The elimination of traditional grade-levels is already being tested out there in schools today.
The following article describes a school board that “will eliminate grade levels and instead group students based on what they know, allowing them to advance to the next level after they have proved proficiency.” (Meyer, 2008).
According to the Superintendent of the board, once students “demonstrate proficiency of a standard, they move on”(Meyer, 2008). She maintains that “There is nothing magical about a quarter, semester or the end of school. That becomes blurred. Learning becomes much more 24-7″ (Meyer, 2008).
This raises the question of time. How long is too long to allow a student to master a given subject/strand, etc? Obviously students working at their own pace can have definite advantages, as stated by the superintendent. However, one could argue that putting a ‘time-cap’ (such as the one imposed in a traditional grade-level structure) on learning forces students to try to master the material. If a particularly unmotivated student had an indefinite amount of time to master a concept before being allowed to move on, what could motivate them to want to move on to the next step?
I believe that engagement is the key. As stated before, through engagement theory, we could properly motivate students in a learning environment that is much less based on time and more based on mastery of concepts. What are your thoughts?
Meyer, J. (2008, Dec.21). Adams 50 skips grades, lets kids be pacesetters. The Denver Post. Retrieved from http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_11280071.