ERIC Number: ED370190
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Transition Classes: Alternative Learning Environments That Perpetuate Inappropriate Curriculum in Surrounding Grades.
Ostrowski, Patricia Maslin
Many schools across the United States have created a new grade between kindergarten and first grade, called transition classes, to deal with low-achieving kindergarten and first-grade students. Upon completion of the transition class, students return to a regular class, where they usually remain a year behind their age cohorts. This paper presents findings of a case study that examined how three New England school districts used transition programs to manage a problem of readiness and failure in the early primary grades. Data were derived from: (1) a total of 53 interviews with administrators, support staff, teachers (kindergarten, pre-first grade, first grade, and second grade), and two groups of parents (those who enrolled their children in transition programs and those who refused); (2) observations of transition, kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade classes; and (3) document analysis. Findings indicate that although the pre-one programs studied provide a developmentally appropriate learning environment, they perpetuate the continuation of a curriculum built on homogeneity and a lockstep system of grades and constitute a mild form of tracking that equals an extra year in school. Recommendations are made to design the curriculum around Kliebard's metaphors of growth and travel; shift the burden of readiness from children to the schools; center the structure of elementary schools around parents and the community; empower teachers; utilize the inclusion model; and abolish the lockstep system of grades. Two tables are included. (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 4-8, 1994).