ERIC Number: ED418771
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Children's Social Behavior in Relationship to Participation in Mixed-Age or Same-Age Classrooms.
McClellan, Diane E.; Kinsey, Susan
Research on the social and cognitive effects of grouping children in mixed-age versus same-age classrooms is gaining interest among practitioners and researchers. This investigation used a teacher rating scale to assess children's prosocial, aggressive, and friendship behaviors in mixed- and same-age classrooms. Confounding variables such as the child's age and sex, the teacher's educational level, and classroom practices, were statistically controlled. Participating were 649 students from 29 classrooms in 2 suburban Chicago schools and 2 inner city Milwaukee schools. The mixed-age condition was comprised of 177 males and 135 females, and the same-age classes had 152 males and 173 females. A pretest of teacher ratings of kindergarten children who were later assigned to either a mixed- or same-age first grade classroom showed no preexisting behavioral differences. Posttest findings suggested a significant positive effect on children's prosocial behavior as a result of participation in a mixed-age classroom context. Fewer children appeared to experience social isolation in mixed-age classrooms than in same-age classrooms. Aggressive and negative behaviors were significantly less likely to be noted by teachers in mixed-age than in same-age classrooms. Follow-up ratings of third graders, all of whom were by then enrolled in same-age classrooms, indicated that children who had participated in same-age classrooms were significantly more likely to be rated by their current teachers as aggressive or disruptive. (Contains 76 references.) (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) (Washington, DC, April 3-6, 1997).