Home : 2007 : Dec : 11
In fourth grade, we switch just for reading. We have a gifted reading class, three average classes, and a lower level class. We began leveling in fourth grade due to a trend of our most gifted readers regressing on standardized tests. Now we've seen improvement in their scores even when they begin 4-5 grade levels above average. This increase in our highest level kids has continued for three straight years. Our lowest level class has only 15 students and in that reading block, they not only have the classroom teacher and the SLD teacher, but the Reading teacher also comes in. With a five to one student/teacher ratio, those kids who really need the help are getting it. Trends show bigger improvements in learning gains for our lower level kids as well. What about the average kids? They are making remarkable learning gains too. My average bunch just got their mid-year standardized scores back and on average, showed 1.7 years growth in three months.
In our fifth grade, students switch for math, science, and social studies (6 teachers, two at each subject). They also level for reading with one gifted class, four average classes and one lower level class. These kids show the same type of learning gains for the gifted and lower level kids as our fourth graders do.
In sixth grade, our kids go to the middle school (6th-8th). Switching classes in fourth and fifth grade gets them prepared better to deal with switching when they get to middle school. They get more exposure to different teachers with different teaching methods. I don't have any scientific research that says early switching will lessen the stress of a middle school setting, but from seeing my own children go through it, they made the transition with ease.
Hope this helps!
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