Mrs A's Blog

My Rambling Thoughts on Teaching and Learning

Expectations…. Maybe I’m Dreaming….

I’m very proud of my Daughter.  She has survived the first term of High School.  And has done exceptionally well.  Now I know I have a smart kid who loves to learn new things however I was concerned at how she would go when it came to the difference between primary school and high school.  Surprisingly she jumped right in.  After receiving her report card I couldn’t be happier but now I’m starting to wonder if the education system is failing her.  Her best subject is Spanish in which she earned an A+.  In talking with her Spanish teacher I inquired as to how we could extend her further as obviously this is something she is good at.  The teacher’s response was to tell me I should ask for her to skip a grade as she felt that my daughter could be still achieving this result in Year 9.  My daughter isn’t achieving the same results in her other subjects (similar but not the same), nor does she want to leave her friends and nor do I believe she is socially and emotionally equipt to skip a grade.  This got me thinking about our education system.  At the point where a student is receiving the highest possible result in the grading system whether this is a 5 point scale, a 7 point scale or a 50 point scale we are telling our students that there is no more to learn at this stage in your life. Why can’t students if they can achieve an “A+” in Year 7 subject not move on to the Year 8 subject?  Why aren’t our high school classes based on levels rather than age?  Once we leave school whether in the work place or in further study age is no longer a factor, ability is.  While our classes have students in them that range from learning support to gifted we are failing our students.  Now I need to make it clear I’m not necessarily an advocate for streamed classes as I do believe that mixed abilities in classes helps all students as there is plenty students can learn from each other with the different perspecitives students bring to the classroom.

But what are we doing to help our students who happen to excel in one area or struggle in another. I do think we need to rethink how our high school classes work.  Whats stopping us from setting up a system of units where each subject has a selection of units at each level.  Once you receive a passing grade in a unit you could select from the same list or from the next level of units.  Take my hypothetical Economics Course below.  You must start in Level 1 once you complete a single unit with a passing grade you can then move to Level 2.  If for example the Globalisation and Trade unit needs the International Economics unit then it would be listed as a prerequisite.

I know this is potentially a complicated or messy system however its just a suggestion…

Please let me know some of your ideas of how to make our education system suit students of all ages and ability levels…

 

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4 comments

  1. Monica

    You have described the education system I dreamed of in high school. Just an addition though, the ability to pursue subjects in which we excel at a university level while still attending high school.

  2. helen

    You might just have to get her some books and stuff yourself. Sounds like the teacher isn’t willing to be bothered teaching multiple levels in the one classroom. Streaming classes has its issues, the real solution is scaled learning activities in the one classroom. So the students don’t have to skip and go through the stigma of ‘oh your in the nerd class’. If she wants to focus on conversation and pronunciation, I’d get her some pimsleur cds. That would put her in a good position to use the language in a practical way. Helped me a lot in China.

  3. What would happen if a student still completes level 4 prior to the end of the school year. Would we just keep creating levels? What would happen to the student who only completed level 1 of grade 7? Would the extend to grade 8?

    It seems like a good idea, but would need serious consideration.

    I don’t think any schooling system is perfect, we just need to find the one with the least amount of flaws. Very interesting point you’ve made 🙂

    • MrsAngell

      The idea would be to do away with Grades per say and to just work through the levels. I think that each subject would have limited levels as students if interested in the subject could continue to work through the units regardless of level. This is where the kids wouldn’t be streamed. That being said maybe level 5 of every subject is a personal project that students choose their own area to investigate and present/report/demonstrate understandings.

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