ERIC Number: ED472994
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002
School Organization: Grade Span. Trends and Issues.
This paper examines grade spans (grade configurations) and their importance in community school systems. Research has shown that geographic location often dictates the kind of grade configuration districts use. Furthermore, every grade configuration has strengths and weaknesses, and school officials must focus on developing the positive potential within any given grade span. However, knowing which aspects to enhance can be difficult. The sheer number of variables that come into play when measuring grade-span effectiveness complicates efforts to understand this important component of education. For example, in one of the few empirical studies on grade span, researchers found that 8th-graders in elementary settings (K-8, K-9, 3-8) outperformed 8th-graders in other grade configurations. But the question as to why they learned better remains unanswered. Many current grade configurations can be traced to historical developments, such as passage of child-labor laws, meaning that such configurations had little to do with educational efficacy. Research shows that grade span can work in subtle and not-so-subtle ways to affect student learning. One study found that students suffer achievement loss during transition years and that students who transitioned to high school in grade 7 were less likely to drop out than students who began high school in grades 9 or 10. (RJM)
Descriptors: Age Grade Placement, Educational Administration, Elementary Secondary Education, Grade Span Configuration, Instructional Program Divisions, School Organization
ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management, 5207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-5207. Tel: 541-346-2332; Tel: 800-438-8841 (Toll Free); Fax: 541-346-2334; Web site: http://eric.uoregon.edu. For full text: http://eric.uoregon.edu/trends_issues/organization/index.html.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management, Eugene, OR.