Characteristics of Multi-age Programs

The following chart, based on information from Fox (1997), Anderson & Pavan (1993), and the American Association of School Administrators (1992), summarizes the common characteristics of multiage programs:

A heterogeneous mix of children Ability grouping
Flexible grouping patterns based on the needs of the   class Based on rigid ability groups or age/grade groups (children of different ages being instructed differently according to age or grade)
Teacher directed, child centeredTeacher as facilitator Unguided play
Supportive of continuous learning Retention/promotion
Developmentally appropriate teaching practices focused on the understanding of major concepts and methods of inquiry and the learning process, and integrated curriculum Lock-step curriculum focused on mastery of skills and content knowledge
Active, cooperative student learning Work time where children are expected to complete   seatwork independently
Authentic assessment Assessment based on tests and standardized measurements
Individualized reporting system Comparative reporting system typically based on letter grades: A, B, C, D, E, F
Varied instructional strategies Instruction focused solely on one method or learning style


Johnson, D., 1998. Critical Issue: Enhancing Learning Through Multiage Grouping.  Pathways to School Improvement.  Retrieved May 28, 2012 from


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