteacher or teachers who have mixed-age grouping- ?- lower class size; money for staff-development in this area; money forclassroom equipment and materials for a wider range of needs- referring to students by age levels; continuity throughout the district; parentand grandparent education that there are no more "grades"!- Buying into the philosophy and supporting teachers through their changeprocess; providing money for resources; offering workshops that complimentthe philosophy- smaller classes; more prep time; inservice- classroom visitations to see teachers who have experience with mixed-agegrouping; helping teachers; a district primary coordinators to coordinateworkshops, make us aware of what's happening in other schools, inform usof new publications etc.- proof that it is (has) work - already in place like England they are revertingback to testing Why?- Helping teachers; sharing sessions; money to buy lots of material for variouslearning abilities and for workshops- time to observe others who have implemented this program; time for planningand collaboration with other teachers; money for professional development- visitors days - one teacher free to visit all classes; sharing sessions on Thurs.to discuss all aspects as needed; teaming with other teachers- Budget for increased resources and furniture - especially P1/P2; Some one onstaff with a flexible time schedule and an eclectic philosophy toward teachingto help with planning and implementing programs for large groups andindividuals- visiting mixed-age classes; teaming with teachers currently in mixed-ageclasses; Pro D- Visitations to classrooms; discussions with classroom teacher; :Flight IntoLiterature" type courses with Brownlie, Close and Wingren.- time; inservice; respect for where teachers are at professionally- multiage group organization and planning; theme development; assessmentmodels144- no response- inservice; observations in other schools; models- inservice; university courses; observation in other schools17. Mixed-age Class Set-up17.1 District A Teacher Comments- mix of ability range; even distribution of same-age groups; even boy/girl mix;parent preference; to some extent what child would benefit from mixed-agegroup- In year two they become the older group and younger ones are added.- Randomly in some cases and for some children who have been involved in theprogram they are put into similar grouping for at least 2 years.- same way as other classes- usually randomly with consideration given to social development andresponsibility, emotional development, intellectual development, work habits,special needs- Parental request or approval was used. the request system ended up loadingsome classes with off balanced dynamics (all leaders and mouth pieces in onecase)- Before it was "independent workers" - now it's supposed to be "balanced"like any other class- There is a 'somewhat' commitment to keep children in a mixed-age settingonce they begin a mixed-age setting.- Originally more independent workers were chosen, now classes are moreevenly balanced- balance of: age, sex, compatibility, academic level- age, sex, compatibility, special needs considerations- according to age, sex, known behavior problems are distributed evenly- Equal balance of ages, behavior types and academic ability and gender- Equal numbers using equals of behavior types, academic ability and age andgender- behavior - academic (equal) groups and age (balanced equally) plus genderequity- no response- by age and class enrollment- by age- Our school is so small - so younger students are assigned a classroom, middleaged students another and older assigned the remaining classroom- student needs ie level of achievement, social interactions, special needsstudents, teacher preference of level/age and problems to be dealt with- Behavior mainly; special needs and numbers- The students are selected by personalities, abilities, and behaviorcharacteristics145- Primary and intermediate teachers select a core of previous year studentsthen children are grouped according to how they work/get along with eachother, usually a heterogeneous group- groups that would work well together17.2 District B Teacher Comments- It is quite the process! We just did it and it is a bit of a nightmare. First ofall we keep some of our kids, then we try to keep everyone with a friend.And have a range of kids, from those who need a lot of teacher time to thosewho don't need a lot of teacher time. It's horrendous.- Primary staff make up lists for basis- We try to keep friends together and those who work well together. We alsoseparate those who do not work well together. We try to make eachclassroom a mixture of boys and girls, abilities and interests.- no response- a balance is sought - ages, sex, behavior, friends, teacher time required,learning styles- We use a coding system which refers to amount of teacher time required bya student and boys/girls even numbers. We try to balance a variety ofabilities and behaviors and parent demands.- Children are selected based on friendships, personal rapport between teacherand student, mixture of boys and girls and range of time each needs fromteacher eg. some very independent, some so/so, some that are very timeconsuming.- ?- We try to put the student with at least one friend, look at how "needy' aparticular student is of teacher's time and weight that, also social andintellectual reasons.- Heterogeneous, even mix boys/girls and age.- We try to have an equal number of P2/P3 otherwise heterogeneous groupings- discussion between teachers- socially and academically compatible groups- keeping together P1 classes when possible with "concern" students placedin alternate classes to ensure maximum process socially, intellectually and/oraesthetically- according to student needs and learning styles to match teachers teachingstyles and personalities- We look at friendships; ratio of male/female; learning and behavior problemsand student and teacher rapport.- N/A- Distribution of ages and special needs; friendships- according to needs and suitability- Equitable distribution of ages and special needs children146APPENDIX F: ANECDOTAL COMMENTS FROM PARENT QUESTIONNAIRE1.^What Group Benefits from Mixed-age and Why (2)*1.1^District A Comments - younger; More apt to be drawn into what the older group is doing- younger; They are challenged by the older children.- younger; Role models of older children - listen to older group-younger; noresponse- younger; The younger child can learn from an older child but the older childcan lack stimulation- younger; They get to interact more with older children.- younger; More apt to be drawn into what the older group is doing.- both; If the concept of continuous learning is used in the classroom bothgroups of students benefit equally.- both; They learn from each other.- both; no response- both; mentoring and the knowledgeable being helpers- both; no response- both; It help the younger ones interact with the older and vice versa.- both; Younger ones learn from older children.- both; because they gain experience from the older children and then they inturn can help others- both; older group can help younger group and younger group exposed tomore.- both; older children benefit from helping the younger and the younger childrentend to want to do better to "keep up" with the older children- both; dual entry student- neither; I feel they're more comfortable with their own age group1.2 District B Comments- younger; no response- younger; Older children help younger ones.- younger; I think this setting provides extra stimulation for the younger onesbecause of want to be like the older ones and simply being exposed to ahigher level of learning* The number in the parenthesis corresponds to the question on the parentquestionnaire.** The spelling in the parents comments has been corrected, however thesyntax has not been changed.147- younger, no response- younger; They may learn from watching/listening to older children if they areable to learn this way.- younger; because they get to progress faster than others younger; learn toget along with older children younger; more exposure to more advancededucational demands younger; no response- both; ^ has one older brother it gave her the opportunity to integratewith younger children- both; A more "natural" environment where they can learn from each other- both; older help younger if you're a slow learner having younger ones maymake it easier for you- both; no response- both; The brighter children can learn more and the slower children don't feelas much pressure- both; The older ones learn to help and feel good about their abilities etc. whilethe younger ones benefit from the experience of the older ones.- both; no response- both; easier to help children progress at their level- both; Younger have older as role models and helpers, older have opportunityto reinforce skills through helping- older; I feel the younger children need to be by themselves particularily theK-1 years.- neither; Age different (span 5.5-8)- neither; I don't believe in split classes.- neither; I feel it "stretches" the teacher's skills too far and does not benefitthe children.2.^What Groups are Disadvantaged in Mixed-age and Why (3)2.1 District A Parent Comments- younger; Depending on child, they may feel inadequate in some areas- younger; no response- younger; Older children may be a problem for younger children- younger; Older group instruction is beyond younger groups understanding- older; Spend more time caring for younger child- older; Their progress may be slowed down by younger children- older; no response- older; They spend too much time tutoring young children, again not enoughstimulation- older; They could be held back.- neither; If the teacher is effective, neither group is at a disadvantage.- neither; no response- neither; If the concept of continuous learning is used in the classroom bothgroups of students benefit equally.148- neither; As long as there is a suitable amount of teaching assistance.- neither; no response- neither; no response- neither; If the teacher is effective, neither group is at a disadvantage- neither; Both groups are able to socialize, build friendship and learn from bothgroups.- neither; because they get to mix with a greater variety of children- both; It depends on the child's personality, etc. or how well they will work inthis situation.2.2 District B Parent Comments- younger; too high expectations- older; no response- older; younger children would hold them back- older; may be held back academically- older; They all work mostly together and at the same level- older; no response- older; Much more time has to be spent with younger in order for them to dotasks without help.- older; lack of attention span in younger children, when older children takelearning seriously this can be frustrating- older; older children help younger ones- neither; I don't believe in split classes.- neither; no response- neither; no response- neither; They can still learn at their own pace.- neither; The brighter children can learn more and the slower children don'tfeel so much pressure.- neither; no response- neither; A more "natural" environment where they can learn from each other.- neither; no response- both; The "slower" kids in each level may not get the attention they need andthe "quicker" ones may get "bored".- both;Either group not smart enough or too smart towards the other youngerkids attitude wise.- both; Demands on teacher can be great seeing as ages require differentapproaches etc. Older may be used as role models too much or left on owntoo much.- both; no response- no response; If older or advanced aren't challenged enough1493.^Older Children as Role Models (7)3.1 District A Parent Comments- no; A one year age difference at the primary level does not make a largedifference except where the K-1 grouping is concerned. The grade ones couldbe great role models as far as knowing the appropriate classroom behaviorand helping the K's settle in.- no; Some older children could try to order younger children around.- no; A one year difference in age does not make a large difference, howeverin the K-1 organization, the grade ones would be good role models in thatthey already know the appropriate classroom behavior.- yes; at least they should be- yes; These kids along with the teacher's philosophy help set the pulse andflavor of the classroom atmosphere.- yes; mentoring and the knowledgeable being helpers- yes; Most of the time, although when the "older kids" behavior isinappropriate, the younger kids could learn this as well, which isn't "good".- yes; I feel it gives the older children more responsibility and a sense ofaccomplishment to help the younger children.- yes; Situation where the older children can act as peer helpers is verybeneficial to both parties.- yes; no response- yes; no response- yes; Can assist younger children. Would not like to see Years 1-2-3 mixed inwith Year 4-5, too much of a difference academically, maturity, etc.- yes; Older children behave better when responsible for younger students.Have less need to perform for their age peers.- yes; But only if the child is a good role model. I believe that not all are goodrole models.- yes; no response- yes; This system works for the younger child but falls severely short for grade4.- yes; no response- yes; But it depends on each individual child, not all are suited to this.- no response; I have mixed feeling for this question older good kids / Bad kidsbeing a model can change a child from good to bad and vice versa.3.2 District B Parent Comments- no; My child cried many time in the 1/2 year started, Due to the older kidsattitude when she was grade one, now she grade two, I found the rolereversed, she became the bully because of the way she was treated in gradeone.- no; no response150- no; Have you ever seen the older ones play with the younger ones on aplayground / at home after school etc.?- yes; no response- yes; They act as 'care pairs' with the younger children, and because most areadvanced in their learning abilities, tend to help the younger with problems.Sometimes, the older children tend to act up a bit more in the classroom,which can be a bit of a disadvantage- yes; no response- yes; no response- yes; no response- yes; But my child complains how he can't work on his own because he hasto help the younger children in his group.- yes; no response- yes; no response- yes; no response- yes; Can show a level of "maturity"; can help tutor the younger ones andbenefit themselves through articulation and reinforcement as well as "giving"or helping another person.- yes; no response- yes; I guess in some ways it would provide a "pattern" for the younger ones- but then all children are not good role models!- yes; no response- yes; As long as they're well behaved etc.- no response; Sometimes - depends upon social make up of children.- no response; both, there can be positive and negative aspects going bothways- no response; Depends on the children. These certainly is potential for themto be if the class is effectively managed.- no response; Sometimes - depends on the age - mix of kids- no response4.^Keeping Students For More Than One Year (8)4.1 District A Parent Comments- agree; They continue to grow in a consistent learning environment- agree; Only if the relationship between the two is a positive one- agree; Teachers know each child's strengths, weaknesses, quirks, etc. Noneed to spend Sept. getting to know each other- aree; some students benefit from the continuity- agree; The child becomes used to the teachers style and methods of teaching.They feel comfortable and if the child has a good teacher, as mine does itmakes learning a wonderful experience.- agree; It's good for kids who don't adapt to changes very well. It gives thema chance to gain some self confidence.151- agree; If a teacher has some of the same children for more than one year Ibelieve it might free up some of his/her time to spend more one to one timewith the children. Having already had some of the children previously theythen know their capabilities and habits and don't have to spend their first 6-8weeks of the new school year learning about them again.- agree; Generally I agree - but if a child doesn't respond to that teacher'steaching method, or if a personality clash exists between the teacher andstudent, then the child should switch classes.agree; I would personally like them to continue as long as possible (exceptwhere personalities clash) continuity, consistency, and caring. Even time totime after leaving their classes.- agree; Provides continuity for the child's learning and social environment.- agree; Depends on the teacher, but our child benefited emotionally andacademically.- agree; Saves valuable teaching time as the teacher already knows thestudent.agree; Saves valuable teaching time as the teacher already knows thestudent.disagree; No I don't as some children are not happy with the teacher theyhave. (But don't get me wrong some are happy).disagree; no response- disagree; My child experienced 2 years with the same teacher. I do not feelthere was a benefit - in fact it was the opposite. A new year and a newteacher can bring fresh ideas and new ways of teaching for success.no response; In a way I do but in some way I don't.- no response; If the child is ready why? Keep the child from stopping forsuccess- no response; It all depends on the teacher. Some teachers do not seem to dowell in a mixed-age class - this can be to the child's disadvantage.4.2 District B Parent Comments- agree; The teacher knows the child better and knows the child's capabilities.- agree; If the child / teacher relationship is positive it helps the teacher havea starting advantage the 2nd year. She/he knows where the child is at.- agree; Can be good if it has been a good year for the student. Teacher willknow the students well and what they're capable of.- agree; Learning becomes a familiar activity with people that have developeda bond of trust. This would make the school environment comfortable.- agree; At the top primary (P4 to Intermediate) level or beginning (K to full dayprogram) some children do need extra time to develop the emotional (tied to)intellectual skills necessary to make the successful progress they deserve.- agree; Teacher already knows you child's strength and weakness, personalityetc.- agree; no response152- agree; I a child is "achieving then the child would benefit from a teacherknowing where the child is "at". However if there are "personality" conflictsthen the child may not get a chance with a different teacher which couldmake a difference.- agree; Teacher knows child so there is no awkward period at beginning ofyear. Teacher already knows child's weak points.- agree; The teacher is familiar with student needs. It works well withcompetent, understanding teachers only. In other cases of bias and prejudiceit is best to get a different teacher.- agree; It was a benefit for my child. She already knew his strengths andweaknesses. He like her as well which was an advantage.- agree; The teacher can automatically continue the following year knowing thechild's work and positive areas of development.- agree; The children know the teacher therefore feel more comfortable withthe overall classroom.- agree; Especially when the student is comfortable and growing with currentteacher.- agree; Students and teachers get to know each other - their strengths andweaknesses, so they don't have that 2 month intro the following year.Students feel very comfortable going into a classroom situation that they havebeen in the previous year.- agree; From the teacher's point of view - they don't have to get to know thechild, know their strengths and weaknesses etc. From the kids - miss onhaving another adult teach them a different way, expose them to theteacher's different strengths etc.- agree; Not everybody can keep pace with everyone. Some don't developfast. You push them [threw] they'll suffer when older.- disagree; I think this might be a good idea for K, gr.1, gr.2 level, but whenchildren are much older and they start with personality conflicts etc. I thinksometimes a new teacher is like a fresh start.- agree/disagree; It depends on the teacher.- disagree; no response- disagree; The advantage seems to be the TEACHERS.5. Three Important Benefits for Children (9)5.1 District A Parent Comments- They learn from older children; They can help each other; Learning to interactwith a variety of peers.- Peer tutoring; Role modeling (if positive); Breakdown of age group barriers ie:fourth graders thinking they are the kings/queens!- more opportunities for working at own personal level; Role models by olderstudents; Listens to better readers, writers, etc.153- Exposure to future years academics; Role models both for younger and olderstudents; More of "family" learning environment rather than ego trips becausein Year 4 classroom etc.- Being comfortable socializing with older and younger children; role models- social relationships; opportunity to move ahead at their own rate; removal ofsome of the competitive aspects of single age classrooms- social and emotional development; learning role models; more challengingenvironment- The older children can rise to the responsibility of being the role models forthe younger children; The older children usually feel a sense of pride andaccomplishment from helping younger children, not only academically, butsocially as well; Older students that are "struggling" with school work don'tfeel "at the bottom" of the class so are more likely to learn at their own rate.- working with peers; helping others; cooperation, social skills, getting alongwith others- Learning to work together in a cooperative way; Role model exposure for theyounger children; continuity academically, socially, emotionally- no response- We're not sure there are any as our children have done equally well in bothmixed-age and single grade classrooms.- none; none; none- We're not sure there are nay as our children have done equally well in bothmixed-age and single grade classrooms.- Only benefit is reinforcement of what is learned by having to reteach it to ayounger child.- If they are with older children they would learn faster.- social and school work attitude adjustments; self-respectin progression andstudies; mature examples for study habits- advantage learning different children; advantage helping younger children;friendship (relationship)- working well with older/younger children; encouragement to work to fullpotential - can go on in subjects eg. Year students using Year 5 texts;Learning responsibility5.2 District B Parent Comments - higher level of thinking/behavior; modeling if child is interested- no response- good role models; likes older children and relates well to them; experiencematerials a grade ahead and taking some of that in- more than one year with a class and teacher; Interaction with older childrenand more advanced abilities; Able to learn at own pace- Choice of activity level - re-exposure if originally weak; Friendships with morethan one age group, enrichment at lower level; Peer tutoring concept,although this can happen in a single age class154- greater range in skills; helping younger/learning from older; getting along withvarious ages- integration with children of other ages; being a role model for youngerchildren- social/emotional development older child "helps" younger child whilereviewing himself- Reinforcement of skills and knowledge; Social learning or learning social skills;Understands/ learns that everyone is at a different level depending uponexposure to information and readiness- social; academic- social skills, eg. cooperation between different age groups etc.; lack ofpressure, not feeling "left behind"; the opportunity to advance- socially- social development; older children are role models; If ready to advance hasthe opportunity to do so in a mixed-age class especially if the child is younger- Older children can feel success - good self concept; Older children are goodrole models; Young children can always be challenged- The ability to interact with older children; They get to see what the otherchildren do; They learn from the older children.- Learning to deal with different levels of maturity; helping and cooperation;tolerance and patience- more one on one teaching- All I can say is she got to know more kids; Besides her reading level I saw nochange from was she took in grade one from two.- None- no response- social/emotional6.^Concerns for Children in Mixed-age (10)6.1^District A Parent Comments- no- is she being challenged enough, can the teachers "spread" themselves enoughto accommodate the different levels, is it too competitive- I would rather my child be the younger student- Too much older group instruction, younger children may not understandcertain concepts- That she never feels inadequate with older children- no- Only concern is that if the teacher is not a believer in the concept andcommitted to the idea then the children would suffer more than a regulargrade class- I believe that the teacher of a mixed-age class expends more energy than ina "traditional straight" class. When the teacher believes in the system and155puts forth the extra energy then it usually is great, but if the teacher finds themixed-age too much of a burden, then I think the children could loose out.I have to say that I haven't found this to be a problem so far and I have had4 children with the last three years in mixed-age classes; I just think thiscould be a possibility- no, as long as there is enough quality assistance /supervision- That the class is taught as a multi-age model not a split class.- no- We're not sure there are any- yes- We're not sure there are any- as mention previously, very little stimulation- the only concern I have is if the child is being taught the things she issupposed to for her age and year she's in.no- no response- Children with quiet or withdrawn personalities can get lost in the shuffle. Outgoing children seem to do better.6.2 District B Parent Comments- no response- There may be unrealistic expectations for the younger group when an oldergroup is working along side them.- It takes a skilled teacher to teach a mixed-age class and I would hope propertraining has taken place. This year has been a great experience for my child.- no- no- I would not like to see him always in one, especially if it meant he wasalways the "older group.- no response- Yes I have already stated them.- The older child will only make friends with younger children so there is anadvantage of being leader. The child will have a chance to go from older toyounger in one year then the opposite for the next year.- no- no- none- none- I would much prefer my child to be in one grade class because the childwould want to try to keep up to other children of his own age and theteaching concept would concentrate on one certain level.- Some, It's a new concept. I still prefer the old definition of grades- Yes and No! Yes if my child happens to be with majority of children at a muchslower level of learning, ie. "young" 6 year olds! Yes if the child is the older156- younger benefits. No, if the children are relatively equal in abilities.- I wish kindergarten was still kept separate. They have enough to deal withjust learning the social end. Then join grade 1 and 2 in one level, and grade3 and 4 in another.- TONS! A teacher can only spread herself so far and therefore the time is toolittle with each individual. The social aspect! Kids tend to group naturallywith those who are closest in age. If out of a class of 26, thirteen are P2 and13 are P3 and of those 13 seven are girls and 6 are boys then if yourdaughter is one of the 7 she has far fewer girls to choose to play with thanif it was a straight P2 class.- I hope she never has it again. I hope it's back to basic grades of ABC'sbefore my younger child start school.- Yes. If a child is a Primary 1 and 2 how can the teacher give your child thefull knowledge.- no response- yes, at this age group I don't believe it has any benefit except for the teacherand that's not what concerns me.7.^Continuing in Mixed -age Classrooms (12)7.1 District A Parent Comments- yes, no responseyes, If she was in a class that had older children (ie 2-3). I believe thebenefits are good and outweigh the negative. I have a child who enjoysschool and I would like to see her challenged rather than being bored and Ifeel older children in her class could be a benefit.- My child has excelled in this environment.yes, Only if year 4-5 are not mixed with Year 1-2-3 Too much of adifference in interests, maturity, self-confidence, etc.yes, The more you experience, the more you know.- yes, because I think it's been a valuable learning experience for him.yes, It is our experience already, that our child has nothing but benefited fromthis concept. Once again the teacher makes a difference, also if this goingto work or not.yes, My opinion is that when the teacher understands the "philosophy" ofmixed-age classes (Year 2000) then it is superior to the "older", traditionalmethod of teaching.- yes, I believe it is the way to go with todays children.- yes, Excellent learning environment!- yes, no problems so far.no, The older child in the multi-age grouping may not have the sameopportunity as the younger child for working ahead.no, I believe that parents should be informed of mixed ages classes, for as Iwas never notified and didn't realize, my child was in such a class until this157notice. I feel that younger children would feel inferior to older childrenbecause of there less advanced school work.- no, The older child in the multi age grouping may not have the sameopportunity as the younger child for working ahead.- no, We moved away from the "little" school and multi-grade classes becausethey could not provide the concentrated learning and teaching needed forsuccess in the world. Change is good but why move backwards just for thesake of change? Can you REALLY define a goal - Do you know where youare going?- no response, That would depend on what she is learning. If she is notlearning for her grade I would not choice it.- yes, but would prefer a mixed grade 2-3 for example from older students, orjust straight grade 2 to ensure and encourage growth.- yes. no response- yes, no response7.2 District B Parent Comments- no, no response- no response, He will be in grade 2 in Sept. he will be older, there may not beas high expectations on him.- yes, no response- yes, I believe the results shown in children's development are proof that itworks very well.- yes, Doesn't matter either way.- no, Because he was in a P2-3 this year. I wouldn't want him in a P3-4 wherehe would once again be the "older" group- yes, no response- no, I myself was in a mixed-age/grade class in elementary school andpersonally didn't care for it (grade 6/7). We were all "honor" students but theteacher had a hard time challenging us equally. I don't feel it's fair to mostteachers and I think that the kids do not benefit in the important basiclearning areas.- yes/no, It is still very early to determine anything. My child is the older in herclass. I'd be interested to see what would happen if it was the other wayaround. Then I would have a better basis to form an opinion.- yes,^ Elementary is lucky to have dedicated teachers who encourageeach child and help to develop the areas of need. Mixed aged groups can bea positive experience, if the teachers are competent...this is also true,however of any classroom experience.- yes, no response- yes, My son benefited greatly!- yes, My son is a December born child, so I feel he socially can mix with bothage groups.158- no, I would much prefer my child to be in one grade class because the childwould want to try to keep up to other children of his own age and theteaching concept would concentrate on one certain level.- no, I think it makes the teachers job even harder to accommodate suchdiverse groups. I would prefer single grade groupings with the opportunity formixed age groups to get together as required.- yes, The younger child learns from the older. In my particular situation, mydaughter is level 2 and because of the mixed-age class she has just grown somuch this past year in mainly academic standing because she has decided tokeep up with the level 3 children. She is reading chapter books and has beendoing so since early January. She has the capabilities, but I think being witholder children, they tend to set their own goals just much higher.- yes, I think in general this is a good idea, but it needs some work, and morestudies like this done, so some areas could be improved.- no, This the 3rd child in a split class. I really feel strongly about the lack ofplaymates available from the classroom "pool" of kids. I have seen absolutelyno sign of "leadership" skills from the older kids of the split. A teacher cango ahead or back with a more homogeneous group of kids than with such aspread of abilities.- no, My daughter is strong, but my younger one will never emotional andsocial development will fall into the cracks of finding it hard to cope. I hopeit goes back to normal. I really don't see any advantages to the schools beingthis way.- no, no response- no, no response- no, I believe children should be equiped with the learning skills before beingask to become part of the teaching-staff.159

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