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Early Childhood MIXED AGED

Nongraded and Mixed Age Grouping

Lilian G. Katz, Ph. D.
ERIC Clearinghouse

Interest in the potential benefits of mixed age grouping in preschools and the early primary grades has increased steadily in recent years (Willis, 1991). Two largescale mandates to "ungrade" the first years of schooling are receiving a great deal of attention from educators. One is the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1989 and the other is the provincial mandate of British Columbia in Canada for ungraded classes in the primary years. These initiatives are likely to be followed in several states where similar efforts are under consideration (e.g., Oregon).

Among the reasons behind the trend toward mixedage grouping are widespread concern about the high proportion of young children who are retained in the early grades, increasing recognition that grade repetition does not help children overcome difficulties in meeting narrow and specific grade achievement expectations, attempts to implement developmentally appropriate teaching and curriculum practices in the early grades, and growing awareness of the potential benefits of crossage interaction to intellectual and social development (Katz et al., 1 990).


For questions about this information, contact Sherry Kimball (608) 267-9625